Top Five Oklahoma Albums of 2007

Originally in The Oklahoma Daily on December 7th, 2007.

There is no question 2007 has been a great year for Oklahoma music. Though powerhouses like the Flaming Lips and the Starlight Mints didn’t release albums this year, many lesser-known bands put out exceptional efforts.

5) Subatomic Pieces
“Hold Out For Science”
Little Mafia Records

The 90s vibe of “Hold Out For Science” is certainly nothing revolutionary but the songs are so well-crafted and catchy that it doesn’t matter the slightest. Chris Harris’ deep vocals anchor the album and are reinforced by multi-layered harmonies, fuzzy guitars and simple, yet charming, lyrics.

4) Aqueduct
“Or Give Me Death”
Barsuk Records

“Or Give Me Death” manages to sound both happy and melancholy, sarcastic and sincere and poppy and experimental at the same time. It’s a strange little piano-based record anchored by frontman David Terry’s wit and strong songwriting. Plus the album includes a song referencing “The Princess Bride.”

3) The Neighborhood
“Our Voices Choked With Fireworks”

The Neighborhood have been together only three years but their self-released debut album evokes a mature sound that would imply decades of music playing. “Our Voices Choked With Fireworks” covers the spectrum of accessible indie rock and seems to work from a wide variety of influences. It’s hard to keep from bouncing your feet when listening to the record’s strong, driving rhythm. If Radiohead decided to make a more straightforward pop record, it would probably sound like The Neighborhood’s debut album.

2) El Paso Hot Button
“When I Needed Sympathy”
Little Mafia Records

One-man-bands are typically too much of a gimmick to ever be taken seriously. This was mostly the case with El Paso Hot Button’s (real name Mickey Reece) first two records. They were fun, but really only existed to help you learn the songs before experiencing Reece’s awesome live show. This is not the case with his newest full-length, “When I Needed Sympathy.” It is simply a great record, and if you didn’t know otherwise, you’d think it was a full band.

1) Student Film
“Sleeping Giant”
Little Mafia Records

In recent years, Oklahoma has become known for its indie pop so it’s no surprise the best Oklahoma release of the year falls into this category. That’s not to say Student Film sounds like their indie pop peers. Instead, it has taken a more rhythmic approach that is dark and moody, but fun. Nearly every song begs to be sung along with at high volumes.

As great as 2007 was for Oklahoma music, 2008 seems to be shaping up to be even better with new releases on the horizon by the Evangelicals, Student Film, Colourmusic, Klipspringer, Red City Radio and Stardeath and the White Dwarves. For now, stay tuned and let these records from this past year feed your addiction.