NPR logo 13 Great Musical Discoveries of 2007, from KEXP

13 Great Musical Discoveries of 2007, from KEXP

In any ongoing quest for mind-blowing music, each year brings an assortment of new left-field discoveries. Sometimes, you find brand-new bands like Vampire Weekend. Other times, you chance upon artists who have been around a while but went largely unnoticed until now, like The Avett Brothers. Some years, you might even discover or grow an appreciation for an entirely new genre of music. Chances are, you've already heard many of this year's best, including releases from LCD Soundsystem, Feist, Band of Horses, The National, Iron & Wine and Wilco. There's plenty more great music to enjoy, so if any of the albums below slid under your radar in 2007, give them a listen. One of these fine CDs could easily end up being your favorite of the year.

13 Great Musical Discoveries of 2007, from KEXP

Avett art
Shame
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The Avett Brothers

  • Song: Shame
  • from Emotionalism

Previous records from this North Carolina acoustic trio were ragged affairs, with punkish bluegrass and folk that brim over with infectious energy. On Emotionalism, the group still plays pretty loose, but it's broadened its sound in the process of making a killer record. The Avett Brothers' members don't play much bluegrass these days -- it's more like acoustic folk-rock, with some of the best moments recalling a rootsy early Beatles. (Listen: "Shame")

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Song
Emotionalism
Album
Emotionalism
Artist
The Avett Brothers
Label
Ramseur
Released
2007

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Cloud Cult art
Take Your Medicine
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Cloud Cult

  • Song: Take Your Medicine
  • from Meaning of 8

The latest from Craig Minowa and company is another intensely personal set of expansive songs that blend elements of orchestral pop, folk-rock, psychedelia, electronics and more. At times, it recalls The Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire and even Modest Mouse. (Listen: "Take Your Medicine")

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Song
Meaning of 8
Album
Meaning of 8
Artist
Cloud Cult
Label
Rebel Group
Released
2007

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Yeasayer art
Sunrise
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Yeasayer

  • Song: Sunrise
  • from All Hour Cymbals

Yeasayer's debut album is a mesmerizing set that combines TV on the Radio's dense prog-rock with Animal Collective's tribal freak-folk, while adding prominent African influences and wonderful harmonizing that ranges from ethereal Beach Boys to more boisterous sing-alongs. (Listen: "Sunrise")

Budos Band art
Budos Rising
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The Budos Band

  • Song: Budos Rising
  • from The Budos Band Ii

This New York band adds a bit of cinematic flavor to its excellent second album of Afrobeat-influenced jazz-funk. (Listen: "Budos Rising")

Bishop Allen art
Like Castanets
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Bishop Allen

  • Song: Like Castanets
  • from Broken String

The Brooklyn-based band follows last year's string of 12 EPs (one released every month) with its second full-length album of intelligent indie-pop. The album provides an impressive showcase for the group members' growth as songwriters and musicians. (Listen: "Like Castanets")

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Song
Broken String
Album
Broken String
Artist
Bishop Allen
Label
Dead Oceans
Released
2007

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Tullycraft art
If You Take Away the Make-Up (Then the Vampires They Will Die)
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Tullycraft

  • Song: If You Take Away the Make-Up (Then the Vampires They Will Die)
  • from Every Scene Needs a Center

A rock-solid set of clever indie-pop, Tullycraft's newest will have listeners smiling, dancing and thinking all at the same time. (Listen: "If You Take Away the Make-Up [Then the Vampires They Will Die]")

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Song
Every Scene Needs a Center
Album
Every Scene Needs a Center
Artist
Tullycraft
Label
Magicmaker
Released
2007

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sharon jones art
100 Days, 100 Nighs
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Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

  • Song: 100 Days, 100 Nighs
  • from 100 Days, 100 Nights

The newest album from this New York-based singer and her amazing band is another confidently executed set of raw, old-school soul and R&B. (Listen: "100 Days, 100 Nights")

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Song
100 Days, 100 Nights
Album
100 Days, 100 Nights
Artist
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
Label
Daptone
Released
2007

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Li'l Cap'n Travis art
"Fangs in My Mouth"
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Li'l Cap'n Travis

  • Song: "Fangs in My Mouth"
  • from Twilight on Sometimes Island

Beautiful, summery, country-fried psych-pop. (Listen: "Fangs in My Mouth")

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Song
Twilight on Sometimes Island
Album
Twilight on Sometimes Island
Artist
Li'l Cap'n Travis
Label
Glurp
Released
2007

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Explosions art
The Birth and Death of the Day
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Explosions in the Sky

  • Song: The Birth and Death of the Day
  • from All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone

These dynamic post-rock instrumentals recall Mogwai, Sigur Ros and even My Bloody Valentine. (Listen: "The Birth and Death of the Day")

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Song
All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
Album
All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
Artist
Explosions in the Sky
Label
Temporary Residence
Released
2007

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Scotland Yard art
I Never Thought I Could Feel This Way for a Boy
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The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir

  • Song: I Never Thought I Could Feel This Way for a Boy
  • from Scotland Yard Gospel Choir

The second album of melancholy chamber-folk from this Chicago band, led by the Welsh-born Elia Einhorn, is mostly dark and sweetly melodic in ways reminiscent of The Smiths and Belle & Sebastian. (Listen: "I Never Thought I Could Feel This Way for a Boy")

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Song
Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
Album
Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
Artist
The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir
Label
Bloodshot
Released
2007

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Shane Tutmarc photo
Across the River
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Shane Tutmarc

  • Song: Across the River
  • from I'm Gonna Live the Life I Sing About in My Song

Shane Tutmarc is best known as the man behind the Seattle power-pop project Dolour. Shane Tutmarc & The Traveling Mercies is Tutmarc joined by his brother Brandon on drums and cousin Ryan on bass for this excellent collection of stripped-down, rootsy rock, flavored with gospel, country, blues and rockabilly. This CD is available on their website. (Listen: "Across the River")

Orgone art
Sophisticated Honky
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Orgone

  • Song: Sophisticated Honky
  • from Killion Floor

The debut full-length from this L.A.-based band is an excellent collection of raw jazz-funk, gritty soul and exuberant '70s dance grooves. (Listen: "Sophisticated Honky")

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Song
Killion Floor
Album
Killion Floor
Artist
Orgone
Label
Ubiquity
Released
2007

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Vampire Weekend art
Mansard Roof
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Vampire Weekend

  • Song: Mansard Roof

This Brooklyn band makes its debut with an excellent set of summery, smart, well-crafted indie-pop, some of which conveys an undercurrent of African music. (Listen: "Mansard Roof" This song is available on Amazon)

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