Saturday, December 22, 2007

Favorite music of '07

As if I had to provide more proof of what a music nut I am... here's all the musical goodies I enjoyed in '07 as of today, in a very rough order of preference...


Apples in Stereo New Magnetic Wonders (Yep Roc)
Clinic Visitations (Domino)
Of Montreal Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (Polyvinyl)
Kanye West Graduation (Roc-A-Fella)
Bonde Do Role With Lasers (Domino)
Amon Tobin Foley Room (Ninja Tune)
The Ponys Turn the Lights Out (Matador)
Jesse Malin Glitter in the Gutter (Adeline)
Sage Francis Human the Death Dance (Anti-)
Architecture in Helsinki Places Like This (Polyvinyl)
British Sea Power Krankenhaus? (Rough Trade)
Various Artists Got Howls (Pish Posh of North America)
Enon Grass Geysers... Carbon Clouds (Touch and Go)
Consequence Don't Quit Your Day Job (G.O.O.D. Music/Columbia)
James Blood Ulmer Bad Blood in the City- The Piety Street Sessions (Hyena)
The Busy Signals The Busy Signals (Dirtnap)
Various Artists Soul-Patrol Digital Virtual Album 1.0 (
Gogol Bordello Super Taranta! (Side One Dummy)
Bottomless Pit Hammer of the Gods (Comedy Minus One)
Los Campesinos! Sticking Fingers into Sockets (Arts & Crafts)
Various Artists Hyphy Hitz (TVT)
Raekwon The Vatican Mixtape Vol. 1 (Ice Water)
Bikeride The Kiss (Shmammi)
Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles Diamonds in the Dark (Sugar Hill)
Mendoza Line 30 Year Low (Glurp)
Galactic From the Corner to the Block (Anti-)
Electrelane No Shouts No Calls (Too Pure)
Imperial Teen The Hair, The TV, The Baby & The Band (Merge)
Robert Plant & Allison Kraus Rising Sand (Rounder)
Mavis Staples We'll Never Turn Back (Anti-)
Various Artists Worldwide Babylon Vol. 1 (Dubkraft)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Is Is (Fontana)
Black Tie Revue Code Fun (Gearhead)
Gonzales Solo Piano (No Format)
Plan B Who Needs Actions When You Got Words (679)
Dalek Abandoned Language (Ipecac)
Rihanna Good Girl Gone Bad (Def Jam)
Sylvain Chauveau Nuage (Type)
Chuck Prophet Soap and Water (Yep Roc)
White Stripes Icky Thump (Warner Bros)
Gavin Bryars/Alter Ego/Philip Jeck The Sinking of the Titanic (Touch)
Venetian Snares Pink and Green (Sublight)
Health Health (Lovepump Unlimited)
The Book of Lists The Book of Lists (Scratch)
Troum Aiws (Transgredient)
Charlotte Gainsborough 5:55 (Atlantic)
Guiseppe Ielasi & Nicola Ratti Bellows (Kning Disk)
Dewey Redman The Struggle Continues (ECM)
Holy Fuck LP (XL)
Mas Rapido! Pity Party (Parasol)
XBXRX Wars (Polyvinyl)
Bad Brains Build A Nation (Megaforce)
Kenge Kenge Introducing (World Music Network)
Clorox Girls J'Aime Les Filles (Better Youth Org)

Liked their singles but haven't gotten into albums by... M.I.A., Fountains of Wayne, Modest Mouse, Common, Amy Winehouse, LCD Soundsystem, Battles, Bjork, Arcade Fire.


Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration (Stax)
Gozalo! Bugalu Tropical Vol. 2 (Vampisoul)
King Sunny Ade Gems from the Classic Years (1967-1974)(Shanachie)
Johnny Cash Ultimate Gospel (Columbia)
Neil Young Live at Massey Hall (Reprise)
Johnny Taylor Live at the Summit Club (Stax)
Various Artists Bay Area Funk II (Ubiquity)
Various Artists Can't Stop It II- Australian Post Punk 1979-1984 (Chapter Music)
Various Artists Studio Rub-A-Dub (Soul Jazz)
Moby Grape Moby Grape (Sundazed)
Various Artists Colombia! The Golden Years of Discos Fuentes (Soundway)
Tom T. Hall In Search of a Song (Hip-O Select)
Pop Group Y (Rhino)
Terry Riley Les Yeux Fermes/Lifespan (Elison Fields)
Ruby Braff Hi Fi Salute to Bunny (Mosaic)
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers Hard Bop (Mosaic)
Various Artists City of Dreams: A Collection of New Orleans Music (Rounder)
Warren Zevon Preludes (Ammal/New West)
David Byrne The Knee Plays (Nonesuch)
Erik Satie Avant-Dernieres Pensees- Selection Piano Works (Vol. 1) (LTM)
Dennis Brown Visions of Dennis Brown (Crazy Joe)
Lubomyr Melnyk KHM (Unseen Worlds)
Various Artists Authenticite- The Syliphone Years (Sterns)
Fire Engines Hungry Beats (Acute)
Booker Ervin The Freedom Book (Prestige)
Nas Greatest Hits (Columbia)
Richard and Linda Thompson Live 1975 (Island)
Various Artists People Take Warning! Murder Ballads & Disaster Songs, 1913-1938 (Tompkins Square)
Orchestra Baobob A Night at Club Baobob (Oriki)
Various Artists Brazil 70 (Soul Jazz)
Bootsy Ultra Wave (Collector's Choice)
Young Marble Giants Collosal Youth (Domino)
African Virtuosos The Classic Guinean Guitar Group (Stern's)
Marvin Gaye In Our Lifetime? (Hip-O Select)
Buell Kazee Buell Kazee (June Appal)
Various Artists Eccentric Soul: The Outskirts of Deep City (Numero Group)
African Music Machine Black Water Gold (Fuel 2000)
Djelimady Tounkara & Super Rail Band International Allo Bamako (Sheer)
Kurious A Constipated Monkey (Amalgam)
Gram Parsons with the Flying Burrito Brothers Live at the Avalon Ballroom 1969 (Amoeba)

Note: though I love Sly and the Family Stone and Sonic Youth, I don't like to list and pump up re-releases of albums that are already available. I know that's picky but... Also, the Miles On the Corner box was much too expensive and gave up too little new material.


Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip "Thou Shalt Always Kill"
Lil Wayne "I Feel Like Dying"
Tinariwen "Cler Achel"
Art Brut "Nag! Nag! Nag! Nag!"
Polyphonic Spree "Running Away"
Minus A Few "I Got That Feeling"
The Sounds "Painted by Numbers"
Kate Nash "Pumpkin Soup"
Yo Majesty "Club Action"
Amerie "Take Control"
Funkadelic "By Way of the Drum" (extended version)
Jake Gyllenhaal "And I Am Telling You..."
Rihanna "Umbrella"
Teddy Bears "Cobrastyle"
Common featuring Lily Allen "Drivin' Me Wild"
Kid Sister "Control"
Usher featuring Ludacris "Dat Girl Right There"
Throw Me the Statue "Lolita"
Ting Tings "That's Not My Name"
Mr. Vegas "Hot Wuk"
Mike Jones "Like What I Got"
Los Campesinos! "You Me Dance"
Immaculate Machines "Dear Confessor"
Asobi Seksu "Thursday"
T.I. featuring Wyclef "You Know What It Is"
DJ Benzi "Gettin' It"
James Zabiela, Nic Fanciulli "No Pressure"
LCD Soundsystem "All My Friends"
Hallelujah the Hills "Hallelujah the Hills"
Blaqstarr "Shake it to the Ground"
Dizzee Rascal "Pussyhole"
Pack FM featuring Slug, Brother Ali "FYM"
DJ Khaled featuring Mr. Vegas "We Taking Over" (Benja Styles remix)
Eve "Tambourine"
Lady Sovereign "Love Me or Hate Me"
M.I.A. "Hit That"
Battles "RACE: OUT"
Lil Mama "Lip Gloss"
Black Kids "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance"
Duffy "Rockferry"
Brother Ali "Lookin' At Me Sideways"
Justin Timberlake "What Goes Around"
Redman "Put It Down"
Elizabeth Cook "Sometimes It Takes Balls To Be A Woman"
The Shins "Phantom Limb"
Amy Winehouse "You Know I'm No Good"
Kelly Rowland "Work"
Gui Boratto "Beautiful Life"
Blood Red Shoes "It's Gettin' Boring By the Sea"
The Mae Shi "Run To Your Grave"
Aesop Rock "None Shall Pass"
Peter Bjorn and John "Young Folks"
Alanis Morissette "My Humps"
KJ Ferguson "Talk Show"
Cornelius "Gum"
Lauryn Hill "Loose Yourself"
Ali & Big Gipp featuring Nelly "Hard in Da Paint"
TIMZ "Iraq"
B.G. & the Chopper City Boyz "Bounce"

Note: Sorry I didn't have time to include label names.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Duffy and the "Beatles" do Zep

Two videos that I'm obsessed with now include the beautiful, haunting number from a UK singer named Duffy, which sounds a lot like Dusty Springfield. Look for her album to come out in '08.

And then there's this hilarious curio where a Beatles cover band do "Stairway To Heaven." It's pretty damn funny plus do they it so well- who'd have thought you could squeeze "Stairway" into 2 minutes and have it done by an Aussie cover band who slips in bits of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand"?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sibley Sounds of Christmas- a different kind of holiday music

You've already heard all the holiday songs in the same versions for weeks now and you're going crazy from them. I know that I am. It's enough to make you wish the holidays were over already. Once in a while though, some holiday music comes along that's different and actually appealing.

Sibler Media isn't the kind of place where you'd expect a holiday album but this avant/ambient label put out its second collection a year ago and is offering it up again now as a free download or a $15 CD-R. You get Handel and Big Star covered plus assorted post-rock, modern classical, ambient and musical oddities. A good gift for your hipster friends who're seeking something different this season.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Juno- Gen Z goddess

A funny movie about teen pregnancy? Yep, that's exactly what Juno is, plus it's got lots of heart and brains too. Not a lot of comedies can say that nowadays.

Ellen Page does a great job as the title character, a whip-smart/smart-ass high school teen who's been knocked up and now has to decide what to do with the baby. Not only does she have the tween language down pat but she delivers it in such a rapid-fire and hilarious way that sometimes you don't always catch her little digs, slang and references (this demands repeated watching obviously on video when it comes out).

Also in the cast are a bunch of actors from Fox TV's cult hit (now canceled of course) Arrested Development, including Jason Bateman and Michael Cera (also from Superbad, playing Juno's baby-daddy and would-be boyfriend). Bateman and Jennifer Garner ("Alias") play the perspective adoptive parents who Juno decides will take her baby when it's born and which she has mixed feelings about throughout the movie. Bateman is an ex-rocker who opened for the Melvins and now writes music for commercials while Garner is prim, proper and dying to be a mother. To the movie's credit, the former actually turns out to be a creep while the later is the more soulful one in the end. Also notable is J.K. Simmons as Juno's firm but supportive dad (also seen as Peter Parker's boss in the blockbuster Spiderman movies).

And for a music nut, there's also lots to love about the movie. The Stooges, Patti Smith and the Runaways are Juno's favorite bands (which is admirable and strange for a millennium teen) but she disses Diana Ross (powerful but evil like Juno's mythological namesake) and Sonic Youth ("it's just noise!" she complains to Bateman's character, who's a fan). Most of all, you get a batch of folkie Kimya Dawson's beautiful songs through the movie that set the right mood for this cute, funny movie, which is definitely one of the best ones I've seen in '07.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Art Blakey and Ruby Braff jazz up the holiday season

I know it's been a pretty fallow season for releases- the sheer amount of stuff coming out has dropped way down for one thing. I did find three nice Christmas albums though, which I wrote about at Time Out plus there were two fine jazz reissues that just came out today, both on the Mosaic Select label.

Originally released holiday time 40-plus tears ago, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers' Hard Bop is just that and a pretty forthright, gutsy title to boot. This represents the second edition of the band but this group included the great Jackie McLean on alto sax and he is absolutely magical here, blowing one sweet passage after another. Not that the leader was a slouch on his kit (he was one of the great ones) but I'd rank JM as the star of the show.

Trumpeter Ruby Braff was much more of a traditionalist, heaped in the swing sound. Coming out a year after Blakey's set ('57), his Hi Fi Salute to Bunny is a joyous, fun affair, tipping his hat to trumpeter Bunny Berigan. Other noted vets that RCA Victor hand-picked for this tribute include Pee Wee Russell, who trades off leads and solos with Braff. Listen to them go hot on "Smiling at Trouble" and then cool down nice and sweet on "I Can't Get Started." Also, you gotta love the "hi fi" signifier in the title (hey, it was a big deal for stereo buffs back then).

Monday, December 10, 2007

A lil taste of Led Zep '07

Couldn't make it to their one-off UK gig? Of course you knew that this was gonna make it to YouTube somehow and of course it did. The video's not bad and the audio leaves something to be desired but for you classic rock fans, it's still a nice lil glimpse of the show, with an 8-minute version of "Kasmir" (one of my favorite tunes of theirs. I'm betting that they do tour at some point but I hope that I'm not the only one that'll be satisfied for now for seeing Plant tour with Alison Krauss.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Tara Jane O'Neil- sung and illustrated

TJO has been quite the unique artist, not only indulging in her own solo work but also working with several bands and collaborating with other performers. Now in another interesting move, she's put together wings. strings. meridians. (Yeti Publishing), a picture book with her sweetly surreal (think Miro though she subtitles it "a blighted bestiary") drawings along with an accompanying CD. The music recalls prime Calexico (you know, that distant movie soundtrack sound) and is as nice and mysterious as her artwork, and recorded as sort of a travelogue in locales such as Paris and Istanbul. It's also limited edition so get it while you can.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Perfect Sound Forever- Dec 07/Jan 08 edition

Time for another edition of my zine so here's the goodies that are being offered up... In the latest issue of Perfect Sound Forever, you'll find (among other things):

(Not so) Sweet Providence Noise
"As Arab on Radar aren't your typical band, neither are their beginnings. Not only did the band members not know each other, but no one had even played in a band before, making their eventual output all the more impressive. It all began in 1994, when four of the members were applying for jobs at a submarine manufacturing company in Connecticut. None of them got the job, but the grueling hiring tests left them all as friends. They went out to a bar and at the end of the night decided to start a band."

"Nancy Elizabeth is Northern England's most beguiling new folk singer. With enchanting vocal harmonies, a delicately plucked harp, and a self-effacing gracious stage presence, she charmed the Leaf label into releasing the debut album that she battled to record over the course of a year."

"So what do you do when you're the vocalist in one of the great alternative acts of the nineties and your band folds? Lesser singers may well fade into obscurity, not so Mike Patton. With Faith No More out of the way, Mike could concentrate on all the ideas he had been storing up, this time by his own rules and completely free of discipline. The question was who would release this material? "

South African avant-protest
"Warrick Sony first came to public attention in the early 1980s in South Africa as the sole member of the Kalahari Surfers. They release 5 albums of politically radical music with numerous South African session musicians.Many of the albums where released under Chris Cutler's Recommended Records in London as it was too political and anti-apartheid for South Africa at the time.The musicians where credited only by first names in fear of the Apartheid police.The music only available to South Africans on import during the 1980s."

Classic rock producer supreme
"Even if you don't recognize Jimmy Miller's name, chances are that you've heard his work as a producer on many classic rock tracks over the years. His studio production on such classic rock albums as Mr. Fantasy, Let It Bleed, Blind Faith and Exile on Main Street illustrates that he was one of a handful of individuals, including Phil Spector and George Martin, who defined the sound of sixties and seventies rock & roll."

English Doom Metal masters
"Paradise Lost achieved very much in almost two decades of creativity, from defining the borders of early Doom and Death Metal to the spawning of the Gothic Metal. The band's trips to regions of electronic music show off its daring musical attitude."

"Perhaps otherwise best known for her role as 'Leather Tuscadero' on the TV show Happy Days, Suzi Quatro would be one of those artists I'd say. Originally, she set the template for every tough rocker chick, but now her influence is obscured, behind the Joan Jett, Runaways, Patti Smith, Blondie, the Go-Go's, Pat Benetar, riot grrls, Melissa Etheridge et al, who are the more obvious choices for visible women in rock and punk."

Progressive, political metal
"Back in '88, the group, famed for superior hard-rock and metal since its EP debut five years earlier, released Operation Mindcrime, its pinnacle statement artistically, a concept cycle revolving around the corruption of the U.S. government, its coterie of shadow cabals (CIA, FBI, NSA, etc.), and the subsequent need for anarchy."

Not quite Achy-Breaky
"Regardless of whether or not you agree with the superlatives presented here, the point of all this gunk is this: these songs are great because of what they embody. Painful, but never melodramatic, reflective, but never unaware of the present, alleviated, but never forgetful of the tribulations that came before. This is longing and desolation done right."

Aussie fashion, music and violence
"The Sharpie movement was a short-lived youth subculture that seemed to explode out of nowhere, in Melbourne, Australia, in late '72. I can still remember the moment when I first noticed the tougher kids at my school turning up in strange clothes and haircuts... It was a time of early glam-rock, kung-fu movies, Clockwork Orange. Australia was just about to ditch its conservative government and pull out of Vietnam."

Not just boring drum solos
"Great drummers set free from the responsibilities of group-playing revel in the sonic elbowroom, and their invention while working alone seems boundless. At the minimum, it is often greater than that displayed by whole groups: a good argument for individual freedom. The five albums and CD's I consider here, the four men who wrote and played them--John French, Andrew Cyrille, Famoudou Don Moye and Jerome Cooper--certainly don't exhaust the mode's possibilities, or even the inventiveness of these players. "

Part III of 'Sergovia's Mutant Brother'
"With the Oregan's debut on the ECM label, Towner began downplaying guitar more than had been the case at Vanguard, ending this survey's look at those years. The dials have now been reset, and we travel back to witness the fact that Ralph never really had any salad days, being well understood for his talent right from the very start. The years from 1968-1974 were previously covered and, as the time is still '74, we check in with The Lord Of The Keyboards, Keith Jarrett."

Reanimator of obscure soundtrack music
"Jonny Trunk is a purveyor of rare recordings and an expert on film and television music: whether collating coffee-table books full of far-out library music album artwork, rescuing master tapes from skips or presenting his soundtrack show on Resonance FM, Jonny is a man on a mission - to discover strange and beautiful lost music and channel it out into the world via his label, Trunk Records. "

2007: Year of Grumpiness
"It seems like more and more people are returning to the format every month. Recently, one of the leading retailers of new vinyl told me that sales were up 40% over last year. Countless audio companies, such as McIntosh and Creek, are set to introduce their first turntables ever. So, why am I so grumpy?... It just seems like there's more in-fighting in the world of analog than ever before."

RIP- a tribute
"It was the quintessential showbiz moment, and Porter Wagoner was playing right along. There he was, on stage at the Grand Ole Opry being feted for celebrating fifty years... as a member of country music's most venerated institution, being serenaded by Dolly Parton to the truly heart-tugging strains of her hit "I Will Always Love You," the song she wrote for Porter on the occasion of their partnership's dissolution three decades before. And Porter, the original rhinestone cowboy... was eating it up. "

We're always looking for good writers and/or ideas so let us know if you have anything to share. Happy holidays and we'll see you in '08 (when we'll have our best of '07 music lists!).

See you online,

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Hoodoo Love- blues, sex and magic

With August Wilson gone, there's not a lot of blues plays floating around now (Blind Lemon Blues should get revived) but the few that are out there are worth the time. Now at NYC's Cherry Lane Theatre is Hoodoo Love, a gut-wrenching tale of the old South. In the first few minutes, you're dragged into its tale of sex, magic and music with a curse, a sex scene and a train song. A rambling blues man (a self-proclaimed "bed-time baptizer of men") is haunted by his dead wife as he bounces from one town to the next, looking for a quick lay ("he's got a strong back... and it ain't from pickin' cotton"). His latest conquest looks to put a mojo hex on him to ground him by her side but they each get more than they bargained for, including a horrific encounter with a relation and a dramatically drawn-out, deadly game of chance. Set in the Mississippi in the Depression-era where Robert Johnson and Ma Rainey are heroes and dirt is everywhere under the characters' feet and a sharecropper-like shack serves as the sole setting, it's a harrowing tale that could use more music (only about six songs in its two-hours-plus time) and if you're squeamish about the N word, you'll hear it more than in a gangsta song but that wasn't likely too unusual for the time and setting. It's a good night out for off-Broadway for sure and best to catch it now since there's only 7 more performances.