When the results of Spin magazine's 12-month-long, bracket-style Artist of the Year tournament were revealed last year, many music fans were shocked: Spin is still around?! Some were also mildly surprised to find that the mag's readership had voted the oh-so-emo group Boys Like Girls to a semifinal victory over one of Detroit's more genuinely interesting indie-rock bands, the Silent Years. Though their run was cut short by Hot Topic shoppers, the Silent Years still managed to snag enough points during the up-and-coming tourney to be named Spin's Underground Artist of the Year. It was just one of many noteworthy accomplishments for a band that made a lot of noise in 2007.
For starters, two members of fellow Motor City band Rescue joined the original Silent Years members: singer and guitarist Josh Epstein, drummer Ryan Clancy, and guitarist Ryan Trager. The new lineup tore it up at last year's South by Southwest music fest, riding a wave of internet buzz and glowing reviews for their 2006 self-titled album, and eventually repeating that success in Europe. While the Silent Years' slabs of hipster indie rock aren't very original, Epstein is a crafty and versatile frontman. "Someone to Keep Us Warm" sounds like a cozier Rogue Wave, while the sensitive "Someday" and punchy "This Town" creep into Death Cab and Ted Leo territories, respectively. It's indie rock in its natural habitat, but elevated by a singer influenced more by Jeff Buckley than Stephen Malkmus.