Providence national pop + jazz picks: 2007 in review
A CRANKY CONFLUENCE: Les Savy Fav enjoy clutter but reach for the melodic brass ring.
It’s the first year a long time where I truly felt like I didn’t listen to enough music. How can we add a couple more hours to the day?
M.I.A. | Kala
The richest listening experience of 2007, made by a sexy agitpopster who isn’t happy until her brain is engaged and her body has its grind on. The revelatory global palette (Aboriginal kiddies, Bhangra disco, Nigerian MC, boomin’ bass galore) is put together with enough know-how to be daunting and delightful.
Against Me! | New Wave
The bluster that comes from singer Tom Gabel’s throat is as formal as it is passionate, making the band’s broadsides a tad stiff. But like a mix of the minutemen and the Reducers, this pithy little punk disc is powered by the kind of radically catchy guitar rock that Butch Vig has become expert in rendering.
Rilo Kiley | Under The Blacklight
Variety used to be a no-no in indieland — bands did one thing well and stuck with it. As Jenny Lewis and her LA buds moved toward the mainstream, they invested in the craft their perpetually inviting tunes demanded. From the backbeat grooves to the disco romps to the electro ditties, they all seem cut from the same cloth.
Kanye West | Graduation
Haughty is as haughty does. Hip-hop’s most reliable MC hasn’t given up on positioning himself as hip-hop’s most successful MC — you know, hitting the club with all that fresh shit and something crazy on his arm. But his bluster has oodles of creativity behind it, and it’s been a long time since any mic fiend dropped three home runs in a row. This is Kanye securing his hat trick.
Gogol Bordello | Super Taranta!
The giddy rampage that the gypsy renegades throw down has smarts and heart. Like the Mekons circa Fear & Whiskey or the Pogues circa Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash, their party music is full of social barbs and existential woes that wrap around each other as effectively as their fiddle and accordion do. Hats off to wild-eyed fervor of singer Eugene Hutz — an irresistible frontman.
Miranda Lambert | Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
The young Nashville singer comes on like Music City’s Courtney Love: splashing and stomping through tales of revenge and self-esteem anthems. The best part is her sense of humor — all those wild-ass antics, even the dangerous ones, find her with a smirk on her face . . . even when there’s a tear in her eye.
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