I hate Top 10 lists. And this year I got asked to do more than I ever had before. This magazine only wants jazz titles, that website wants singles. The Village Voice and Idolator are now both doing the Christgau Pazz & Jop styled lists, where you have 100 points to distribute among your top pics, which seems silly without Christgau's great, way verbose post-game analysis to go with it.
One problem with Top 10 lists is that the deadline is always before the end of the year, so anything that comes out during the second half of December (at best) doesn't stand a chance. Another problem is that I'm not organized enough to keep track of it all, so I end up forgetting things and feeling guilty. And then there's the other weights that hang on the list-makin - do I really want to put two records from the same label on, at the risk of ignoring something else? Was the new Prince record really that good, or am I just a sucker for anything he does?
The worst thing, of course is the whole horseraciness of it. I don't really know what were the best records of the year. There were just a lot of things I liked is all.
So here is my Top 10 Records That Didn't Make It On Any Other Lists list. They're no worse than the other records on my other lists. Some of them are even better. Or at least I guess maybe they are. This is just another list. Yeah. That's even better. My Ten More Records That Came Out in 2007 list, alphabetical by artist so as not to suggest any hierarchy of goodness.
Han Bennink - Amplified Trio (Treader)
Imagine being in a shoe box with mad Dutch drummer Han Bennink and the duo Spring Heel Jack. Now imagine it's a box for kid's shoes.
Eugene Chadbourne - Country Boobs (House of Chadula)
Dr. Chadbourne's catalog can be hard to keep up with, but this stands among his greats: multi-tracked madness, with covers of Cyndi Lauper and Roger Miller ("Dang Me" rewritten as "Saddamn Me") with his most reliable collaborator - daughter Molly - on guest vocals.
Nathan Hubbard - Blind Orchid (Accretions)
Yeah, a whole record of drum solos. Kinda. Multi-tracking, vocal percussion, samples, piano resonance and dub mixing make this, well, still a whole record of drum solos, but unpredictably so.
Magik Markers - Boss (Ecstatic Peace)
OK, Lee Ranaldo produced it for Thurston Moore's label and, yeah, compared to such classics as You Can't Fuck a Clock, it's pretty Sonic Youthy with an emphasis on songs and front-and-center sound. None of which makes it not good at all.
Phil Minton Quartet - Slur (Emanem)
Phil Minton's vocals have seemed to slip away more and more from being anything vocally in the last couple years. Not like the "it sounds like an instrument" cliche, but he merges so well with instruments (piano/sax/drums here) that he ... well, the truth is this record came out in May and I still haven't managed to put a finger on it. And I respect that.
Nicole Mitchell - Black Unstoppable (Delmark)
The record I've been wanting Nicole Mitchell to make. Smart, upbeat soul jazz with powerful vocals by Ugochi Nwaogwugwu.
The Residents - The Voice of Midnight (Mute)
A completely linear, coherent operetta by The Residents? With guest vocalists who sing like actors? Yup, and it's based on the same short story that inspired Tchaikovsky and Freud.
Martin Tetrault / Kid Koala - Phon-O-Victo (Victo)
Two turntablists in a battle of wits: Koala's hyperactivity tempered by Tetrault's sense of timing.
180 G's - The Music of Negativland as Performed by the 180 G's (Seeland)
Doing an a cappella record of Negativland's loopy tracks is brilliant enough, but they go beyond that to actually make it good.
The upside is that while I might not be able to narrow the best discs of the year down to 10 or 20, I am going to get a chance to try to condense it down to three hours. I'll be on the air Dec. 31, from 3 to 6 am, playing these and more as we put the year to bed.
EDIT: Playlist and archive for the Dec. 31 show can be seen and heard here.