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)
Small scale wartime espionage flick. Decent, but a bit laboured.
15th Jul 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Sub Roland Emmerich swill, with Gerard Butler saving the world from crazy weather.
13th Jul 2018Read more 2 star reviews
Derivative but fun romp through 80s CIA drug and gun running.
12th Jul 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Brutally sincere, painfully thin yakuza flick. Jared Leto goes full Gaijin.
6th Jul 2018Read more 2 star reviews
Huge misfire from Tomas Alfredson, with a multitude of bizarre choices. Like a bad 80's VHS rental.
6th Jul 2018Read more 1.5 star reviews
Brutally violent, post-Tarantino western. It’s all a bit mechanical.
2nd Jun 2018Read more 3 star reviews
A Star Wars Story
Reasonable, forgettable addition. Overfilling that mysterious back story.
1st Jun 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Lazy double-crossing spy drama, directed with a certain amount of swagger.
24th May 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Stylish, incredibly depressing portrait of life on the margins.
12th May 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Minimally written and confidently directed, with a brutally violent third act… https://t.co/Vm7dMUrd3i.
4th May 2018Read more star reviews
Unofficial sequel to The Last Detail. Surprisingly slight effort from Linklater.
29th Apr 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Another tired entry, trotting out the same old tropes, plus new nonsensical gibberish.
13th Apr 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
The Last Jedi
Every moment is undermined by a gag and the few serious scenes are sloppily handled.
13th Apr 2018Read more 2 star reviews
A third crack at Spider-man. Fun-ish, but it’s zero-stakes, zero-jeopardy. Bit smug too.
31st Mar 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Another garish super-hero flick. Slightly above average, mainly by being more old-fashioned.
30th Mar 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Overly dry, eccentric western. Jarmuschian overtones.
16th Mar 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Incredible, tense, original thriller. A western with snowmobiles.
14th Mar 2018Read more 4 star reviews
Career retrospective doc that keeps it fun and doesn’t outstay it’s welcome.
11th Mar 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Blockbuster-by-numbers as Universal clumsily attempt to build a franchise.
24th Feb 2018Read more 2 star reviews
The Story of Mudhoney
Unsurprising history run-down, enlivened by the band’s ferociously DIY attitude.
21st Feb 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Some good ideas, buried by shambolic direction and storytelling.
20th Feb 2018Read more 2 star reviews
Intense, eerie thriller that’s surprisingly straightforward and a little old-fashioned.
30th Jan 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Disappointingly slow, underdeveloped and literal monster metaphor from Nacho Vigalondo.
27th Jan 2018Read more 2.5 star reviews
Long, but moving and stylishly directed period drama. Fantastic cinematography.
15th Jan 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Grown-up superhero flick. Handled far better than most, but ridiculously violent.
6th Jan 2018Read more 3.5 star reviews
Slated by the critics, this is a stylish, slight, small movie - with two massive stars in it.
6th Jan 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Fun, original take on an otherwise ageing property. Apocalypse Now meets Watchmen.
5th Jan 2018Read more 3 star reviews
Clunky Brit thriller that telegraphs every one of its sub-Hitchcockian twists, despite the decent premise.
3rd Jan 2018Read more 2 star reviews
Stylish, fast-paced, amusing antidote to the endless stream of generic superhero movies.
27th Dec 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Disappointingly slight award winner, that doesn’t find its stride until 10 minutes from the end.
27th Dec 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Left-field genre mash-up that pitches itself just right. Solid action, good humour. Thoroughly enjoyable.
25th Dec 2017Read more 4 star reviews
Bleak, real-time journey through the realities of living on benefits.
25th Dec 2017Read more 3 star reviews
The Last Jedi
Shambolic sequel that squanders the promising set up from JJ, plus 40 year… https://t.co/SdXpv8B5hj.
21st Dec 2017Read more star reviews
The Extra Terrestial
Kids on BMXs sticking it to the man. What could be better.
19th Dec 2017Read more 5 star reviews
Lifeless sci-fi horror. Gravity meets Piranha.
12th Dec 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Disappointingly flat and uninsightful documentary from Michael Almerayda.
5th Dec 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Amiable, zero jeopardy comedy from Soderbergh. Slightly unsure what it’s trying to be.
2nd Dec 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Another thoughtful biographical effort from Mike Mills. Stylish but a little long and sprawling.
25th Nov 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Stylish, but utterly nonsensical drivel. Knowing anything about the game might vaguely help.
24th Nov 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Bland, predictable potboiler that could have been written, directed and acted by a computer.
18th Nov 2017Read more 2 star reviews
Stylish, touching movie. Nicely acted if a little slow.
12th Nov 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Historical engaging, but languidly edited thriller surrounding the 1980 Iranian Embassy siege.
5th Nov 2017Read more 3 star reviews
Intense, mournful coming-of-age drama. Very stylish and operatic. Terrence Mallick via John Singleton.
21st Oct 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Intricately plotted, but seamlessly crafted into a lighthearted modern classic.
20th Oct 2017Read more 5 star reviews
Belated sequel that remixes the original with some success, but the nostalgia runs a little thin.
15th Oct 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
A Beautiful Mind meets the A-Team. Convoluted actioner that doesn’t transcend its premise.
11th Oct 2017Read more 2.5 star reviews
Solid, uplifting biopic. Well structured with moments of real tension despite the inevitable ending. And 91m.
11th Oct 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Good visuals, nice music, flabby storytelling and a confusing plot. A worthy sequel.
6th Oct 2017Read more 3.5 star reviews
Convoluted, charmless sequel. A rare misfire from Pixar.
17th Sep 2017Read more 2 star reviews