New and notable in 2007
Ten debuts by Southland bands that were more than blips on the 2007 radar.
“On the Wing Now” (Dim Mak)
How the insistent, anthemic rock of this L.A. quartet was overlooked for so long (this was actually self-released in ’06) is a mystery. Already set to record its sophomore album, Foreign Born has established itself as one of top indie rock acts in L.A., and certainly the best to use sleigh bells.
“Trading Twilight for Daylight” (Eenie Meenie)
Dense, swirling melodies and the boy-girl vocals of Solon Bixler and Rachel Stolte add up to swoon-worthy shimmer and cinematic splendor on this tour de force from a group of Silver Lake veterans.
“Leaves in the River” (Dangerbird)
With his tributary-themed EP (“Get to the River Before It Runs Too Low”), ex-Irving bassist Alex Brown Church has issued a catalog of orchestrated pop so pretty it ought to be a painting.
CULVER CITY DUB COLLECTIVE
How to sound at once classic and current? Masterminded by Adam Topol and Franchot Tone, this debut -- heavy on the heavyweight guests -- adds modern electronica to a sturdy foundation of roots reggae and bossa nova.
“Secretary Bird” (In De Goot)
Truly a hidden gem. Mike Semple (Friends of Dean Martinez, Giant Sand) wraps his twangy desert rock in Neil Young-worthy guitar textures -- wistful yet thorny.
Tom Waits, who once employed her as a nanny, has this to say about the 31-year-old’s work: “Her music is like going swimming in a lake at night.” Sweet and off-kilter, as rich in imagination as observation.
THE BROKEN WEST
“I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On” (Merge)
Ross Flournoy and his jangly indie-pop quartet are already at work on the follow-up to this January release.
“Imagine Our Love” (Matador)
The sweet folk-country stylings built on Becky Stark’s watercolor vocals are as devoid of irony as they are brimming with optimism.
TEST YOUR REFLEX
“The Burning Hour” (RCA)
Radio-ready Thousand Oaks quintet back up their U2-indebted anthems with a winsome sincerity and youthful abandon.
“One by One” (Aeronaut)
Is this kid really only 19? The onetime pupil of Ry Cooder and John Frusciante writes spare meditations that resonate with a worldly ache, milking every ounce of emotion out of strummed guitar, plucked banjo, pedal steel and tinkling piano.