Medi4 Top Tunes for 2007

Because I play a really wide variety of music, there's a wide variety of records that "blew my musical skirt up". Hopefully you'll find some new and interesting artists to discover... Happy New Year with peace and respect to you and yours - Medi4.

Big Influence Music/DJ Medi4 Top Albums 2007
(in no particular order...)

Amy Winehouse - Back To Black (Universal) No second-album curse here. Backed by the premier funk & soul band in the States, The Dap-Tones, this record helped the industry rediscover soul music and the use oforganic instruments. This record's impact will be felt for years.

Anoushka Shankar & Karsh Kale - Breathing Under Water (Manhattan)
An Asian record for those put off by the thought of the Sitar. Yes, she's Ravi's daughter, but paired here with multi-instrumentalist/producer Karsh Kale, it
matters little who she's related to. Beautifully crafted and sequenced; it's much more than the "sonic wallpaper" category that much of this music falls into.

Battles - Mirrored (Warp)
Part art, part psychedelic, all rock. Could have ended up sounding very self-indulgent, but comes across very listener-friendly.

Calexico - Tool Box (Self Released)
An all instrumental album, recorded before their most recent European tour, and only sold online and at shows. Warm, sexy, and catches you off-guard.

The Dynamics - Version Excursion (Points South)
All covers (Prince, Led Zeppelin, White Stripes, Dylan), all roots reggae goodness. It ain't brain surgery, but it'll be perfect for the Summertime...

Eddie Roberts - Trenta (Salvos UK)
Done as a project for ER's favorite Italian restaurant in his hometown of Leeds, England, the New Mastersounds leader and guitarist comes off as
somewhere between Wes Montgomery and St. Germain. A proper jazz album with a cosmopolitan bend, with great playing all around. A must own...

Eddie Vedder - Into The Wild Original Soundtrack (J Records)
An intimate, pretty record with the standout tune being a very faithful cover of
Gordon Peterson's sprawling "Big Hard Sun". An otherwise acoustic, sparse collection of where Vedder may be at right now...

The Heavy - Great Vengeance and Furious Fire (Counter UK)
This is the band you'll be talking about in 2008. Influences from Curtis Mayfield to Jon Spencer make for a dirty 33-minute ride. Another must.

JJ Grey & Mofro - Country Ghetto (Alligator)
When I say that JJ may be the best Soul singer in the world (surely in the States), it's not an understatement. Lovingly produced by Dan Prothero, Mofro's third record deals with politics, family, pride, loss - it's not a casual listen. But it finally represents their live show, which after being road dogs for years, gets better and better every time I see them (and I've seen them about a dozen times now).

Joris Voorn - From A Deep Place (Green UK)
Organic, pretty techno for people who hate techno. The Dutch producer Voorn's second full-length release, and it's super solid from start to finish.

Kings of Leon - Because of the Times (RCA)
Showing new maturity and an embrace of production, this may have been my favorite
album of the year. Hooks abound, the live show rocks, and while some old fans may be put off, the slight changes on this record do for them what "Z" did for My Morning Jacket. A must have...

Lack of Afro - Press On (Freestyle UK)/Speedometer - Four Flights Up (Freestyle UK) -
Lots of new-school UK funk releases this year (Quantic Soul Orchestra, The Sweet Vandals, Cookin' on Three Burners, The Haggis Horns, and the New Mastersounds all put out records this year), but these were the standouts. Raw, dirty, unrelenting funk - not for the smooth jazz crowd. If these two don't get your asses shaking, you're dead below the waist.

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand (Rounder)
Wasn't sure that this would work, but it does SO well, it's no wonder it's made everyone's year-end list. It deserves to. Sounding confident in this surrounding (and in a nice vocal range for him at his age), it's refreshing to hear Plant in a different setting. Krauss is one of my favorite singers, so the pairing had me drooling from the moment it arrived at my door. Expect a full tour from this project before the Zeppelin reunion...

Top 25 Individual Tunes & Remixes 2007
(again, in no particular order/rank)

Many of the hyperlinks below go to YouTube, which will give you a much better idea of these tunes. You'll also find NPR live shows, direct downloads and links to purchase some of these amazing tunes from Amazon.com. Enjoy.

Alice Smith - Desert Song
What a voice! A breakup song using the harsh climate of the desert as the backdrop
to a bad relationship. Sonically, it's an epic Soul song, and she's one to look for in the future.

Alicia Keys - Sure Looks Good To Me
I'm as shocked as you are to find this tune on my list. Can't really play it as a DJ, but it's a favorite and it sure shows her maturity. Another Soul tune, but with an Alt-Rock lean. Will stick in your craw, no matter how much you don't want it there. Some newfound grit on the vocals really helped, too. Have a look an acoustic version, done live in Spain here...

Alice Russell - Mirror Mirror (Bonobo Mix)
Unknown to most in the US (hopefully that will change - she just did her first US solo gig in Fall 2007), she's from The Quantic Soul Orchestra and countless other UK Funk & Soul projects. This mix, done by the chilled collective Bonobo, layers a sexy, minimal, bass guitar track under AR's passionate vox. Found on the "Under The Munka Moon Remixed" album on Beatport.com.

Bob Seger - Night Moves (The Hong Kong Microspace Dub)
Taking only snippets from the original vocal, whomever did this rub built a delicate tech-house tune around it, and nailed it. Unavailable for download or purchase - nyah!

CSS - Music Is My Hot Hot Sex
Used in an iPod commercial this year, this track nagged at me until I took a moment and really listened. This is the sound of pop music for 2008.

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pub - Thou Shalt Always Kill
Top tune here. A electro/breakbeat tune, with well, a spoken rant about the idiocy of the masses. Dare I say, there are worse songs to base your life on. Find it here, and pay attention...

Datarock - Fa Fa Fa
Bummed the Talking Heads still hate each other? Fret not! Datarock are here to make you feel warm, fuzzy and neurotic, just like the days of old.

DJ Moule - Tribute To James Brown (mashup featuring JB, Beck & Peter Gabriel)
One of several talented French bootleggers, this one takes the uber-nasty groove of "Give It Up & Turn It Loose" and lays acapellas Beck and Gabriel over it. Tasty.

Eldar - Back Home
Really nice New School jazz, a builder that reminds me of a less-wanky Pat Methany.

Feist - Love You Inside & Out (Bee Gees Cover)
A cover true to the original. The hype around Feist was high this year. Time will tell, but the live shows prove her talent.

Jade - Pulp Friction 12"
Again, simple - it's a Jungle bootleg of Dick Dale's "Misirlou" with dialogue from the film. "I love you, hunnybunny..."

James Brown - Sex Machine (Alex Under Remix)
Done originally as a video remix, this one keeps it simple, and that's why it works.
Techno at it's core, but it retains the JB funk nicely - it wrecks the right dancefloors.

Jose Gonzales - Remain (Mike Sheridan Re-Edit)
I think I like the idea of Jose Gonzales more than his records. A bit same-y for me, but remixed the right way, his vibe works for me. This record ties with Stanton Warriors' remix of "Crosses", which also showed up this year.

Koop - I See A Different You
Swedish production team Koop make 21st Century cocktail music. Real instruments, real vocals, and a distinctive style stands them apart from the "Lounge" pack. The sweetest song on the list, this one...

Manic Street Preachers - Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
My wife ran around the house singing this song for weeks, and it got to me, in a good way. Classic pop/rock record that sounds like it's 1975 again.

Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse - Valerie (Zutons cover)
Year of the Winehouse, poor thing. Don't let the fact that she's a mess let you forget the voice. Ronson is "producer of the moment", and he deserves it. This could have been recorded in 1966, and you'd never know the difference.

Muse - Knights of Cydonia (John "OO" Fleming/Wizzy Noise Remix)
What a mind-bender! A trance bootleg that's not cheesy, and as epic, rockin' &
dirty as the original. Don't get to play it as often as I'd like, just because it's SO big that it takes the right crowd to work...

Neil Young - Hey Hey My My (Beat Pharmacy Edit)
Stumbled on this re-edit by accident, and it was damn-near tune of the year for me.
Gently edited by a producer known for doing house/tech-based reggae & dub, once again, it's all about simplicity. If you've got a classic like this, be true to the original, yes?

Peter Bjorn & John - Young Folks (Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Re-Animation)
Seems like this tune was everywhere this year, and it got the remix treatment quite a few times. I like this version - they've pumped up the BPM's, and again, stayed true to the original...

Ramiro Musotto - M'bala
My wife says this is for drinking big "floofy" drinks on a beach somewhere - on acid. Taken from the album "Civilizacao & Barbarye, this is part of the new wave of Brazilian music.

Roisin Murphy - Let Me Know
Guilty pleasure record from an artist without the guilt, 'cause the artist is actually talented. Vocalist for trip-hop project Moloko, her solo records are synthy, poppy and really smart.

Venetian Snares - Black Sabbath Dubs 10" vinyl
A double-sided, evil, twisted, bass heavy 10" inch vinyl piece of dubstep nastiness.
Side A takes the classic "Black Sabbath" and twists it, and Side B works over the album cut "Electric Funeral" (both originals plenty evil enough...). Finally, someone else understands my Sabbath fetish!

Tracey Thorn - Grand Canyon (King Unique Vocal Mix)
Take Everything But The Girl singer Tracey Thorn (who could sing the phonebook and I'd buy it), and add the remixing skills of King Unique, and you know you've got something special. KU's remixes stand the test of time, and in dance music, that speaks volumes.

Wax Audio - Whole Lotta Sabbath (mashup)
Top, top form is what it takes to mash "Whole Lotta Love" & "War Pigs" together, and make it flawless. Could have been blasphemy, but it's worthy of worship...

The White Stripes - Rag & Bone
Their show at Bonnaroo this year changed my opinion of Meg as a drummer. Aggressive,
on-point and really into it. With only 2 of you, it's hard to phone it in...

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