It’s time for the annual poll of your favourite singles of the past 12 months.
All those on our emailing list or at Offbeat last Friday should have received a voting form by now. If you haven’t and would like to vote, simply email us your top 3 singles of 2007. Past Festive 10’s can be viewed at http://www.offbeat.group.shef.ac.uk/frames/favorfra.htm
2007 saw the gap between leftfield and mainstream indie grow ever larger – whilst the masses lurched towards lumpen lad-rock and bland dad-rock in a manner very much reminiscent of the post-Britpop era a decade ago, the leftfield indie underground was amazingly fertile. The sheer number of new bands on our playlist makes it very hard to predict what will be in our top 20 this year.
There’s a notable Canadian and US challenge this year. Of Montreal’s breakthrough has been a long time coming and their sole single release from the ‘Hissing Fauna…” LP gives them a good chance of at least a top 10 spot. Both 2005 chart toppers Arcade Fire and perennial Offbeat faves the Shins, the White Stripes and Interpol are obvious contenders, but each released multiple singles from their LPs which could split their votes. The recruitment of Johnny Marr inspired Modest Mouse to almost match ‘Float on’, whilst The Hold Steady might have been a bit Springsteen for some, but managed at least one memorable single. Dark horses from across the Atlantic who have been oft-requested at Offbeat this year include Battles, The National and Les Say Fav.
The popularity of folk-tinged bands of varying styles has never been higher. The unique sounds of Animal Collective were just shy of last year’s top 10… can they sneak in this time? On a more orthodox indiepop/folk tip we have the locally based Slow Club and Monkey Swallows The Universe, a couple of releases from the ever-prolific Bright Eyes, and Euros Childs’ patchy album contained a killer single.
Despite the NME’s grim nu-rave branding, the more quirky electronic artists continued to find a place on our playlist, most notably the very different styles of CSS, Maps, Late Of The Pier, New Young Pony Club and I Was A Cub Scout. Patrick Wolf’s one-man-band fey troubadour electro-indie finally blossomed from concept to danceable reality, and the mish-mash of genres that is the Go! Team returned with a trio of floorfilling singles to accompany a fine LP.
Of the more standard UK indie guitar acts, the trend was towards the bland, but at least the Maccabees and Good Shoes proved that being hotly tipped in the music press doesn’t necessarily make you rubbish. The latter end of the year saw the emergence of Birmingham-based young tykes Johnny Foreigner, with their thrilling mix of guitar squall and pop melodies.
However, for the second successive year, it was the indiepop scene that really flourished. Los Campesinos! lead the way and despite multiple single releases they are strong-runners. Last year’s chart-toppers Camera Obscura squeezed another 7” out from their LP early in the year, Slow Down Tallahhasse lived up to reputation of Thee SPC with a fine debut, and their was a whole raft of new and old faces from elsewhere; The Bobby McGees, Pete and The Pirates, Help She Can’t Swim, Butcher Boy, Darren Hayman, Bearsuit, Au Revoir Simone…
Finally there are the unclassifiables… Jarvis, with a stunning return and Offbeat dancefloor smash, the equally pleasing resurrection of Mclusky in the form of Future Of the Left, the melancholic Beirut, the (possibly too) chirpy Wombats, the musings of MJ Hibbett, that new electropop Bloc Party track, the guitar assault of Blood Red Shoes, the Operator Please single that was just catchy enough to avoid being annoying! All are in with a shout.
You decide… get your votes in now!