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    Monday, December 31, 2007

    KGRL's List Of Influential CDs Of 2007

    The Time Machine staff often find themselves listening to other radio stations online when not on the air (and sometimes in the broadcast studio between songs or commercial breaks while on the air but don't let management find out). One of our presets is KGRL.

    Despite what people may think, as DJs, The Time Machine Crew are really not fans of our own voices. This one fact is one of the reasons we find ourselves listening to similar sounding playlists on other stations. We've spoken highly of this station before and are blessed with the presence of the esteemed Mysty from KGRL again this year. We greatly admire her dedication and amazing music sweeps that knock us out everytime. As it is the end of the year, Mysty is sharing with you KGRL's list of the most influential CDs of 2007. As usual, Mysty is on top of it and she is ahead of us on our end of the year list so she gets extra brownie points as we look for that mistletoe that was in the doorway a few days ago. We played a number of these albums on the air this past year and prepare to empty your wallet if you haven't picked up any of these fine artists for your listening pleasure.

    KGRL's List of Influential CDs of 2007

    Susanne Sundfør - Susanne Sundfør
    This year's top belongs to no other than Norway's Susanne Sundfør. The self-titled debut is truly an amazing work of art, one of the no-filler, all-winner CDs of 2007. The vocal work is topnotch with impeccable high notes, while the music revels in astute obscurity. Susanne’s music might irk out some at first but once you have settled, it is almost perfection in revelation. Check out our FPA feature with Susanne Sundfor for more details. Do yourself a favor and go look for this CD now!

    The Bird & The Bee - The Bird & The Bee + Please Clap Your Hands EP
    It’s not such a wonder that the phenomenal combination of Inara George and Greg Kurstin makes our list once again this year. The Bird & The Bee’s debut far exceeded my expectations. Like Susanne’s CD, it’s one of the no-filler, all-winner CDs of 2007. I have included their recently-released EP in this entry because it shares the perfection of the debut.

    Charlotte Martin - Reproductions + Something Like A B-Side
    There’s a steady supply of great music flowing from our January 2007 Flower-Powered Artist of the Month, Charlotte Martin – and we’re so glad she is a bottomless well. The materials on the B-Side CD are no slouch. It really leaves me wondering why the songs never found a home in the Char Mar’s full-length CDs. Reproductions on the other hand presents us with a masterfully re-imagined slew of cover materials. While I’m not completely sold on the whole concept of cover CDs, I’m delighted to say that Char’s attempt won me over.

    Charlotte Hatherley - The Deep Blue
    Former Ash band member, Charlotte Hatherley, offers quite a classy and mature-sounding follow up to her 2005’s solo debut, "Grey Will Fade". The tracks: "Behave" and "Wounded Sky" alone makes the price of the admission very much worth it. This CD was kept on constant repeat in my player on the way to work everyday for quite some time – that’s how good it is.

    Kate Miller-Heidke - Little Eve
    The fabulously fantastic Australian singer/songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke once again amazes us with the release of her latest full-length, "Little Eve". The record is a bit on the poppy side but it never fears to thread the obscurity – and indeed it does. Songs like "Mama", "Ducks Don’t Need Satellites", and "Words" are perfect examples. Still, being poppy is not something that detracts from it. Pop is good and Kate proves it.

    A Fine Frenzy - Once Cell In The Sea
    Alison Sudol’s debut is quite a winner, at least for the most part. While it’s relatively imperfect, the record has spawned intensely moving pieces of musical delicacy. I can’t help but be sucked into the frenzy of Miss Sudol’s craft.

    Sara Bareilles - Little Voice
    Sara is one of KGRL’s top 10 artists to watch out for in 2007 (published in LA Metroblogging), and the release of the full-length vindicated our choice. Sara has come a very long way from being a little voice to someone that is quite accomplished. Kudos to finally being able to release this much-anticipated full-length. One gripe from this record is that half of the songs are already known by the fans, as they were from the independently-produced "Careful Confessions". That said, we are excited to hear more from Sara – bring on the next record!

    Lucy Woodward - Is Hot & Bothered
    Lucy truly is hot and bothered with the new album release. Finally out of the grip of major record labels, Miss Woodward is at last able to create and record music that she actually identifies with. I’ll have to mention that she was also one of KGRL’s top 10 artists to watch out for in 2007 (published in LA Metroblogging). The record is now available in iTunes, except that it doesn’t have the awesomely amazing bonus track on the CD – titled "Sugar". And because of that, I’d say go for the CD version. It’s very much worth it.

    Carina Round - Slow Motion Addict
    After quite a delay, the album – "Slow Motion Addict" - is finally officially released. The album was recorded with the legendary Glen Ballard at the helm. "Slow Motion Addict" is an entangled mix of genres with crossovers from hard rockers to slow down-tempo beats to slow obscurities. Fans of her two previous records were worried about the spit-shine production values afforded in this record. Luckily, the release proved there is nothing to be feared as the record IS still a Carina Round record. Do check out our FPA feature with Carina Round – it’s worth it.

    Diana Winter – Escapizm
    Italian singer/songwriter Diana Winter rightfully deserves a place in this list. Her delightfully-soulful and jazzy music always puts a little smile on our faces every time we play her music in the station. Our hats are off to Diana for releasing such an amazing debut.

    Leslie Mills - Everlasting Road
    While the recording and songwriting process took a different approach, the quality is still on the up-and-up. Leslie’s follow up to 2003’s "Different For Girls" sounds more intimate, and that’s a good thing. Everlasting road is such a classy melodic indie-pop record that, unlike the first record, is geared for lovers of singer/songwriters.

    Fauxliage – Fauxliage
    The longing for another Sixpence None The Richer record is quite a hunger that can not be satisfied, not when the band is off the music scene several years ago. We are truly thankful that Leigh Nash is still at it. While we still prefer the raw band sound of SNTR, Delerium’s ethereal and ambient synthesized sounds coupled with Leigh’s oh-so-sweet voice proves to be a winner.

    Mieka Pauley - Elijah Drop Your Gun
    The new full-length from Boston’s Mieka Pauley finally arrives 7 years after the first full-length. What makes "Elijah Drop Your Gun" truly special is that the album was fully financed by the fans. While we admire Mieka’s dedication to her craft consciously biding time until all the songs are finely tuned, I hope we don’t have to wait another 7 years for a new record.

    Ingrid Michaelson – Girls & Boys
    Thanks to "Grey’s Anatomy", Ingrid received a lot more attention that she truly deserves. "Girls & Boys" serves a scrumptious feast of infectious melodies and hooks that are neither cheesy nor over the top. There are lots of hidden gems to be found within the CD. Be on the lookout for two of the album’s best: the opener "Die Alone" and "Overboard".

    Lovers Electric – Lovers Electric
    The duo of Eden Boucher and David Turley brings nothing but pure pop brilliance in their self-titled debut. Eden is the sister of Los Angeles based Australian singer/songwriter Butterfly Boucher. While they share a common genre in music, Lovers Electric is a bit more raw-sounding mostly due to them independently recording their album on a strict budget. There’s something to look forward to with Lovers Electric come 2008. They were also our FPA of April 2007

    Sunshine State - Sunshine State
    Toronto-based acoustic pop wonders Sunshine State blessed 2007 with the release of their phenomenal debut. It’s lucky that KGRL is always on the lookout for fresh new talents. You’re in luck as well, as we are featuring Sunshine State as our January 2008 Flower-Powered Artists!

    Hazel Mills – Butterfly
    The Butterfly EP is a very engaging first effort from the Bristol-based siren, Hazel Mills. The EP is filled to the brim with excellent tracks that can best be described as a lush and vibrant musical landscape wrapped in progressive pendulous beats and rhythm. It is important to note that while there are many new artists who strive to transcend genres ended up drowning in their musical identity crisis, Hazel manages to break through by shaping up a cohesive song structure while retaining enough quirk and obscurity. If we are to judge by this EP, Hazel Mills is seriously one of the most important artists to watch out for.

    Simon Wilcox - The Charm & The Strange
    Boyish name but 100% flower-powered goodness, Simon Wilcox charmed us with the release of her debut full-length. Finally finding her musical identity, Simon unleashes an album that is electrifyingly satisfying. The record packs nothing but infectiously catchy band-based alternative pop/rock.

    Clare Bowditch & The Feeding Set - The Moon Looked On
    Award-winning Australian singer/songwriter Clare Bowditch delights us with the release of her new record, "The Moon Looked On". The album offers a very enjoyable listen all the way through with a lot of sparkly gems along the way, amongst which are: "You Looked So Good", "I Love The Way You Talk", "I Am Not Allowed" and "Peccadilloes". It is quite interesting to note that Clare has written thousands of songs and picked 12 from them for this record. I guess she chose the perfect 12 to have brought out such an amazing record.

    Libbie Schrader – Libbie Schrader
    Another of KGRL’s FPAs (for February 2007 -, Libbie Schrader’s new full-length finally came out. The tracks in the record are comprised of polished old songs that were in the latest EP plus a couple of new songs. This is definitely the best CD Libbie has put out so far, and that says a lot.

    Shannon Hurley - Ready To Wake Up
    Libbie’s friend, Shannon Hurley has put out a similar effort of masterful songwriting ability. Ready To Wake Up is sure to put listeners in melodic overdrive building layer upon layer of indie pop excellence. The record is definitely a must-own CD for lovers of indie-pop/rock.

    Cathy Davey - Tales Of Silversleeve
    2004’s "Something Ilk" had me left wanting more from Cathy Davey. The Irish singer/songwriter writes such brilliant alternative pop/rock that borders on the oddball and the obscure. Engaging musical arrangements, beautiful vocal work, and extremely addictive melodies make this CD one of the best in 2007. Well worth the wait.

    Emma Pollock - Watch The Fireworks
    The former Delgados frontwoman, Emma Pollock finally released her debut solo album and it’s quite a revelation. Some of the tracks are electrifyingly-upbeat pop/rock while others wallow in a dreamy state of quirkiness. It’s really hard not to recommend this album to anyone who loves intelligent and witty alternative rock.

    Kate Nash - Made Of Bricks
    It’s like Lily Allen released a new CD this year… Seriously though, casting aside the Kate Nash vs. Lily Allen debate, Kate Nash holds her own brand of musical genius. To the nay sayer, I hope you listened to the CD before you judge. That said, do Kate and Lily really have anything in common?

    Suzanne Vega - Beauty & Crime
    It’s good to see that Suzanne Vega is still making great music. Let me put it quite simply, "Beauty & Crime" is such a phenomenal CD. It’s amazing to hear modern sounding tracks from Suzanne; she just never goes out of style.

    Jonatha Brooke - Careful What You Wish For
    There is something retro sounding with the tracks in the new record but yet it’s steadily rooted in rock. In fact, it’s probably the most rock-out-loud Jonatha Brooke record. It’s another solid offering from Jonatha.

    Nina Storey - So Many Ways: From Me To You
    Nina’s latest offering left us awed and reminds us why we love Nina Storey. One part of it is the vocal prowess and the other is songwriting excellence. The new record is nothing short of what we expected from Nina. It’s simply an exceptional record in so many ways.

    Lucy Schwartz - Winter In June
    "Winter In June" is a very strong first effort from the young but extremely talented, Lucy Schwartz. Lucy started writing music at a very early age. It’s no wonder, now that she’s 18, how songwriting is like second nature to her. The record is full to the brim of excellent indie pop and jazzy tracks in simple yet effective arrangements. Lucy recently decided to use her whole name because it’s hard for people to look her up. Good move, God knows how many famous Lucy people there are…

    Marianne Keith - Beautiful Distraction (Re-issue)
    I’ll just use “re-issue” as a reason to include this album in the list. "Beautiful Distraction" is a brilliant showcase of Marianne Keith’s amazing talents in both songwriting and vocal ability. It’s truly amazing how a small-framed girl like Marianne packs a powerful voice. You’d want to check out our FPA feature with Marianne and get to see her live performance videos

    Emi Meyer - Curious Creature
    Jazz is cool… Jazz is not dead… Emi Meyer comes to prove jazz just isn’t. The new album is full-length and was recorded with a band. This record reflects Emi’s musical growth. The tracks in this record gears more towards pop, which makes it much more accessible to non-jazz folks. If you’re interested to find out more about Emi, hit up our FPA feature with her (

    Dolores O'Riordan - Are You Listening?
    The comeback record for the former The Cranberries frontwoman, Dolores O’Riordan is quite outstanding. Lovers of The Cranberries will feel right at home with this solo album. The only difference is that this record is much more intimate than the materials from The Cranberries era.

    St. Vincent - Marry Me
    The Polyphonic Spree and Surfjan Steven’s guitarist, Annie Clark comes out with a very powerful solo debut. Annie rocks it out, and really rocks it loud with heavily-processed noise effects, in the blissfully-alternative rock tracks. In contrast, she mellows it down to a crawl in the record’s more melodic tracks. "Marry Me" is a success in marriage of heavy alternative rock and ballads that will surely please fans of post 90s rock.

    Far Beyond Frail - Butterfy Sketches
    "Far Beyond Frail" has been around since 2002 but we recently discovered them through Char Mar’s Press Manager, Lisa Lombardo. It would be a shame not to include them in this list merely because they are new to KGRL - as their new EP, "Butterfly Sketches", is such an exemplary alternative-folk record. We fell in love with the band from our first listen, and I’m sure you will too.

    Sirsy – Revolution
    Another of our recently added bands, Sirsy has instantly become one of our favorites. The duo of Melanie Krahmer and Rich Libutti rocks the joint with just the two of them, and they do it with such grace and precision. Melanie sings amazingly well, plays the drums and flute while Rich plays his effects-processed acoustic guitar and everything else. Their latest offering, "Revolution" was recorded in their home studio in an effort to capture their raw and edgy sound. Judging by the excellent tracks in the CD, it looks like they succeeded in their goal.

    Peech - Peech
    We discovered Peech through Marianne Keith and we are so glad we did. Peech’s Chelsea Dohemann and Megan Osborn filled their CD with fun and easy-to-get-into type of acoustic pop rock tracks. The basic and raw arrangement of the background music works pretty well.

    *The above list does not denote any ranking type of system, except for the top spot :)...

    And some more awesomely amazing CDs released in 2007 that you should all check out (in alphabetical order):

    Allie Moss - My Last & Final Demo
    Andrea Corr - Ten Feet High
    Astrid Swan - Poverina
    Brandi Carlile - The Story
    Colbie Caillat - Coco
    Eisley - Combinations
    Emily Grogan - At Sea
    Feist - The Reminder
    Holly McNarland - Chin Up Buttercup
    Hooverphonic - The President Of The LSD Golf Club
    Jesca Hoop – Kismet
    Kate Voegele - Don't Look Away
    Kate Walsh - Tim's House
    Katie Melua - Pictures
    Kelly Clarkson - My December
    KT Tunstall - Drastic Fantastic
    Laura Jansen - Trauma
    Laura Veirs - Saltbreakers
    Maia Hirasawa - Though, I'm Just Me
    Maria Taylor - Lynn Teeter Flower
    Meiko - Meiko
    Melanie C - This Time
    Missy Higgins - On A Clear Night
    Nicole Atkins - Neptune City
    Oh Darling - Oh Darling EP
    Polly Paulusma - Fingers & Thumbs
    Renee Cologne - Rock & Roll Housewife
    Rilo Kiley - Under The Blacklight
    Sarah Shannon - City Morning Song
    Sia - Lady Croissant
    Stephanie Briggs - Spark
    Tegan & Sara - The Con
    Terra Naomi - Under The Influence
    Tina Dico - Count To Ten + A Beginning
    Tori Amos - American Doll Posse
    Uh Huh Her - I See Red EP
    Vanessa Carlton - Heroes & Thieves

    Posted by Mysty

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    At 4:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Sirsy freaking ROCKS. Join the Revolution and support independent music - Sirsy!

    At 9:01 AM, Anonymous fairydust said...

    These are truly talented artists and fantastic releases. KGRL proves its fabulous sense for female fronted music once again.
    Thanks for such great recommendations! I hope 2008 brings just as many great CDs as 2007 did.

    At 7:25 AM, Anonymous el floury one said...

    Fabulous list! These are truly great CDs. Nice going KGRL!

    At 1:10 PM, Blogger said...

    This is a fantastic list. Thanks for all of the recommendations!

    At 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hey, I just heard of Surfjan Steven's song "Chicago", and LOVED it! Can you reccommend some other songs by him, or from similar artists that are that good? Thanks!(I found you looking for artist info)


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