Last week on SVR we looked at some of 2007’s top female artists, so this week it seemed appropriate to offer props to some of the guys responsible for outstanding CDs this year. We’ll start with CD of the Year candidate The Good, the Bad & the Queen, fronted by former Blur and Gorillaz auteur Damon Albarn, who’s shaping up as one of the true geniuses of our age.
Next, another CD of the Year frontrunner. Graham Parker (an honorary Scrogue) has arguably been the greatest artist in rock for the longest period of time, with this year’s Don’t Tell Columbus giving him 5-star classics over 30 years apart. Here’s a live performance of his brilliant “Highway 66 Revisited” homage, the Bush-whacking “Stick to the Plan.”
Jangle pop legend Mitch Easter (you might know him as the former Let’s Active frontman, Robert Plant’s favorite guitarist, and producer of REM’s great early work) cranked out a fantastic new disc this year called Dynamico. It’s his first new release in nearly 20 years – hopefully we won’t have to wait this long for the next one.
If you saw Once, this year’s indie film surprise, then you’ll recognize Glen Hansard and “Falling Slowly.” If you didn’t see the movie, you really, really should.
Up next, who knew former Mott the Hoople front man Ian Hunter was still up and at it? Well, he is, and this year’s Shrunken Heads was just fantastic. Here’s he performs “Big Mouth” on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
Here’s a band that didn’t have a proper release out this year – only a promotional EP. But let me get the hype started for what I hope will be a 2008 CD of the Year campaign. This is thenewno2, and if that kid singing reminds you of someone, it might be his dad, George Harrison. Imagine a band that was sort of equal parts GH and Massive Attack (which isn’t so evident on this particluar track) and you’re getting into the right neighborhood for their overall sound.
I spend a lot of time lamenting that the world of “indie” music promises much but usually fails to deliver. In short, too many bands can’t write songs, can’t play their instruments, and nobody is willing to pony up for decent production. So they craft an ideology that fetishizes “low-fi authenticity.” Which is bullshit. However, some of these bands really do deliver, and here’s one of them – The National.
Here’s another one – Spoon, doing a song a lot of radio types seem to like (no doubt because it reminds them of Billy Joel). Trust me, though, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is a lot more than a gimmick record.
That’ll do it for this week, music fans. And remember to tip your DJ, because I am what I play…