I Am Literally Two Hundred Feet from What Will Be the Eventual Epicenter of New York Zombie-dom
I switched off from being a full-on critic to something closer to a critic-practitioner in 2007. Sure, I still have ideas about music, and they still escape through my fingertips. But now, I use notes more than words. Focusing on the performance aspect of the medium undoubtedly changed the way I interacted with music over the past year. I noticed statements a whole lot less than I did moods and tones, choices of palette and methods of execution. The records I actually felt the most this year might not have been the grandest movements they could have been. Instead, they were tiny moments with stunning attention to details, possessed with almost innate abilities to stretch minutes into days and carve out something worth living in – at least for me, anyway.
2007 was a year of miserable, excruciating downs, and sky-high peaks. Sadly, save for a newfound domesticity with the woman I love, the past six months have been pure numbing agent, a series of teeth kicks that make me realize how great not getting punched feels. Then again, we all have those moments. Thankfully, I had my escapes – the love, the home, the friends, the band, and a few records here and there. I can’t speak to 2007 being a terrible year for music. I hear that every year, and without fail I always find a couple dozen discs worth coming back to again and again. Sure, the consensus will dictate that indie homogenization held the floor this year. Though I disagree, it doesn’t really matter; chowderheads would still find obnoxiously boring records to champion in the absence of this year’s chosen saviors.
At any rate, here’s a list for you to scan as you kill time at work. As always, numbers are for the weak, so take them as they come. Enjoy!
Live, they were responsible for my second favorite use of Bel Biv Devoe’s “Posion” ever. Though it’s probably tough to make records that can actually follow-up such a vaunted honor, these two nailed it. Twice.
I used to like it a lot when a band I loved but very few of my friends seemed to care for delivered on a record in a big way. Now the lack of faith just bums me out. It’s probably some measure of what my high school chaplain felt when I told him I gave up Catholicism for Lent in 1996. Whatever. The Magik Markers are great, and we’ve been telling you that for a couple of years now.
While the films contained herein are pretty essential, this makes the list purely for containing the first original release of the insanely great Holy Mountain soundtrack. The sound of some hippie literally turning shit into gold - now with Don Cherry!
Ever since a little bald vegan ruined it for all of humanity, I generally can’t get into people messing with quality field recordings and archival sounds. Harnetty redeems that whole idea, though, presenting a pretty seamless exploration of some deep vaults while recontextualizing the sound of America’s past for a whole new generation.
While I never foolishly thought that Ethiopiques’ finest and a bunch of Dutch anarchists made strange bedfellows, I still never knew the partnered bliss could be so sweet. Silly me.
For those days when I wanted to fold myself into a box, attach a stamp, and see where I end up, this record was pretty essential. I’ve had a soft-spot for Hiorthoy’s low-key, down-tempoisms since the early aughts, and I’m glad to say it hasn’t really waned at all.
In which the one-time creator of some fine Andrew Chalk source material steps out on her own for a couple of sides of beautifully decaying piano pieces that easily match anything in the Faraway Press canon. So very beautiful.
A pretty stunning collection of field recordings Mario Andrade made in 1938 in an attempt to document the quickly disappearing sound of indigenous Brazil. Gone but not forgotten, these make a case for cultural preservation becoming an essential part of nation-building.
Lamps kind of work the same aesthetic that newjacks like Pissed Jeans and Clockcleaner do – abrasive songs that are about deceptively weird/simple minutiae, like looking for lost cats and stuff. I’m into that kind of thing.
That people keep harping on the fact that the singles are better is so much limp dick academic posturing. Great drug music is great drug music, and that’s really all that counts.
If American pop icons sounded anything like this, I could probably make through five minutes of Idol blather without wanting to stab myself in the neck with a screwdriver. Insane, constantly rollicking Syrian pop that’s every bit as forlorn as it is propulsive.
Absolutely brutal in its stark simplicity, this collection of 12” tracks is so grim at times it’s easy to forget how effortlessly it all moves.
It’s a pretty arrogant move to spend a whole CD mixing yourself over. I could never get away with that. Then again, I have no real tracks to mix. More power to the Chilean.
Just so you know, if you ever make a record with a fair amount of reverb and a ton of brilliant vocal harmonies, people are going to compare you to the Beach Boys constantly, even if your sound has more to do with Milton Nascimento and minimal techno. People are lazy, and I’m generally not into them.
I’ve always dug Nastasia’s voice, and White has been my favorite drummer since I was about 15 or 16. Actually, I saw dude at Main Drag a couple of months ago and nearly gooned. Seriously. Anyway, I’ve never really given either of these people a shout-out before, and they honestly deserve it this year more than they ever have before.
Ghost Box is and always has been quality, and this release from one of its co-founders is no different. A re-imagining of vintage horror movie and school-dazed film loop soundtracks, all done up in vivid synth Technicolor.
Out of the forests and into the cities – trading off the folk for more claustrophobic urban grit, this Finn went electric for her best album yet, conjuring images of a sweeter, less smack-addled Nico in the process.
Normally, I hate both Jersey and precocious wunderkinds, but in this instance a dork from that very state managed to crank out one of my favorite noise-pop-whatever-you-want-to-call-it records. I’m as shocked as you are.
A quiet, unassuming record of guitar and turntable meditations that was easily one of the year’s best sets of music for floating away.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Sly Stone hooks up with Link Wray in his three-track shack one day, and… Actually, I doubt anyone has heard that one before, which is probably why Ford’s lone LP slipped off into obscurity.
By Michael Crumsho