This year for an end-of-year list, I felt like doing something different. It's not that there weren't any great albums made this year, just the opposite really. I listened to a number of records that were exciting, interesting, challenging, fun, Loud. Most by new bands but there were also a few by old-time favorites (although I didn't hear Radiohead's new album until well after the fact). It was more that the music I found myself coming back to and was most excited about was older music. It may have been records that were made a couple of years ago or it may have been records from 30 years ago. It was really a year of musical discovery for me, hearing for the first time cult artists like Terry Riley and Mission of Burma, and discovering new favorites in each. All of these albums I heard for the first time this year, that was my criteria, and I was equal parts blown away by what I heard and embarrassed that it had taken so long for me to find them. So here, in no particular order, is my list of favorite discoveries of 2007:
Boredoms - Vision Creation Newsun(1999)
A wonderful, Japanese noise rock take on blissed out, new-age Krautrock. Swirling and tribal, in the same vein as their also fantastic Super AE, but with less pockets of blistering noise and a little more groove.
The Clean - Anthology (1970s-1990s)
New Zealand indie poppers from the early 80's. Clean guitars, acoustic strums, 4/4 drum beats, quasi-English accents. It's pretty much Flight of the Conchords meets The Feelies. Or as Amazon.com says,"psychedelic experimentalism".
Chrome - The Visitation (1976)
It is a fairly honest and accurate description to say this band sounds a bit like Can, the Stooges and early Santana jamming in the basement, with a bit of bizarro sound effects and electronics thrown in for kicks. Sounds a bit ahead of it's time, or outside of time altogether. Cover art is awesome too.
Jim Ford - The Sounds of our Time
Rediscovered 70's Country R&B dude. Jim Ford's music is something like a white Otis Redding who isn't afraid of a little twang.
Bad Brain - Rock For Light (1983)
Hands down one of the most powerful bands of our lifetime in terms of sheer force. A group of young black men with impressive musical chops from Washington D.C. who decide to ditch their jazz band in order to become the most badass Hardcore Punk group in the entire world world. This is their second LP which is only marginally more produced than their debut. The rastafarianism is still in force too.
Pylon - Gyrate (1980)
Mission of Burma - Signals, Calls, Marches (1981)
The unqualified-classic, debut EP. Incredibly I had managed to avoid hearing this until now, which is too bad because I would have really loved it when I was 15. Snotty and arty and fairly near perfect.
Terry Riley - Poppy Nogood And The Phantom Band "All Night Flight" Vol. 1 (1968)Saxophone tape loops.
Tall Dwarfs - 3 EPs (1994)New Zealand weirdo-pop. This collection represents their early work from the 80's. A bit like Neutral Milk Hotel.
Jay Reatard - Blood Visions (2006)