For better or worse, Burlington has long been known as a “rock town.” Specifically, a jam-rock town. But 2007 saw a remarkable phenomenon blossom in the Queen City and beyond, as a flood of local releases running the genre gamut were unleashed on our eager ears.
Anaïs Mitchell, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals and Page McConnell released critically acclaimed albums, offering listeners a small sampling of Vermont’s meaty musical menu. The success of our country-crossing pals just might entice more folks to check out the vibrant array of music emanating from our tiny corner of the map.
If they do, they’ll find a revitalized hip-hop community, courtesy of excellent efforts by GTD, VT Union and Matty C.
They’ll find an exceptional experimental music scene, bolstered by mind-bending releases from Oak, Mark Knuffke and Solah.
Jazz aficionados would “discover” soulful records from the likes of trombonist Dan Silverman and hepcat Lewis Franco, as well as a bluesy turn from Dave Keller and acoustic virtuosity from MaMaVig.
Burlington’s always active, if often underappreciated, heavy music scene served up solid CDs from Rise to Fight and Waiting for a Miracle, and a downright vicious EP from Burlington’s hardcore godfathers, 5 Seconds Expired.
As for the rockin’, 2007 was as strong a year as any in recent memory. Harmonicore hooligans Cccome? c-c-came on strong with a great debut. The Capstan Shafts emerged as one of the area’s most mysterious and prolific indie-rock acts with not one but two new records. Burlington ex-pats even got in on the action as Neil Cleary and Audrey Ryan submitted superlative releases for our listening pleasure.
Curiously, 2007 was a little light in the jam department. Whether that signals a shift in our collective musical conscience is anybody’s guess. But releases from sun-kissed popsters Lucy Vincent, seafaring swashbucklers The Jugtown Pirates of Lake Champlain and jam-grass pseudo-locals The Powder Kegs kept Vermonters groovin’ all year long.
With such a sprawling array of excellent options to choose from, selecting the 10 “best” albums of 2007 is a tall and, frankly, subjective order. Ask 10 different folks for their 10 favorite albums and you’ll no doubt get 10 different lists. But choose we must, and this is ours.
The following list represents some of the finest recorded material released this year, according to the dynamic duo of Dan Bolles and Casey Rae-Hunter — incoming and outgoing music editors at Seven Days this year, respectively. The albums are presented in no particular order. They’re just 10 great discs from another wonderful year in Vermont music. Congratulations and thanks!