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?




Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog. You've certainly directed me towards some great tracks that slipped under my radar. Perhaps 2007 wasn't so bad after all! The time and effort into your mamouth 'best of 2007' post is most appreciated. Keep up the good work.

7:21 pm  
Anonymous Oblio said...

Did we lose you, man?

4:37 pm  
Blogger James said...

Nah, I've not gone anywhere. Just took a bit of a break. Keep an eye out in the next couple of days though.

5:26 pm  
Anonymous oblio said...

Good deal. I'll be back again soon. Keep up the great work. I've really enjoyed getting turned on to new stuff. Did you read about the Bun B show he just did, think it was his first since Pimp C passed. From what I read it was good and sad.

5:46 pm  

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