Top 10 of 2007: Trolleyvox's Andrew Chalfen

Top 10 of 2007 : Trolleyvox's Andrew Chalfen. Each year asks some artists and labels to tell us what they were listening to this year. Check daily for a new list! Trolleyvox's Andrew Chalfen puts a twist on the top 10 by sharing a list of his top 15 favorite music blogs of the past year.

posted January 2, 2008

Top 10 of 2007: Trolleyvox\'s Andrew Chalfen

My Top 15 Music Blogs of 2007 for the next 3 minutes

Name my top ten favorite albums of 2007? Id be hard pressed. I can name artists that got my ears burning this year: Mike Wexler, Loscil, James Blackshaw, Carabou, Mu?m, the Books, but Ill be damned if I can remember the titles of their records. See, the paradigm has shifted beneath my feet, even for this proud album-loving anachronism, and though I picked up a few CDs this year at one of the few remaining decent record shops in town, most of my discoveries have been of the online kind. This was the year I came to accept that my obsessive nature has been completely consumed by music blogs. I could rattle off my current faves in my sleep. Like an addict in the throws of an extended bender, Ive discovered so much new music this way that Im only dimly aware of my part in the demise of the things I claim to hold dear about music: mom and pop record shops, the album format, artwork, liner notes, high fidelity, paying for music. That so much good and frequently unheard music is now at everyones fingertips must mean the end of the world is nigh. It does seem suspiciously too good to be true, especially, Id imagine, for Soviet-era Russians, who used to have to play poor-quality Beatles recordings on precious contraband X-ray film sheets. So, in no particular order, I present a list of my trusty neighborhood dealers: A tripped-out tour of the psychedelic, from obscure late '60s heavy psych, freak folk, sunshine pop, out there and beyond from the past, along with loads of their current torch-carrying descendents. From the yard sale, flea market, and garbage can to your computer speakers. No mp3s reposted from MySpace pages here. Its all crud, from all over the planet, often painstakingly researched, and much of it is absolutely wonderful. WFMU is the Cadillac of independent free-form radio stations, and they have created a gargantuan on-line repository of insanity to compliment their on-air mojo. It defies description and is required listening for all budding trollers of music you cant hear on the radio. Motel de Moka features a rotating cast of hosts who post thematic playlists of music, frequently based on hard-to-follow stream-of-conscious metaphysics. Some days have ambient trip hop themes, others Turkish oud tracks, or amped up dance punk, or calypso. And yet there is no psychic whiplash. It all somehow makes sense. Impressive. A painting and an mp3. And nothing more. Quite elegant. A mix of finely curated classical, ambient, blippy electronica, scary 20th century composers, and the more languid of the mostly instrumental indie rock word. For me, THE site for 60s-70s funk and soul, obsessively annotated and researched and fun as all get out. Alarmingly excellent downloadable party mixes. Boogaloo. The alter ego of Larry from Funky16corners, only for all things 60s rock and pop. All sorts of stuff. Just like being friends with a person with really great musical taste, no matter the genre. I felt like a gold prospector who had just hit a deep vein when I found Office Naps. Acres of fabulousness on a seemingly infinite server. The category reads like a fine wine list for the chronically curious: 60s Garage Bands, 60s Now Sound/Mod, 60s Psychedelic/Pop, Blues, Exotica/Space-Age, Gospel, Jazz Obscura, Latin, Miscellaneous Flotsam, New Wave, Soul, and Surf/Instrumentals. And no crud (in the negative sense). More painstakingly researched soul. Because one can never get enough. Big on the ballads. Music blogs have expanded the range of my musical taste, especially in electronic music, IDM, blip bloop, whatever you want to call it. I tend to make music with traditional instruments such as guitars and pianos, and am only now dipping my feet into the kiddy pool of digital music making. Here are the experts who actually know what theyre doing. Disclaimer: I occasionally post to Little Hits. Like all the writers there, I feel a deep affection for beloved unsung underdogs, the little bands that had a pop dream and wanted to share it with anyone who would listen, which almost always turned out to be hardly anyone. Thus, Little Hits. Long, involved thematic riffs on subjects like trains, coffee, colors of the spectrum, deadly sins, centuries by selected ten year intervals, all supplemented by tastefully selected and subject-appropriate music files. A dissertation-in-progress on the intersection between music and society, with cool pictures. Brazilian pop albums, mostly from the 60s, presumably long out-of-print, posted in their entirety. This is the site for you if you have a T3 line or unlimited patience. Amazing stuff, like stumbling upon a rainforest with hundreds of hitherto unknown species. That there is a man out there who thinks about nothing but his beloved scratchy obscure 70s UK glam rock singles and wants to share them with the word just warms my heart to no end.