The “Velvet Space Helmet” is Sound on the Sound’s version of our year end MVP’s. Sorry it’s coming in 2008, that is totally my (abbey’s) fault. Hope you enjoy it still, even in its tardiness.
Most Valuable Live Act: Hopscotch Boys
Every Hopscotch Boys show I go to somehow manages to be the craziest concert I’ve ever seen. I keep thinking I’ve witnessed it all, that they’ve topped themselves, that it couldn’t possibly get any stranger… and then it does, infinitely so. In my first year of Hopscotch performances I’ve seen lead-singer Blowdog head-lock and straddle a rowdy fan, get whipped with his own belt, nearly poison himself with a glow-stick, alter his ahem… nether region, forever change my idea of Santa, and nearly get stabbed by a skin head – all in the midst of some kick ass rock shows. Despite the antics, Hopscotch Boys aren’t just a freak show. Their album Sad and Lonely Eyes plays harder than most bands dare dream of achieving live. The epic intensity so present at every Hopscotch show is audible every second of the record. A whiskey soaked hallucination, right there in your headphones. -abbey
Most Valuable Performer (female): The Trucks
What is a person supposed to think about a group of big mouthed and uninhibited women who sing about vibrators, “Perv’s in the Bushes,” and domestic violence all in one set? What’s a person to do when confronted with a front singer missing her front tooth, the most bad ass girl drummer in these parts, and a dance party on stage? The only thing to think is “this is all in good fun” and the only thing to do is dance right along, and the Trucks make that possible and welcome for anyone, young or old, no matter how uptight. With the wider re-release of their first record in the early part of the year, these ladies toured the country twice in 2007 including a four day stop at SXSW, playing somewhere in Austin each of the four days. A Trucks show is truly an interactive experience that is not to be missed. – josh
Most Valuable Performer (male): Sonic Smith
Every time Sonic Smith steps on stage, be it as lead guitar and vocals for Thee Emergency, as the courageous leader of Lavender Lunchbox and The Psychedelic Lightbulb, as a saxophone soloist at an Iceage Cobra concert, or as an impromtu back-up vocalist at any number of local shows – he steals the show. And considering Sonic only gets on stage with the best Seattle has to offer musically, that statement is ever more impressive. Sonic oozes rock’n'roll, with a strut that would make Mick Jagger jealous and some guitar moves that challenge the greats. And as the long list at the beginning implies, Sonic is a prolific musician. In 2007 he wrote and orchestrated one phenomenal song after another for the forthcoming Thee Emergency and Lavender Lunchbox releases. We’re pleased to say we’ll be hearing a lot of Sonic Smith in 2008, and we’ll be loving every second of it. – abbey
Most Valuable Opening Act/Scene Stealer of the Year: Little Ones opening for Kaiser Chiefs
Bands who have garnered enough of an audience to headline at the Showbox (at the Market) are some of the best in the business. Often they are afforded the opportunity to let lesser known acts gain exposure as openers on their tours should they feel confident enough fill the auditoriums themselves. On a cold and rainy night in August, the UK’s Kaiser Chiefs rolled through with the Little Ones and the Walkmen in tow. The Kaiser Chiefs are m-fing huge around the world so I was expecting a packed house and an energetic night. I told my buddy we should get there for the first band, and from the first song, the people around us were asking who this band was. We were asked no less than five times and overheard a number of conversations exclaiming how great this band was (who are they again?). LA’s The Little Ones stole the show that night with the exceptional exuberance of a band who was going for broke, and people noticed. That night in August, this little pop outfit outshown the international supernova that is Kaiser Chiefs, and for that, they deserve the Velvet Space Helmet. – josh
Most Valuable Venue: The Blue Moon Tavern
Of all the categories, this was the easiest to decide upon – which will likely shock some readers. Sound on the Sound whole-heartedly believes that The Blue Moon is the most valuable music venue in Seattle. And yes, we felt that way even when The Crocodile Cafe was around (god rest it’s soul). JJ consistently books the best local line-ups in Seattle and has a real knack for putting together bills that build the energy in the room to the point of implosion. The Moon got it’s liquor license in 2007 and have been pouring some stiff drinks ever since. And, on top of all that, it’s fucking FREE – no ticketmaster “convenience charge,” no fumbling for change at the door - just the best local live music in Seattle. - abbey
Abbey’s Personal MVPs of 2007: The Shackeltons
As dedicated as I am to my locals, no band really shared or made my 2007 like The Shackeltons did. Their song, “Your Movement” was my first favorite song of the new year, despite a full year of shows after it, no performance topped my introduction to the band in early March, and I popped up in their video for “The Breaks.” Their DIY release “Night Songs,” recorded in a church in rural Pennsylvania, is one of the most astonishing albums I’ve ever heard and one of my most listened to albums of 2007. Despite hundreds of listens, I often get butterflies in my chest listening to the album. The Shackeltons’ songs are at once frantic and filled with chaos, yet still achingly beautiful. Lead singer and song writer Mark Redding is laid bare in his lyrics and with his performance, and within that vulnerability lays incredible power. The Shackeltons debut release cd from local label, Loveless Records is out on January 29th, 2008… and I guarantee you, it’s going to be huge. ’08 is looking to be The Shackeltons year. And mark my word, there’s is a name you’ll be seeing over and over again on next years end of year lists and there’s no band in America today who deserves it more.
Josh’s Personal MVPs of 2007: The Whore Moans
Some bands just have it. That intangible aura of cool. It’s that sort of effortless attitude of fun where they somehow still end up drenched in sweat by the end of the set. They’re loud. Really loud. They scream. And they rollick around as though they live for that moment stage. They’re most assuredly one of hardest working bands in Seattle, seemingly playing every week somewhere around town, and every time I see them play they put out 100%. These gents are pure rock and roll and some of the best the local scene has to offer.
Most Valuable Music Blog: Daytrotter
Daytrotter is what Pitchfork wishes it could be. High minded criticism, that somehow does not come across as total douche-baggery. This blog reveals artists to the music community in a way that no one else does, bringing in their favorite artists weekly to record intimate sessions and then offering the impeccable recordings for free downloads. Extra Bonus? Instead of using photography like everyone else, Daytrotter uses an insanely talented cadre of artists who draw portraits of every band that is recorded, interviewed, or reviewed. The site is invaluable because they don’t just offer commentary, they participate. In conclusion, Daytrotter is every music bloggers wet dream. – abbey