1 ORCHESTRA BAOBAB Made In Dakar (World Circuit)
West Africa’s masters of the slow-rolling groove bring out the Latin elements in their sound, which will make them known as the Buena Vista Senegalese Club when this awesome recording makes a belated appearance here in early 2008.
2 NOSTALIGIA 77 OCTET Weapons Of Jazz Destruction (Tru 0Thoughts)
Recorded by Ben Lamdin on a budget that wouldn’t cover paper clip expenses for Blue Note or Verve, Weapons Of Jazz Destruction sets the bar at a new high for British indie jazz, topping his other fantastic Nostalgia 77 release this year, Everything Under The Sun.
3 FUTURE CLOUDS & RADAR (Star Apple Kingdom)
Former Cotton Mather frontman Robert Harrison finds the silver lining in a serious spinal injury and creates his own White Album. An incredible achievement.
4 GETACHEW MEKURIA & THE EX Moa Anbessa (Terp)
Dutch art punks throw down with the Ethiopian saxophone colossus for a creative cultural collison of cataclysmic proportions.
5 HYPNOTIC BRASS ENSEMBLE Jupiter (independent)
The horn-blasting sons of Sun Ra sideman Phil Cohran sold their self-produced disc out of their suitcases at shows on tour this year, and copies have been fetching three-digit figures on eBay ever since. That’s because it rules.
6 GIALLOS FLAME Live From Dunwich (DC)
Ron Graham takes his passion for 70s Italian gore flick soundtracks to another level. Scary good.
7 SEA WOLF Leaves In The River (Dangerbird/Grifter)
Alex Church’s talents were being wasted playing bass in Irving, as this darkly tuneful bedroom orch-pop delight hammers home.
8 BUDOS BAND II (Daptone)
Staten Island’s Budos Band were always much more than Fela-obsessed Afrobeat bashers, and this super-funky session should clear up any doubts.
9 RIZDALES Radio Country (independent)
Could London, Ontario’s Tom and Tara Dunphy be the new George and Tammy? Maybe not, but this cliché-free jukebox country album is the best twang session Nashville never produced this year.
10 BEASTS OF BOURBON Little Animals (Albert Productions)
This is exactly the sort of ruthless rockin’ that Nick Cave had in mind for his Grinderman project. Only it takes a little more than facial hair to do it right.