Top 100 Tunes Of 2007 (50-41)
50. Henrik Schwarz - Walk Music (Moodmusic)
I guess this shouldn't really count as it is, essentially, a remix, albeit a remix by Schwarz of one of his own compositions from 2003. I'm not getting into semantics though here, as all that matters is that 'Walk Music' is one of the deepest, grimiest house productions of the year. A ghostly backwards vocal refrain acts as the track's spine, around which is wrapped one of Schwarz' patented shuffly drum patterns and one of the feircest bass 'n' synth combos of 2007. I'm tempted to dub it '(sleep)Walk Music' as it seems that Schwarz can pull off this kind of majestic, classy house music as he counts sheep these days, but it would sound too much of a detraction from the august, controlled menace of the track, so I'll just ask you a question; is anyone doing this kind of thing better than Schwarz right now?
Henrik Schwarz - Walk Music (mp3)
Bonus: Watch an interview with Schwarz from last year.
49. Deerhunter - Lake Somerset (Kranky)
One of Deerhunter's more openly violent tracks, 'Lake Somerset' sees Bradford Cox coming in over some spooky CB radio transmission (actually just some very effective vocal treatment), blood dripping from tooth and claw, while his band plough away relentlessly in the background with some seriously plundering, heavy bass drops and vicious, squalling guitars. It's the aural equivalent of a cheese-induced nightmare where you get attacked by shoegazing vampires. You'll be all like "Oh, they're fine, they're just inspecting their Converse", and then there's a flash of teeth, searing pain, it all goes black and you wake in a pool of sweat. Or something like that anyway.
Deerhunter - Lake Somerset (mp3)
Bonus: Watch the video for 'Lake Somerset'. No vamps, but one seriously hungry turtle.
48. Kotey Extra Band feat. Chaz Jankel - Sooner Or Later (Bear Funk Gold)
A cover of Giorgio Moroder's languid discoid classic that crackles with as much intensity and restless energy as to make the original irrelevant, this announced the return to recording of neglected great, Chaz Jankel after some years in the wilderness. Steve Kotey woke the sleeping giant here and Jankel adds some seriously furious piano work on this epic (it clocks in at just short of eight-and-a-half minutes but feels like it runs for less than half that time). The drums, courtesy of another forgotten veteran, Dave Barbe from Bow Wow Wow, ably back up the Blockhead's virtuoso ivory-tinkling, providing a ceaseless motor for Kotey and Jankel to sprinkle disco dust all over. One of the year's most unalloyed, gloriously out-of-time pleasures.
Kotey Extra Band feat. Chaz Jankel - Sooner Or Later (mp3)
Bonus: Giorgio Moroder - Sooner Or Later (mp3)
47. Caribou - Melody Day (City Slang)
'Melody Day' positively bursts from the speakers with colour and verve, brightening the darkest of days on impact with its melange of flutes, glockenspiel, bells, fuzz bass, careening drums and fabulously detuned guitar. It harks back, like all of Dan Snaith's best work ('Hendrix With Ko', 'Yeti', 'I've Lived On A Dirt Road All My Life') to a time when pop music was intended to tickle the senses rather than merely adding to the background (ie; the '60s). 'Melody Day' is life writ large and one of those songs that you kid yourself everyone should love. Some people won't, but those kind of people mustn't like life, so it's their loss.
Caribou - Melody Day (mp3)
Bonus: Watch a curiously spooky live run-through of 'Melody Day'.
46. Hot Chip - My Piano (Studio !K7)
Contractual obligations aren't supposed to be this good. One of the stipulations of getting to put together a mix for !K7's DJ-Kicks series is that you must record something new of your own making and fit it into the mix as well. There hasn't been any particularly bad ones of note in the past, but they all pretty much just serve a purpose and fail to stand on their own. 'My Piano' is the exception to the rule, but do we expect anything less than brilliantly downcast, futurist electro-pop from Hot Chip? We shouldn't but, as the forthcoming Made In The Dark attests, we may have set the bar a little too high for these guys to assail each and every time. 'My Piano', on the other hand, vaults it with itchy precision.
Hot Chip - My Piano (mp3)
Bonus: Live footage of new single/Kylie cast-off, 'Ready For The Floor' from NYC's Webster Hall.
45. The Arcade Fire - No Cars Go (Mercury)
It's perhaps a little ironic that a dusted-down oldie from their first EP is, in my opinion, the thing most worth saving from The Arcade Fire's lacklustre sophomore effort, Neon Bible. Amidst all the water-treading and morose navel-gazing, 'No Cars Go' shone like a beacon. Maybe I'm being a little too harsh on Neon Bible, but this aside, there wasn't much that was fit to lace the boots of Funeral and it's probably got something to do with the fact that this originally saw the light of day in 2003 and pre-dates the band getting lazy and believing their own hype. It has the same effortlessly stirring, spine-chilling catharsis that peppered their debut full-length and when Win's and Regine's voices combine so beautifully on "Between the click of a light/And the start of the dream", I'm willing to forgive their grossest indiscretions.
The Arcade Fire - No Cars Go (mp3)
Bonus: Watch a thrilling performance of the song from Glastonbury this year.
44. Linkwood Family - Piece Of Mind (Firecracker)
Is it or isn't it an edit? I'd argue that it's no more an edit than, say, Jay-Z's 'Heart Of The City (Ain't No Love)' is a cover, as Edinburgh's Linkwood Family take a sampling of Leo's Sunshipp's 'I'm Back For More' and make a whole, beautiful new thing out of it. A peak-time groove with a see-sawing bassline, some super-clever studio tricks (backwards stuff, echo, stops and starts) that make any DJ that chooses to drop it look a lot better than they actually are and some nigh-on orgasmic vocals combine to make one of the hippest, funkiest floorfillers of 2007.
Linkwood Family - Piece Of Mind (mp3)
Bonus: Leo's Sunshipp - I'm Back For More (Instrumental) (mp3)
43. Queens Of The Stone Age - 3's & 7's (Interscope)
And so the purists carped that Era Vulgaris was, shall we say, a little more commercial than the Queens' previous output. "Bring back Nick!", they cried and there was a nugget of truth in their complaints; Era Vulgaris wasn't as granite-hard and molten as Songs For The Deaf, Rated R or, indeed, as downright weird as Lullabies To Paralyze, but it still beat most of mainstream rock into a cocked hat this year. Plus, it threw up this gem, easily one of QOTSA's best singles to date. A turbo-charged pummel of riffing and hooks and featuring one of 2007's most perversely heavy middle eights. Maybe the naysayers are right. Maybe Queens Of The Stone Age have lost some of their edge, but they're still a damn sight harder, cooler and just better than Foo Fighters.
Queens Of The Stone Age - 3's & 7's (mp3)
Bonus: A practically bludgeoning live version of '3's & 7's' from T4, of all programmes. Shake that hair, Mikey Shoes!
42. Sorcerer - Egyptian Sunset (Tirk)
Balearic has become a by-word for music that feels totally, blissfully out-of-step with fashion and trends this past year and there was none more Balearic than Daniel Saxon-Judd (Sorcerer). His name suggests that he should spend his days shooting foxes on his many acres of land, but in actuality, he's a fine purveyor of carefree beach music. 'Egyptian Sunset' is the finest moment from a veritable bunch of fine moments on Saxon-Judd's White Magic album. It sounds like the world waking up, with its sun-bleached guitars and skittery drum patterns and there really is no better way to greet the dawn.
Sorcerer - Egyptian Sunset (mp3)
Bonus: Download the Sorcerer Mega Mixx from Sorcerer's website.
41. Marcus Worgull - Spellbound (feat. Mr. White) (Innervisions)
Dad house. There, I said it. House music for Dads. That is the pigeonhole that best suits 'Spellbound'. A midtempo shuffler the kind of which they don't make anymore and blessed with a massively soulful vocal from Chad White (oh how did I neglect to leave 'The Sun Can't Compare' off last year's list?!) and an overall reach-for-the-lasers vibe that's priceless in this cynical age. Dad house sounds like such a reductive, derogatory term, but if it means that this kind of music is for the more discerning adult who know what they like and remember when it was all illegal raves round these parts then, lack of kids permitting, count me in their number.
Marcus Worgull - Spellbound (feat. Mr. White) (mp3)
Bonus: Marcus Worgull - Spellbound (Dub) (mp3)
Labels: top 100 tunes of 2007