Who Is This Amazing, Unusual Woman?

A catwalk tragedy from Victor & Rolf's Fall 2007 collection?

The spiritual child of Dusty Springfield and Alison Moyet?

The ex-singer of a fairly unknown Irish electronic duo?

The new queen of European dance?

It's Roisin Murphy. I just got her outstanding Overpowered album. It's a total surprise. I love her soulful voice. My favorite songs are "You Know Me Better" (which will be her next single) and "Primitive." Check out her video for "Overpowered."

I'm not sure when this album will get a U.S. release, but it should soon! The $15.99 import price was well worth it.


Favorite Albums of 2007

Panda Bear
Person Pitch
Astonishingly beautiful. Never mind 2007, Person Pitch will go in the history books as one of the best albums of the 00's. My absolute favorite part of this record is in "Bros" from 7:59 to 8:58. This album for me defines the incredible year that I had (a rebound from a fairly awful 2006).

Sally Shapiro
Disco Romance
I didn't even know italo disco was a genre until hearing this album. Beautiful synth washes, simple pop compositions and a mysterious, soft-spoken singer. I love every minute of this Disco Romance. Also, producer/songwriter Johan Agebjorn has introduced me to a handful of artists through his musical inspirations.

Even I was surprised how much I ended up listening to this album, especially after disliking the prep singles, "Bird Flu" and "Boyz." M.I.A. is one of the few artists with views on globalization, imperialism and poverty that people are listening to.
She's a complete treasure. "Hustle," "Paper Planes" and "Roadrunner" are my favorite tracks.

Jens Lekman
Night Falls of Kortedala
I have a deep appreciation for storytellers, especially when they have touches of humor and sadness in their stories. This is one of the very Iranian things about me. Jens has this quality, and also a really great ear for sampling and arranging. Musically, the album veers from tropical disco to traditional folk. He's sensitive and funny and never too precious.

Simian Mobile Disco
Attack Decay Sustain Release
An amazing dance album with its gloopy, sci-fi hip-hop electronics. While Daft Punk and bands like Justice weigh heavy on many minds, the music from this British duo is what I will remember from 2007. Although A-Trak's "Hustlin' Hustler" is my definitive version of "Hustler," the rest of the tracks are mighty fine without any remix treatment.

Of Montreal
Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
My jaw just about dropped when I first heard this album. I can't believe this is the same band that used to sing about P.P. Icycles and Lamar. It's almost a psychedelic experience to hear Kevin Barnes becoming so painfully honest. "She's A Rejector" is my favorite.

Britney Spears
I'm not even shitting you. I really liked this album. "Break The Ice" is one of my favorite songs of the year. Great production, completely upbeat all the way through and still pretty sexy. Most people hock shit albums, but for once a mega star has a hot album that's not being shoved down our throats. What is wrong with the world today?

Patrick Wolf
The Magic Position
The latest in a long line of great British eccentrics. This album has a whole lot of a drama and even more fun. I think it's Patrick's voice and his strange, uncomplicated productions that keep me coming back. He's very talented and there are some beautiful songs here.

Kanye West
Although I really liked this album, I was surprised by the amount of laid back, mellow jams. I thought the whole album would innovations like "Stronger." Still, songs like "Good Life" and "Flashing Lights" didn't let me down. I also count "Can't Tell Me Nothing," Kanye's mix tape, as part of this favorites deal.

LCD Soundsystem
Sound of Silver
This album took a very long time to warm up to me. I thought it was too masculine -- I just didn't get excited about it like the last album. Soon enough, "Get Innocuous!", "Someone Great," became increasingly infectious. I still really dislike "North American Scum." Must be big with the foreign contingent.

Overall, kinda of a weird list for a weird year. The first 6 or 7 albums were easy for me to decide. The last few were a challenge, only because I wondered if I bought enough new music this year. Then I looked at my collection, and saw albums from Animal Collective, Caribou, Arcade Fire, The Shins, Modest Mouse, Devendra Banhart, The White Stripes, Interpol, Bloc Party, Dizzee Rascal, Bjork, Chromeo, Maximo Park .. all bands I cherish. I could easily name 2-3 songs off each one that I really enjoyed, but not a favorite as a whole.

Also, this is my list of my favorite collection/mix tape/remix albums.

1. Ce Soir, On Danse, Chromeo
Incredible mix. Introduced me to "Put The Freeze On", early 80's space disco/R&B and some sweet soul jams.

2. We Go All Night Long + Crying on the Dancefloor, Johan Agebjorn
Amazing italo disco mixes. Introduced me to Mr. Flagio's "Take a Chance" and Nicolas Makelberge's "Dying in Africa." You can download them here and here.

3. Dirty South Dance, A-Trak
Kanye's DJ and Kid Sister's partner in crime came up with the hottest dance mix. The word "mash up" makes me vomit, but when A-Trak mixes Kavinsky and M.I.A., or Gwen Stefani and LCD Soundsystem, it's a whole different ballgame.

4. I Like Turtles, Diplo
Also known as the free mix he did for Pitchfork (although no longer available). This is the mix I would play walking to the gym on Saturday mornings. A great way to start the day .. lots of hot beats on this. I think Diplo is a great producer.

5. Fabric Live 33, Spank Rock
An sensitive mix of old school jams and new dance from a band obsessed with sex. This mix was fresh to my ears when it first came out, and introduced me to Simian Mobile Disco, Uffie, Bonde Do Role and Para One.


High School with The Dodos

A few weeks ago, Pitchfork Media posted a video by The Dodos, a San Francisco duo with an "acoustic troubadour meets freak-folk" sound.

I went to high school with Meric Long, the leader of the band. I recall him being a nice guy, and somewhat goofy in junior year English class.

From the high school friends I keep in touch with, I heard about The Dodos being Meric's project and that he was playing around town, although I haven't had the chance to see him perform.

The Dodos song "Fools," and their music in general, is pretty much what the band describes as their inspiration: "free-spirited, unhinged acts like Animal Collective." "Fools" is very energetic and emotive. I definitely dig it. The album is coming out on French Kiss next year.

It's strange to see a creative experience by someone you remember from an early educational institution, especially when you have similar interests as adults (freak folk, Animal Collective, San Francisco, independent music, etc.) and you weren't close friends back in the day.

It's a a feeling of genuine surprise and happiness when someone is doing something they love, coming from the same Lamorinda rich hippy suburban bubble as I did. It's also encouraging, and inspires me to get my shit together, get over my stage fright, finish the new album and keep pushing.

Cass McCombs is also from the same pool. I remember seeing him perform at a New Year's party in Walnut Creek in 1998, and tearing tickets at the now closed Park Theater about a decade ago (although these days his PR only brings up his periods in New York, Baltimore and now Chicago).

Of course people move on, and new environments shape their creativity. Perhaps that's one reason San Francisco has been taking its toll on me as of late.

I like Cass's music a lot, and I still haven't had the chance to get his new album. I've been wanting to do a cover of "Nobody's Nixon" for some time now. He's currently on tour with Jose Gonzalez.