Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

The Seven Year Itch

Music blog turns seven, gets nostalgic, makes list

Photo via IMDBIMDBAnother year, another… year. This here blogsite turns seven years old today, a milestone which simultaneously fills me with pride, amazement and some degree of despair. If you told me seven years ago that I’d still have enough free time and energy to be blogging extensively on an almost daily basis, I’d have thought you mad. Mad, I say. How would I have time on top of tending to the wife and kids and other domestic responsibilities I’d surely have acquired by then? Ahem. Yeah.

The last few anniversary posts have tended along the lines of “hey, this site is another year older and I still haven’t gotten a life – that’s awesome, thanks for stopping by” but this year, I’ve decided to do something just a little more involved and put together one of those things that bloggers live for – a top ten list. “Top Ten Favourite Records That Have Come Out Since This Blog Has Been In Existence”, to be precise.

While the specific criteria for inclusion in said list was a bit nebulous, the selections weren’t – they were actually completely obvious. Each of these albums are ones that I have completely fallen in love with over the past seven years, initial infatuation evolving into long-term, meaningful relationships. I intend to grow old and sit on rocking chairs on a veranda with these records. They are my go-to records for when I’m feeling overwhelmed and need to be reminded of why I continue to seek out new music. My desert island discs of the past 7/10 of a decade. Did these records change my life? Maybe not, but they definitely made it better.

As, incidentally, have all of you who come by, read and made this whole exercise worthwhile over the past years. So for that, I thank you. Now make with the clicky.

Trespassers William / Different Stars
Relelased: September 28, 2002

This exquisite rendition of the band that is this site’s namesake was the perfect gateway drug to this Seattle-via-LA outfit’s gorgeous, slow-motion dreampop – a recipe they’ve tweaked and refined over the years without losing sight of their strengths, namely the pure heartbreak that is Anna-Lynne Williams’ voice.

MP3: Trespassers William – “Vapour Trail”

The Radio Dept. / Lesser Matters
Released: August 30, 2004

Easily and accurately described as Belle & Sebastian covering the Jesus & Mary Chain’s Automatic, it’s a wonder The Radio Dept aren’t Scottish. But Swedish will also do and though they’ve since moved away some from the glorious twee-fuzz of their debut, it still stands as a sublime example of melancholy made sound.

MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Pulling Our Weight”

Saturday Looks Good To Me / Every Night
Released: September 14, 2004

Though Fred Thomas’ creative restlessness finds him constantly reinventing his Motown-pop collective, both in terms of sound and personnel, he has yet to find a recipe that works better than it did on their third album. The fact that the LP had different mixes of several songs from the CD was enough to get me to go out and buy a turntable.

MP3: Saturday Looks Good To Me – “The Girl’s Distracted”

Crooked Fingers / Dignity & Shame
Released: February 22, 2005

Why Eric Bachmann isn’t more revered on this earth will forever remain a mystery to me. Most everything he’s done is remarkable in its way but for me, the gruff rocker-balladeer-troubadour persona he inhabits here stands above the rest, Lara Meyerratken providing the ideal vocal counterpoint. “Sleep All Summer” is perfection.

MP3: Crooked Fingers – “Call To Love”

Okkervil River / Black Sheep Boy
Released: April 5, 2005

Initially ambivalent about the band, I bought this album unheard based on glowing reviews and the wicked cover art. And from the first distortion blast in “For Real”, I was theirs. Grandiose, literate, ambitious and a bit unhinged, it’s a folk-rock delight for those of us who like their songs with words – lots and lots of words. My first taste of what would become one of my very favourite bands.

MP3: Okkervil River – “Black”

The Brother Kite / Waiting For The Time To Be Right
Released: September 12, 2006

Imagine Ride meets The Beach Boys. Now imagine how good that combination of walls of guitars and soaring harmonies could be if done perfectly. Waiting For The Time To Be Right is actually better than that. Call it power-pop or call it shoegaze, it’s one of the best records of any genre to come out in the last five years. And of course it’s completely overlooked.

MP3: The Brother Kite – “Get On Me”

Lucky Soul / The Great Unwanted
Released: May 7, 2007

The quintissential Summer fling that turned into so very much more. The retro-Motown vibe of The Great Unwanted was so immediately and irresistibly catchy that I was sure I’d tire of it within weeks. And yet more than two years later, it remains in heavy rotation, still making me shake shake and shimmy. Quietly. In my seat. But shimmy nonetheless. Pure pop goodness with a shelf life of forever.

MP3: Lucky Soul – “The Great Unwanted”

The National / Boxer
Released: May 22, 2007

You could argue that that Alligator, with its deeper noir tones and more rocking turns, is objectively a better album than its follow-up but Boxer operates at a certain resonant frequency that I just can’t resist or ignore. And the fact that I prefer the more sepia-tinged, elegiac side of The National over the darker, broodier side means I might not be such a miserable bastard after all.

MP3: The National – “Fake Empire”

The Rural Alberta Advantage / Hometowns
Released: July 2, 2009

On top of being a wonderful record that was one of my favourites of 2008 (the above release date is for the wide re-release), Hometowns and the RAA were my first real opportunity to see a band I loved rise from local obscurity to international buzz band from right up close. Seeing them win over a packed church at SxSW 2009, pew by pew, will remain one of my fondest musical memories.

MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Don’t Haunt This Place”

Wilco / Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Released: April 23, 2002

Okay, this one is a cheat because it came out months before I started the blog but it was such a huge record for me that I can say that it head-spinning effect it had on me hadn’t worn off by September 2002, and really, still hasn’t. If I had to name an album of the decade for me, this would be it. But I don’t, so don’t hold me to it.

Video: Wilco – “Poor Places” (live on Austin City Limits)

By : Frank Yang at 8:29 am
Category: General

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

RSS Feed for this post35 Responses.
  1. Brad says:

    Congrats on the milestone, Frank. Keep the good stuff coming.

  2. scott says:

    Congrats – and excellent picks… hard to argue with any of those fine discs!

  3. Neal says:

    Congrats. My mornings wouldn’t be the same without a read through of chromewaves. Thanks for keeping it up!

  4. MB77 says:

    Keep up the good work. You’re my first stop every morning.

  5. Chris says:


  6. Alicia says:

    Congratulations on seven years! Like others, this is my first stop in the morning, as well. Great job!

  7. Carrie says:

    Happy 7th!

  8. Chongy says:

    Keep up the great work, it’s all read and very much appreciated!

  9. stalevar says:

    Reading your post every morning. I hope you go on with it.

  10. Craig Saila says:

    Congratulations, sir, seven years is quite a feat. Chromewaves continues to be my choice destination for music news and critiques, keep at it.

  11. Ads1 says:

    Happy Birthday!! Chromewaves is essential everyday reading for me too.

  12. Meegs says:

    Lucky 7! Congrats & I can’t wait to download/purchase/dust off all your picks:)

  13. monkeyinabox says:

    Congrats on hitting 7. Love the effort you put into the site.

  14. J.P. says:

    I originally came for the tunes, but I’ve stayed for the outstanding wit on display. Oh, and quality of the writing don’t hurt the cause either :-)
    Congrats, thanks, and three cheers for ya, Frank!

  15. dB says:

    Happy Birfday

  16. Lee says:

    here’s to another 7 years!

  17. Mike says:

    keep up the blog as long as you’re enjoying it but so long as you do I’ll keep reading. Happy anniversary!

  18. Casey P. says:

    Happy 7th! Can’t say that I’ve listened to everything on your list, but I totally agree with your take on Eric Bachmann.

  19. Zach says:

    Wow! 7 years…that’s awesome. Looks like I have to track down some of these albums.

  20. Bruce says:

    Chromewaves: more essential to daily well-being than vitamin supplements. (That means something much better than the way it sounds, honest). The news is appreciated, the opinions valued and the writing is a pleasure to read. And always something to learn. I own a grand total of one of these albums, so you can bet I’ll check a few of them out. Happy Anniversary!

  21. Chris says:

    Congrats, and many happy returns!

  22. Mike says:

    Congrats on 7 years. I still read your site daily.

    …Always thought Lucky Soul sounded like earlier Cardigans, though.

  23. david says:

    Congratulations, Frank, this is still my favorite music blog…

  24. WeRoqq says:

    Congrats!!!!! Happy Anniversary!

  25. king vidor says:

    thanks. love the site a lot.

  26. Cool Tunes « My list of Coolness Blog says:

    […] the blog lists the ten best albums to come out since the blog’s beginning. Find some old new music […]

  27. juepucta says:

    Congratulations Frank!


  28. Pop Echo says:

    congrats Frank! you’re my #1 music site

  29. Melissa says:

    Happy Birthday chromewaves! I hope you stick around for many more, I love this blog as I can relate to all of the shows reviewed and most of the music!

  30. Matt says:

    Glad I stopped by this site a few years ago and stumbled upon your post about The Brother Kite. One of my favorite albums and would never had found it without your post. Keep spreading the gospel!

  31. The Week in Music: #36 | ZME Music says:

    […] Happy 7th bday to! […]

  32. Philippe says:


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  33. Review of Lucky Soul’s A Coming Of Age | MP3 Music at MixBurner says:

    […] who’ve either placed in my year-end lists since I began recording them in 2003 or made my “favourite records of the past seven years” list, 18 of them have or are about to release new records this year, seven more were due to put one […]

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