THESE ARE A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE THINGS 2007

PUNK ROCK MOMENT OF THE YEAR

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The Monks Of Burma Rise Up

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ALBUMS WE LOVED

Radiohead
In Rainbows
radiohead_in_rainbows2_1.jpg As fine a Radiohead album as I have ever heard. The devoted will be immensely gratified, and new converts will be drawn in by all the buzz and what proves to be bewitchingly ethereal, yet altogether visceral, rock music. The 10-song In Rainbows collapses into one tidy package all the Radioheads we have come to know: folk-rock Radiohead, electronica Radiohead, alt-rock Radiohead, prog-rock Radiohead. Not only does the band seem to nail the shifting ways those genres contribute to each song, they also strike just the right balance of experimentation and accessibility, pushing the envelope while remaining eminently listenable. The beauty is challenging, but not inhospitable. And the recording itself, engineered by longtime producer Nigel Godrich, is an exquisite artifact of sound, right up there with Brian Eno’s greatest ambient moments. — JONATHAN VALANIA

Panda Bear
Person Pitch
PersonPitchCover300_1.jpg I knew right away that I was listening to one of the year’s best records as soon as “Comfy in Nautica”, the first track from Person Pitch, came through my headphones. The hustle and bustle of the real world ebbed away as Noah Lennox told me to “try to remember always, just to have a good time!” The song was all-consuming, and with each verse I was further lulled in to a trance-like state of Beach Boys-meets-Animal Collective bliss. What made Person Pitch such an outstanding album wasn’t just a few standout tracks or lyrics, but rather that it was an entirely absorbing experience. Each song bleeds seamlessly in to the next, an impressive feat for an album with multiple 12-minute tracks. Years from now, Person Pitch won’t simply be a record that tracks are plucked from for a playlist. I think it will remain a listening odyssey in the vein of Dark Side of the Moon and Tommy. It’s that good. — MICHAEL DONOVAN

M.I.A.
Kala
kala_cover_1.jpg M.I.A. is my idol and I ain’t got no shame in saying so. The lady is badass, an inventor and visionary like David Byrne, only without all the coke (presumably). She’s got such a fly/dope/deaf/dumb/funky/fresh sense of style it makes even Prince look like old, wrinkled, fried chopped liver. And then of course there’s her music. Kala is the no-brainer of the year. People were already shitting all over themselves with the arrival of Arular, but Kala is so fearless in comparison it makes her first album sound timid, even submissive. That’s saying a lot, considering how beat-heavy and fervent most her songs are, which is proof that Kala is a successful step up and out of the artist’s creative box. More importantly, not all the tracks on the album are catchy, made-for-dancing hipsters music. There is that, but other songs are straight, raw and awkward-sounding, which ensures that this urban queen won’t flop by coming out with the same album over and over again (hello, Kings of Leon). And then of course there’s that one very catchy little ditty that’s got DJs and people in sweat bands everywhere thanking her for the coolest song of the year. The fact that “Paper Planes” samples The Clash’s “Straight to Hell” is reason enough for this album to be on anyone’s 2007 list. — EVA LIAO

White Stripes
Icky Thump
whitestripesICKYTHUMPcover_1.jpg You may not be able to see the corona of rock god electricity that shoots out of just about any noisemaker Jack White touches, but by gawd you will feel it, man or woman, in places not often mentioned in polite society. Meanwhile Meg’s torqued drum thwackery stomps like John Bonham chasing a shark-filled groupie through a China shop. All of which is about as subtle as Godzilla in downtown Tokyo and exactly ten times as thrilling. It is through the application of such secular sorcery that the Whites have managed a fairly remarkable trick: Simultaneously saving the blues from extinction-by-irrelevance and pounding out the dents inflicted by a thousand whiteboy bar-band Blues Hammers. Of rockist pedigree, their methods are similar to those of that last great savior of the blooze, Led Zeppelin: Put the paddles on the chest of the corpse and zap it back to life with enough High Voltage to fry a convict, and then forge the signature on the release form and take it back to the country crossroads, from whence it came.–JONATHAN VALANIA

Arcade Fire
Neon Bible
NEON_BIBLECROPPED_1.jpgFaced with the sizeable task of topping 2004’s incredible Funeral, Win Butler and his merry troupe did not succeed on Neon Bible — but they came pretty damn close. Tracks like “Keep the Car Running” and “The Well and the Lighthouse” almost match the staggering sound of the Canadian band’s full-length debut, and the opening of “Intervention” might be one of the most musically triumphant moments of the year. Butler seems to have received a slight ego boost from being compared to Springsteen, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. “No Cars Go” is even better four years after its initial release (on the band’s self-titled EP) thanks to the frontman’s bolstered intensity. Though there’s no “Wake Up” or “Rebellion (Lies)” here, Neon Bible beats the sophomore slump like it owes ’em money. A LOT of money. — MICHAEL DONOVAN

LCD Soundsystem
Sound of Silver
lcdsos_1.jpgIt’s probably appropriate that a record about living in the space between familiarity and the unknown should provoke such conflicted feelings, even among people who count Sound of Silver friend, of Murphy’s songwriting. “There’s something sham-like about the way he handles his message. I can’t decide if it’s good or bad.” Murphy seems more in touch with, and unashamed of, the conflicted feelings contained within even the most secure relationship, whether it be with people (“All My Friends”) or your hometown (“New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down”), but whether that makes him a among their ’07 favorites. Is it fitting, or just kind of annoying, that a song like “Someone Great,” in which James Murphy literally mourns a former lover, should contain so many, and so obvious, nods to Kraftwerk? Or is that part of the point? “North American Scum” may be a most articulate and self-aware expression of the current American zeitgeist, but does it really come to terms with anything? “I have problems with his general rhetorical and cultural situation,” says a rock-crit badass or a wuss is frankly, anyone’s guess. — AMY Z. QUINN

Kanye West
Graduation
graduation_kanye_west_1.pngWest’s latest can best be described in the words of the oft-outspoken auteur himself as “stadium music.” Every track on West’s third and most concise offering to date is packed with potential singles, all backed by booming backdrops that could rock an arena or a boom box near you. Unlike his previous offerings, West forgoes some of the conscious leanings that peppered The College Dropout and Late Registration in exchange for grandiose tales of success and his own greatness. Nonetheless, it works, as the album boasts three of the strongest singles of 2007 in “Stronger,” “Good Life,” and “Can’t Tell Me Nothing.” Void of dull moments, Graduation even makes the irreverent catchy, as in the acquired appreciation of “Drunk and Hot Girls.” The feel of the album teeters between retro and futuristic, and at a time where everything new borrows from the old, it’s West ingenuity and ability to merge musical genres and eras that help him find his way to the head of the 2007 class with no sign of relinquishing his position any time soon. — MIKE COSTA

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
100 Days, 100 Nights
sharonjones100nights_4.jpgI wish I could carry Sharon Jones in my purse with me and pull her out the next time someone gives me shit. She’s the best kind of singer, the kind that makes you feel instantly cooler, stronger, more glamorous and louder than in real life. Perfect for dancing away your end-of-the-year-fuckery blues. She survived three decades in the music business and even a stint as a corrections officer (which might be the slightly better job in comparison) and lived to tell. Just like the late, great Lynn Collins on “Think,” she sings like she’s lived and is still living, a lover and a fighter all rolled into one — You better think! And her band, The Dap-Kings, are her JB’s. Her recent show at the TLA, backed hip-to-hip, was like an old-school soul revue, except with slightly more old, white people (myself included). Now if only Ms. Jones could give Amy Winehouse a good talking-to. — SARA SHERR

Common
Finding Forever
common_findingforever_1.jpg Common not only “found forever” with his ’07 offering, but he also found his mojo. After the critically acclaimed Be, Common entered the year with high expectations for a follow-up. After raising his Q rating with an appearance in Smoking Aces, and holding down the hip-hop community as the lone rap artist participating in Oprah’s town hall “meeting” on the Don Imus controversy, Common released his most commercially successful album to date, selling 155,000 copies its first week out and debuted as Number 1 on the Billboard 200. The album was a welcome extension of Be, and further solidified Common as one of the most consistent lyricists in the game. He continued to gel with Kanye West’s soulful production, and with further assistance from J Dilla, Will.I.Am and others, Common took on topics such as black nationalism, self-loathing, and the plight of urban communities. He also made sure to let the ladies know he’s not just a rapper, but also a Hollywood heartthrob with his very own SAG card. With strong cameos from Dwele, D’Angelo, and Bilal, and a guest spot by Kanye, Common carries Finding Forever in his own vision and finds himself with a consensus pick as a top album of the year. — MIKE COSTA

Various Artists
I’m Not There Soundtrack
I_m_Not_There2_1.jpgThe outlining argument against this album is that no one can do Dylan like Dylan (that, and Eddie Vedder drives people mad on the opening track) and you can’t just round up 20 kiddies to do a grown man’s job. Rebuttal: You old-timers need to stop hatin’. Part of Dylan’s appeal is that his music is the people’s music, accessible and inspiring, so it makes sense that modern musicians such as The Black Keys, John Doe, Karen O, Iron and Wine (the list goes on and on) should pay tribute. We know the songs on the album are great to begin with, but the modern versions are refreshing! In listening to this album, I want to go back to the originals, not because the covers aren’t up to par, but because the creative contrasts between the songs are exciting. Personally, I nearly pissed myself when I saw the all star line-up on this double-disc CD (Sonic Youth, Jeff Tweedy, Nels Cline, Tom Verlaine, Cat Power, Steven Malkmus) never imagining in my wildest dreams that my favorite artists would come together to pay tribute to another all-time favorite. So far, I’ve played this album everywhere — at parties, in the shower, during make-out sessions on the couch, traveling to Japan — it really is the perfect compilation of new and old, the familiar with unfamiliar. And if you’re like me and thought the film itself was amazing, the soundtrack is the best way to rehash those brilliant images of Cate Blanchett until the movie comes out on DVD. — EVA LIAO

Talib Kweli
Eardrum
talibkwelieardrum_1.jpg Talib Kweli has long been regarded as one of hip-hop’s most prolific lyricists, but the knock on him has largely been based on his production selection. With the exception of his work with Hi-Tek on his solo debut, Reflection Eternal, Kweli has struggled with compiling a complete album that consistently delivers from opening to close. Eardrum should go a long way to silencing those critics, and not only serves as Kweli’s finest work sans Hi-Tek to date, but also stands as one of the finest albums of 2007. The breadth of the album is expansive as Kweli tackles heavy topics such as religion, proper nutrition, and politics. There are of course, plenty of battle rhyme boasts and lighter fare to be had, as Kweli muses on society’s infatuation with the “club life” and takes aim at the fairer sex with “In The Mood” and “Hot Thing.” The latter, backed by Will.I.Am production, spawned an hp inspired video that ranks among the best clips of the year. The beauty of Eardrum is in Kweli’s willingness to expand his boundaries (see the down south unexpected collabo of the year with UGK, “Country Cousins”) while remaining true to his core (see Kweli trading battle tested barbs with Blacksmith signee Jean Grae on “Say Something”). His lyrics are as sharp as ever, and with stepped up production, Eardrum registers as a top-flight album and one of the best of ’07. — MICHAEL COSTA

The Mekons
Natural
MEKONSNatural_1.jpgThere’s a lot I’ve always liked about The Mekons, but nothing more than the Honky Tonkin’ album. Like many music fans circa 1985, I perked up with their cockeyed take on Americana, beginning with Fear and Whiskey. By 1987’s Honky Tonkin’ , with The Clash long gone and Joe Strummer in his wilderness years, The Mekons would do. Shortly after adopting the band as one of my own, they went their own way once more, losing me with Rock ‘n Roll. “You of all people, Ed,” friends said, “should like this album! What gives?” Loud guitars and sloppy cowboy chords devoid of driving riffs obscured what I liked about the band. That sloppy-drunk comrades in arms aspect of the band went unchecked. I had my own friends for sloppy, drunken hugs. I wanted to hear something that took me somewhere I don’t tend to get to on my own. This past year’s Natural, on which the band put aside its raunchy, cheap guitars in favor of mostly acoustic instruments was my favorite album of the year. “You of all people, Ed,” friends remarked, “should hate this album.” I love it! It reminds me of the deep cuts from Sandinista, not the tasteful, sober unplugged album my friends might have imagined. For the first time since those mid-80s albums I feel like I’ve been let in on the band’s world. I’m getting buzzed on a couch in Jon Langford’s living room, not trying to shout over the din of a crowded bar. — ED KING

 

Dr. Dog
We All Belong
dr_Dog_We_All_Belong_1.jpg Dr Dog’s fourth album, “We All Belong” is a winner in that it provides fuel for the tempestuous fire that is the band’s live show. The hometown hero’s 1960’s psychopop sound is amplified tenfold when they hit the stage, with their screaming riffs and psychedelic imagery creating a visceral explosion in person. During their November 11 appearance at the Fillmore, Dr. Dog showcased most of “We All Belong” and played well past midnight- a feat concertgoers are hard-pressed to find nowadays. Leadoff track “Old News”, though short, is probably the best here, effectively previewing what one can expect from the rest of the record. Though not a perfect album- harmonies on songs like “Weekend” may be a bit too similar to the Fab Four’s- it’s definitely one of the year’s better records. It sounds nice, it’s fun to listen to, and it translates well to the stage. You can’t really ask for more. — MICHAEL DONOVAN

 

Spoon
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Spoon_Ga_Ga_Ga_Ga_Ga_Merge_1.jpgBack when Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga came out, I compared “The Underdog” to a Billy Joel song, and meant it in the best possible way. At year’s end, after weeks with “The Ghost of You Lingers,” “Don’t You Evah” and the bass-tastic jitter-bop of “Finer Feelings,” I feel confident comparing Spoon’s latest album to one of Joel’s best, maybe The Stranger or Glass Houses. It isn’t just Britt Daniel’s voice, all those lilting o’s above carefully-placed piano, or the little surprising bursts of percussion, or the random flamenco guitar flourish, or even the three-minute friendliness of the tracks. The lyrics, even the bounciest singalongs among them, share the ability to convey that sense of a young man who may be angry, but is at least trying not to let that spoil anyone else’s fun — least of all, his own. — AZQ

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COKE ADDS LIFE: Amy Winehouse Vs. Sharon Jones

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BACK IN BLACK: Amy Winehouse photographed by Hedi Slim

Hard to split the exact difference between soul and funk — and for that matter the blues — without somebody getting their feelings hurt. Except to say that with funk, much like disco, it does require a certain degree of AmyWinehouse_1.jpgknowing the right moves and wearing the right clothes. With soul, I suppose, its universal and, I suspect, eternal appeal will be that it only asks that you have one — a soul, that is, and when an act like Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings fire it up, you respond in kind simply because you are alive, and as such you invariably hurt, because everybody hurts. That’s the blues. But tonight, you are here, and I am here, and we are all together. And that is worth celebrating — righteously so — because for this brief and shining moment, nothing can hurt us. That’s what soul music is. Either that or, gospel music wearing sexy underwear under its robes.

Sharon Jones would be the first to tell you, record executives have long told her that despite having pipes of gold, she was too short, too wide, and, come the ripe old age of 25, too old to fit the Whitney Houston cookie cutter, and thus consigned her to the B-list exile of part time jobs and night club gigs, through which she gamely trudged yeoman-like for years. Until now. The now being a year after Amy Winehouse made the world safe for gutsy, retro-soul with her break out hit , “Rehab”, from the Grammy-nominated Back To Black — for which she employed Sharon Jones’ backing band, The Dap Kings.DapKings.jpg Some have gone so far as to suggest that Amy Winehouse is the new Pat Boone — a blander, whiter face put on something considered to raw and black for white audiences to embrace en masse.

The only problem with that Internet meme is that — setting aside for second that Winehouse is exotic enough in appearance to be of indeterminate race to the casual observer — it completely ignores the charismatic power of the writing on Back To Black. “Rehab” is one of those songs that rings everyone’s bell. Nothing on Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings’ splendid 100 Days, 100 Nights manages that nearly impossible feat — despite Jones’ gutbucket authenticity and the Dap Kings’ evanescent hints of the Booker T’s MG’s, Smokey Robinson’s Miracles, James Brown Fabulous Flames and Otis Redding at his most bittersweet.

Songs like “Rehab” don’t come around often, and no matter what she puts up her nose or bang into her arms — annontated daily in the British tabloid in excruciating photographic detail — does not change the fundamental fact: she rang the bell. — JONATHAN VALANIA

THE GREATEST HIT FROM 2007 NOBODY HEARD

“Down In The Valley” by Broken West

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What it Feels Like When The Band You Love Hates You

BY JONATHAN VALANIA
We all have bands we hate, really hate-you know, with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns. You hate REM, I still hate Journey. There’s a lot of that going around. But how many people can say a band hates them? Tin-eared soundmen, people who jack the gear out of their van while they sleep, and the tiresome jokesters who still yell “Freebird!” – and that’s about it.

And when you narrow it down to people who are hated by their favorite bands, well, it’s a very elite club, my friend. Membership is pretty much down to me and Mark David Chapman, homicidal Beatles superfan. Misery usually loves company but I have no sympathy for my cohort-he killed John Lennon. Fuck him.

My crime? Well, I wrote this pretty candid piece about Wilco for Magnet back around the time of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Everything I wrote about-the band members forced to walk the plank, the messy divorce from Reprise and the handshake drugs that were bought downtown, as well as the fact that Wilco had became the Great American Band-eventually became a matter of public record, in the documentary I Am Trying To Break Your Heart and the frank interviews Jeff Tweedy gave in the wake of his rehab stint last year. I contend, your honor, that my only crime was writing an honest story about the band before they were accustomed to people doing so.

Be that as it may, Wilco hates me. I know-boo-hoo, right? Sure, journalism isn’t Friendster. It’s not my job to be buddies with the people I write about, but it kinda sucks when you happen to admire them.

Coupla years ago, I wrote a story about the Terror Dentist, aka Anand Rao, a 33-year-old Rittenhouse Square dentist and Wilco super-fan who was visited by the FBI after somebody, possibly a patient, made an anonymous tip. A few weeks before then-Attorney General John Ashcroft held one of his curiously timed be-very-afraid-terrorists-walk-among-us press conferences. One of the cold-blooded killers possibly hidingwilcoskybluesky_1.jpg under your bed or mine was named Adnan. And Rao’s first name was Anand. If that wasn’t suspicious enough, Anand is of Indian descent and, to a nearsighted or paranoid elderly patient, could pass for an Arab.

The whole thing ended happily, with the FBI agent asking Anand for a dental appointment. In the accompanying photo, Anand posed in his beloved Wilco shirt, purchased off eBay for a princely sum and rumored to have belonged to the drummer.

Somehow Wilco sees the story and links it on their website, for like the whole summer. At one point, their Web master got a hold of me, saying the band wanted to invite Anand to see them perform at Radio City Music Hall. Free tickets, backstage passes, the whole nine yards. We’d become friends by this point, and Anand thought it was only fair that he take me-or maybe I said that, I’m a little fuzzy. I definitely told him he couldn’t tell them who he was bringing because it might queer the deal.

So the big night rolls around, we stroll up to the box office at Radio City and … no tickets. Come back later, they say. The band hasn’t turned in the guest list yet. That’s odd, I think. It’s less than a half-hour to show time. We go out front and a couple people in line recognize Anand. “Aren’t you that Terror Dentist guy?”

Anand tells me he feels like a rockstar. With the clock dwindling, we agree to drop a $100 pair of scalper tickets just to be safe. We’re not going to come all this way and miss the show. As we head back inside, we check at the ticket booth one last time. No dice. We explain the whole Terror Dentist saga to this sweet old lady usher, she goes backstage, finds Wilco’s road manager, explains the deal, comes back with two tickets. Don’t worry about the passes, she says. Just go to the backstage door after the show.

Anandsepia.jpgCool, we think. We go inside, watch the show. How was it? It was fucking great. They’re my favorite band. What do you think I’m gonna say?

So after the show we knock on the backstage door. A smiling security guard opens the door and asks us if we’re here for the party. Yes, very much so, we say. He looks for our names on the list and when he can’t find them he stops smiling and slams the door in our faceS. Just then this guy walks up. British accent. Looks like he’s in the Strokes.

“Blimey,” he says. “You’re that Terror Dentist bloke, ain’t ya, mate?”

Again, rockstar moment for Anand. Turns out he’s Wilco’s road manager and he’s gonna get everything sorted. We follow him inside and up the elevator. He tells us he’s got to make preparations for the party downstairs, so he’s gonna escort us up to the band’s dressing room. “Wait till they see you!”

The elevator door opens up, and we’re deposited in the tiny hallway outside their dressing room, crowded with the band’s inner circle: manager, publicist, a few Nonesuch bigwigs. I turn around and I’m standing face to face with Jeff Tweedy. Last time I talked to him, he asked me to never call him again. Tweedy gives me the hairy eyeball and retreats into the dressing room and slams the door shut. Up walks Wilco’s manager, Tony Margherita, who kinda looks like his name sounds.

“I’m gonna take you guys to the party,” he says. We get on the elevator and head down, the door opens and we get out, you know, to go to the party. And then we realize we’re back at the backstage door and spin around to see the Tony Margherita still in the elevator as the doors close in our face. We’ve just been kicked to the curb. Anand was pissed. But me, I remember thinking I would die if I could come back new.

[Illustration by Alex Fine]

TRIBUTE: Porter Wagoner 1927-2007

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BY ED KING ROCK CONNOISSEUR My in-laws live in a rural part of Pennsylvania. They’re not what I’d call ‘country folk,’ but they live around more country folk than I ever met growing up in Port Richmond. Driving up their street, I always appreciate that ranch house with shutters in the shape of fiddles surrounded by musical notes. ‘That’s gotta be one serious country fan’s home!?’ I’d think to myself, but never shared the thought with anyone but my wife. Then one day, seemingly out of the blue, my father-in-law said, ‘Let’s take a walk. I want you to meet a neighbor. He’s a music fan like you. He’s got a lot of old albums for sale in his basement that I thought you might like.’

How sweet of my father-in-law! Little did he know I grew up associating country music with Hee-Haw and The Eagles, not liking the show nor the band, but in the last few years, I’d grown to the point where I now respected all musicians and music fans as brothers-in-arms, (OK, everyone but the pony-tailed fusion fans, I STILL hateporterwagonercover.jpg those guys). I was game for meeting the man with the fiddle-shaped shutters.

Turns out this older gentleman was a former country music DJ and promoter. As I flipped through bins of old records that, sadly, meant almost nothing to me, he told me tales of having booked the likes of a young Willie Nelson at a town fair in Central PA. ‘He was smokin’ those funny cigarettes the whole weekend. I didn’t know what he was smoking!’ His stories were light and, although 30 to 40 years old, retained a music lover’s enthusiasm and faith. Every few records through the stack he’d ask me if I wanted buy this one or that one. He’d tell me some tidbit about the artist’s contribution to the country music canon, but all I could see was a Brylcreem-wearing square in a bad suit. I couldn’t get my rock-and-roll mind around any of these albums. One artist looked goofier than the next.

My father-in-law also looked over my shoulder with anticipation, hoping I’d leave with something, anything that would help him better understand what motivates us music cats of all ages and genres. The heat was on, a transaction needed to be completed, so I bought a couple of Charlie Rich albums and listened to a few more stories about the likes of Porter Wagoner and other well-respected artists I knew so little about.

That was a few years ago, and to say I’ve learned a whole lot more about country music would be a lie, but I do know more about what I do and don’t like. Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame member Porter Wagoner, the man so crucial to Dolly Parton’s development (as an artist, wiseass!) that she wrote “I Will Always Love You’ about him, has a new album called Wagonmaster out on the very cool and artist-friendly Anti- label. By all accounts, Wagoner is a frail and very old man these days, but you wouldn’t know that from his strong, confident vocals, or the album’s down-to-earth production, or for that matter, his July 24th gig opening for White porterwagondolly.jpgStripes and Grinderman at Madison Square Garden.

The production and backing is courtesy of Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives. I like it when country music sounds like it was played live by old friends in a simple room with well-worn instruments. Wagonmaster has this feel in spades, and Wagoner’s plainspoken delivery on songs like “Be a Little Quieter,” “A Place to Hang My Hat,” and “A Fool Like Me” display all the enthusiasm and faith of my friend with the fiddle-shaped shutters. The song most likely to garner serious ink is “Committed to Parkview”, which was written for Wagoner by his friend Johnny Cash and never recorded [by Wagoner] until now. Beginning with one of many spoken-word introductions on the album, as if Wagoner cant get the old television variety show host out of his system, a verse slowly develops into an underneath-the-bottle, or whatever, report from a real-life sanitarium where both Wagoner and Cash spent some time. Unlike the sort of harrowing approach one would expect from Cash performing this song, however, Wagoner underplays the story with the sort of ease that I imagine has made fans feel comfortable dropping in on his treasure trove basement of country music riches lo these many years.

MORE ‘BEST OF LISTS’ AFTER THE JUMP

MICHAEL DONOVAN’s BEST OF 2007
Best Songs of 2007:

25. A Place to Bury Strangers- “Missing You”
24. The Clientele- “Here Comes the Phantom”
23. Architecture In Helsinki- “Red Turned White”
22. Les Savy Fav- “The Equestrian”
21. Modest Mouse- “Invisible”
20. The Fiery Furnaces- “The Philadelphia Grand Jury”
19. Okkervil River- “Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe”
18. Spoon- “The Underdog”
17. Minus the Bear- “Knights”
16. Smashing Pumpkins- “Tarantula”
15. Andrew Bird- “Heretics”
14. Animal Collective- “Peacebone”
13. The National- “Mistaken For Strangers”
12. Arcade Fire- “Intervention”
11. Panda Bear- “Bros”
10. Dan Deacon- “The Crystal Cat”
9. Sunset Rubdown- “The Mending of the Gown”
8. Radiohead- “15 Step”
7. Final Fantasy- “The Arctic Circle”
6. Jens Lekman- “And I Remember Every Kiss”
5. Black Kids- “Hit The Heartbreaks”
4. The Shins- “Sleeping Lessons”
3. Of Montreal- “Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse”
2. Kanye West- “Good Life”
1. M.I.A.- “Boyz”

Best Albums of 2007

10. Les Savy Fav- Let’s Stay Friends
9. Black Kids- Wizard of Ahhhs EP
8. Jens Lekman- Night Falls Over Kortedala
7. Arcade Fire- Neon Bible
6. Kanye West- Graduation
5. Panda Bear- Person Pitch
4. The Shins- Wincing the Night Away
3. Radiohead- In Rainbows
2. M.I.A.- Kala
1. of Montreal- Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?

Best Shows of 2007

5. Arcade Fire, May 10th, Orpheum Theater, Boston MA
4. The Hold Steady/Art Brut, October 23rd, Fillmore at the TLA, Philadelphia PA
3. The Decemberists/Grizzly Bear, July 16th, Central Park Summer Stage, NY
2. Girl Talk/Dan Deacon, September 17th, Starlight Ballroom, Philadelphia PA
1. M.I.A., December 1sr, Electric Factory, Philadelphia PA

AMY Z. QUINN’s BEST OF 2007
(Because like, numbered lists are a relic of an antiquated, oppressive critical paradigm which believes art can be contained by false quantification, man.)

* July 19: Gogol Bordello @ The Troc. All your sanity and wits, they all will vanish, I promise.
* April 20: TV On The Radio @ The Troc.
* Spoon, GaGaGaGaGa
* Dr. Dog, We All Belong
* Jan. 9 and April 22 , Patti Smith
* That day I stood outside my boy’s bedroom and watched him trying to play along with “Little Cream Soda” on his kiddie guitar.
* July 7: Fujiya and Miyagi, JB’s. Happy Sweaty Birthday to me!
* LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
* Over the course of the year, going from thinking Feist is talented but annoying to really enjoying The Reminder to thinking she’s talented and ubiquitous and annoying. Thanks, iPod commercials!
* Sea Wolf, Leaves In The River
* Wilco, Sky Blue Sky
* May 4: Amy Winehouse @ The Electric Factory. Just before the wheels fell off the cart. She never did make it back to play the Tower.
* Jan. 29: As it turned out, he was the Internet celeb of ’07, but when we met him @ The Borgata, he was just Perez.

SARA SHERR’s BEST OF 2007
Albums (Alphabetical Order):
Lily Allen – Alright Still
Black Lips – Good Bad Not Evil
Bonde Do Role – With Lasers
The Go! Team – Proof of Youth
Sharon Jones – 100 Days, 100 Nights
LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
M.I.A. – Kala
Pipettes – We Are The Pipettes
Pissed Jeans – Hope For Men
Amy Winehouse

Singles:
Amerie – Gotta Work
Eve – Tambourine
The Fratellis – Chelsea Dagger
Wendy Ho – Bitch, I Stole Your Purse
Justice – D.A.N.C.E.
Avril Lavigne featuring Lil Mama – Girlfriend Remix
Lil Mama – Lip Gloss
Kylie Minogue – 2 Hearts
Rihana – Umbrella
Robyn – With Every Heartbeat

Reissues:
The Bongos – Drums Along The Hudson
Roky Erickson – You’re Gonna Miss Me
Fire Engines – Hungry Beat
Pylon – Gyrate Plus
Young Marble Giants – Colossal Youth & Collected Works

EVA LIAO’s BEST OF 2007
Top albums:
Joanna Newsome – Y’s
MIA- Kala
Justice- Cross
I’m Not There- Soundtrack
Sonic Youth- Daydream Nation (delux)
Radiohead- in rainbows
Wilco- sky blue sky

MIKE COSTA’S BEST OF 2007

Ten favorites (no particular order)

Albums:

Eardrum- Talib Kweli
Finding Forever- Common
Get Back- Little Brother
Graduation- Kanye West
American Gangster- Jay-Z

Singles:
1. Can’t tell Me Nothin’- Kanye West
2. International Player’s Anthem- UGK and Outkast
3. Um-barella- Rihanna Feat. Jay Z

YouTube Moments:
Diddy Picks his assistant via YouTube- youtube/com/spelmansweetie
Beyonce Takes a Fall- youtube.com/watch?v=IOXMDotSDYg

ED KING’S BEST OF 2007

The Mekons, Natural
Richard Lloyd, The Radiant Monkey
Catching up on old stuff I’d never heard of before, especially Jackie Leven, Control; The Ethiopiques series; Neu! Making peace with artists I’d previously not liked or liked very much: eg, Randy Newman, Jackson Browne, Funkadelic

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