It is time once again to look back all nostalgic like on the year that is now passed us by. 2007 for me can best be summed up as a year of fail, but there was some things that were good. A few little shiny nuggets in a mine filled with jagged bits of pheglmy discardables that underwhelmed me right to my vary insides. You know, that type that makes you throw up a little in your mouth but still gives you the chance to sigh in open sense of its own mediocrity. So here is my list O wonder.
In case you didn’t know the ol’ J-man is quite the big music geek. I usually get the honour of providing the little bumshakers that open and interrupt our show as well as sit keenly in the background accentuating our awesomeness or lack there of. So in terms of albums that rocked here is my list:
- Justice – (Cross symbol thing) – This came out on Ed Banger Records and seriously rocked harder than most. They are a little French duo that brings a heavy rock aesthetic to electronic music that still pays homage at the alter of Daft Punk, whom they opened for on tour this summer. D.A.N.C.E. was also a kicking single they released that is also included here.
- MSTRKRFT – the Looks – from out of half of the burnt out Death From Above 1979 came these dynamos of remixes and one slab of 8 track bum bouncing greatness. The title track with its robotic voice and the singing girls all over great beats makes this well worth the listen.
- MIA – Kala – What can I say? She blows everyone’s world.
- Simian Mobile Disco – Atack Decay Sustain Release – these British DJs released probably the album title of the year that is also an all around great album. It has many different styles and many different ways of getting in your head and not going away. The track “Hustler” was one I had on repeat for a while.
- Sally Shapiro – Disco Romance – two Swedish office workers make an homage to Italo-disco that is heart wrenchingly wonderful.
- Glass Candy – I have heard a bunch of stuff from them from internet posts and they are fantastic. They make dark new wave that is catchy as well as bleak all at once. Track this one down and you will get instant indie kid cred for name dropping them at the next music blab around that you are at.
- LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver – DFA Records again rocked my world. Prinzhorn Dance school, Gucci Soundsystem and of course this disc; the godfather of them all.
- Arcade Fire – Neon Bible – A record you and I are still going to be talking about years and years in the future.
- Anything Stephen McBean does – From Pink Mountaintops to Jerk With a Bomb to Black Mountain, this guy kicks all kinds of ass. Each one of his bands provide a slightly different flavour and all the albums are always brilliant. He is from Vancouver too and I need someone local to obsess about now that the Organ has split up.
- Again this was the year of the blog and the online release as Radiohead released a full album in which they encouraged downloaders to pay for online through a donation system. Also online, MP3 blogs continued their stellar work of bringing to you great bands from the new, to the obscure, to the weird. Here are some links:
http://musicformaniacs.blogspot.com/ – weird, obscure, mash-ups, madness!
http://www.wfmu.org/365/index.shtml – WMFU’s attempt to unearth different lost sounds everyday for 365 days.
http://music.for-robots.com/ – Indie, techno, fun!
http://spikedcandy.blog-city.com/ – Euro pop from days of yore. Great French beat stuff!
http://www.fluxblog.org/ – New and up and coming sounds
http://www.20jazzfunkgreats.co.uk/wordpress/ – one of the coolest. They even had Davros on the front page for a while.
Talk about fail! I hada hard time thinking of anything that was more than mediocre this year. Pirates was meh, Harry Potter was OK, especially in IMAX, and Transformers was disgraceful (except for Optimus Prime’s voice!!!) Nevertheless, here is what I enjoyed.
- Blade Runner Final Cut 3.whatever
- Control – Not scifi but this biopic of Ian Curtis was gorgeous. Irma did a great review for this on our site.
- Paprika – visually stunning, and with a plot that explores a lot of the traditional Satoshi Kon awesomesness. You must see this.
and that is it… see… disappointing.
The writers strike is definitely one of the big TV and news stories of the year so it would be weird not mentioning it here. It has currently halted production on a lot of shows that are fantastic and I WANT THEM BACK!! Nevertheless, the writers are fighting wonderfully for money they deserve from online distribution that a lot of tv series are starting to actually realize as being an immensely popular avenue of distribution. Currently they don’t get anything. Strange, No? Good luck to them anyway!
Here are my picks:
- The Reaper – one of the best pilots out this season and with Kevin Smith’s backing this is a great show.
- Life on Mars – Scifi or not it was a great second and final season with awesome characters, excellent storytelling, and one heck of a conclusion.
- The IT Crowd – it 0wnz j00!! The guy who brought you Father Ted and the first season of this show about tech room losers in a big company tower was hilarity gold again.
- BSG – ’nuff said.
- Torchwood – because Captain Jack is the man
- Heroes – even if the writing is flying by the seat of its Levi’s pockets, and Hiro as a samurai in a alternate dimension were kind of meh, this was still one of the best and THE CLIFFHANGERS!!! AHHHH!!
Doctor Who unfortunately was a disappointment. Sure I liked it and there was some great episodes, but the new companion sucks. I hope she gets better FAST! I’ll still watch anyways because I love the Doctor.
Anime was definitely a massive year of fail, as chronicled here:
AND THAT WAS WRITTEN MONTHS AGO!!! Oh well there was still some good:
- Gurren Lagann: aka GL aka the manliest explosion of robots, awesomeness, camaraderie, super robots, drills peircing the heavens, and brotherhood ever packed into one show complete with the the coolest sunglasses, capes flapping in the heroic wind, and babes with guns. It literally made ever series this year bow down to it in humility. ON DVD soon or just sniff around online. It’s there.
- Code Geass – the twists and turns of young cast out half prince with the power to make you do anything he commands only once. Subversive, sociopathic, and I can’t wait for season 2 this spring!!!
- Haruhi Suzumiya: it was great last year and all the dvds are out in North America now so you can watch it in its proper broadcast order.
- Mushishi – biological fantasy of the highest order. It is available on DVD here and even the manga is episodically gorgeous. A friend of mine wrote a paper about how this series embodied the Japanese sense of aesthetic pauses for reflection and I think that sums a lot of it up in terms of how it works. It is not a big overarching action packed explosion, but a tranquil pause with the wonders of supernatural nature of fantasy.
- Paprika – I mentioned it above and I will mention it again. See it and see anything else of Satoshi Kon’s great works.
Just wanted to pause and reflect on Nintendo’s domination. They, like no other platform, have created a phenomenon that has produced ridiculous sales figures, massive shortages, and great systems, even if the Wii lacks a huge library of solid games. They have made games fun, innovative, and exciting, especially with the social interactivity that is built into each system. I was sitting with a friend at Sakura Con during the cosplay show and she had her DS on. The picto chatting and IMing that was going on in that one room was epic. It was a collective nerd love in of the highest order. Apart from that Guitar Hero is worth mentioning for its huge status that is has garnered as cultural phenomenon. Bars have dropped karaoke nights for Guitar Hero nights, South Park lampooned it recently, and it continued to be a fun and addictive way to enjoy great riffage.
- THE DMCA legislation continues to be one of the biggest as it greatly affects our way of life as digital peoples. I encourage everyone to head over to Michael Geist’s website and get involved. It is at http://www.digital-copyright.ca and is well worth a read. So far legislation has not been enacted, but that was because of the rallying cry that forced Jim Prentice, the Industry Minister, to pull it. Next year however it may rear its ugly head again so I encourage everyone to keep up the pressure.
- The Environment as an issue has gone mainstream. As an issue it even contributed to the downfall of The Australian PM John Howard, who lacked a solid environmental platform like the man who defeated him, Mr. Kevin Rudd. I also got to see first hand the glacier melting of the last 200 years in Alaska and it really brough home the effect we are having on our planet. We as individuals and as a collective society need to stop waiting for others to take the initiative and go ahead with our own solid emissions targets in order to stop the mess we have already made.
And that was the year that was. I look forward to another great year with everyone as we will bring you more of the same and more of everything in the wild and wonderful world of HiSciFi. See you then!