1. Eleni Mandell - Miracle of Five (Zedtone)
This is my favorite record of 2007. The label, Zedtone, appears to exist solely to distribute her stuff. There are no other artists mentioned on the site.
Sounds like: Peggy Lee, Mama Cass, Leonard Cohen
Best track: Girls
2. Carolina Chocolate Drops - Dona Got a Ramblin' Mind (Music Maker Relief Foundation)
A traditional string band. This is the closest thing to Harry Smith's folk anthology that I've heard even though all 3 band members are in their 20s.
Sounds like: Etta Baker, Joe & Odell Thompson, The Carter Family
Best track: Little Sadie
3. Suzanne Vega - Beauty & Crime (Blue Note Records/EMI)
This one threw me. I've been effortlessly avoiding this woman's records for over 20 years. I asked some people about this one, and it turns out that I was the only person in America who didn't realize that she's been good for over 20 years.
Sounds like: Apparently, it sounds like her.
Best track: Frank & Ava
4. Les Savy Fav - Let's Stay Friends (French Kiss)
I wanted to hate this one. I typically don't like RISD Rock, and the song titles suggested that I was about to hear "Gargantua and Pantagruel" in CD format.
Sounds like: Not sure. Possibly New Order, Kiss and Cat Stevens.
Best track: Raging in the Plague Age
5. Marissa Nadler - Songs III: Bird on the Water (Kemado Records/Peacefrog Records)
More RISD. This record is spooky and precious, but you can get away with a lot if your voice is this good.
Sounds like: Mary Hopkin, Mazzy Star, Lys Guillorn, Sandy Denny
Best track: Diamond Heart
6. Black Lips - Good Bad Not Evil (Vice Records)
An allusion to a song by The Shangri-las and my favorite regular rock 'n' roll record of the year. They are significantly more varied than most other garage bands of late.
Sounds like: Roky Erickson or a strange mixture of The Standells and They Might Be Giants. I guess that would mean that they sound like a more ornery Fleshtones.
Best track: O Katrina!
7. Future Clouds & Radar - (s/t) (Star Apple Kingdom)
The label appears to reference a poem that is as long as this 26 or 27 song double CD. This record is at least as good as Daydream Nation.
Sounds like: It's long so it sounds like a lot of stuff. I hear Karate, Robyn Hitchcock, John Lennon, ELO and a number of Elephant 6 bands.
Best track: Hurricane Judy
8. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights (Daptone Records)
She's 51 and sounds significantly healthier (and more soulful) than Amy Winehouse.
Sounds like: Otis Redding, Bettye LaVette
Best track: Tell Me
9. The Busy Signals - (s/t) (Dirtnap Records)
Great Illinois power pop - even the record cover looks like it was released in 1979. Like the Buzzcocks, the songs are very interchangeable.
Sounds like: The Buzzcocks, early Blondie, The Undertones, Nikki and the Corvettes
Best track: So Pointless
10. Caribou - Andorra (Merge)
Arty and pretty - it's hard to imagine that Handsome Dick from The Dictators could sue them (or even give a shit who they are), but allegedly that happened.
Sounds like: Damon & Naomi, A.C. Marias, Sparklehorse
Best track: Melody Day