Saturday, December 15, 2007

Top 100 Tunes Of 2007 (60-51)

60. Supermayer - Two Of Us (Kompakt)

I think that anticipation for Supermayer's debut LP was a little too high for the duo to assail in certain circles (superheroes or not), but there's no doubting that 'Two Of Us' was the zenith of both their powers. In fact, the more closely you listen to this track, the more you can pinpoint the distinction between the two players. You can almost tell who brought what to the table. The incessant, glitchy pummel of gnarled sub-bass? That'll be Superpitcher. The bells, handclaps and skippy ancillary rhythm track? That has to be Michael Mayer. They worked best together though, when both sides of the track rub up against each other to create a furious, fricative beast of a big-room worker, now that's when Supermayer sounded like they could actually save the world.

Supermayer - Two Of Us (mp3)

Bonus: Supermayer - Two Of Us (Geiger Mix) (mp3)

59. Dan Deacon - Wham City (Carpark)

I wasn't one of the many that fell for Dan Deacon's idiot savant, kid-in-the-toy-box approach to electronic music. In fact, I thought that most of Spiderman Of The Rings was utter shite. Then there was this, a wondrously massive, cathartic monolith dumped three songs into said album and it was a beautiful thing. An anthem to god knows what but an anthem that anyone with a pulse could have got behind, 'Wham City' is an imperious krautrocking mountain ("...of snow, across the big glen"), with more than enough grace notes to make up for an album full of interminable goofing around.

Dan Deacon - Wham City (mp3)

Bonus: Dan Deacon at Pitchfork festival earlier this year.

58. Black Lips - O Katrina! (Vice)

And so we have Black Lips' first political song and, guess what? It sounds like all the other Black Lips songs. There's no po-faced mewling on this diatribe for the hurricane that devastated so much of New Orleans, just heads-down, no-nonesense rock'n'boogie with a delinquent streak and that echoey rumble that populates so many Black Lips' songs. This could have been about any old no-good woman really, but it goes to show that even when the Lips are tackling a SERIOUS SUBJECT, they still sound like Lucifer's in-house band.

Black Lips - O Katrina! (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the video for 'O Katrina!'.

57. Liars - Houseclouds (Mute)

2007 was a funny old year for Liars. They made an album that could be seen as their most commercial yet and pretty much no-one outside of Liars' fans really gave a shit. 'Houseclouds', the second single from their self-titled 'pop' album was one of those should-have-been-massive style missed hits. 'Houseclouds' sounds like Beck back when he was good and it was a bit too much of a curveball for some fans and commentators (cue lots of "OMFG! What haz happend to my band! Wherez the freeform drum workoutz gone?!!!" on message boards all over the internet) and obviously a little too left-of-centre for the mainstream. It all boils down to one of 2007's great outsider pop moments.

Liars - Houseclouds (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the video for 'Houseclouds'.

56. A Mountain Of One - Brown Piano (AMO1)

You can almost smell the patchouli oil and lentils from here, but cheap hippie gags aside, there's something so intangibly transcendent about A Mountain Of One's music that makes anyone who hates Pink Floyd (me included) just melt in their presence. Yes, it's undoubtedly proggy, but there's an involving, humanist streak that runs through 'Brown Piano' that the mutton chops 'n' mellotrons crew of the 70s didn't really tap into. Partly, it has something to do with Zeben Jameson's familiar croon, but mostly it's because, as opposed to sounding like it was beamed in from Jupiter, there's something very earthy and relatable to 'Brown Piano' that I can't quite put my finger on. Oh, and it wasn't made by Oxford university students in 1974 either.

A Mountain Of One - Brown Piano (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the very weird short film made especially for 'Brown Piano'.

55. !!! - Heart Of Hearts (Warp)

!!! are damned funkier than they have any right to be. I mean, look at them! A bunch of gawky-looking, short-wearing dudes, some of them even have beards, and yet they sound like Prince, Funkadelic, The Meters and ESG all rolled into one. Maybe they have higher-minded pursuits to follow than the vagaries of fashion and that certainly checks out as 'Heart Of Hearts' is, without doubt, one of 2007's most badass funk tunes. The ghostly, high-pitched guitar line weaves its way through your brain while the deathless roll of the drums and the squiggly rhodes take care of your behind. The album, Myth Takes was the sound of a band maturing and learning that it's often best to go for the jugular rather than beat around the bush and 'Heart Of Hearts' was its blood-red, conviction-addled centerpiece.

!!! - Heart Of Hearts (mp3)

Bonus: 'Heart Of Hearts' live.

54. Lavender Diamond - Open Your Heart (Rough Trade)

Folk comfort food in the shape of one of the most carefree indie-pop songs of the year. Becky Stark's voice takes on more of an everywoman quality than it normally does (i.e.: the swoops and gymnastics are kept to a minimum), but the sheer sweetness of her performance, coupled with her band's close-to-the-hearth intimacy make 'Open Your Heart' such a good-natured joy from start to finish. It may be wet, but its heart's in the right place and I guarantee you'll be smiling when it's over.

Lavender Diamond - Open Your Heart (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the insufferably twee video for 'Open Your Heart', if your stomach can take it.

53. Binary Chaffinch - False Energy (Dissident)

We all love a bit of mystery with our music, so when the shadowy distribution label, Dissident started putting out 12"s that were limited to 100 or 200 at a time, with absolutely no fanfare, hype or even much in the way of press behind them, the leftfield disco nuts went, well, nuts, speculating as to their genesis and just generally making shit up. The best thing that Dissident has put out so far is this massive beauty. It's a brilliantly effective, clever piece of underground dance music, with loads of little winning touches (a bit of backwards vocal here, some sampled birdsong there), backed up by an equally brilliantly effective and clever piece of anti-hype. Why say anything when the music says more than you ever could?

Binary Chaffinch - False Energy (mp3)

Bonus: As you'd probably guessed, there's nothing much in the way of bonuses available when it comes to ver Chaffinch, so here's a picture of the bird in question.

52. Devin The Dude - What A Job (feat. Snoop Dogg & Andre 3000) (Rap-A-Lot)

The laidback, tick-tocking beat and mellifluous acoustic guitar was just a smokescreen for, arguably, the most outrageous statement made in mainstream hip-hop all year; that this rap game is really, like, tiring and quite a bit of a grind really. Aw, diddums! The argument that laying down rhymes over beats is one of the most difficult jobs you can have crumbled under the weight of the effortless nature of the verses by all involved. Devin's contribution is heavy-lidded at best, while Snoop sounds like he's doing that thing where you're between sleep and consciousness and you just talk crap about unicorns and stuff. Only Dre sounds like he's possibly breaking a sweat, but maybe that's it you know? Maybe this did follow "another all-nighter tryin' to get it done" and that's why they sound so fucked? Then again, they probably just burned one and knocked it out in five minutes. However it came to be, 'What A Job' is still one of the most satisfying hip-hop tunes of the year.

Devin The Dude - What A Job (feat. Snoop Dogg & Andre 3000) (mp3)

Bonus: An afternoon in the life of Devin The Dude, courtesy of XLR8R.

51. Amerie - Hate 2 Love U (Columbia)

Amerie's stuck with the fact that everything she releases between now and the end of time will be measured up to '1 Thing'. So momentous a pop moment that song was that she's doomed to spend the rest of her career in its shadow. Sad really, as she's probably the most consistently brilliant and - yes - challenging of the r'n'b divas currently out there doing it. The easily-loveable go-go funk of 'Hate 2 Love U' further cements her position of one of pop's current greats. No, it's not as good as '1 Thing', but then again not much is. But, hey, it's better than 'Umbrella'.

Amerie - Hate 2 Love U (mp3)

Bonus: Well-synched fan vid for 'Hate 2 Love U' cobbled together from other Amerie videos.



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