By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Jay-Z, American Gangster
"This album is just ridiculous. Everybody in the world knows that Jay-Z is the hottest rap act in the world right now. He owns hip-hop, and since Biggie and Tupac are gone, somebody's gotta own it."
Guitarist Jon Wilkins has had a whirlwind year. As a member of South Florida indie darlings the Postmarks, he was on the road for most of 2007 pushing his band's self-titled debut album. Lucky for him, constant touring also means finding lots of new record stores and under-the-radar releases.
"Most of my picks are from the various tours I've been on this year, exploring new record stores and meeting other musicians with great recommendations," he says. "The Jonny Greenwood mix for Trojan is my favorite. And I've been a big fan of Mavis Staples and all the women of soul like Esther Phillips and Betty Wright. As for pop music, it was an amazing year, most notably the Clientele record. Touring with the Apples [in Stereo] really got me into their latest and also turned me on to Aqueduct, both incredibly great records and the nicest people you'd ever want to meet. And I can't help but put John Ralston's record on there...I really do listen to it and it will always be special to me.
Mavis Staples, We'll Never Turn Back
John Ralston, Sorry Vampire
The Clientele, God Save The Clientele
The Apples in Stereo, New Magnetic Wonder
Aqueduct, Or Give Me Death
Sondre Lerche, Phantom Punch
Jason Falkner, I'm OK, You're OK
The High Lllamas, Can Cladders
Josh Rouse, Country Mouse, City House
DJ Le Spam
Born in Montreal as Andrew Yeomanson, DJ Le Spam is a South Florida legend, a spinner of rare grooves and Latin soul cookers that most record hounds only wish they could get their hands on. He's known as one of the best salsa fusion DJs in the country, possibly the world, and he keeps his ear out for the quality comps and reissues that make the people move. Aside from his monthly residence at SOB's in New York with the Spam Allstars and getting write-ups in Rolling Stone and The New York Times, he was recently tapped by Fania Records (former home of Hector Lavoe and Willie Colon) to record Fania Live 02, which was released last month.
"This is a great sampling of rare early '70s funk 45s from around the state. It goes a little deeper than the 'Miami Sound' compilation from Soul Jazz a few years back. All of these 45s are obscure gems."
Various Artists, The Outskirts Of Deep City: Eccentric Soul
"Here's another great compilation of rare soul 45s from Miami's legendary Deep City label. This is the second Deep City comp that the Numero label has put out, they do an excellent job of researching and re-mastering their reissues."
The Budos Band, The Budos Band II
"Great second album from this band in the Daptone stable. Daptone is recording soul, funk and groove music the right way and has been one of my favorite labels for years. Get it on vinyl!"
Azucar Pa' Ti (Sugar For You)
Recorded Live at Sing Sing with Harlem River Drive
"Here are three essential Eddie Palmieri albums reissued in the past 12 months by the Fania label, which is re-mastering many long-unavailable albums from their huge catalog. Live at Sing Sing is like a funky Latin version of Johnny Cash Live at Folsom Prison... Crazy bottled-up energy on that recording! I know most of these are older recordings, but that's what I listen to!"
Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Bruce Springsteen, Magic
Say Anything, In Defense of The Genre
Against Me!, New Wave
Kanye West, Graduation
Motion City Soundtrack, Even If It Kills Me
Minus The Bear, Planet of Ice
Chuck Ragan, Los Feliz
Albert Hammond Jr., Yours To Keep