Copyright ©2007 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

All this week on MORNING EDITION, we've been sampling the best music of 2007; and we finish this look this week with some music that almost nobody has heard.

Robin Hilton curates a feature called Second Stage on the NPR music site. Every week, he listens to hundreds of recordings by unknown, unsigned bands and chooses the best of the best.

ROBIN HILTON: There really has never been a better time to be a musician than right now. There's just so many ways to make music, and then there are more ways than ever for that music to get out there for people to actually hear the music.

I heard a lot of amazing artists this year, a lot of great unknown artists for Second Stage. By far, the one that really stood out in my mind as the most memorable is the band called Le Loup - it's French; it means "the wolf."

(Soundbite of song, "Planes Like Vultures")

LE LOUP (Band): (Singing) Love is shaped like cities burning sort of ashes just between the sea and sky. These lonely islands get the (unintelligible). It's back insideā€¦

HILTON: It's really the music of a guy named Sam Simkoff. And they just put out an album that has the title, "The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly."

(Soundbite of song, "Planes Like Vultures")

LE LOUP: (Singing) Here my eyes went towards the brightest point of light like some great sign in and knew the love that was behind it of the time I almost died.

HILTON: Most of the songs are built around the simple banjo line that is repeated as a motif from track to track.

(Soundbite of song, "Loup (Fear Not)")

HILTON: It's very simple music. It's very spare in a lot of ways, very mesmerizing, very enchanting sound.

(Soundbite of song, "Loup (Fear Not)")

HILTON: But by the end of the album, he's completely deconstructing and tearing apart that banjo line to really break the sound down and turn it into something much more interesting and head-spinning.

(Soundbite of song, "Loup (Fear Not)")

LE LOUP: (Singing) The skies will open up.

INSKEEP: Oh, that's music by Le Loup recommended by Robin Hilton.

To hear his list of Top 10 Great Unknowns and more than two dozen other takes from the best CDs of 2007, just go to our new music Web site, npr.org/music.

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