Now that the heat of year-end lists has cooled...


24. Jan. 2007, 15:48

...I feel more clear-headed about my own memories of 06. I don't think I'll list. Instead, I will ramble. If the amount of text is daunting, cheat right on down to the video.

As a little preramble, I'll note what you already know if you use, and that is how much of your music is played through your ipod and home stereo and car stereo. In other words, although the charts can be kind of entertaining, they really aren't terribly representative of one's playing habits. And so not particularly useful for this kind of a retrospective jaunt, either. For which I was glad: once again, being forced to use my brain turns out to be fun. When will I learn, and leave that prejudice behind?

So. For a start, I will say that Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton's Knives Don't Have Your Back was probably the work that moved me the most. More of the "most beautiful song ever" than I can remember falling on one album in a while.

Perhaps only because it's what I'm listening to right now, and with the important preface that I didn't find it to be "the most" anything, I will still say that Silversun Pickups were reliable enjoyment for 06. Carnavas was not as good as Pikul imho, seemed a bit castrated, or maybe calculated? But still I enjoy these guys, possibly even more than their progenitor Smashing Pumpkins. Ah, who knows about that, but more than I enjoy the Pumpkins these days. And no, I don't give a shit whether or not they are too Pumpkin. Another testament to how unsuperlative 06 was for rawk, for me, would be that my only other standout album would be Show Your Bones. I haven't seen them live, but I get the feeling these guys prolly rip heads off. I keep waiting for this in my headphones, and it hasn't happened yet. No horns were thrown, you know? Listen to the end of Mysteries: it's all hard, sure, but it's produced like a Hollywood soundtrack or something. So these two records were kind of the best of the mediocre for me. Not that I heard everything (for instance, I have not heard the 2006 emission of My Bloody Valentine lovers Serena Maneesh, one of my faves from 05), but I did keep an ear to the ground and my excitement mainly came from other genres this year.

Specifically, Bleep Bleep. You probably call it something else. I'm talking about Destroy Rock And Roll, mofo, and for more zenner, The Last Resort, and for fall on your knees genius Ricardo Villalobos' Fizheuer Zieheuer. To a lesser extent, The Eraser.

But for genre-be-damned excitement, two things come simultaneously to mind. Spank Rock and Beirut. YoYoYoYoYo is how I like my rap. Backyard Betty will be in my party playlists for some time to come. So much hip hop eludes me these days. Clipse, Ghostface, TI. Sure, they all have some dope tracks, but from whence the universal coronations? As for Beirut, I don't see a lot of Sufjan comparisons out there, surprisingly, but for me there are two categories of this comparison: the more literal, instrumentation and songstyle similarity; and also the potential for one trick ponyness which means I love them but I may only ever need one or two albums' worth. Still, I am not burnt out on this kind of thing yet, and when I play The Gulag Orkestar I feel as though a twinkle comes into my eyes and remains there throughout.

I would have been excited about Broken Social Scene, The Warning, and Richard Buckner's Meadow, if those were my introductions to those artists. Instead, I maintained a joyful respect.

Somewhere between Lukewarm on the Latest and Exciting was The Starlight Mints. These cats are so special that even their imperfect offerings, like Drowaton, light up my life. Ditto The Eraser.

Oh, and there were a couple of things I thought of as Potential Future Excitement. Think About Life comes right to mind. All the raw material is there. I think they will eventually reshape it into one of those incredible collections of One Favorite Song After Another, maybe on their very next album.

Oh, how about Shit I Don't Get? Topping this list handily is the Timboys explosion FutureSex/LoveSounds. WTF??? This needs its own category really, because the other shit I didn't get, Ys, Silent Shout and Return To Cookie Mountain I actually did get on some level, and/or actually do like, I just don't get the universal hysterical acclaim. (See earlier comments re Clipse, Ghostface, TI). But FS/LS is completely lost on me - I can't pick up on any notable content. Sexyback is a catchy single, okay. Um?

Best Music To Hear While Stoned In a Tent:
Yellow House
Roots and Crowns
Beach House

Finally, I remind myself that really, all of this is one genre: pop. And though it be my lifelong hood, from time to time I enjoy venturing out, this year with stellar reward in jazz and world, not quite so much in new music and classical.

For instance, savane equalled Emily Haines' album for overall impact, for me. And not just because he died. Ornette Coleman's Sound Grammar is smokin. Speaking of smokin, I reckon that's what Nels Cline musta did to come up with that crazyass New Monastery. Very nice, Nels. Somewhat lesser delights, but delights all the same, outside of Pitchforkia: Dawn Upshaw singing Osvaldo Golijov's Ayre, and eighth blackbird performing Paul Moravec's The Time Gallery.

(EDIT) OK, hopefully I won't have too many of these moments and will just get on with my life, but as I play Ships I feel I should have included it, for those freakprog days.

Emily Haines:

Silversun Pickups (from Pikul):


Hot Chip:



Eighth Blackbird (not from Time Gallery):

Ali Farka Toure (not from Savane though):


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