Thursday, December 21, 2006

Year End: 2006


#1 The Twilight Singers – Powder Burns
“Powder Burns,” is a great rock record. It is a complete album, every song works and I was very surprised I like it as much as I did. I was never a Dulli/Afgan Whigs fan, but I found this album quite wholesome and it got the most of my spins this year.

#2 Sebastian Tellier – Sessions
I fell in love with Sebastian Tellier this year, his catalogue is great, but when he breaks it down and sits in front of a piano it’s amazing. “La Ritournelle” is easily one of the greatest songs in many years, and I also had the pleasure of seeing Sebastian live with a band in London and it was everything I could have wanted.

#3 Sonic Youth – Rather Ripped
Honestly, never a huge Sonic Youth fan, I liked the tunes had the albums but never found myself putting them on frequently or remembering songs. But this album is really good, a huge step from the last few releases. Highlight was getting them to Little Radio for their album release.

#4 Beirut – Gulag Orkestar
Wasn’t expecting to like this album as much as I did, but I guess it’s my Russian roots kicking in. The album has great instrumentation and is easily one of the most unique offerings in a long time.

#5 Hot Chip – The Warning
“Boy From School” period! Great album that I got an advance for (thanks Schmalz) and definitely a huge step up from “Coming On Strong.” A good dancy-pop record for everyone.

#6 His Name Is Alive – Raindrops Rainbow EP/ Detrola
2 albums here (cheap I know), but HNIA I didn’t know much about but I found the vocals and ideas of “Detrola” really exceptional and weird. As well, the EP is really well done and are great re-workings of great songs, definitely underrated band.

#7 Witch – S/T
I love this band. J Mascis on drums makes it all the merrier and these guys just put out a great stoner-metal album because they wanted too. No aspirations to take over the world or tour too much, but the album will stand as a winner. Saw a 2 Song 25 minute set at SXSW that ruled my brain.

#8 Islands – Return To The Sea
I was never a fan of the Unicorns but I stuck with this band after catching a really intimate show at SXSW. They are kooky Canadians, but “Swans (Life After Death)” remains one of my favorite songs of the year, also clocking in at 9 minutes and 31 seconds!

#9 Bat For Lashes – Fur And Gold
Charlie (UpsideDownStupidHat) was the one who turned me on to this girl, it’s a mixture of Bjork and PJ Harvey with a Native American vibe. Plus having Josh T Pearson (Lift To Experience) as guest vocals on your single really sparks my interest. A great dark album that has yet to see a US release.

#10 Mason Dixon – Hurry Through The Night
Springsteen/Neil Young “Harvest” updated Rock. Great album that has yet to see a proper release! I’m sure these guys will make waves, I love this album for its consistency from start to finish, ever note from every instrument fits.

#11 Ellen Allien & Apparat – Orchestra Of Bubbles
BPitch is something I don’t know about, so is Berlin. But I really like the minimal electro this album offers and it is definitely a cornerstone of the German/BPitch/DJ scene. On the mellow tip at times too, great collaboration because I don’t like these 2 artists when left to their own devices, that’s what makes it a great album.

#12 Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
I have country roots (Johnny Cash is my #1), and this album is what country should be today. Taking the roots and updating the sound and lyrical content that represents what it’s like to be a singer-songwriter in the country. Talking about getting high and being able to go to Neko’s sisters house if they promise to watch the baby, that’s country!

#13 Bob Dylan – Modern Times
It’s Bob, great songs, good sound, and as always lyrically supreme. I liked this more than his last couple of albums and that surprised me. He remains the greatest.

#14 Tom Petty – Highway Companion
See above pretty much. Tom Petty is a great songwriter, always comes with it. Got to see him live this year for the first time. Whoopi.

#15 Subtle – For Hero: For Fool
Always been a small fan of the Mush/anticon. Crew, but this album took me by surprise. It is a rock like album and it really sways.

#16 Goes Cube – Beckon The Dagger God
What happened to balls our rock? Answer: Goes Cube. “Punishing” songs that were much needed to wipe away the stain that is Wolfmother.

#17 Various Artists - Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited
You never would have thought that translating French songs into English would sound good, but Cat Power, Marianne Faithful, and Placebo to name a few do a great job of it. Really good sounding album that surprised the shit out of me.

#18 Tropicalia: A Brazilian Revolution In Sound
Soul Jazz Records strikes again with another great gem from the archives. I have always wanted to go to Brazil and this album makes me want to go even more.

#19 Kavinsky – Teddy Boy EP
This made my list because it’s just so awesome. From the Records Makers label (Sebastian Tellier/Label Heads = AIR), this guy is a mixture of Miami Vice meets Nintendo. A staple to my DJ set, and something I have played for everybody this year.

#20 Robbie Williams – Rudebox
Ha, wasn’t really expecting much from this album when I picked it up in England (for Jen) but I was pleasantly surprised. Good singles, a Manu Chao cover, and the 80’s/90’s songs are great. Gotta show love for Robbie, no one else in the US does.

Songs Of The Year

#1 The Whip – Trash
The best band in Manchester right now. Ex-Members of Nylon Pylon these guys are the perfect mix of Soulwax and New Order. Amazing live, stand up guys, and destined for greatness. I love spinning this to unsuspecting ears it’s impossible not to love it on a dancefloor.

Justice/Simian Mobile Disco/Erol Alkan
The indie-dance electro scene made this year a lot of fun. I have always been a big Soulwax fan, and these guys are descending from that sound. I really liked playing these tunes to a crowd and watching them get down on the dance floor. I am a man of the beat. Most Notably: Erol Alkan’s remixes of Justice “Waters of Nazereth” Hot Chip “Boys From School” production of Long Blondes “Fulwood Babylon.” Justice Vs. Simian “We Are Your Friends” and Simian Mobile Disco “Hustler” and “Tits & Acid”

Jim Noir – Eanie Meany
Before, During, and After EVERY World Cup game this year, Jim Noir’s track “Eanie Meany” was played in the Nike commercial featuring top stars of the World Cup past and present. Great tune, and the guy is from Manchester.

Babyshambles – Fuck Forever
Pete Doherty is a junkie, but a superstar. I never really like the Libertines, I passed off Babyshambles as group of idiots, then I heard a squiggly crackhead perform “Fuck Forever” live on the telly. Afterwards he came off to do an interview with Zane Lowe and he had no idea who he was, even though Zane had done a session with him and had met him several times. Yay for Crack! Just the fact that he sings “Fuck Forever” is pretty apparent that this guy is going to be dead real soon and he will be this generations Kurt Cobain and piss everyone off after his death. I can already see shirts flying off the shelves at Hot Topic.
Flops/Total Bummers
Kasabian and Killer Sophmore Slumps
I bought the first Kasabian album right when it came out in the UK and it was a total winner. I saw the Killers perform at Don Hill’s for CMJ days before they signed to Island and you knew they were going to blow up. Problem is, their sophomore albums suck ass. Trying to break out of their original sounds mean they went totally marginal and bored the shit out of everybody. Thanks for killing the faith that a hip band can live past 1 album!

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of (cheap promo copies at retailers) Dead Album I really liked the last album, thought it should have gone a lot further than it did, the new album I put it on and it is a mess. That is the end of the road with Interscope I presume, at least last time everybody really liked the album.

I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness Album
These guys were slated to do something great. A few good EP’s came out and then they went in to record their full length debut and out came the biggest let down of the year. I wanted to like this band so much more, but no, Total Bummer!

Major Labels
I started the year at one, and finally ended a 6 year stint in June. It makes me so angry that the heads of these labels will only release “sure things” and horrible pop albums. No new ideas, same old corporate bullshit. The top execs at the label get richer while the people who are working their asses off don’t get bonus’ and Christmas parties revoked. Fuck that shit, the people who were once musical innovators are now just the same as the oppressors that run Wal-Mart. More and more labels turn into machines, A+R is a fucking joke (nobody signs anything that hasn’t already been featured in Rolling Stone), radio is the same model and still works, but it’s all corporate / red state rock or pop. And those are the only people still buying records, so everyone is at fault here! But Major Labels are shitting on people and bands and it is getting old really fast. At CMJ an A+R rep from a major said, “Hey we are hiring an A+R guy in LA, you would be perfect,” and without hesitation I said, “No thank you.” She was shocked, you would have to double my salary for me to re-enter the Major Label A+R scene where your bosses only ask care about the bottom line and have no interest in the music anymore. I would take the money and burn up a nice expense account before they caught on and kicked my ass to curb, a real swindle it would be!
All in all, it’s just not fun anymore. The morale at these labels is the lowest it could ever be, but it doesn’t matter, because when people leave labels, people jump to take their spots for less money and more bullshit. One thing is for sure, we need a new movement of music! When Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith No More, and Radiohead got signed most people were like WTF is this sound, but it was backed by a good label and went on to sell millions and influence generations. Arctic Monkeys…not one of those bands, Franz Ferdinand….not one of those bands, Decemberists/Death Cab For Cute….not one of those bands.
I can rant and rave all I want, but at the end of the day, I think that in the next 5-10 years, working at a label will be just the same as any other corporate 9-5, not good money, and the only perk is a free cd/show every now and then. Working in the music business used to be waking up and saying, “I can’t believe I get paid to do this,” nowadays, not the case. Call me Keith Olberman...

The US Government

Guantanamo Bay (death camps), the US sElections, the Most Debt ever, Blood for Oil, Katrina response, Global Warming, and most importantly US citizens sitting back frustrated to the point where they stop paying attention! What The Fuck? I am so ready for change, revolution, and evolution, are you thinking about this?

"Silence Equals Consent" - DJ Shadow (among others)

"We support the troops the most because we say BRING THEM HOME!" - Jello Biafra

"It isn't just propaganda any more, it's 'prop-agenda '. It's not so much the control of what we think, but the control of what we think about." - Brian Eno

Happy Holidays!