Dear lord I sincerely hope you’re coming / because you really started something

I’ve blogged a best of the year styled list for quite some years now and I guess I need to do some­thing sim­i­lar, if only to sat­is­fy myself. I don’t real­ly like these lists sim­ply because there are so many records I’ve sim­ply not heard, prob­a­bly more than ever, being, as I am, some­where to the left of Papua new Guinea these days. Bali is not a great place to acquire music. You can buy a pirat­ed copy of vir­tu­al­ly any pop disc with a week of inter­na­tion­al release. But any­thing inter­est­ing is almost an impos­si­bil­i­ty. For­tu­nate­ly, I get to trav­el a bit and, to Brigid’s endur­ing bemuse­ment, my first stop in almost any city is what­ev­er inde­pen­dent record store I can track down. Some places are bet­ter than oth­er. Sin­ga­pore has noth­ing of inter­est – the cor­po­rates have stran­gled it and its record shops are as soul­less as its oth­er shop­ping (unless you want some­thing elec­tri­cal). On the oth­er hand, if you know where to go, Bangkok, and Jakar­ta are both absolute gold­mines.

Thank god for all the free­bies I con­tin­ue to get in the mail (thank you) and of the course the inter­net in its var­i­ous retail and dig­i­tal forms.

So, ram­bling ahead, below are the records I heard that I liked a lot this year…

I had a brief love affair with Stu­dio’s pret­ty album West Coast a month or so ago, but after a week or two, it felt a lit­tle twee and over­ly try-hard in places, although their Escape From Chi­na­town, ledswith Bren­nan Green is rather love­ly. But, to be hon­est, I’m find­ing much of the Scan­di­na­vian nu-Baleari­ca a bit much now, that said, how­ev­er, Ori­gin off the album is still an absolute clas­sic, and for that track alone its worth a men­tion.

And that track is not a mil­lion miles away from one of my most played albums of 2007. I’m cheat­ing because The L.E.D.S debut was released in 2006, but I didn’t get it until June, so… I’ve already gone on at length here about how much I loved this album, and suf­fice to say I’ve been thrash­ing the unmixed tracks from the unre­leased sec­ond album that they were kind enough to send to me. Why in gods sake don’t these peo­ple have a record deal???

NZ wise, it’s easy to lose touch but I liked the Phoenix Foundation’s Bright Grey, despite that fact that it was resound­ing­ly old-fash­ioned, like a hap­py warm kiwi rug. It was just a nice song and stood out from the relent­less chaff on the Kiwi Hit Discs. I’ve yet to hear the album.

My oth­er NZ moment was the mighty Some­thing Error Hap­pens by The Oth­ers Requiem, but hey, I’m biased and rather proud of it.

I got a buzz from the one-off super­group The Good, the Bad and The Queen, most­ly because of R-970149-1181744537the lop­ping bass play­ing from the long miss­ing in action (musi­cal­ly any­way) Paul Simo­nen. The for­mer Clash-man is my favourite rock’n’roll bassist ever but it was a wake-up call how old and weedy the erst­while glam­our boy now looks (this was the year that Sid Vicious would’ve turned 50 after all – think about that!)

And talk­ing of The Clash, the cov­er of The Call Up , as reworked by Mar­tin But­trich with The Far East Band is kin­da per­fect, mash­ing my nos­tal­gia with a clas­sic sparse dub­by elec­tron­ic thingy that builds for ten or so min­utes with nice swoop­ing synth lines. A huge favourite right now.

Yep, elec­tron­ic music real­ly is in real­ly good shape, with the tail end of the min­i­mal thing and the thing they call dub­step both turn­ing out future clas­sics. The two gen­res met in the Ricar­do Vil­lalo­bos mix of Shackleton’s’ Blood on My Hands, all 19 odd (and I mean that in every sense) min­utes of the hyp­not­ic, sparse, repet­i­tive loop­ing­ness (new word I think) that only sounds like, ahh, Ricar­do Vil­lalo­bos. His sound is so thor­ough­ly unique and so is he – tak­ing his Fab­ric album and turn­ing it into an artist album by only using his own pro­duc­tions could’ve failed embar­rass­ing­ly but was, instead, rather a tri­umph, espe­cial­ly the mid­dle where it gets quite quirk­i­ly nut­ty.

Oth­er sin­gles or tracks I liked: both sides of the Her­cules & Love Affair sin­gle; Joakim’s Lone­ly Hearts; Aero­plane by, uhh, Aero­plane; the DJ Koze mix of The Bat­tlesAtlas (and I tru­ly dis­liked the orig­i­nal); Reko­rder 8; Fran­cois K’s Road of Life as reworked in a very tracky man­ner by Qui­et Vil­lage; the almost Plan­et Rock-ish (which brings it all back to the begin­ning) remix of Cybotron’s Clear by Cob­ble­stone Jazz; Âme’s Balan­dine EP; Nard’s by Trusme; Anders Trentemøller’s Dju­ma Soundsys­tem mix, and his Evening with Bobi Bros and, god, dozens more…R-997933-1182503937

Both the Bur­ial album and the Pinch album (now out with a bonus disc – doesn’t that piss you off) eas­i­ly sit in my favourite long-play­ers of 2007. I love the fact that dub­step is the bas­tard child of so many things, not least is the Bris­tol move­ment of the late eight­ies onwards.

And to Carl Craig: his side on the Kings Of Tech­no dou­ble was ruined by his crowd-rous­ing voiceovers (unlike the sub­lime Lau­rent Gar­nier mix), but else­where he con­tin­ued to excel, like the entranc­ing live remake of At Les on the Paris Live EP; the Ango­la-ish remix of Tony Allen’s Kilo­de; his Faze Action re-vis­it; and the remix­es of Inner City, Siob­han Don­aghy, the Lazy fat Peo­ple. His take of LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Sil­ver was just anoth­er high­light in James Murphy’s cal­en­dar rather choc­ka full of them.

Any way you look at it LCD ruled 2007. The Sound Of Sil­ver album slayed almost every­one (almost – it utter­ly con­fused much of Amer­i­ca, which is not sur­pris­ing). And to top it off, the 45.33 Nike thing was final­ly giv­en an offi­cial release. They are this decade’s great band.

It was com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent, but the Nomum­bah album Love Moves, rec­om­mend­ed to me by Cian at Conch, remains the supreme, for want of a bet­ter word (and one is need­ed if we are to avoid all the hor­ren­dous con­no­ta­tions of the word), chill­out, record. God knows how many after­noons I’ve played this, and I’m play­ing it as I type.

51BTy6d4ZUL._AA240_Kathy Diamond’s Miss Dia­mond to You was the torch vocal album of the year – it’s odd how all those faux Amy Wine­hous­es and their ilk get the word when there are records this damned good smoul­der­ing away below the radar.

I have to admit a soft spot for the odd noisy band. The Arc­tic Mon­keys, The Klax­ons and Jus­tice all found them­selves get­ting played rather loud­ly in the balé on more than a few occa­sions. Snot­ty noise is good.

And on a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent tan­gent, I found a place for Robert Plant and Ali­son Krauss’s Ris­ing Sand and was pleased to see that Plant has decid­ed to put this project ahead of any bloody Zep­pelin tour – the man has soul.

There were lots of wor­thy reis­sues and re-releas­es. Over the years my copy of The Young Mar­ble Giants’ Colos­sal Youth has almost worn through, but now, of course we have it remas­tered with two bonus discs, so I can file the vinyl.

The Eddie Kendricks col­lec­tion, The Thin Man, fea­tur­ing the sec­ond batch of his solo albums at Motown is quite some­thing (even it was offi­cial­ly 2006), as is the recent Aretha out­takes dou­ble, and the two albums on Numero Group, Eccen­tric Soul: The Deep City Label and Good God both of which I dis­cov­ered this year.

And it wouldn’t, for me at least, be com­plete with­out men­tion­ing the remas­tered Car Crash Set album – it’s not out until 2008 but if I can talk about records released before 2007, sure­ly I can enthuse about one still to come….

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