The Rest of the Best of 2007

Phew! Besides typical flight delays and stomach-turning turbulence, I had a wonderful time visting my family during the holidays in Peoria IL. Temperatures were frigid and there was snow on the ground for most of the trip. Before my girlfriend and I left for the airport, we attempted to have a good-hearted snowball fight but the snow turned to powder before we could throw it. If we had more time, we probably would have indulged ourselves in a little sledding or cross-country skiing in Bradley Park. But, there's always next year.

It's great to be back in the temperate landscape of Portland, OR. Wow, I never thought I would say those words in my human existence.

Hope everyone has enjoyed the Best of 2007 list so far. I don't know if people are too shy to respond, or if they just don't like posting comments, but there have been no comments for the first two parts of the list. I try to respond to any requests, comments, and criticisms that any of you might have. I would love to hear what you think about my list, whether you agree with it or not. I am interested to see your lists as well, so please indulge me here and don't be shy.

Without further ado, here's the rest of my Best of 2007 in a mammoth post. Enjoy!

11) Fred Anderson and Hamid Drake- From the River to the Ocean-

Fred Anderson and Hamid Drake collaborate with members of Town and Country and Tortoise(Josh Abrams and Jef Parker) to create a seamless blend of East Meets West with less emphasis on free jazz, and more on the melding of middle eastern styles with Meditations-era Coltrane. Simply astounding!

Fred Anderson and Hamid Drake- For Brother Thompson and From the River to the Ocean
From: From the River to the Ocean

Click here to buy this album

12)Nels Cline Singers- Draw Breath

Nels Cline Singers are actually an instrumental free jazz juggernaut (there's nary a singer to be found here). The slow burn dynamics of the opener "Caved-In Heart Blues" is absolutlely mesmerizing and "Attempted's" furious onslaught of distorted guitars features Cline attacking the strings like a madman with a machete. On the other end of the spectrum are the mellow ambient tracks "The Angel of Angels", "Recognize I" and "Recognize II" featuring lightly plucked acoustic guitars that feel like a warm embrace. Uncategorizable eclectic stylings from the master of free jazz guitar!

Nels Cline Singers-
Attempted and The Angel of Angels
From: Draw Breath

Click here to buy this album!

13) His Name is Alive- Sweet Earth Flower- Tribute to Marion Brown

Warn Defever of indie chameleons His Name is Alive has always been a eclectic cat, and he keeps pushing the boundaries of the His Name is Alive sound. This time he has enlisted the help of Afro-beat heavyweights Antibalas and NOMO to help him craft a stunning tribute to Marion Brown, one of the most innovative composers and saxophonists to traverse the world of free jazz in the late 60's. A graceful and uplifting record that juxtaposes dissonant soundscapes with mellow passages of transcendental beauty.

His Name is Alive- Juba Lee Brown and Capricorn Moon
From: Sweet Earth Flower- A Tribute to Marion Brown

Click here to buy this album!

14) Heliocentrics- Out There

Mind-blowing record that juxtaposes head-nodding beats, driving basslines and spacey electronics to create a stellar masterpiece of instrumental jazzy hip-hop electronica that is reminiscent of Amon Tobin and DJ Shadow jamming with a live jazz band.

Heliocentrics- Distant Star and Sirius B
From: Out There

Click here to buy this album

15)Antibalas- Security

Security is the fourth Antibalas album, and it has been skillfully co-produced by John McEntire of the highly influential 90's post-rock band Tortoise. The funky Fela-inspired workouts are here in spades, but McEntire adds more texture to their afro-beat sound by incorporating electronics and hip-hop rhythms into the mix. Another fantastic slice of afro-beat from the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra.

Antibalas- Filibuster XXX and I.C.E.
From: Security

Click here to buy this album!

16) Magik Markers- Boss

Magik Marker's second full length on Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace label contains a mind- melting stew of experimental noise and sexy blues swagger that demands repeated listens.

Magik Markers- Axis Mundi and Taste
From: Boss

Click here to buy this album

17) Tiny Vipers- Hands Across the Void

Seattle singer/songwriter Jesy Fortino's debut EP on Sub Pop is a hauntingly poetic freak-folk record that conjures up wasted days and empty lonely nights. This is the sound of isolation and restraint channeled through the voice of a wise-beyond-her-years 20 year old who has been haunted by this cruel world one too many times. Absolutely stunning debut!

Tiny Vipers- On This Side and Swastika
From: Hands Across the Void

Click here to buy this album!

18) Six Organs of Admittance- Shelter From the Ash

Ben Chasny conjures up feelings of loneliness and despair like no one else while channeling the spirit of Robbie Basho as he travels on the lonesome desert highway. Electrifying guitar solos that make the hair on your neck stand up, complement Chasny's plaintive acoustic guitar and yearning vocals. Put this one on late at night and disappear into the ether.

Six Organs of Admittance- Alone With the Alone and Strangled Road
From: Shelter From the Ash

Click here to buy this album!

19) Deerhoof- Friend Opportunity-

This record has more creative ideas jam-packed into 29 minutes than most bands have in their entire careeers. It is a stunningly creative tour de force of catchy vocal melodies, weird time signatures and spasmodic drumming. My head is still spinning!

Deerhoof- Perfect Me and +81
From: Friend Opportunity

Click here to buy this album

20) Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs- You Can't Buy a Gun When You're Crying

Holly Golightly has been a late discovery for me, but I guess it's better late than never. The latest album from Holly and Lawyer Dave on stand-up bass features an intoxicating blend of back-porch country, murder ballads and haunting blues that cuts straight to the bone.

Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs- You Can't Buy a Gun When You're Crying and Clean In Two
From: You Can't Buy a Gun If You're Crying

Click here to buy this album

21) Adrian Orange and Her Band-S/T

Adrian Orange's (AKA Thanksgiving) latest opus has a jazzy Ethiopiques sound with an explosive seventeen piece band igniting each track.

Adrian Orange- Then We Play and You're My Home
From: S/T

Click here to buy this album!

22) Old Time Relijun- Catharsis in Crisis

All the staples of old Time Relijun's previous albums such as squalling saxophones, propulsive drumming and wild banshee on crack vocals are in full effect here. Pere Ubu mixed with James Chance and the Contortions and an entire case of 100 proof whiskey.

Old Time Relijun- Indestructible Life and Liberation
From: Catharsis in Crisis

Click here to buy this album!

23) Evolutionary Jass Band- What's Lost

This is an incredibly cohesive concept album of Eastern european folk dirges recorded by avant garde ethno-jazz collective Evolutionary Jass Band. Incendiary fiddle, piano, brass and drums color the tracks like an old european movie in sepia tone.

Evolutionary Jass Band- Requiem for Andrew and This Is Not the End
From: What's Lost

Click here to buy this album!

24) Blitzen Trapper- Wild Mountain Nation

Blitzen Trapper's latest record is a wildly eclectic amalgamation of country, noise rock, mellow folk, southern classic rock and electronic. All caution is thrown to the wind as the band rocks out with reckless abandon on "Murder Babe" and then segues into the mellow campfire singalong "Country Caravan". Highly recommended!

Blitzen Trapper- Murder Babe and Country Caravan
From: Wild Mountain Nation

Click here to buy this album!

25)Ethan Rose- Spinning Pieces

Ethan Rose's makeshift experimental electronic music was commisioned by Portland filmmaker Gus Van Sant for his latest film Paranoid Park. Rose's homespun soundscapes are created by using different mechanical devices such as music boxes, carillions and player pianos to create an exceptional sound world for the flickering images in your head.

Ethan Rose- The Singing Tower
From: Spinning Pieces

Click here to buy this album!


robin said…
Thanks for this synopsis of your year in music!

Do you have a ZIP file for this collection like the other two?
CSchenked said…
Just letting you know Ive been slowly nibbling at your best of list/s and quite enjoying what youve included. Now Im just hoping the copy of Evolutionary Jass Band's album on vinyl is still sitting in the racks at my local record shop. Thanks!
Kevin said…

I was having trouble getting the file sharing services to work when I first posted this, so I didn't bother with putting up a zip file. If I had received more feedback on these posts, I would have no problem with uploading zip files for them. However, I will just focus my energy on new posts for now. Thanks for your interest, though!


Thanks for the comment! I am glad that you enjoyed some of my Best of 2007 picks. Hope you luck out and get your own copy of Evolutionary Jass Band. Where do you live, if you don't mind me asking? If you happen to be from Portland, you might check out Jackpot Records or Music Millennium.

Take care, Kevin
L said…
Evolutionary Jass Band - Hmmmm. About halfway thru Requiem, I decided I like it, in an odd way. I favor melodic music, and this qualifies, although it approaches 'irritating' but never crosses the line. Ultimately, it's a really good listen. Thanks for the discovery. - LD
Kevin said…
L- Thanks again for commenting! It seems like I'm chasing you around trying to let you know that the Aural Film Noir Excursion was reposted in November 2007.

Glad that you are digging the Evolutionary Jass Band. They are one of my favorite local bands in Portland. If you like them, you would definitely like Jef Brown's solo record- Change Has Gotta Come. It reminds me of spiritual free jazz from the late 60's but it isn't really dissonant. Check it out if you get a chance. It's on the Community Library label.

Cheers, Kevin

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