2007 has been a great year for music. The internet is finally paying off, with dozens of bands hitting the global mainstream through grass roots word of mouth and diy publicity. But it's not just the new boys bringing out the good stuff, with most of my current favourites putting out new records.
Wilco's Sky Blue Sky was a mild disappointment next to A Ghost Is Born, but was still a great album and an even better live show - but while the Kings Of Leon's Because of the Times started the year on a high their live show cut things down to size. The Beastie Boys instrumental Mix Up was a low-key release, but they still delivered the goods live - way past expectations. Band of Horses surprise second album didn't quite hit the highs of Everything All Of The Time, but their live show was barnstorming - proving they've only just got started. Arcade Fire also followed up their debut with an outstanding second album, and Eddie Vedder went semi-solo with his soundtrack for Sean Penn's movie Into The Wild.
Radiohead's In Rainbows has to get a special mention for the world's biggest band's adoption of guerilla marketing, genuinely lighting a fire under the record industry like only a massive band 7 albums deep could do.
Led Zeppelin are the clear winner in terms of stars, but I think it's fair to say that Best Of's don't qualify, so my top five albums of 2007 are:
5. Blonde Redhead - 23
Probably the only surprise in my list - for me certainly - Blonde Redhead's 23 found the low-key indie band hitting their stride and turning in a richly rewarding album.
4. Electrelane - No Shouts, No Calls
After getting their instrumental callings out of the way with Axes, Electrelane returned and surpassed the sound of The Power Out for their fourth album.
3. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Spoon's sixth album matched it's conceptual title with a mix of complex songs and catchy pop. Nice to interview them too.
2. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
Daft Punk Is Playing At My House always struck me as catchy but superficial, and the lead single from LCD's second album - North American Scum - did little to change my mind. Repeat listening peeled back the layers however and Get Innocuous! or All My Friends are unbeatable. Their 45 minute megamix makes for a great bonus track too.
1. The National - Boxer
After finding their feet with third album Alligator, The National turned things up a notch with the superb Boxer. Eschewing the bombast of hits like Secret Meeting, the album is dark and rich - so layered that it takes several listens to even break open.
Some pretty good gigs this year too:
Wilco - Shepherd's Bush Empire
A long time coming. With their new squad Wilco could hardly be a better live band.
Beastie Boys - Brixton Academy
After the dismal 1999 Wembley show, the Beasties seemed destined to stay mainstream - but a self-initiated return to their roots has paid off nicely. Still got Time Time To Get Ill.
Black Mountain - Cargo
While still notably nostalgic in sound, these retro rockers blew the socks of Cargo with their forthcoming album In The Future. See next year's best-of list for more info.
Disturbia - Great modern spin on Rear Window
Bourne Ultimatum - A solid finale to the modern Bond
Knocked Up - Perfectly capturing the stupid antics of a group of friends.
Jesse James - Not up their with Mallik of Leone, but Andrew Dominick's second feature was a grand attempt.
Zodiac - Although long and flawed, David Fincher's 70's epic was an entertaining ride.
Curb Your Enthusiasm - Still cracking me up, six seasons in.
Flight Of The Conchords - Guaranteed entertainment from the Kiwi troubadors.
Entourage - Aspirational TV from Ari, Drama and the crew.
Kings of Leon live - While the 'seats' were the problem, this band seemed out of proportion for their sound and style.
Death Proof - the worst film I have possibly ever seen. Seriously.
20th Dec 2007 - Tumblr5
Wilco (The Album)
Surprisingly enjoyable plane movie, though it owes a lot to the magnificent Copland.
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Tension-free Bateman rom com. Lacking rom and com.
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Incredibly stylish and wannabe cerebral sci-fi, that’s ultimately a little thin.
19th Jul 2020Read more 3.5 star reviews
Underwhelming space drama that’s a bit too intimate and not very epic.
5th Jul 2020Read more 3.5 star reviews
Dire, tension-free postcode gang drama. Just add drama.
21st Jun 2020Read more 1 star reviews
Magnificent documentary, re-assembling the moon landing from beautifully remastered footage.
14th Jun 2020Read more 4 star reviews
The 8th slow-paced Tarantino pic. Literally half entertaining / boring.
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Entertaining Brit-com, though it’s a bit on-the-beaten-path for Danny Boyle.
13th Apr 2020Read more 3 star reviews
Mildly enjoyable, thoroughly forgettable Nick Hornby pic ...once you get past the contrived set up.
4th Apr 2020Read more 3 star reviews
Kid-friendly(ish), super fun superhero movie.
23rd Mar 2020Read more 3.5 star reviews
Impeccably realised remake, but it’s emotionally flat.
15th Mar 2020Read more 3 star reviews
Standard festival thriller, with some style and decent moments - but it’s all a bit thin.
10th Mar 2020Read more 3 star reviews
Surprisingly enjoyable, Guy Ritchie-fied Disney remake.
10th Mar 2020Read more 3.5 star reviews
Cookie cutter biography that could literally have been written from his Wikipedia page.
7th Mar 2020Read more 1.5 star reviews
Text book indie, literally days out of Sundance. Interesting until it gets a bit too wacky.
9th Feb 2020Read more 3 star reviews
Strong slice of 90s skate nostalgia. Slow and subtle.
8th Feb 2020Read more 3.5 star reviews
Considered character study that strays into pretentiousness here and there.
25th Jan 2020Read more 3 star reviews
Enthusiasticly directed sequence of unrelated musical set pieces.
31st Dec 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Yet another biggest-battle-yet, with more than a passing nod to BTTF2.
30th Dec 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Thoughtfully assembled montage doc.
30th Dec 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Decent origin story, with charm and some 90s nostalgia.
27th Dec 2019Read more 3 star reviews
The Rise of Skywalker
Freestyle bouillabaisse with all the ingredients, but no chef.
27th Dec 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Quintessential indie movie ...funded by Netflix. Great perfs, lovely camera work and solid direction.
22nd Dec 2019Read more 4 star reviews
Superior modern thriller. Smart script and accomplished direction.
15th Dec 2019Read more 4 star reviews
Long, slow, thoroughly enjoyable loose jam through Scorsese/DeNiro/Pacino/Pesci/Keitel’s greatest hits.
2nd Dec 2019Read more 4 star reviews
Batman via Scorsese, in impeccably art directed, neatly packaged origin story.
28th Nov 2019Read more 4 star reviews
Surprisingly strong sequel that gets going after a convoluted start.
24th Nov 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Casual drama from Clint Eastwood, with the man himself anchoring things through a charming turn.
16th Nov 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Luscious period drama. Beautifully put together - like Wolf Hall+.
3rd Nov 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Throw away Breaking Bad expansion piece with little tension or jeopardy.
13th Oct 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
Stylish but incoherent Cheney biopic, hampered by another one-note turn from Bale.
5th Oct 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Mind numbingingly basic biopic, saved by the nostalgia for the music and moments.
5th Oct 2019Read more 2 star reviews
Interesting doc following the lives of 3 teens becoming adults, tied together by skateboarding.
28th Sep 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Painful, occasionally uplifting viewing with a grief stricken central performance.
28th Sep 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Into the Spider-Verse
Stylish, trippy concept animated superhero flick with some great moments.
21st Sep 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Young adult upgrade, with just enough Conchords humour to keep it enjoyable.
22nd Aug 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
Decent Aussie surf drama, that nostalgically investigates the soul of surfing before losing its way a little.
14th Aug 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Somewhat unremarkable, but enjoyable music drama. Bit long.
13th Jul 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Predictably grim seaside coming-of-age indie. Decent enough, but you’ve seen it before
13th Jul 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Stylish sequel, hampered in places by some authentic 1960s pacing.
30th Jun 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Out-there kids fable with an old school Tim Burton vibe.
16th Jun 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Rock solid 90s style indie movie. Beautifully assembled at all levels.
31st May 2019Read more 4 star reviews
Fairly one-sided Police doc about the seemingly dislikeable trio.
7th May 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
Decent, but slightly muddled parenting indie.
28th Apr 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Forgettable re-imagining of a not totally unforgettable Disney classic.
27th Apr 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews
Solid stop-motion animation that’s light on plot, but high on charm.
12th Apr 2019Read more 2.5 star reviews
Surprisingly stylish sequel that drops the ball in classic straight-to-VHS style halfway through.
6th Apr 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Opaque Alaskan thriller from Jeremy Saulnier, with little regard for convention.
1st Apr 2019Read more 3 star reviews
Low key indie spin on Rambo, as a father and daughter try and live off grid.
28th Mar 2019Read more 3.5 star reviews