When the news broke last year that Claudia Dehaza was going to be leaving the Brooklyn-based trio School of Seven Bells, my heart sank a little. It’s hardly a secret that I’m a big fan of their luxurious, shoegazey dream pop…they’ve been featured on The List three times before, HERE, HERE and HERE…and God knows I’ve pretty much worn out their albums, Disconnect From Desire and Alpinisms, so it’s understandable that I couldn’t imagine how the band could continue without the harmonic melodies Claudia and her twin Alejandra spun into their songs. But the new duo of Benjamin Curtis and Alejandra Dehaza have recently completed a new album, Ghostory, which is scheduled for a February release. With a bit of creative knob-twiddling, Alejandra is able to harmonize with herself while Benjamin stays at the top of his game assembling layer upon layer of guitars, synthesizers and frantic drumwork into what is unmistakably the SVIIB sound.
You can follow School of Seven Bells on their website and if you’re into planning ahead, the Album Release show is gonna be February 28th at The Mercury Lounge
With that little rant outta the way, I’ve culled through everything I tossed out over the past 12 months, tried to keep it real by touchin’ on all the food groups, and finally come up with a pretty good mix of indie, guitar-strummin’, singer/songwriter, power-poppy, electronica and alt-rock goodness. And I gotta say, it was bloody hard this year to keep it to only ten choices! Each year, it always amazes me at the sheer quality of the music I stumble upon that quite frankly, most people will never even hear! Cee Lo may get 50 million YouTube views and Kanye is washing the road grime off of his Lamborghini with Cristal, but I’m still gonna champion these performers because they’re turning out music I can actually listen to!
So even though this will undoubtedly be looked upon by some as yet another full-of-shit Top Ten list…I give you…..
The Damn Ugly Photography Top Ten Songs From 2010!!!
10. JOHANNA AND THE DUSTY FLOOR
Love Is A Breakable Thing
The theatrical, Joy Division-like fuzzy vibe these guys have working must have been catchy, ‘cuz a lotta you wrote thankful notes to me back in February and said you coughed up a few bucks to buy the EP. You can follow INU over at Inu Music.
It was indeed a very bad day when Audrye Sessions announced a few months back that they were packing it in…we were crying like babies here at The List…but back in May when Ryan sent me this song we were amped by the frenzy of fun ‘Bad Day’ laid down and so looking forward to more from would end up being the final ‘sessions’. But Ryan assures me his new EP will be out this month and you all know I’ll have a taste when it becomes available!
I loved Portishead, so it was natural I was gonna love Phantogram. The sad, drowsy guitars, the scratchy backtrack and even Sarah Barthel’s voice that’s a dead ringer for Beth Gibbons…’When I’m Small’ had me swaying side-to-side back in January. Check out Phantogram over on MySpace
6. ANDREW BELLE (featuring KATIE HERZIG)
I first found out about Andrew Belle after seeing Katie Herzig (#3 on the list this year) in concert and ‘Static Waves’, the duo they did together, showed up on The List in October. You can follow Andrew Belle on his MySpace Page or over on his website
The first time I heard ‘Changing Your Mind’, it gave me an ache in the back of my throat…the kind of heartfelt ache that convinced me even back then that it was bound for the end of the year list. You can’t fake this kind of soulful singing. Check out Bob Schneider on his MySpace page.
I never knew when I went to see Brandi Carlile I’d come away with a bunch of CD’s from Katie Herzig, but that’s why we go to see live music, right? You never know who’s gonna pop up and grab you! Katie is a special talent and you can follow her on her website or over on MySpace
There was far less electronica on The List this year, but my love of dream-pop and the fact that this song stayed at the very top of my iTunes folder all year ensured it a spot near the top of this years list. And I could listen to Alejandra and Claudia Deheza trade off harmonies all day and night! Get more SVIIB on MySpace or on their Website
Over the past few months, Nadia has become BFF’s with The List…we even shot her new album cover package…so ya can’t be too surprised to find her sitting on top of this years heap, and nobody deserves it more! She’s such an amazingly gifted songwriter and that strong, expressive voice can melt even the hardest heart. Her second album, The Ocean Master, is due to be released this Spring…in fact, she and Harvey are in Wales mixing the record it as I type this…so please, head on over to her facebook page for more information.
School of Seven Bells latest album, Disconnect from Desire, is practically brand new, but the Brooklyn-based trio already has has a new digital EP set to drop September 14. Heart is Strange is one of those crazy little things that happens when the remix-masters fall in love with a band, and SVIIB is one of those bands. The EP contains only four cuts, two versions of Heart is Strange (the Radio edit and the Pantha du Prince Remix), Dust Devil (White Sea Remix), and today’s SOTD, I L U (Phantogram Remix). Disconnect from Desire has been one of my favorite albums this year, but I’m always up for a good bit of knob-twiddling. Check out more from SVIIB on MySpace or on their Website and for you New Yorkers who plan on doing CMJ this year, they’re gonna be playing the Santos Party House Saturday, October 23rd and it promises to be one of the best shows of the week!
We’re gonna do a musical about-face from last weeks ‘The Muscle & Charm’ with a leak off of the new album from School Of Seven Bells, due out next month. I love this Brooklyn-based trio and their psycho-hypnotic swirl of mesmerizing vocals, vibrant melodies and rhythmic noise. I was tossing out cuts from Alpinisms last year as fast as I could get them and I’m looking forward to hearing what the new record has to offer. On ‘Babelonia’, I’m instantly taken by the familiar Cocteau Twins-like chanting from twins Alejandra and Claudia Deheza and carried along by Ben Curtis’ shoegazey wall of of chugging percussion, layered guitars and electro-atmospheric noise. Disconnect From Desire is set to drop July 13th, but in the meantime you can check SVIIB out on their MySpace Page
Mr. Song of the Day turned 50 yesterday, so to celebrate we’re gonna toss out a few gems from one of my fave local bands, School Of Seven Bells. After announcing their recent signing with Vagrant Records, a deluxe edition of their first album, Alpinisms, will be released digitally on October 13. The Alpinisms Deluxe Edition will have nine bonus tracks on its re-release comprised of demos, live versions and different mixes of songs from the original, including ‘Iamundernodisguse’. Any long-timers to The List surely remember that SVIIB made the 2008 Songs of the Year with ‘Connjur’…..
So if we’re counting, I guess this newest version of Alpinisms will make three times they’ve re-invented themselves. Is it possible for a band to make an entire career outta re-recording the same stuff over and over…?!!