Sunday, January 20, 2008

2007: The Best Of The Best Of The Rest

I wanted to get this post done earlier but I've been a little busy. It was also going to be longer than it is now, but then I thought that that would have been a bit insane after what I put myself through with the main lists. So here, in short, are the best of the rest of the year...

Top Five Various Compilations of 2007

1. After Dark (Italians Do It Better)

One of the most thrilling, fresh sounds of 2007 was the decidedly retro Italo-disco sound that emanated from the Italians Do It Better stable. This was their flagship release and it features tracks from leading lights Glass Candy and Chromatics, as well as up-and-comers Farah, Mirage and Professor Genius. Each of the five artists all have their own spin on the genre, with Glass Candy's high glamour contrasting with Chromatics' down-and-dirty dark disco, while Mirage vocoder everything up a touch, making it a little more robotic, Farah go for a druggy angle and Professor Genius has obviously, wisely been listening to a lot of Moroder. After Dark is just the first blast over the prow though, with the beachhead in place, watch them storm 2008.

Farah - Law Of Life (mp3)

Professor Genius - La Grotta (Demo) (mp3)

2. Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-1970 (Rhino)
3. Chairmen Of The Board: Surf Soundtracks 1964-1974 (Harmless)
4. Computer Incarnations For World Peace (Sonar Kollektiv)
5. D-I-R-T-Y Space Disco (Tigersushi)

Top Five Artist Compilations Of 2007

1. Chaz Jankel - My Occupation (Tirk)

One of the more welcome renaissances of 2007 was the return and reinvigoration of Chaz Jankel. The ex-Blockhead started releasing 12-inches through both Tirk and Bear Funk, but it was this Tirk CD release that was the best thing he put his name to these past twelve months. A dig into his overlooked solo output, My Occupation gathered most of his finest moments, plus a whole new track recorded with YamWho? and Blackbeard, to shine a light one of Britain's most criminally-neglected musical treasures. Heavy soul, tripped-out experimentation and hedonistic disco were all on the menu on this fiendishly addicitve, timely, highly contemporary retrospective. Glad to know you, Chaz. Welcome as always.

Chaz Jankel - Am I Honest With Myself Really? (Ray Mang's Edit) (mp3)

Chaz Jankel - Get Myself Together (mp3)

2. Ewan Pearson: Piece Work (!K7)
3. The Afghan Whigs - Unbreakable (A Retrospective: 1990-2006) (Elektra)
4. Lindstrom & Prins Thomas - Reinterpretations (Eskimo)
5. Rune Lindbaek - Klubb Kebabb (Noid)

Top Five Reissues Of 2007

1. Ian Dury - New Boots And Panties!! 30th Anniversary Edition (Edsel)

This isn't on here for the extra material (the bonus concert DVD is fantastic but the extra songs have all been available elsewhere for years), but because it gave a much-needed spruce-up to one of the greatest British albums of the 70s. It's not often said but, in my opinion, New Boots And Panties!! is up there with For Your Pleasure, Hunky Dory, London Calling and Unknown Pleasures in that realm as it's the point when Dury really started to come into his own as a great lyricist and talent-spotter (The Blockheads are most definitely one of the tightest funk bands ever to walk the earth). Dury's tales of East End ne'er do wells has aged, true, but as an insight into one of the most fertile and furtive imaginations in British musical history, it's essential.

Ian Dury - Billericay Dickie (mp3)

Ian Dury - Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (mp3)

2. Sly & The Family Stone - The Collection (Sony BMG)
3. Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation Deluxe Edition (Universal)
4. Betty Davis - Betty Davis/They Say I'm Different (Light In The Attic)
5. Leonard Cohen - Songs Of Leonard Cohen/Songs From A Room/Songs Of Love And Hate (Columbia)

Top Five DJ Mixes Of 2007

1. Prins Thomas - Cosmo Galactic Prism (Eskimo)

It'd be way too reductive to put samples up for this (plus the name alone should make you want to rush down to the record shop) as Cosmo Galactic Prism is one of the densest. most fluid, most consistently rewarding DJ mixes of this decade. Thomas distills one of his epic club sets down to two hours, forty minutes worth of great tunes, often with invisible transitions. Never does he use a 'tool' though and each track here is allowed to shine, albeit briefly in some cases, and all styles are welcome, from camp disco-kraut (Holger Czukay's 'Cool In The Pool') to twinkly minimal (Closer Musik's gorgeous 'Maria') and disco-metal (Metalchicks' 'Tears For Fears/Conspiracy') to John Carpenter-esque Italo (Zombi's 'Sapphire'). A real, bona fide journey into sound.

2. Body Language Vol. 4: Mixed By Dixon (Get Physical)
3. Rahaan - Disco Love (Online mix, downloadable from here)
4. Fabriclive 36: James Murphy & Pat Mahoney (Fabric)
5. Nish Nash Nosh Vol. 3: Mixed By Peter Jay (NNN)

Top Live Album Of 2007

Black Lips - Los Valientes Del Mundo Nuevo (Vice)

Narrowly pipping Daft Punk's Alive 2007 to the crown is this little ball of energy from Atlanta's Black Lips. As close to the full Black Lips live experience as you're likely to get without actually seeing them with your own eyes, this perfectly captures the intensity and vitality of one of the live circuit's best bands. It also makes you wonder how Black Lips aren't more popular as this sounds like one hell of a fun night in Tijuana (complete with mariachi band). Raw, dangerous and as exciting as live albums (often a purely vicarious experience) can get.

Black Lips - Hippie, Hippie, Hoorah (mp3)

Black Lips - Sea Of Blasphemy (mp3)

Can we move on to this year now?



Thursday, January 17, 2008

Freddy's Friday Mix!

I took a few days off...

...but now Yer Mam! is back with a rather excellent and super-exclusive mix from friend of the blog and all-round Scando-disco enigma, Freddy Flaggermus. His 'Kjoledisco' mix for 24:Hours was one of my favourite free downloads of the last twelve months, quite possibly of all time, so I contacted him via smoke signals to get one done for this here blog.

'Fredagsmiks' (translation: Friday mix) is a fantastical journey through Balearic disco, classic house, dub, techno and, erm, The Bangles. It's great and we're proud to have it grace these pages. So what are you waiting for, get it downloaded as the weekend starts here...

Freddy Flaggermus - Fredagsmiks


General Crook - What Time Is It? (Bill Brewster Edit)
Grace Jones - La Vie En Rose (Casinoboy Version)
The Bangles - Walk Like An Egyptian (Dub Like An Egyptian Edit by Todd Terje)
Arsenal - Saudade Pt. 2
Bernard Herrmann - The Glowing...
Easy Alohas - Burning Easy
The Earons - Land Of Hunger (Dub)
Chaz Jankel - Glad To Know You (Alternate Version)
Liz Torres - What You Make Me Feel
Goldfrapp - A&E (Hercules & Love Affair Remix)
Fred Cherry - Busride To The Zoo
Hercules & Love Affair - Blind (Hercules Club Mix)
Beat Pharmacy feat. Negus Shabaka - Mental Universe (Dub)
Slam - Azure (Radio Slave Remix)
Robert Owens - I'm Chained
Late Of The Pier - The Bears Are Coming (Metronomy Remix)
Armando - Don't Take It (Thomos Edit)
Jeff Wayne - Horsell Common And The Heat Ray (Hardway Bros Electric Edit)
New Order - Bizarre Love Triangle (Overcooked Edit)

Enjoy! I'll be back at some point over the weekend with some more stuff. Promise.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Yer Mam!'s top albums and tunes of 2007: In full.

Here's those lists in full. Click through on the name of a tune or album to get to my post about them...

Yer Mam!'s Top 50 Albums Of 2007

  1. LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver (DFA/EMI)
  2. Burial - Untrue (Hyperdub)
  3. King Khan & The Shrines - What Is?! (Hazelwood)
  4. Studio - Yearbook 1 (Information)
  5. Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? (Polyvinyl)
  6. Kathy Diamond - Miss Diamond To You (Permanent Vacation)
  7. M.I.A. - Kala (XL)
  8. Roisin Murphy - Overpowered (EMI)
  9. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Anti-)
  10. Glass Candy - B/E/A/T/B/O/X (Italians Do It Better)
  11. Deerhunter - Cryptograms (Kranky)
  12. Sorcerer - White Magic (Tirk)
  13. Matthew Dear - Asa Breed (Ghostly International)
  14. Panda Bear - Person Pitch (Paw Tracks)
  15. Radiohead - In Rainbows (Self-released/XL)
  16. Kanye West - Graduation (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
  17. Liars - Liars (Mute)
  18. Chromatics - Night Drive (Italians Do It Better)
  19. Grinderman - Grinderman (Mute)
  20. Busdriver - RoadKillOvercoat (Epitaph)
  21. Elektrons - Red Light Don't Stop (PIAS/Genuine)
  22. !!! - Myth Takes (Warp)
  23. Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity (All Tomorrow's Parties)
  24. Black Lips - Good Bad, Not Evil (Vice)
  25. The National - Boxer (Beggar's Banquet)
  26. The Field - From Here We Go Sublime (Kompakt)
  27. Super Furry Animals - Hey Venus! (Rough Trade)
  28. Freeway - Free At Last (Roc-A-Fella)
  29. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam (Domino)
  30. Mark Sultan - The Sultanic Verses (In The Red)
  31. Caribou - Andorra (City Slang)
  32. Sunset Rubdown - Random Spirit Lover (Jagjaguwar)
  33. Devin The Dude - Waitin' To Inhale (Rap-A-Lot)
  34. Black Dice - Load Blown (Paw Tracks)
  35. Karizma - A Mind Of Its Own (R2 Records)
  36. My Sister Klaus - Chateau Rouge (Tigersushi)
  37. DiskJokke - Staying In (Smalltown Supersound)
  38. Gosub - Watchers From The Black Universe (Citinite)
  39. A Mountain Of One - Collected Works (AMO1)
  40. UGK - Underground Kingz (Sony BMG)
  41. Girls Aloud - Tangled Up (Universal)
  42. Battles - Mirrored (Warp)
  43. Blockhead - Uncle Tony's Coloring Book (Blockhead)
  44. The Tough Alliance - A New Chance (Sincerely Yours)
  45. Bloc Party - A Weekend In The City (Wichita)
  46. Turzi - A (Record Makers)
  47. Amerie - Because I Love It (Columbia)
  48. Lucky Soul - The Great Unwanted (Ruffa Lane)
  49. Prodigy - Return Of The Mac (Koch)
  50. Frost - Love! Revolution! (FrostWorld Recordings)
Yer Mam!'s Top 100 Tunes Of 2007

  1. LCD Soundsystem - Someone Great/All My Friends (DFA/EMI)
  2. UGK feat. OutKast - Int'l Player's Anthem (Sony BMG)
  3. Chromatics - In The City (Italians Do It Better)
  4. Still Going - Still Going Theme (DFA/EMI)
  5. Hatchback - White Diamond (Thisisnotanexit)
  6. Holy Ghost! - Hold On (DFA/EMI)
  7. Of Montreal - The Past Is A Grotesque Animal (Polyvinyl)
  8. M.I.A. - Paper Planes (XL)
  9. Kelley Polar - Rosenband (Environ)
  10. Kathy Diamond - Over (Permanent Vacation)
  11. Lee Douglas - New York Story (Rong)
  12. Hercules & Love Affair - Classique #2 (DFA/EMI)
  13. Justice - D.A.N.C.E. (Ed Banger/Because Music)
  14. Metro Area feat. Phillip Owusu - Read My Mind (Environ)
  15. Spoon - You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb (Anti-)
  16. Glass Candy - Miss Broadway (Italians Do It Better)
  17. Shit Robot - Chasm (DFA/EMI)
  18. King Khan & The Shrines - Welfare Bread (Hazelwood)
  19. Kanye West feat. Dwele - Flashing Lights (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
  20. Grinderman - No Pussy Blues (Mute)
  21. Burial - Archangel (Hyperdub)
  22. Ame - Balandine (Innervisions)
  23. Bloc Party - The Prayer (Wichita)
  24. Matthew Dear - Deserter (Ghostly International)
  25. Escort - All Through The Night (Escort)
  26. Studio - Out There (Information)
  27. Mark 7 - Sermon (Serotonin Edit) (Creative Use)
  28. Roisin Murphy - Overpowered (EMI)
  29. The National - Fake Empire (Beggar's Banquet)
  30. Radiohead - Reckoner (Self-released/XL)
  31. Partial Arts - Trauermusik (Kompakt)
  32. Battles - Atlas (Warp)
  33. Trus'me - Nard's (Stilove4music)
  34. Girls Aloud - Can't Speak French (Universal)
  35. Animal Collective - Peacebone (Domino)
  36. Busdriver - Sun Showers (Epitaph)
  37. Lindstrom & Solale - Let's Practice (Feedelity)
  38. R. Kelly feat. T.I. & T-Pain - I'm A Flirt (Remix) (Sony BMG)
  39. Elektrons - Get Up (PIAS/Genuine)
  40. Panda Bear - Take Pills (Paw Tracks)
  41. Marcus Worgull feat. Mr. White - Spellbound (Innervisions)
  42. Sorcerer - Egyptian Sunset (Tirk)
  43. Queens Of The Stone Age - 3's & 7's (Interscope)
  44. Linkwood Family - Piece Of Mind (Firecracker)
  45. The Arcade Fire - No Cars Go (Mercury)
  46. Hot Chip - My Piano (Studio !K7)
  47. Caribou - Melody Day (City Slang)
  48. Kotey Extra Band feat. Chaz Jankel - Sooner Or Later (Bear Funk Gold)
  49. Deerhunter - Lake Somerset (Kranky)
  50. Henrik Schwarz - Walk Music (Moodmusic)
  51. Amerie - Hate 2 Love U (Columbia)
  52. Devin The Dude feat. Snoop Dogg & Andre 3000 - What A Job (Rap-A-Lot)
  53. Binary Chaffinch - False Energy (Dissident)
  54. Lavender Diamond - Open Your Heart (Rough Trade)
  55. !!! - Heart Of Hearts (Warp)
  56. A Mountain Of One - Brown Piano (AMO1)
  57. Liars - Houseclouds (Warp)
  58. Black Lips - O Katrina! (Vice)
  59. Dan Deacon - Wham City (Carpark)
  60. Supermayer - The Two Of Us (Kompakt)
  61. Brennan Green/Studio - Escape From Chinatown (Chinatown)
  62. Lucky Soul - Lips Are Unhappy (Ruffa Lane)
  63. The Field - The Little Heart Beats So Fast (Kompakt)
  64. Dizzee Rascal - Da Feelin' (XL)
  65. Aeroplane - Aeroplane (Eskimo)
  66. Joakim - Lonely Hearts (Versatile)
  67. Deerhoof - +81 (All Tomorrow's Parties)
  68. Lexx - Axis Shift (Permanent Vacation)
  69. Zombie Zombie - Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free (Versatile)
  70. Gui Boratto - Mr. Decay (Kompakt)
  71. Karizma - Twyst This (R2 Records)
  72. My Sister Klaus - Kicks Of Sand (Tigersushi)
  73. Reverso 68 - Especial (Eskimo)
  74. Electrelane - The Greater Times (Too Pure)
  75. Al Usher - Here Today (Misericord)
  76. Cave Bear Cult - Catch The Worm (Versatile)
  77. Arto Mwambe - Noh Ngamebo (Brontosaurus
  78. Peter Visti - Bad Weather (Eskimo)
  79. Phosphorescent - Cocaine Lights (Dead Oceans)
  80. Mavis Staples - Down In Mississippi (Anti-)
  81. Parts & Labor - Fractured Skies (Jagjaguwar)
  82. Me & You - Sneaker Thief (Tru Thoughts)
  83. Vampire Weekend - Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa (Self-released)
  84. Tracey Thorn - Get Around To It (Virgin)
  85. The Mary Onettes - Lost (Labrador)
  86. Baby Oliver - Primetime (Uptown Express) (Environ)
  87. Boat Club - Spanish Castles (Luxury)
  88. Faze Action - Disco Warrior (Faze Action)
  89. Von Sudenfed - The Rhinohead (Domino)
  90. Black Kids - Hit The Heartbrakes (Self-released)
  91. The Tough Alliance - Something Special (Sincerely Yours)
  92. Nine Inch Nails - Survivalism (Island)
  93. L.S.B. - F.O.G. (Eskimo)
  94. TV On The Radio - Dumb Animal (4AD)
  95. Fujiya & Miyagi - Uh (Regal)
  96. Gruff Rhys - Cycle Of Violence (Rough Trade)
  97. Black Affair - Sweet (V2)
  98. Dondolo - A Question Of Will (La Bulle Sonore)
  99. White Rabbits - Kid On My Shoulder (Say Hey)
  100. TTC - Turbo (Ninja Tune)

Labels: ,

Top 50 Albums Of 2007: 5-1

5. Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? (Polyvinyl)

On the surface, Hissing Fauna... is a, at times screamingly camp, fun electro pop record - a style that of Montreal have been edging towards for a while but which they fully embrace and dry-hump here - but that was just a front for one of the darkest, most emotionally naked albums of the year. It's no less than what should be expected from a record whose opening line is "We just want to emote 'til we're dead", really, but of Montreal's latest practically fizzes along, jerking and shunting from one piece of sunshine pop to another. It's tears of a clown syndrome however, as the lyrics, which paint a kind of bildungsroman of Kevin Barnes' fractious divorce and subsequent breakdown, are frazzled and fevered, running the gamut of emotions from denial to anger to, ultimately, acceptance.

Its structure mirrors Barnes' fragile mental state during the writing. There are no pauses between tracks, but no attempt is made to help the album flow either. The transitions from mood to mood, song to song are often quite jarring; for instance, the sudden lurch from the cool, handclapping punk-funk of 'Gronlandic Edit' into the citrus fizz synths of the joyous, hilarious tale of hanging around Norway with black metal fans, 'A Sentence Of Sorts In Kongsvinger' is startling. If this is all making it sound like a bit of a mess, then I guess it is, but it's a glorious, often harrowing journey that I urge anyone with a working set of ears to take at least once.

of Montreal - Bunny Ain't No Kind Of Rider (mp3)

of Montreal - Suffer For Fashion (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the brilliant video for single, 'Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse'.

4. Studio - Yearbook 1 (Information)

No doubt there'll be some grousing at my inclusion of this in the main albums list as six of its eight tracks turned up on 2006's West Coast in some form or other, but here's the thing; I completely forgot to include that record in last year's list, so consider this some sort of penance. Not that it doesn't deserve its place as, 'proper' album or not, it's one of the finest, most consistently rewarding releases of 2007. Yearbook 1 is the sound of a fine new talent emerging and greeting their public, after a handful of 12"s and 7"s (plus the aforementioned West Coast, which, until its re-release this year, was only available on vinyl). Studio's refined sound falls somewhere between fellow Scandinavians' Lindstrom & Prins Thomas and the krautrock of Ash-Ra Tempel (the cyclical guitar swells of 'No Comply' owes more than a little to the pioneering work of Manuel Gottsching), with a little King Tubby thrown in for good measure.

Studio work within the long-form Balearic disco template, but it's what they do in that framework that makes them so special. Rasmus Hagg and Dan Lissvik can't resist but bring almost every sonic frill and technique that's tickled their fancy over the years to bear, be it the post-orgasmic chill-rock of Screamadelica's lighter moments, Augustus Pablo's melodica driven dub, early-90s Italo-house, Klaus Schulze's synth experimentation or even light-fingered euro-pop. That it never feels forced is a testament to the talent of these stars-in-waiting.

Studio - Indo (Extended Version) (mp3)

Studio - No Comply (mp3)

Bonus: Love Is All - Turn The Radio Off (Remake By Studio) (mp3)

3. King Khan & The Shrines - What Is?! (Hazelwood)

Proof that sometimes all you need to make a great album is a grounding in garage rock'n'soul and red-eyed conviction. King Khan and his Sensational Shrines may not be pushing music forward in any way - they're actually bloody-mindedly backward-looking when all's said and done - but when there's nothing new or original to say or do, then you have to look to the past to get your kicks. Seemingly raised on every Nuggets, Pebbles or Back From The Grave compilation he could get his hands on, plus Atlantic, Motown and Stax' back catalogues, Khan filters them all through his own personality, which is also cobbled together from Otis Redding, Gerry Roslie and Screamin' Jay Hawkins.

So far, so derivative, but who really cares when the songs are this fucking great. The fortifying fuzz blast of opener, '(How Can I Keep You) Outta Harm's Way', the solid soul of 'Welfare Bread', the piano-rockin' 'No Regrets', 'In Your Grave''s supercharged psych-soul, the acid-damaged voodoo blues of 'Cosmic Serenade', all instant classics. KK & The Shrines also hit the odd stunning grace note, like the effortlessly funky 'Le Fils Du Jacques Dutronc' and the hilarious, solemn Dylan-aping closer 'The Ballad Of Lady Godiva', as if to prove that it's not all caveman rock around these parts. What you're left with at the end of What Is?! is the best darn garage rock album since, well, since all those British Invasion parodists got drafted to 'Nam. Fuckin' A!

King Khan & The Shrines - I Wanna Be A Girl (mp3)

King Khan & The Shrines - In Your Grave (mp3)

Bonus: King Khan + Mark Sultan = greatness: The King Khan & BBQ Show - Get Down (mp3)

2. Burial - Untrue (Hyperdub)

After making my list last year at number eleven with his self-titled debut, he just misses out on the top spot this time around with an album which, at the end of the day, is more of the same, only better, richer, more highly textured, more emotionally resonant and just way more addictive. Employing the same (bedroom) studio techniques he did on his debut - skippy, corroded two-step beats, strange percussive tics (a lighter being lit, shell casings hitting concrete etc.), massively compressed, twisted vocals, liberal amounts of vinyl crackle - it also paints a more romantic vision of urban decay than the all-out despair of his first album.

The swoony vocal refrain of 'Archangel' ("Tell me I belong") acts as a hook, allowing the listener to make that journey into the heart of darkness of Burial's music. Burial realises that dubstep is a limiting subgenre and so incorporates elements of r'n'b, UKG, trip-hop, even minimal techno in his stew. This results in a record with complexity, personality and soul to spare and one which should surely grab the shadowy producer this year's Mercury Prize. Then again, it might just be too good for that. File alongside Goldie's Timeless, Massive Attack's Protection and Leftfield's Leftism under Great British Modern Soul Classics.

Burial - Etched Headplate (mp3)

Burial - Raver (mp3)

Bonus: Bloc Party - Where Is Home? (Burial Remix) (mp3)

1. LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver (DFA/EMI)

No prizes for seeing this one coming. Ever since that early leak at the arse-end of 2006, I've sung Sound Of Silver's praises loudly and as often as possible on this 'ere blog, but is it really all that? Or do I just have a fanboy crush on James Murphy. Well, to the untrained ear, Sound Of Silver may well come across as A.N. Other dance/rock crossover attempt, but with a bit of knowledge of DFA Records and LCD Soundsystem in particular, the massive leap forward that Sound Of Silver represents becomes clear. James Murphy has always been a canny producer, crafting effortlessly pleasing music out of his many, many influences, but this, LCD Soundsystem's sophomore release, sees the studio whizz also take on the mantle of superb songwriter too.

Whereas the last album lacked a little in the way of heart, this one makes up for it in spades. If you're not immediately moved by 'Someone Great' on first listen, if 'All My Friends' doesn't make you want to punch the air in adulation and hug the nearest acquaintance, if 'New York, I Love You' doesn't make you want to keep hold of that pal and sway and croon along, then you might as well be dead. What's most impressive about Sound Of Silver however, is that it's the gift that keeps giving. The songs that most thought at first to be makeweights, like the disco-tech of the title track or the punk-funk (with the emphasis on the funk) of 'Time To Get Away', or the rocket-powered new wave of 'Watch The Tapes' reveal themselves to be more than capable of standing up to the rest of the album on repeat run-throughs. Whatever. I could go on for days, but I won't. Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for the album of 2007 and one of the best of the decade thus far. Kids! Never! Lie!

LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver (mp3)

LCD Soundsystem - Time To Get Away (mp3)

Bonus: "And I was there!" Check out videos from LCD's gig at Manchester Academy from March 2007.

Phew! Not quite done with 2007 just yet, there's still a few little miscellaneous lists to come over the next couple of days and then we're going to be looking forward to what's to come in 2008. Should be fun.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Top 100 Tunes Of 2007 (10-1)

10. Kathy Diamond - Over (Permanent Vacation)

'Over' is probably not everybody's choice for a standout track from Miss Diamond To You but with each listen, it's 'Over' that grows in stature past more immediate songs like 'All Woman' or 'Between The Lines'. A distinctly thick slab of smoky soul with slightly fucked-with vocals from Diamond, 'Over' hits the ground running and finds its groove from the get-go, before teasing that carnal groove out for as long as is humanly possible. It's a sensuous, humid grind with a love for the black-and-whites (I'm no keyboard expert, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I can hear rhodes, hammond and electric piano all in the mix at different points) and one which burrows further and further into your brain on repeat plays.

Kathy Diamond - Over (mp3)

Bonus: Kathy Diamond - Over (Instrumental) (mp3)

9. Kelley Polar - Rosenband (Environ)

Despite, or in fact, because of all his affectations, Kelley Polar is thought of, in certain circles, as something of a warped genius. For all his strange quirks (this interview for Fact Magazine reveals a lot of them), Polar's music can be strikingly straightforward and disarmingly linear, almost pop-like, but scratch beneath the surface and there's a hell of a lot more going on than just irresistible hooks and operatic disco posing. 'Rosenband' is proof, if it were needed, that the Julliard-trained disco faun is also a shrewd arranger too. It's a masterpiece of intricate layering and button-pushing textures. What looks at first glance to be a rather sugary confection reveals itself to be as dense and multi-faceted as Tchaikovsky further down the line (something which the instrumental remix, also included on the Chrysanthemum EP, adds considerable weight to). The best thing about 'Rosenband' though is that it's merely a taste of the mind-expanding brilliance of Polar's sophomore record, I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling (which takes its title from this track) has to offer. 2008 will be his to own.

Kelley Polar - Rosenband (mp3)

Bonus: Kelley Polar - Rosenband (Magic Tim's Instrumental Version) (mp3)

8. M.I.A. - Paper Planes (XL)

Both a direct comment on what it feels like to be an immigrant in the Western world today and a certified club rocker, 'Paper Planes' perfectly essays what makes M.I.A. such a relevant, brilliant artist. The gunshots and cash till sounds in the chorus can just as easily have their meaning pontificated upon on Newsnight as they can elicit revolver and money-counting hand gestures in sweaty basement bars. Pop songs that have "something to say" are often ridiculed, as pop is obviously the most transient of all genres, but M.I.A. has crafted something that's as for the ages as it is achingly hip. No mean feat. Also, can you hear 'Straight To Hell' without thinking of this anymore? Thought not.

M.I.A. - Paper Planes (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the video on YouTube, complete with cameos from DMX, Ad Rock and Mike D. Also, check out the controversial performance of it on Letterman and, courtesy of Palmsout Sounds... M.I.A. - Paper Planes (Remix feat. Bun B and Rich Boy) (mp3)

7. Of Montreal - The Past Is A Grotesque Animal (Polyvinyl)

You know how when sometimes you get on the bus and sit next to someone who, at first, seems like just a regular person, only to have them regale you with an account of their mental breakdown as soon as your bus leaves the station that doesn't end until you make your excuses and get off the bus two stops before you normally do? Well that's a bit what 'The Past Is A Grotesque Animal' felt like the first time I heard it. It has all the signifiers that have coloured Of Montreal's recent work (a reliance on synthesizers, the increasingly strident vocals of Kevin Barnes), but this is a completely different beast altogether. If Hissing Fauna... was Barnes' break-up album, then this is the manic, drunken-dialling, wailing lowest ebb. And it's earth-shatteringly great, both alien and relatable at the same time. Barnes gets more and more desperate and hurt-sounding as the music gets more squalling and frenetic (even though it actually stays at the same pace all the way through its near-12 minutes). He goes through every emotion on the map before realising that he'll never really lose the girl with the resigned, yet creepy sigh of "No matter where you are, we're always touching by underground wires". You might want to take notice of that nervous, fragile figure next time you're on your way home.

Of Montreal - The Past Is A Grotesque Animal (mp3)

Bonus: A rather touching acoustic rendition of 'The Past...' for

6. Holy Ghost! - Hold On (DFA/EMI)

From the opening strutting drum break, through to the near-frantic close, via all the staccato synth throb, ear-tickling clav and everydude vocals in between, 'Hold On' is close to being DFA's finest pop moment thus far. Previously known as indie-hoppers Automato, Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel have fully embraced both the arty disco-not-disco of ZE and the all-out hedonism of Prelude and West End to make the ultimate New York retro disco hit. There's no way it could have come from anywhere outside the five boroughs as it's shot through with just the right amounts of both confidence and neurosis that comes from being a genre which has cocaine and fashion as equal outside influences. Even though it's only the first fruits of their labour, Holy Ghost! feel like the perfect fit for DFA Records in 2007 and the next evolutionary step in the Big Apple's mirrorball-lit lineage. Colour me excited to find out where they go next.

Holy Ghost! - Hold On (mp3)

Bonus: Check out footage of Holy Ghost! recording future material in their Woodstock retreat. 'Static On The Wires' already sounds like a classic.

5. Hatchback - White Diamond (THISISNOTANEXIT)

Although I originally fell in love with the excellent Prins Thomas remix (talked about here and posted here), the more enduring love affair has been with the sterling original. Although there's almost nothing original about it - it cribs from Harmonia, Neu! and Eno to name but three - there's something just so brilliantly fresh about it. The west coast American cats have a different take on cosmic disco from their Scandinavian comrades (as I outlined in my blurb for Sorcerer's White Magic album. Sorcerer, incidentally, is one half of Windsurf with Hatchback), it's more sun-drenched, more inviting and alluring. After all, who would choose fjords over beaches? 'White Diamond' would crumble under too much scrutiny, so your best course of action would be to download it and let the easy, laidback vibes wash over you. As good as 21st century Balearica gets.

Hatchback - White Diamond (mp3)

Bonus: Hatchback - Everything Is Neu (mp3)

4. Still Going - Still Going Theme (DFA/EMI)

2007 was officially The Year The Piano Came Back. Whereas in recent times, percussion had been the thing to get right in dance music circles, be it the clicky micro-snares of minimal techno or the rowdy cowbells and handclaps of disco-punk, but this year producers really fell back on the strength of a good keys lick. There was the hammering, Reich-esque simplicity of 'All My Friends', the upfront, running disco scale of 'Sooner Or Later' and Hot Chip even wrote a song about theirs. More than any other release in 2007, 'Still Going Theme' sang the praises of ebony and ivory (no traces of Stevie or Macca to be found) so eloquently and powerfully that it didn't need words. A refrain so natural it sounded as if it had been idly banged out by the cleaner in Still Going's studio while she dusted the faders moves the whole thing along so fleet-footedly, as dreamy ambient synths bubble away in the background and a stop/start, insistent b-line gives it an irresistible bottom-end. From its first appearance on Lindstrom & Prins Thomas' Essential Mix (easily the most zeitgeist-capturing mix of the year), it was obvious it had class stamped right through it and dancefloors the world over suddenly became populated with goofs playing air keys. What more could you possibly ask for?

Still Going - Still Going Theme (mp3)

Bonus: More pianos: !!! - Yadnus (Still Going To The Roadhouse Mix) (mp3)

3. Chromatics - In The City (Italians Do It Better)

'In The City' is easily Italians Do It Better's finest moment to-date and it's as perfectly simple an example of their downtempo, chilling, Italo-disco-referencing sound as they're likely to ever produce. Equal parts John Carpenter, Goblin and P. Lion, the incessant drip-drop of the watery synth arpeggio provides the anchor for Ruth Radelet's drugged vocal and Adam Miller's choppy new wave guitar line to embellish upon. Even though it sounds frosty and distant, 'In The City' actually comes across as almost comforting, like huddling in a darkened doorway with an illicit love on a cold, damp night. This comes from Chromatics' knowledge of and genuine affection for their sources. Other, lesser artists can do easy-to-please facsimiles, but Chromatics are the condensation-breathing, chain-smoking, leather-clad real deal. Embrace the ennui.

Chromatics - In The City (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the gloriously cheap-looking video for 'In The City'.

2. UGK feat. OutKast - Int'l Player's Anthem (Sony BMG)

The perfect mainstream hip-hop moment of this and many other years was remarkable for more than just being a great song. It marked the return of Andre 3000 and Big Boi as a force to be reckoned with - even though they rap at different ends of the track, they've rarely sounded so in tune with each other - it also showed that UGK are as adept at grin-inducing euphoria as they are at mean-mugging gangsterism. Plus, let's not forget that the tragic death of Pimp C last month couldn't help but lend the track a weight of poignancy. 'Int'l Player's Anthem' covers the thug love spectrum from Dre's heartstring-tugging, salty romanticism in the opening verse, mirrored by Bun B's disarmingly sweet take on the "what's a pimp with no ho'" allegory, while Big Boi lays bare the perils of getting with a gold digger ("Ask-ask Paul McCartney"), giving the song a bittersweet finale. Perhaps fittingly, it's Pimp C's forceful holler that makes best use of Willie Hutch's florid horns and his verse is easily the year's most enduring hands-in-the-air moments. What better legacy is there to leave?

UGK feat. OutKast - Int'l Player's Anthem (I Choose You) (mp3)

Bonus: Andre 3000 in a kilt? Business as usual then. Watch the best video of the year.

1. LCD Soundsystem - Someone Great/All My Friends (DFA/EMI)

Cop out! Look, one of the main rules I set myself when compiling this list was that there could only be one song per artist, which made selecting the number one a real chore. I was going to have to leave one of them out. Then I invoked the "my blog - my rules" adage and chose not to choose, so a joint number one it is. For me, these two songs are inseparable anyway, despite being yin and yang. They combine to make the most devastating one-two punch on an album in years, they complement each other so well. There's the heartworn intimacy of 'Someone Great', then the balls-out inclusiveness of 'All My Friends'. Plus, these two songs mark out the newfound maturity in James Murphy's songwriting better than anything else on Sound Of Silver, so it seems natural not to bisect them. Gone is the snarky, narcissistic uber-hipster of 'Losing My Edge' in favour of a genial, reflective, baggy-trousered philanthropist. I'll write more about them tomorrow (hint-hint), but for now, just revel in the two best songs of the year once again.

LCD Soundsystem - Someone Great (mp3)

LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the videos for both 'Someone Great' and 'All My Friends'.

Top five albums of 2007 to come tomorrow. Keep watching these pages.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Top 50 Albums Of 2007: 10-6

10. Glass Candy - B/E/A/T/B/O/X (Italians Do It Better)

Glass Candy are the bright yang to Chromatics' yin, ostensibly, with their flashy, almost crass pop sensibilities offering stark contrast to Chromatics' shadowy romanticism, but both bands overlap in more ways than just sharing a member (the multi-talented Johnny Jewel). Check the wan arpeggios in 'Etheric Device' or 'Last Nite I Met A Costume''s sustained, instrumental dramatics for instances. However, Glass Candy prefer to face the listener down where Chromatics lurk in the shadows.

Ida No is a massively charismatic presence in the traditional look-but-don't-touch mould; a just out of reach objet de desir for the listener to put on a pedestal, while she dances by herself. The music is much more personable however, at points betraying a startling immediacy, like on the rainbow-coloured synth-trumpet blasts of 'Candy Castle', or the fuzz-synth, pervy workout of 'Beatific'. It won't catch on in the mainstream, but for glossy pop thrills, you could do far worse than check out B/E/A/T/B/O/X's nine gems.

Glass Candy - Beatific (mp3)

Glass Candy - Life After Sundown (mp3)

Bonus: Live footage of Glass Candy performing 'Etheric Device'.

9. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Anti-)

You can almost imagine Britt Daniel pieceing his band's songs together with the intensity of a watchmaker. There are all these tiny little bits and pieces that, on their own, would resemble mere sonic detritus, but when brought together and slotted into their rightful places, everything just clicks together. Take opener, 'Don't Make Me A Target' as a for instance, there's a handclap here, a bracing blast of fuzz guitar there, a bell is struck once or twice and some seriously spare-sounding piano crops up from time to time. It sound like a rock song, but with the clasp open, baring the mechanics for all to see.

The brilliant thing about Spoon is that even though Daniel does have such a keen ear for what's going on underneath, they never sound dry. Their songs are built with as much love for music's history as precision and even when they completely dismantle it all, like on 'token weird one', 'The Ghost Of You Lingers', there are still enough hooks to draw you in. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga contains some of Spoon's most forthright POP songs, like the Clash-y 'The Underdog' and the white-soul swing of 'You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb', but even on those, you can hear everything clicking and whirring away inside. Rarely has deconstruction and reconstruction sounded so thrilling and alive.

Spoon - The Ghost Of You Lingers (mp3)

Spoon - Rhthm & Soul (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the video for 'The Underdog'.

8. Roisin Murphy - Overpowered (EMI)

Shorn of the difficult edges that rounded out her solo debut, the Matthew Herbert-produced Ruby Blue, Overpowered is Murphy's first full-on pop record. Okay, so it's a pop record with all-important - to hipsters at least - credentials. The collaborators list makes for impressive reading, with the likes of Mark De-Clive Lowe, Timbaland cohort, Jimmy Douglass, Groove Armada man, Andy Cato (the tallest man in music), Bugz In The Attic's Seiji, Larry Gold (on string arrangements, naturally) and Sheffield stalwarts, Ross Orton and Dean Honer all weighing in here and there.

With such a diverse list of co-conspirators, Overpowered is as you'd expect it to be; a bit of a stylistic mess. That's what makes it such a wonderful album though, as Murphy, ever the chameleon, steps into each guise with measurable aplomb, be it disco diva ('Let Me Know'), pop princess ('You Know Me Better'), lover's rock chanteuse ('Scarlet Ribbons'), hi-nrg dominatrix (the none-more Bobby O, 'Cry Baby'), boogie ice-queen ('Footprints') and more. With Overpowered, Roisin Murphy proved herself possibly the most flexible woman in music. World domination can surely be just around the corner.

Roisin Murphy - Cry Baby (mp3)

Roisin Murphy - Primitive (mp3)

Bonus: Roisin makes the ubiquitous 'Standing In The Way Of Control' sound utterly fresh.

7. M.I.A. - Kala (XL)

When I put together my first draft of my albums of the year list, Kala was nowhere to be seen. I'd heard it, sure, but it initially didn't hit me as hard as Arular so it went to the back of the queue. Classic case of following up one of the most innovative albums of recent years with more of the same, I thought. Then I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and allow it a few more spins. It made the shortlist and then started climbing and climbing, its brilliance being slowly revealed with each listen. Now it stands as my seventh favourite album of the year, but it still gets better with every go-round.

Floor-to-ceiling, one of the most consistently thrilling records of the past twelve months, Kala is like a microcosm of global urban music, from Baltimore club (the pumped 'xr2') to baile funk ('World Town') and desi beats (the Bollywood cover, 'Jimmy') via some Congotronics-influenced club tracks ('Bird Flu' and 'Hussel'). Kala also allows time to cover aboriginal Australian hip-hop ('Mango Pickle Down River' with schoolboy rappers, The Wilcannia Crew) and twisted, ultra-distorted hyphy/dubstep melange ('20 Dollar'). If Arular was sleek and easy to get a handle on, Kala is its sprawling, discomfiting, multi-coloured, even more exotic sequel. Choosing between the two is a bit like choosing between the first two Godfather films; they compliment each other brilliantly and, although the first is undoubtedly great, if you really want to get lost, plump for the second one.

M.I.A. - 20 Dollar (mp3)

M.I.A. - Bamboo Banga (mp3)

Bonus: M.I.A. performing 'Hussel' at Lowlands festival.

6. Kathy Diamond - Miss Diamond To You (Permanent Vacation)

When I first heard Miss Diamond To You, I fell in love hard. Couldn't get enough of its disco-soul-pop-house stew. Couldn't get enough of Miss Diamond herself either. Then I went to see her live and the love affair was in a pretty precarious position. Was I going to let one disappointing night get in the way of something pretty special. Thankfully, I got over myself, dug Miss Diamond... out again and fell in love for the second time. I still stand by the above-linked gig review, but that memory, tarnished though it is, can not and will not get in the way of my deep affection for this brilliant, beautiful record.

A collaboration between Miss Diamond and the mercurial producer, Maurice Fulton (probably one of the best around, in my honest opinion), this is just as much his album as it is hers (although she can slay without Fulton as the upcoming hook-up with Belgians, Aeroplane - the disco-pop epic 'Whispers - attests). Its Diamond's sweet everywoman tones that lure you in, but it's Fulton's thick, heady production that keeps you there. Fulton makes these songs, which could be light and airy in lesser hands, seem as deep as the Marianas trench and intoxicating as the best skunk money can buy. Maurice, Kathy, apologies for the bad review, I hope we can put this all behind us and still be friends.

Kathy Diamond - On & On (mp3)

Kathy Diamond - Until The Sun Goes Down (mp3)

Bonus: Classic Fulton - Maurice Fulton - My Gigolo (mp3)

Okay, just the top ten tunes and top five albums to come now. Can you guess what they are? Put your ideas in the comment box and whoever gets closest wins a Curly-Wurly.


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Top 100 Tunes Of 2007 (20-11)

20. Grinderman - No Pussy Blues (Mute)

Proving that impotent fury can be the most potent kind of fury, Grinderman's 'No Pussy Blues', a hilarious account of the trials and travails concerned with getting someone in the sack when they "just never wanted to" is both Grinderman's most immediate and unrestrained moment. For a four-minute scuzz-rocker, it's got immense repeat play value too, with Cave's wooing attempts getting more uproarious and desperate with each listen. When everything drops down to just Cave and that insistent fuzz-bassline, before kicking back up with a gigantic squall of feedback and hollering, you can almost see the curmudgeonly antipodean kicking out at nearby inanimate objects like a petulant child. And all for a spot of how's-your-father. The lengths people go to...

Grinderman - No Pussy Blues (mp3)

Bonus: 'No Pussy Blues' live on Later...

19. Kanye West - Flashing Lights (feat. Dwele) (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)

West has a knack, when he chooses to use it, for making the simple sound complex, such is the case with 'Flashing Lights'. Staccato synth swooshes (like a hip-hop Daft Punk, unsurprisingly) share airspace with a boom-clap beat and John Barry-esque strings to create this affectingly melancholy, fiendishly addictive standout from Graduation. As it is for most of that album, West dials back the grandeur to smaller-scale, more off-kilter thrills, a bit like Steven Spielberg when he stopped being all about dinosaurs and aliens and started rocking the millennial angst via stories about Mossad agents and wartime horrors. That might be the most overstretched analogy to ever grace these pages, but, y'know, just think about it a while. It'll make sense.

Kanye West - Flashing Lights (feat. Dwele) (mp3)

Bonus: Clipse - Flashing Lights (Remix) (mp3)

18. King Khan & The Shrines - Welfare Bread (Hazelwood)

Ever the gentlemen, King Khan gives the object of his affections the first word on 'Welfare Bread' (actually it's just Khan affecting a falsetto but you get the drift), before going on to recount the oft-told adage that you don't need money in this world, only love. It's a time-worn sentiment with time-worn trimmings, as the redlining mix, blaring saxophones, tickly hammond and doleful tambourine are all beamed in from another time, one more innocent than the one we're in right now. Sometimes re-treading old styles in such a perfectly accented manner can be as refreshing as taking something wholly new for a test-drive. Thank the lord for King Khan and his Sensational Shrines for keeping the flame alive.

King Khan & The Shrines - Welfare Bread (mp3)

Bonus: Well, there isn't much in the way of decent YouTube-age when it comes to the Shrines, so why don't you go over to their MySpace, where you can watch some weird videos and listen to some kickarse tunes? There're worse things you could do.

17. Shit Robot - Chasm (DFA/EMI)

What a year for the DFA. This is the first DFA release from 2007 to make the list, but it sure as hell ain't the last, which should give you some idea as to what the rest of the list looks like. When I say that Shit Robot's 'Chasm' is a dirty, malevolent little builder, I don't mean it's a scruffy, height-disadvantaged brickie carrying a knife (good lord, I'm bringing the wit tonight!). I mean that it grows from the smallest elements into a huge, funky slab of grimy acid-tech (think Carl Craig, only punkier and harbouring more dirt under his fingernails) that mutates and shifts in such an insidious way it's almost frightening. Marcus Lambkin is one hell of a crowdpleasing producer, one only wishes he was more prolific, as this makes him two-for-two on making my top 20 of the year now.

Shit Robot - Chasm (mp3)

Bonus: Do yourselves a favour and head over to Beats In Space to download Shit Robot's excellent guest mix from June 26th.

16. Glass Candy - Miss Broadway (Italians Do It Better)

It's perhaps fitting that an outfit as retro as Glass Candy should make the list with a cover version, but GC put in more work than most to make this their own. When measured up against La Belle Epoque's camp classic, the first thing you notice is that Glass Candy's is the classier take. Ida No vamps and sashays where Evelyn Lenton stomped and growled, the original's perky, skanking guitar line is transformed into something more downcast, but the whole feel of the track is no less decadent than its predecessor and while its pulsations and shimmers hark back to disco's golden age, in looking back, Glass Candy have crafted something very now, very fresh. Watch them shine even brighter in 2008.

Glass Candy - Miss Broadway (mp3)

Bonus: La Belle Epoque - Miss Broadway (mp3)

15. Spoon - You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb (Anti-)

Spoon have always been as much about what lurks - or what doesn't lurk - in the corners of their songs, as what's front-and-centre and '...Cherry Bomb' is no exception, even if at first it strikes you as a brightly coloured, ersatz Motown swinger. On further inspection, it's the little details that start to bloom, like the eerie falsetto backing vocal or the way the hitherto-underplayed piano riff strikes a minor chord that looms up in technicolour, or the fact that it seems the band are having a conversation at points in the background, as if to demistify the magic, but only ending up making it all the more intriguing. That said, treated as a joyous piece of no-frills soul-pop, 'You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb' still stands head-and-shoulders above most other indie-rock dancefloor shakers this past year.

Spoon - You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb (mp3)

Bonus: '...Cherry Bomb' live footage. Warning, it's very amateur.

14. Metro Area - Read My Mind (feat. Phillip Owusu) (Environ)

Oh good lord, you would not believe how happy I was when I heard that Metro Area were going to release a new EP! New stuff from one of the acts of the century! I could hardly contain my glee. Then I heard 'Read My Mind' and was, initially, a little disappointed. What was this new sound? Is this pop? Where's the downbeat disco I know and love? Vocals?! Shit a brick!! Then I listened again and a light went off; it was just the vocal that threw me. This is essentially 'Caught Up' with singing. And what singing! Phillip Owusu (Denmark's answer to Michael Jackson) drips honeyed come-ons all over Morgan and Darshan's fabulously crisp production, to make this one of the year's best underground disco-pop tunes. Meet the new Metro Area, same as the old Metro Area, only with bells on.

Metro Area - Read My Mind (feat. Phillip Owusu) (mp3)

Bonus: Metro Area - Read My Mind (RMM Special Dub) (mp3)

13. Justice - D.A.N.C.E. (Ed Banger/Because Music)

Although the sight of the words Ed and Banger so high up this list can't help but elicit a shudder from me, you just can't deny the brilliance of 'D.A.N.C.E.'. Every shit group/label/producer is allowed at least one moment in the sun and, even though I'll admit that Justice do what they do a lot better than anyone else right now, I just can't listen to without coughing up blood and having some sort of seizure. Call me old, but I much prefer this less noisy, more refined, danceable, poppy side to them. 'D.A.N.C.E.' distils the best bits of The Go! Team, Daft Punk circa Discovery and late-70s NY disco into one easy-to-swallow, floor-slaying chunk. Okay, that's enough love, can I go back to hating Ed Banger again now? Alright, let's "Do the dance" just once more and then I'm banning the phrase 'new French touch' from this blog forever.

Justice - D.A.N.C.E. (mp3)

Bonus: Watch the still-mesmerising video for about the 1,379th time, if you must.

12. Hercules & Love Affair - Classique #2 (DFA/EMI)

'Classique #2' is a delicious red herring, all Chicago sheen, jackin' drum kicks and orgasmic vocal snippets to throw you off the scent before Andy Butler (aka Hercules & Love Affair) unleashes some seriously extravagant disco on our arses with his full-length. As diversion tactics go though, it's a beauty. In fact, it's a damn shame he isn't going to release a separate album of acid house-referencing old school workouts alongside the main attraction (due in February), as 'Classique #2' shows a producer with a flair for updating and freshening up bygone styles in such an exciting way. Watch out Murphy, DFA have a new uber-talented retro-filtering genius in their ranks.

Hercules & Love Affair - Classique #2 (mp3)

Bonus: Take another little trip over to Beats In Space and download Butler's natty mix from September 11th.

11. Lee Douglas - New York Story (Rong)

Falling just outside our top ten is another New York-based producer with retro-leanings. Lee Douglas doesn't put out anywhere near enough releases (this is one of only three 12"s in as many years), but everything he does put out is gold, Jerry, gold! 'New York Story' is a conflicted epic, in that it lands somewhere between Paradise Garage hedonism and Balearic chill. It's a song at odds with itself, not knowing when to give it some and when to hold back. Douglas plays this up and when it goes for the jugular, it really goes, but it's just as relaxed during its troughs. This makes for remarkable tension and interplay and what you're left with is a cast-iron, multi-faceted modern classic for the ages. Nice work.

Lee Douglas - New York Story (mp3)

Bonus: La Belle Epoque - Bamalama (Lee Douglas Edit) (mp3)


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Best Of 2007: Remixes and Edits

Taking a break from the main lists for a bit, here's a couple of miscellaneous lists, focusing on the best remixes and edits of 2007. I'm not going to write about each of the entries, just the number ones, but if you click through on the rest, you will get mp3s. That's a full 20 (!) mp3s in one post. Aren't I good to you lot...

Yer Mam!'s Top 10 Remixes of 2007

1. Dominique Leone - Clairevoyage (The 16th Rebels Of Mung Medley) (Feedelity)

One of the most pleasant surprises of the year was that the first forays into recording music for Pitchfork critic, Dominique Leone (actually a man, fact fans) didn't completely suck. In fact, the Dominique Leone EP, released on Feedelity in November is one of the most disarmingly beautiful vinyl releases of the last half of the year. Except for the lead-off track, a wild, wicked collab with Lindstrom and Mungolian Jetset that couples Leone's bedsit torch ballad, 'Claire' with MJS' ear for clattering, bric-a-brac percussion and Lindstrom's adeptness with the longform, creating the most pleasingly bonkers and best remix of 2007. The back half when camp abandon takes over from bubbling insidiousness is just perfection. Staggering stuff.

Dominique Leone - Clairevoyage (The 16th Rebels Of Mung Medley) (mp3)

And the rest...

2. Mari Boine - Vuoi Vuoi Me (Henrik Schwarz Remix) (Universal Jazz)

3. Hatchback - White Diamond (Prins Thomas Miks Del 1 & 2) (Thisisnotanexit)

4. Tony Allen - Kilode (Carl Craig Remix) (Honest Jon's)

5. Ost & Kjex - Milano Model (A Thrilling Mungophony In Two Parts) (Dialect Recordings)

6. Shirley Bassey - Slave To The Rhythm (The Glimmers Mix) (Lock, Stock & Barrel)

7. Faze Action - In The Trees (Carl Craig C2 Mix 1) (Juno)

8. Rubies - Room Without A Key (Studio Remix) (Telle)

9. Cortney Tidwell - Don't Let Stars Keep Us Tangled Up (Ewan's Objects In Space Remix) (Ever Records)

10. Etienne Jaumet - Repeat Again After Me (Ame Remix) (Versatile)

Yer Mam!'s Top 10 Edits Of 2007

1. Hot Chocolate - Cadillac (The Revenge Rework) (Five20East)

2007 was most definitely the year of the edit and by that I mean that not a week went by without some little boutique label ushering forth a new set of re-jigged disco obscurities. A lot of them were, to be frank, shite, but you get that when there's so much wheat and chaff to sift through (the Mindless Boogie series was seriously up-and-down, quality-wise). One label you can't really say that about is Five20East, whose Forever In Their Debt compilation CDs were veritable goldmines of fantastic edits. Best of a very good bunch was this rework of Errol Brown and co's 'Heaven Is 'N The Back Seat Of My Cadillac', which toughens the original up and sets its sights on working your feet and your behind into a frenzy, making it one of the most bonafide party-rockers of 2007. "Let me take you there".

Hot Chocolate - Cadillac (The Revenge Rework) (mp3)

And the rest...

2. Chic - I Want Your Love (Todd Terje Edit) (Supreme)

3. Vastkustska Ryggdunkarsallskapet - Town Out Of Order (White)

4. Peter Visti - Dolly (Mindless Boogie)

5. Fleetwood Mac - You Make Lovin' Fun (Trailmix) (Synergize Communications)

6. Easy Going - Fear (Serge Santiago Edit) (Arcobaleno Records)

7. Mock & Toof - Digit 2 (Rvng Intl.)

8. John Miles - Stranger In The City (Pilooski Edit) (D*I*R*T*Y)

9. Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill (Ashley Beedle Re-Edit) (White)

10. Sylvia Love - Extraterrestrial Love (JAZ Edit) (Beard Science)

It's back to the main lists again next, but there'll be more miscellaneous lists soon in the form of the best DJ mixes and compilations of 2007. Say what you like about me, but I'm nothing if not thorough.