Sunday, February 03, 2008

2008? Already? (2007 faves)

Happy New Year and all that jazz. So I've been tardy with the blogging of late (again). Eh, whaddya gonna do. Anywayze, quite a few people have asked for my musical favourites from last year. Let's see if I can remember them.....

Top 'gee, I don't know, 3?' albums

1. Midnight Juggernauts - Dystopia

Midnight Juggernauts - Road to Recovery

2. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver

LCD Soundsystem - Time To Get Away

3. Pinback - Autumn of the Seraphs

Pinback - How We Breathe

Why 3? Well, that's because I looked at my iTunes and these are the albums I've played the most. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it dammit. Actually, it's more that the albums below were all of a similar standard and I couldn't really rank them (or be bothered to as it's now February, OK?)

The Juggers debut was a perfect mix of pop, emotion and beats (or as someone once said 'ELO meets Daft Punk') that stood out from the electro crowd. LCD were EVERYWHERE last year, and too bloody rightly. As for Pinback, a great follow up to Summer In Abbadon with Rob Crow's vocals sounding even more frantic and emotional than before (and his solo album was a cracker too) while Zach Smith's fretwork continued to provide the ballast that made Seraphs a mainstay on the stereo.

As for the rest? Well, these were the ones that stood repeated plays.

Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Radiohead - In Rainbows
Good Shoes - Good Shoes
Justice - Cross
Mirrored - Battles
Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer
Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
Panda Bear - Person Pitch
Burial - Untrue
Feist - The Reminder
Digitalism - Idealism
Kanye West - Graduation
PJ Harvey - White Chalk
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

A few words about the selection above? The Spoon album was 2 tracks short of being a career best (and sadly enough the Jon Brion track was the weakest one on it. Odd that). Good Shoes was the most refreshing 'indie boys with guitars and floppy haircuts' release I'd heard in a long time with clever songwriting and hooks by the bucketload. Burial's second album made me pine for two-step, yet was still as haunting as his first, and just as scary to listen too while walking home at 3am. Most hip hop in '07 was shite (sad but true). PJ's album was so bleak on the first spin that I had to stop it halfway through the last track as I couldn't handle it (well, it's not exactly music for a tube journey into work is it?). However, when I finally had the nerve to come back to it I found I just couldn't stop pressing play again to become immersed in such a haunting and fragile world. And Kanye? Not even Chris Martin could spoil that LP.

Top single of 2007

UGK featuring Outkast - International Players Anthem

Despite what I said above about the poor standard of hip hop in 2007, this track towered above everything else. Andre 3000's lazy rhyming at the track's start was on second glance a splendidly sweet and effortless cameo which left the three other rappers with plenty to aim for if they were to match it. Which of course they did with aplomb. Both Underground Kingz bump the beat while rhyming about the joys of pimpin', and the cautionary finale from Big Boi signs things off pefectly. Add to that a great sample from Willie Hutch, a bumping 808 beat that kicks in just after Andre passes the mic to Pimp C, and a great clip ('Why's he dressed like Rowdy Piper?') and this collab was easily the year's finest.

(And RIP Pimp C too. A damn shame)

Gigs gigs gigs.....the best 10 of 2007 (in order this time from top to bottom)

Daft Punk @ Wireless festival, Hyde Park
Sonic Youth performing Daydream Nation @ Koko
Arcade Fire and Patrick Wolf @ Brixton Academy
Pinback @ 229
The Jesus and Mary Chain @ Royal Festival Hall
Interpol @ Astoria
T-Model Ford @ The Spitz
Air @ Hammersmith Apollo
Shellac @ Koko
Murcof @ The Luminaire

Daft Punk were amazing. Simple as that. A visually stunning lightshow, a great setting with thousands going mental as the sun went down on a warm summer night, and of course the music (the finale of Together, Music Sounds Better With You and One More Time was just a wee bit special). Wonderful.

Can I go now?