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2006 Year End Best Of

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Recently, when I've talked to people, I keep saying that 2006 was a good musical year for me. Yet upon further examination, I'm not sure that very many things stand out as exceptional. Rather, there are little snippets and moments that struck me as individually sublime. And when I add those all up, I'm still convinced it was a very good year indeed.

          Musical Pleasures of 2006:
  1. Superchunk at SxSW. Call it the memories of my misspent youth, or call it misplaced nostalgia, either way, seeing Superchunk after some 3 years was easily the musical highlight of 2006. And they played Precision Auto to boot.

  2. Citrus by Asobi Seksu. An absolutely awesome album that translates well to both the recorded medium and live performance. Guitarist James Hanna is a brilliant musician, who is always a joy to watch, that is, if you can see past all the guys drooling at vocalist Yuki Chikudate.

  3. Atlanta club Lenny's moves to a location with working air conditioning and running water. I know some folks around town complain that the ambience at the new Lenny's lacks something. I would argue that they're just missing the smell of patchouli, unwashed indie rockers, stale beer, and urine; which does not equal ambience in my world.

  4. Seeing Austin / New York band Black Lipstick in concert for the first (and second) time. If you read EvilSponge much, you'll quickly realize that this is one of my favorite acts, who I had never had the pleasure to witness performing until earlier this year. They were even better than I imagined, and they pulled off a particularly kickin' cover of Sister Ray.

  5. Ferocious Bubbles. I accidentally discovered this band one night at the (unmoved) Lenny's. I thought they were pretty durn good. Then I saw them at The Other Sounds festival, and one of the members played the coolest instrument I've seen in years. Then I got their album, and the cover was in Khmer, which was pretty neat, as my graduate degree is in Southeast Asian history. And then I saw them blow the emotional roof off The EARL, opening for a couple of metal bands and with only a few people paying attention. Wow. What a wonderful discovery.

  6. The return of the cover song. This year, it seemed many local Atlanta bands surprised me with covers. The highlight of this was League of Evil covering the entirety of Prince's Purple Rain at Corndogarama. But, other local bands came through during the year. Highlights include The Close rocking out to Somebody's Watching Me at their album release and Blake Rainey showing he has some funk by playing Eddy Grant's Electric Avenue during 2006's Happenstance at The EARL.

  7. Headlights. This Illinois band released a wonderful new album, Kill Them With Kindness. They put on a great set to a packed house at SxSW as part of the Polyvinyl & Kork showcase, and then they finished up the year by playing a energetic and brilliant show at Lenny's to a small, but really enthusiastic crowd. Easily one of the hardest working touring bands I've seen.

  8. Club Awesome. A local Atlanta band that came out of nowhere, I really liked them the first time I saw them early in 2006. Then, they brought a pool to The Drunken Unicorn and wowed me with their tightness and consistency. And they wrote my favorite single song of 2006: BBs Go Out Into the Night. Try listening to that one, and see if you don't dance.

  9. Nothing at All by The Jupiter Watts. This is an absolutely wonderful nugget of jangly Indie Pop, coming straight out of a group of extremely talented musicians. Supposedly, this will be on the album due to be released, and if this song is indication, that may be the album to beat in 2007.

  10. The Other Sounds festival. Brought together by a group of Atlanta indie labels, including John Graham from Two Sheds Records, Keith Vogelsong from Goodnight Records, and Kim Ware from Eskimo Kiss Records, this had an impressive lineup of mostly local bands, most of whom managed to show themselves off nicely. And unlike some festivals, each of the three nights was strong enough to stand on its own.
  11. A whole new crop of Atlanta bands. O.K., some of these bands have been playing together for more than the last year, but all of them really only hit my radar this year. And I'm really happy with these newer acts that include: The Blue Hour, Club Awesome, Five Foot Flame, Ghost Tour, League of Evil, The Long Knives, Parade, The Preakness, Protectors Of, Slushco, and Thee Crucials. This is not a comprehensive list, but just the first ones that popped into my head.
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