The Best of 2007: Indie Hits You Might Have Missed

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2007 was definitely a strong year for music. As much as I enjoyed some of the more popular releases of the year, the lesser known albums certainly held a place in my heart. The albums listed below are a mix of independent, underground, and mostly over looked releases from the year 2007. Feel free to dissect and discuss below in the comments. Oh and I left off 2 important 2007 honorary IVM releases because that would be self-promotion am I right? Quick and the Dead “Going Home“, and “Hearts Bleed Passion Vol. 2” both released in the year 2007 on CD, toward the end of the year. All in all, a very solid year in music but then again, isn’t every year? Playlist for this list follows at end of article.

Dustin KensruePlease Come Home

Being the frontman/guitarist for post-hardcore critically acclaimed band, Thrice, a lot of pressure was upon Dustin to “prove” himself with this first full length “solo” outing. He certainly did it and with perfection. Armed with his acoustic guitar and a well placed backing band, the songs range from the somber and emotional to the gritty, bar crawl type ambiance of some songs. I have missed seeing Dustin perform “solo” for a number of years but I can easily see him kicking over stools, brushing off sweat, and leading an emotionally amplified evening under smoke and fog. Dustin could quite possibly be this modern generation’s version of Johnny Cash, yes I went that far. Tracks like “I Knew You Before”, “Please Come Home”, “Consider The Ravens”, and “Weary Saints” clearly show an artist not afraid to wear his heart on the sleeve and share honest stories through the songs he sings.

Kings To YouThe Antidote

What can be said of this indie act Kings To You that I have missed saying in the past? For anyone following IVM since the beginning will know that I followed these guys since they were in a band called Dismissed at the turn of the new millenium. Dave’s voice is unmistakable and unlike most others in the underground music scene. They never quite got the recogniton they deserved and it was partly my fault. I had limited resources and not even a “zine” at the time I launched the IVM label years ago. One man can only do so much from a hobby operation with full time job and family. Anyway, Dismissed dropped their more post-hardcore/screamo elements (stopped screaming) and changed their name to “Kings to You” shortly after the release of their “Self Titled” ep in 2004 (downloadable on digital networks). The band recorded a 3 song “demo” in 2005 then hit the studio a few years later and released “The Antidote” as Kings to You in 2007. This album instantly blew my face off, LITERALLY. It had lo-fi production (Love Juice Labs, I’ve been there many times that’s all I’ll say) but they made use of it and since they were skilled musicians, their passion radiated through the music they created. Dave Arthur’s voice and guitar playing truly carries the music of Kings to You (and Dismissed). There is just something awe inspiring about this music and an absolute captivating performance either in recorded form or LIVE. I was so bummed when they went on hiatus and have been mostly quiet for 10 years. Every once in a while I drop Dave a message and encourage him to write more music but he is a busy guy with his family and work.

The ShowdownTemptation Come My Way

I almost forgot this unforgettable release in my last list but here is the perfect opportunity to rave about The Showdown. The band came out strong in 2004 with “A Chorus of Obliteration” which pummeled stereos with heavy metal glory. It was powerful, raw, and explosive. When the band switched things up a little, slowed down, and dropped the screaming/growls, people threw their arms in the air and tossed negative comments their way online. It didn’t matter though because for every negative insult hurled their way, tons of new fans popped up and replaced the negativity with heaps of praise. “Temptation Come My Way” is still such a solid metal/hard rock release, you can’t help but feel entertained. We listen to music to be entertained, am I right? We don’t listen to earn cool points and scene cred right? Maybe if you’re in high school that sort of thing holds prominence but as adults, come on. Just listen to what you love and move on. Never settle and don’t give in to the lemming like crowds who salivate to feel cool by hurling lame insults. MySpace is dead, may it RIP forever! Anyway, “Temptation Come My Way” featured a heavy dose of hard rock n’ roll not all unlike Metallica and they waved that banner proudly. “Fanatics and Whores”, “Head Down”, “Six Feet Under”, “We Die Young”, the title track, “I, Victim”, and who can forget their incredible take on the Kansas classic, “Carry On My Wayward Son”? 2007 was a solid year for music and this album is certainly no exception to that fact.

The Hotshot Freight TrainThe Devil Pays in Counterfeit

Most of these guys had been in a band prior called “Joey’s Loss” since the mid 90’s. They briefly were on Indie Vision Music for like a year and I was able to release one album from them called “Unwelcome Travelers And Other Brave Men” (2004), until I broke up with myself and stopped releasing albums for the 1st time (many more to follow, don’t you see the trend here? lol). The band released an independent Demo Ep before this album as this new band called “The Hotshot Freight Train” which was more classic rock and less punk rock if that makes any sense (they will always be punk rock in delivery but musically were discovering new styles and influence). “The Devil Pays in Counterfeit” was released in 2007 on indie label Future Destination Records founded by Matt Jenkins of the band Neutral Agreement. The album was hardly noticed outside our little music scene and it’s with great disappointment that more people didn’t take notice to the band. This band found them in their rawest element and playing rock n’ roll with a gritty “punk” edge. This wasn’t “commercial” top 40 radio tunes just pure sweaty blue collar rock n’ roll. Songs like “A Love Like Heroin”, “Zoltar”, “Appalachia” (later updated by the band on the “Get Low” album), “My Holy Spirit”, and “On and On” were all solid tracks. After 4 full lengths and an independent ep, the band sadly called it quits in late 2016. I heard some of the members of Joey’s Loss have regrouped and are rehearsing somewhere secretly for what could be the biggest punk rock comeback ever. Only time will tell……..

Dolores O’RiordanAre You Listening?

Wow, this album absolutely blew me away when I heard it. If you don’t know who Dolores is then I feel sorry for you. No really kid, put your google searching to the test and look up her previous band’s music (The Cranberries). At the time of this recording her main band The Cranberries, were on hiatus. The Cranberries made perfect music for the 90’s and you can’t go somewhere in public without at least hearing a song or two from the band, especially back then. This album was sharp departure from the somber, laid back infectious alt-rock sounds of that prior band and a step in a more major sounding (isn’t that weird because I swore The Cranberies were a major label band ;) heavy rock sound. “Are You Listening” packs a potent punch and it’s goth-like influence shines through on this full length. Less Cranberries more Evanescence (listen to the track ‘When We Were Young’). If you dug the “Zombie” like songs of The Cranberries then you would have mostly latched on to this album.

The WeddingPolarity

Taking cues of punk rock bands, mixing in a little rock n’ roll and “emo” (the mid-00s version) to create a sound all their own. Songs like “Say Your Prayers” mix things up a bit and show a band at their prime. You even get a healthy dose of “horns” on “Say Your Prayers” and it wasn’t a SKA song at all. Kevin’s (Kiehn) voice fitted this music with perfection. This diverse collection of tunes had everything from horns, bagpipes, and even piano. It was a definite step up from the band’s debut full length a few years prior. Kevin Kiehn quit after this release which was when they recruited Matt Shelton. I dig both band’s voices but they are different from each other. Kevin’s strong vocal output truly carried “Polarity” past the mundane and sound alikes at the time. They were a cut above the rest and for that, is why I appreciate this album.

MeleeDevils & Angels

Most people have never heard of this and before. This was a major label release but still an independent band at heart. It had everything a major label release usually consists of, crisp and clear production, polished musicianship, big soaring vocals, and choruses that have you singing for days. If you enjoyed the band Acceptance at all you would have most likely found this band appealing. Carried by the strong single “Built to Last”, this band and album had all the weight behind them to take over the commercial rock scene but sadly like a lot of major label risks of the mid to late 00’s, another album to drift into budget bins and thrift store shelves. This album had all the qualities that should have catapulted them to instant fame but you know how majors work sometimes, they throw things out and hope for it to stick then when it doesn’t, the band gets the shaft. Do your work people!

Kids In The WayLove Hate Masquerade

Another band that should have been so much bigger than they were. Was it their name? Was it their label (more than likely, yes)? Was it their style of music? One will never know but this third album was as solid as anything else to come out at that time. The production was perfection and album art/layout was nice as well. This third album was everything you had come to love about Kids In The Way and they took it up a notch. I love that song “Fiction” and played it a ton back in the day. This new name change the band has opted to grab hold of is not something I am really into but then again it’s just one man’s opinion.

Army Of MeCitizen

Carried by the weight of the debut single “Going Through Changes”, this band should have been HUGE throughout the rest of the decade but not much was heard from them following this album. The band’s label Doghouse Records which released the debut from All American Rejects among many other great albums I think folded for a bit which is probably why this release didn’t get the traction it deserved. Check out the songs in my playlist below, especially “Going Through Changes”.

Safe HavenSetting Up & Tearing Down

The last release on my top 10 list (of 2007 indie/mostly unheard albums) is this debut album from Southern California alt rock/punk band, Safe Haven. This band fit perfect in the early to late 00s. The band would go on to release two more full lengths “In The Middle of Destruction” (2009) and “Chasing the Sun” (2012) before calling it quits. It’s a shame because they had such promise. I blame labels for some of these bands and their premature demise. Anyway, this debut had big soaring choruses and catchy pop-punk guitar work, even some solos. I even included a song from this release on Hearts Bleed Passion Vol. 3 (Indie Vision Music) in late 2007.

That concludes this double list recollection of the year 2007. A solid year for music but then again so are most years. The albums below are just as good but I wanted to shine a spot light on the ones above for the time being. The first “Honorable Mention” by Eddie Vedder was an absolute standout in 2007 as was the album by Band of Horses but the indie releases above deserved a mention. Both lists compiled here on IVM reflect my personal tastes and with second reflection on some of these titles it’s clearly evident these were/are solid bands from that year. Enjoy the music and what you love. Don’t let anyone ever stand in the way of letting you be entertained, letting you be captivated by the music, and letting you be a fan of what you love. Done.

Honorable Mentions:

Eddie VedderInto The Wild (Soundtrack)

Band of HorsesCease to Begin

Cathy CrescendoGiant Killers

The Glorious Unseen Tonight The Stars Speak

Dropkick Murphys – The Meanest of Times

EleventysevenGalactic Conquest

WavorlyConquering The Fear of Flight

SilversteinArrivals & Departures

The Filthy 42’sPositively South Jersey

Falling UpCaptiva

Becoming The ArchetypeThe Physics of Fire

SherwoodA Different Light

Scary Kids Scaring KidsSelf Titled

The SwellersMy Everest

Still RemainsThe Serpent

Smoke Or FireThis Sinking Ship

The Rocket SummerDo You Feel?

Streetlight MannifestoSomewhere In The Between

Comeback KidBroadcasting

A Day To RememberFor Those Who Have Heart

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7 Comments on "The Best of 2007: Indie Hits You Might Have Missed"

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Anthony

I liked Kids in the Way, but Love Hate Masquerade was not a very good album. Apparitions of Melody was where it’s at.

Luc Aube

Sampled and then picked up Dustin Kensrue on Ebay as a result of this article. I looked for a copy of Kings to You on CD for probably a year until one showed up on Amazon for 20 Bucks and I picked it up. It is in the top 10 CDs that I am most happy about owning.

Keith
Good choice on Polarity. I picked that up off your eBay listing (more, please!), and have listened to it for years prior. “Schizophrenia” is such a good song, and it’s far from the only one worth listening to. I also like the Wavorly mention, and I’ve started to listen to more of The Rocket Summer recently, though I haven’t gotten to that album; I’ll have to change that. I think I listened to Kids in the Way for maybe the second or third time last night (not this album), and was surprised I haven’t listened more. They definitely need to… Read more »
Chris S

Yes! Polarity is such a good album. I still spin it these days & am honestly still floored by yhe diversity on it.

And how young does Kensrue look like on that album cover? The title track is great.

Chris W

Saw army of me open for The Almost in 07. Always wondered what became of them because they were excellent live

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