If you’ve been following along with 2007’s Year End Extravaganza Bonanza, then most of the albums included in my list of top Northeast Ohio releases for 07 shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Six Parts Seven and Coffinberry both appeared in the Top 25 Albums list, while The Very Knees, Machine Go Boom, Mystery of Two, and The Dreadful Yawns were all featured in 2007’s Top 40 Tracks. Not to confuse things, but The Dreadful Yanws song, “Don’t Know What I’ve Been On,” isn’t on the album they released earlier this year, Rest, but can be found on a limited edition tour EP, and should be included on their 2008 release for Exit Stencil. Also of note, The Suede Brothers self titled album, came out right before christmas and won’t hit all the digital sites until next week. Additionally, I should note that this list includes quotes I’ve pulled from previous reviews. Lastly, at the risk of including too many notes, I’d like to personally thank the bands, venues, and local labels for all their hard work during the past year in bringing the sound of Cleveland to the people.

1. Six Parts Seven – Casually Smashed to PiecesCasually Smashed to Pieces Casually Smashed To Pieces is the Six Parts Seven’s fifth release for Suicide Squeeze and is also their most focused work. It’s normal, and maybe expected, for many of today’s post-rock releases to stretch comfortably past the hour. You know how it goes — a little time for knob tweaking, a little time for feedback, a little more time for the knob tweaking, and then the coup de grace — the four minute outtro. Bucking this trend, Six Parts Seven package 8 tracks in a neat little thirty minutes, and still give the listener plenty of time to close their eyes, open their ears, and let it all sink in.” [Reviewed Jan 17th]

Six Parts Seven – Falling Over Evening [download]

2. Coffinberry – God Dam DogsCoffinberry still has a good deal of that New York city cool that oozed from 2005’s From Now On Now and earned them comparisons to The Strokes and The Walkmen. This time around, however, that vibe from their earlier work is mixed with Seattle sonic sludge to create a fuller, heavier sound. Its dirty, gritty, fuzz fueled melodies are nearly (dare I say) grungy.” [Reviewed Apr 26th]

Coffinberry – Earthworms in the Sun [download]

3. The Very Knees – Pour Poor Moi/Ohio Peaches

The Very Knees – Pour Poor Moi [download]

4. Unsparing Sea – Clouds in the Cathedral Cleveland and nautical inspired folk music may seem like an odd pairing. Sure, we have Lake Erie, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, and the War of 1812, but when you look at the modern shoreline and see a highway running along the coast, an airport to the east, and heavy industry to the west, there’s little to be romantic about. Yet, it’s the boundless possibilities of the open waters that helped shape the debut album, A Cloud in the Cathedral, by Cleveland’s Unsparing Sea.”[Track Review Nov 20th]

Unsparing Sea – God Will Protect the Naive [download]

5. Machine Go Boom – Music for Parents “While Machine Go Boom have grown up considerably since 2004’s Thank You Captain Obvious, they have not abandoned the hyperkinetic pop of rapid fire guitar chords, and swirling keyboards that originally made them a favorite on the local scene. Do you remember that slow, brooding number, ‘Small?’ Well, it runs right into the helium fueled ‘Build Me a Ladder,’ then the six cans of Red Bull on a road trip, ‘All The Way to PA.’ Should the words dirge and Machine Go Boom, make you shudder, you’ll be thanking your lucky jumping beans and back to bouncing of the walls in no time, as it’s quickly succeeded by the wildly infectious ‘Mummy (Oh My)’ and the rocket-powered pogo of ‘Quarantined.'”[ Reviewed Apr 2nd ]

Machine Go Boom – All the Way to PA [download]
6. The Dreadful Yawns – Rest

The Dreadful Yawns – Candles [download]

7. Audio Eagle Records Presnets – A Compilation of Bands from Ohio

8. Mystery of Two – Arrows Are All You Know “Mystery of Two is the sound of Cleveland. It’s the urgency of running red lights through the intersections where you’d rather not stop with full knowledge that big brother’s traffic cameras have an electronic eye on your license plate. It’s the paranoia of looking both ways, twice, as you make your way down darkly lit side street. It’s the knowledge that the only thing the city seems to be good at these days is poverty and killing. Mystery of Two embodies all the sh*t we take living in this town, as we scratch our way by with resiliency, determination, and pride. Mystery of Two is real, gritty Cleveland.” [ Reviewed Aug 10th ]Mystery of Two – Desolate [download]

9. The Suede Brothers – s/t “Their strengths are obvious and immediate. They’ve got skill, loads and loads and loads of skill. Guitarist Dylan Francis along with bassist Kevin Naughton and drummer Mick Varga lay down one thick, heavy, vintage groove after another, taking you back to a time when Camaros were king, jeans were tight, and Rock ‘N’ Roll ruled the radio.”[ Reviewed Dec 21st ]

The Suede Brothers – Shotgun Philly [download]

10. Trouble Books – Distortion Pedal “Although Distortion Pedal features the gentle hiss of a four track recording, and the relaxing crackle of an old LP, the ideas and ambition of Keith Freund and his bandmates in Akron’s Trouble Books, aren’t limited by their humble living room studio. The mix may be limited — if there’s clarinet, then the trumpet isn’t playing, if there’s strings, then there’s no trumpet, if the organs are whirling, then there’s no strings — you get the picture, but the songs themselves are never sacrificed. They remain delicate portraits of every day life where couples argue about the dishes, friends talk about records, and no one understands James Joyce. ” [ Reviewed Nov 14th ]

Trouble Books – Distortion Pedal [download]

More from I Rock Cleveland’s Year End Extravaganza Bonanza:

Top 25 Albums
Top 40 Tracks
Year End Awards
Rockers and Readers Respond