In honor of the end of 2007, I thought I’d share some of my favorite music-related moments of the past year. While it is not a top 40 list or a comprehensive hipster guide, here are some of the artists and moments that have made me sing this year.

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The Take Away Show performance of Neon Bible/Wake Up by Arcade Fire

From the moment the Arcade Fire ensemble crams en masse into a freight elevator, it is clear that Vincent Moon is onto something different. Their performance of Neon Bible is immediate, real and surprising (the sound of magazine pages being torn as a snare drum). And when the strings come in, I am left on the verge of tears. And, when they work their way through the roaring audience to perform Wake Up it is a triumphant and joyful coda to a groundbreaking performance.

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Architecture in Helsinki live at House of Blues

Our whole family loves AIH! Our four year old daughter was a total trooper, staying awake as far into the night as she could for the show (her first!). AIH’s enthusiasm and love for performing is contagious.

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Jonah Matranga live at The Casbah

Jonah is one of my favorite musicians. From the days when the ache in his voice paired in perfect incongruity with the downtuned heaviness of the riffs of Far, to his various permutations in onelinedrawing, New End Original and Gratitude, Jonah has released honest and heartfelt music on his own terms.

His performance at The Casbah was an intimate affair, feeling more like a house show than a rock club — the crowd of twenty of so leaning into the songs Jonah chose from his vast back catalogue and performed on his acoustic guitar. I had been corresponding with Jonah via email in the weeks leading up to the show and was pleasantly surprised to receive a phone call from him the day before the concert. He is a humble, genuinely likable person who actually cares the people with whom his music connects. A breath of fresh air in this age of prefab, preteen arena rock scalping madness.

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Discovering Grace by Jeff Buckley

I had always heard Jeff Buckley’s name tossed around as a standard by which other male vocalists were measured, but until I never really listened to his music until I found Grace over in the lovely used bin over at M-Theory Records. Now that I’ve heard his music, I can appreciate what all of the acclaim is about, even if it’s ten years too late.

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Trading Mixtapes With Friends

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On the left is original artwork for the mix the cowboy and the punk rock girl my friend Josh made for me. The “cowboy” we know; the “punk rock girl” is a nod to our little indie rock fan at home. Now I can name-drop Akron/Family, Girl Talk, Grizzly Bear and Devendra Banhart! I am also enjoying the fantastic mix jadanzzy made for me, also overflowing with indie hipster goodness. Your mixtapes are on their way (soon and very soon, I promise)!

Actually, although I love the music, what I really love about trading mixtapes is the friendship behind it all. This year has been quite a struggle in many ways, especially in terms of calling and clear direction, but I am very thankful for friends old and new with whom I have been able to connect.

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And, because it wouldn’t be the end of a year without a list of some kind, here are some of my favorite albums of the year. In alphabetical order:

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