The last year has been a poignant one for music; emerging bands found centre stage, old favourites finally wrapped up their recording sessions, and we lost one of the great modern punk bands. Now what do we have to look forward to this year?
For one thing, Green Day is rumoured to be releasing another album sometime near the summer (we’ll see how that goes), Anti-Flag is due for another Warped Tour appearance, and judging by last year’s records we might still be able to find a couple of these bands in concert:
5: Seether’s Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces
This is a hard-rock album that has so much more to offer than the myriad other bands in the genre. Seether is talented, fresh, and the musicians have even got a sense of humour. ?FMLYHM? is still one of the best songs I heard last year, and I’m looking forward to seeing what this band produces in 2008. If Seether can overtake some of the lesser hard-rock bands in constant play on the radio over the coming months, I’ll be a happier critic.
4: The Black Lips? Good Bad Not Evil
This record was one of the greatest surprises of last year. First, because suddenly a band came onto my radar that seemed to have a direct link to the original punk artists of the 70s, with that rough, non-sculpted sound and ?Cold Hands? video.
Second, the realization that the Black Lips were not only capable of this wonderful throwback but also of modern, truly unique songs that are more alternative and indie in nature further cemented the band in my mind. The Black Lips have been placed under observation and I expect them to accomplish great things.
3: Sum 41’s Underclass Hero
I don’t think this album has moved from my CD changer since it was first introduced into my home, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Not only was this the best record Sum 41 fans could have hoped for following the uncharacteristic Chuck, but the entire track listing was an amazing achievement for the true pop-punk genre. There are so many potential hit singles on Underclass Hero that I doubt the producers even knew where to start; this is, in my humble critical opinion, the best record to be released in 2007 and without a doubt it is a triumph for the band. Following the success of the record we might be able to catch these guys in a 2008 tour, or maybe even at Edgefest.
2: The Good Riddance Farewell Tour
Last May, one of the best-loved modern punk-rock bands played its final show in Santa Cruz, California. After more than ten years together, Good Riddance called it quits when band members Russ Rankin, Chuck Platt, Luke Pabich, and Sean Sellers said they had no desire to keep on playing past their peak. After recording on the Fat Wreck Chords label for most of their career, the band officially made 2006’s My Republic its final record and disappointed a lot of fans by only playing farewell shows in the musicians? home state of California. I may have missed out on this one, but the concert on May 27 was one of the defining musical events of the year because from here on out we’re working without Good Riddance. Despite the breakup, at least one or two of these guys is bound to get itchy fingers sooner or later; any new musical exploits this year are something worth looking out for!
1: Anti-Flag, Rise Against, and Billy Talent Canadian Tour
I don’t think I need to explain why this tour was the ultimate musical event of 2007; usually the only punk-rock lineup that includes three fantastic bands is the Warped Tour. Unfortunately, these sets are only half an hour long and, as I discovered in the summer, Warped is more of a musical taster session for teenagers than something hard-core fans want to see.
So one full-length concert that included Billy Talent, Rise Against, and Anti-Flag is something that people like me would only ever dream about. It’s like those people who create fantasy football teams and make them pretend to play each other; never gonna happen in real life. Except that this concert not only happened, but the tour dates across Canada were extensive and afterward Anti-Flag band members were found in local West 49 locations to take donations of winter clothes for homeless shelters. You don’t get more punk rock than that. Without a doubt this was the greatest moment of music in 2007 and I hope none of the bands have worn themselves raw with the constant touring. 2008 has a lot to live up to.