Best of 2007

Here are the highlights of my listening, watching, and reading year:

New Stuff:

• Southern Culture on the SkidsCountrypolitan Favorites: ‘Skids covers album, songs by Wanda Jackson, Kinks, CCR, et al

• Mitch EasterDynamico: Could be a new Let’s Active album, minus the female vocals and plus more power chords

• Mick HarveyTwo of Diamonds: Dark balladry by Bad Seeds member

• High LlamasCan Cladders: More Brian Wilson meets Bossa Nova – the ‘Llamas best since Hawaii

• Brant Bjork & the Bros.Somero Sol: Stoner rock from surfers

• Junior SeniorHey Hey My My Yo Yo: B52s meets 60s bubblegum meets contemporary dance; every track is a little party

• His Name is AliveXmmer: Left-of-center pop by longstanding indie rockers

• MumGo Go Smear the Poison Ivy: Boards of Canada with more hooks 

*Woodjen ShipsWoodjen Ships: Like early Deep Purple with Spacemen 3 sitting in. 

Reissues, Compilations, Etc

• Anne BriggsThe Time Has Come: Breathtaking folk from 1971

• The ShoesDouble Exposure: Demos from Shoes albums Present Tense and Tongue Twister; some of the best Power Pop ever made

• Dwight Twilley BandSincerely/Twilley Don’t Mind: More of the best Power Pop ever made; Twilley Band’s first two albums, plus 4 excellent bonus tracks

• The ZombiesInto the Afterlife: Recordings made by Zombies members shortly after Odyssey and Oracle – a must-have for Zombies fans

• Neil YoungLive at Massey Hall: Solo Neil, on guitar and piano

• True WestHollywood Holiday Revisited: Debut EP + first LP by Paisley Undergrounders – like Television from the West Coast

• PylonGyrate +: Surf guitar meets art rock meets the Athens sound

• Gene Clark with Carla OlsonLive in Concert: Original Byrd and granddaddy of Gene playing live, near the end of his career and life

• The BongosDrums Along the Hudson: The bonus material is stupid, but it’s great to have the main album on CD

• Gram ParsonsGP Archives, Volume 1: Flying Burrito Bros. playing live as the opening act for Grateful Dead over two nights in San Francisco, 1969

Best Music DVD:

• All My Loving: British-made documentary from late 60s which makes the argument that the day’s pop stars were changing the world for the better. A little heavy-handed, but great live clips and interview segments of Donovan, Who, Hendrix, et al

Best Music Book:

• Riot on Sunset Strip by Domenic Priore: Contends that the music that came out of LA in the mid-to-late 60s was actually much better than what came out of San Francisco during those years, contrary to what critics and SF snobs have always said. Really gives a lasting impression of the scene on the Strip during its Mod/psychedelic heyday.

Best Non-Music DVD(s)

• Cult Camp Classics, Vol 1-4 (Sci-Fi Thrillers, Women in Peril, Terrorized Travelers, Historical Epics): Great cinematic camp fun, spread over 4 box sets containing 3 movies each. Joan Crawford plays a scientist trying to housebreak a cave creature; Lana Turner’s stepdaughter’s boyfriend slips her a hit of acid; a nerve-wracked family gets terrorized on the highway by a group of delinquents; the movie being parodied by Airplane!

Best Non-Music Book(s)

• Hard Case Crime series by Dorchester Publishing: Ongoing series of high-quality pulp novels, some from the 40s-70s, others by current writers. 5% are no good, 70% are good reads if not memorable, 25% are outstanding.

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