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2006 Year End Best Of

 
 
Minion Name:
  PostLibyan  
         
     

Overall, this was a fine year. I saw a lot of good shows, and heard many worthwhile records. I heard very few records that blew me away, but there was still much good listening.

 
         
 
          Albums
 
 
 
  1. Citrus by Asobi Seksu -- The best shoegaze band currently active, hands down. And Citrus is even better than their debut as it is a swirling cacophony with catchy tunes. Simply, utterly, wonderful.
  2. She Wants Revenge by She Wants Revenge -- I don't care what Dilettante in Distress says about this being a "guilty pleasure". I am an ex-Catholic and have long since purged any feelings of guilt! This album is, quite simply, fun. It's cheesy 80s synthpop, and i love cheesy 80s synthpop. This is the funnest album of the year.
  3. Flares by Port-Royal -- This is the best ambient record i heard all year, as well as one of the best post-rock discs to come out in a while. Brilliant stuff that soars, echoes, ebbs, and flows.
  4. Wolves by My Latest Novel -- Complex, orchestral post-rock. This is a deep album, but very rewarding.
  5. To Where You Are by The High Violets -- This is an album designed for me, by a band i was destined to like. They reference all of the sounds that i have adored over the years, and they manage to make it all catchy and fun.
  6. Fear Is On Our Side by I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness -- My favorite of the current crop of post-punk revival bands. Dark, moody, and full of minor chords and chugging beats.
  7. Raising Your Voice … Trying To Stop An Echo by Hammock -- The most recent release on this list, this is the third release from Hammock, and it has blown me away on each listen. They just continue to get better.
  8. Anti-Anti by Snowden -- This is the best album by a local band since, well, since the final Sharks and Minnows record.
  9. Return to Cookie Mountain by TV on the Radio -- On first listen, i was underwhelmed, but something kept calling me back, and at some point it just clicked. I can't explain it, really, because when i focus on the voice i find it, well, annoying, but this is catchy and energetic and fun.
  10. Save Yourself and Run Away by Ferocious Bubbles -- Dynamic pop from Alabama. This is a great record, and it saddens me that very few people will ever hear it.
  11. Connectivity by Mahogany -- Long awaited new album from this New York collective. The album, and the band, defy categorization. They make music that is electro ambient droning post-rocking pop, or something like that. All of this, plus the debut vocal lead from Ms. Lucy Belle Fraser-Guthrie. (And yes, that is the daughter of the leaders of Cocteau Twins, in case you were wondering.)
  12. Rather Ripped by Sonic Youth -- I did a happy dance when i heard that the overly pretentious Jim O'Rourke had left Sonic Youth. Thank the gods. Finally, with him and his overintellectualization out of the way, the Yoof could get back to what they do best: making intricate rock records. I missed them during the past few years....
  13. Kill Them with Kindness by Headlights -- Damn, this is fine pop music. Catchy songs with a wall of guitar noise and soaring synths. Plus, they really can harmonize.
  14. Ben Chantice by Monoland -- Really awesome shoegazer record from Germany. I love the German scene these days.
  15. Everlasting by Robin Guthrie -- This record did not grab me as immediately as his previous solo work. But that was an ambient record, whereas this is a pop album sans vocals. Still, i listened to this a lot this year, and i do enjoy it.
  16. Bottoms of Barrells by Tilly and the Wall -- They are a silly band, with tap-dancing in place of druming and shouted vocals. And yet, they are a very talented band, and this softmore album really shines.
 
     
 
          EPs
 
 
 
  1. Singer by the Besties -- Silly happy music with keyboards, girl-voiced harmonies, and goofy subjects. What's not to like?
  2. To: by The Death Set -- I think that the electroclash this band does is supposed to be angry, but it comes across as kind of silly. It's fun, in an intense sort of way.
  3. Clouds by Sluscho -- Second EP by a local Atlanta act with a "Weezer with keyboards" sort of sound. Catchy and fun and you just can't help but sing along.
  4. 3 Songs by The Year Zero -- Light pop with lovely vocals and great instrumentation.
  5. Drakelow by Epic 45 -- Charming ambient record from a little British band.
 
     
           Records i have liked so far, but haven't really had the time to listen to them all the way, and
         in as much depth as i really like to
 
      Until We Felt Red by Kaki King
Richard Butler
by Richard Butler
Surprise
by Paul Simon
Chosen Lords
by Aphex Twin
 
     
            Compilations  
     
  1. Lullabies to Violane by Cocteau Twins -- 4 CDs featuring remastered versions of all of the songs from all of the EPs they released over the years. There is some amazing music here.
  2. RGB by SIANspheric -- Greatest Hits compilation by noisy Canadian shoegazers. I just couldn't get out this CD of my stereo all year! Brilliant stuff. (I still haven't watched the DVD though…)
  3. This Beautiful Season Has Past by Yellow6 -- Three CD compilation of his non-album tracks. I had a surprisingly large portion of this on vinyl (thanks to being a collector geek), but it is still great to have it all in one convenient package. Plus, it makes my favorite Yellow6 release, icanhearthemusicallaroundme more readily available, and that's a good thing.
  4. ¡Eléctrico! - The Best of Aviador Dro 1978-2006 by El Aviador Dro -- A great synthpop band that deserves more recognition in this country.
  5. Prehistory by Portal -- One of my favorite acts of recent years broke up in 2006. I'm so shaken up and disheartened that i haven't been able to write about it. They had such potential, and their albums were getting more and more interesting… Sigh. Well, they ended with 2 compilations, one of outtakes, and this one, which collects early and difficult to find tracks onto one convenient CD. Handy, and oh so beautiful. I will miss them.
 
         
            Live Shows  
     

This is a surprisingly hard category for me to do. I go to lots of shows, and sometimes an overall event can be kind of crappy, while one band in particular played their heart out. So here are the best live events, be they entire show or one performance out of many.

  1. Sat.18.March in Austin, TX: SIANspheric and Superchunk at SXSW. I dragged Tracers to see SIANspheric play for 10 minutes, but oh what a glorious 10 minutes it was. Simply amazing. And then, 4 hours later, EvilSponge's collective favorite band, Superchunk, stormed on stage to Driveway to Driveway and left 40 minutes later to a blistering Precision Auto, and we spent the time in between grinning like fools, dancing like indie rockers (which means a lot of unfocused bouncing and flailing), and having a blast. What a great day.

  2. Sat.8.April: Dinosaur Jr. at The Variety Playhouse. Metal bands opened for them, and i wasn't really impressed. Then J. Mascis, Lou Barlow, and The Murph came onstage and rocked the living hell out of The Variety Playhouse. Hell yeah!

  3. Thu.3.August: My Education with Hours to Alibi and Sound of 73 at The EARL. My Education might have gone on in the middle of this show, but they dominated it. One of America's best, and as-yet-unheralded, post-rock bands playing long, symphonic epics. The other two bands were fun as well.

  4. Mon.9.January: French Toast at The Drunken Unicorn. French Toast is another one of those bands that should sell out every show they play. They put so much energy and creativity into this performance, and it was great. I wish they toured more.

  5. Fri.23.June: Corndog-o-rama Day 1 at The EARL. Happy Corndog! This local festival keeps getting better and better. However, Patrick and company are going to have a real challenge when next year they try to top this year's opener. I mean, the night ended with half of the local musicians on stage singing Purple Rain, while the crowd swayed and sang along. How much more perfect can it get?

  6. Fri.3.March: The Wedding Present at The EARL. David Gedge can write some of the catchiest tunes, and it was great to see him doing Wedding Present songs live. This was bouncy catchy fun.

  7. Fri.17.Mar: Tilly and the Wall at SXSW. I actually saw this band twice this year, and thoroughly enjoyed their second album (from the spring), but seeing this show was amazing. It was my live introduction to the band, and also my introduction to the fact that they are popular with the kids. Who knew that i was trendy? Plus, being in the crowd when everyone screamed, "And we wandered out onto the dirty streets of ATLANTA!" during Nights of the Living Dead was really fun.

  8. Thu.19.October: Asobi Seksu with The Blue Hour and Club Awesome at The EARL. This was, overall, one of the best shows i saw at The EARL this year, and i see a lot of shows at The EARL. All three bands but on a good show, and it was great to see Asobi Seksu play the songs off of Citrus.

  9. Thu.08.June: Octopus Project at Smith's Olde Bar. The Octopus Project are, at heart, a bunch of silly energetic people who want to flail around with their instruments and have a good time. And, god bless 'em, they succeed.

  10. Thu.16.March: Xiu Xiu at SXSW. I have wanted to see Xiu Xiu for years, but something always comes up when they play Atlanta. Well, i managed to track them down at SXSW, and it was worth the wait. What a creative band.

 
         
            Anticipation  
     

I am already looking forward to several things during 2007. In no particular order:

  • A new Guns N Roses album. (Yeah, i'll believe it when i see it!)
  • A solo record from Liz Fraser. (Again, i will beleive the rumors when i physically touch product.)
  • A new Portishead record. (The teasers they put on their MySpace page are so good...)
  • A new Skinny Puppy record.
  • A new record from Modest Mouse, featuring Johnny Marr as their new guitarist. (No kidding -- go look the news up if you don't beleive it. I didn't at first either.)
  • New work from Paul Simonon. (The ex-Clash guitarist hasn't been that productive since the band broke up, but i have enjoyed what little he has done. Plus, this time he is collaborating with Damon Albarn. Should be good.)
  • And of course, EvilSponge will be at South by SouthWest. Say hi, if you see us!
 
         
 
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