Thursday, February 01, 2007

Belated Best-Of, 2006 Music List

Not that all of you have been waiting with baited breath for me to publish this list, and most of you probably could care less, since you likely read this blog solely to hear about the latest cute things the boys did, or whatever. But for those who have been searching the world to find the no-kidding, Top 5 Albums of 2006, look no further. Seriously, I need to just start a music review website / blog or something. Anyway, this list does not include any Christmas-themed releases. Check here to read those reviews. I’ve also included a few more lists for those who really care, and I know that a few of you do, so here it is:

Top 5 Albums of 2006 (in order of precedence)

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1. mewithoutYouBrother, Sister
This release is, hands down, the most solid release of the entire year…the world over. I’ve decided that, as with Sufjan Stevens, it is impossible for mewithoutYou to create a bad record. They’ve grown a lot since Catch For Us The Foxes and created a true masterpiece. The overall sound is, in some ways, similar to some songs on Catch, but with a bit more actual singing, and the addition of a few more instruments such as accordion and even harp. Aaron’s lyrics are, as could be expected extremely creative and thought provoking. The musical arrangements are very unique, in the style that only mewithoutYou can do. Throughout the record are three small, interspersed interludes, which really tie the whole record together.
Standout tracks: “The Dryness and The Rain”, “In A Market Dimly Lit”, “In A Sweater Poorly Knit”

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2. Del CastilloBrotherhood

I seriously have no idea why these guys aren’t huge. Yeah, so most of the songs are sung in Spanish, but holy crap these guys can write damn good songs. The brothers Rick and Mark Del Castillo are, by far, the most skilled (and fastest) latin guitarists I’ve ever heard. I got the chance to see them play in Syracuse a couple of years ago, and they effortlessly ripped through their set, exhibiting everything from their three albums and much more. Brotherhood includes a few more English-sung songs than usual, one (“I Never Cared For You”) featuring Willie Nelson on lead vocals.
Standout tracks: “Arena Al Viento”, “Este Amor”, “El Corrido de Don Lulai”

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3. Over The RhineLive From Nowhere, Vol. I

We’ve long been very big OTR fans, and this limited release was definitely worth the pre-order wait. Live From Nowhere is, I think, a lot better than Changes Come – Over The Rhine Live, and it really makes you feel like you’re getting your own little private concert in your living room. It’s definitely a sit-in-a-dimly-lit-room-with-your-favorite-cup-of-tea-and-significant-other type of record. The set-list includes more of their lounge-jazzy selections, both old and new, and also includes a warm interlude of Peggy Lee’s “Fever”, Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man”, and Van Morrison’s “Moondance”. The record concludes appropriately with Ella Fitzgerald’s “Paper Moon”, and it’s usually at this point that we press “play” again because it’s so enjoyable.
Standout tracks: “Faithfully Dangerous”, “Drunkard’s Prayer”, “Fever”, “Son Of A Preacher Man”

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4. AnathalloFloating World

Very unique and very experimental from this most-of-the-time seven piece ensemble. Playing everything from basic guitars and drums, to bigger drums, xylophones, horns, chains, sticks, popping-balloons, and whatever else they remembered to pull out of the van. Anathallo truly needs to be experienced live, as the record falls short of capturing the fullness of their creativity. However this is in no way saying that the record is poorly done. It is an extremely interesting listen and the recording does well to exhibit every instrument.
Standout tracks: “Ame – Genessaret”, “Hanasakajiji (four: a great wind, more ash)”, “Hanasakajiji (one: the angry neighbor)”, “Cuckoo Spitting Blood”

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5. 4 and 20 BlackbirdsAct I: A Bird Began To Sing

Honestly, the number 5 spot was the hardest to pick because, really after that, it’s all sixth place. Although this release only has five songs, thus technically lumping it into the EP category, its excellence pushed it easily into the top 5. This husband / wife duo combine beautiful female vocals with a combination folk-jazz vibe resulting in a very unique and unforgettable sound.
Standout tracks: “Song Of Sixpence”, “Judith’s Song”

Honorable Mention 2006 Releases (in alphabetical order)

In the interest of not having this post scroll down to near eternity, I have refrained from including reviews for the following albums. I have instead made each one a link if you want to find out more.

Black Rebel Motorcycle ClubHowl Sessions
BrideSkin For Skin
ConvergeNo Heroes
Crimson MoonlightIn Depths of Dreams Unconscious
DJ Christopher LawrenceSubculture, Vol. I
DJ MicroDirect Konnect
Koen DuncanBring Down
From A Second Story WindowDelenda
Gasoline HeartYou Know Who You Are
Glass CasketDesperate Man’s Diary
Sarah HarmerI’m A Mountain
I-Dragon-ILimited Edition
JetShine On
LengselThe Kiss, The Hope
Like SummerFrom Arlington Heights, With Love
Lye By MistakeArrangements For Fulminating Vective
Murder By Deathin boca al lupo
Mute MathMute Math
My Brightest DiamondBring Me The Workhorse
Norma JeanRedeemer
Odon SoteriasHow The People Stare
Oh SleeperThe Armored March
Old Crow Medicine ShowBig Iron World
Other Desert CitiesOn The Verge Of Collapsing
Peter And The WolfLightness
PsaltersThe Divine Liturgy of The Wretched Exiles
ScarletThis Was Always Meant To Fall Apart
Shot X ShotShot X Shot
Society’s FinestAnd I, The Drunkards
Sufjan StevensThe Avalanche
The Black AngelsPassover
The Cassettes‘Neath The Pale Moon
The DecemberistsThe Crain Wife
The Weird WeedsWeird Feelings
ThumbscrewWithin Hearts Of Redemption EP
Woven HandMosaic
ZaoThe Fear Is What Keeps Us Here

Most Criminally Underrated / Underappreciated Bands of 2006

Sad, really. Why people fail to support the really good bands is totally beyond me.

Del Castillo
Like Summer
Society’s Finest
The Cassettes

Top Music Video DVDs of 2006

16 Horsepower Live
AFII Heard A Voice
Demon HunterWaging The Third War
LeahyLive From Gatineau, Quebec
Norma JeanThe Marvelous End of The Exhausted Contender
The AquabatsCharge!! The DVD
Zao The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here, The DVD

Highly Anticipated Releases of 2007

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club -- Baby 81
Burlap To Cashmere (currently untitled)

Steven DelopoulosAs If Love Were A Sword
ImpellitteriGood And Evil
Impending Doom (currently untitled)
LovedrugEverything Starts Where It Ends
Leng Tch’eMerasmus
Maylene And The Sons of DisasterII
Night Of The Wrecking BallHere Is My Drumset, Here Is My Ninja Star
PsyopusOur Puzzling Encounters Considered
Over The RhineLive From Nowhere, Vol. II
The Famine (currently untitled) (former members of Embodyment!!!)
Toby MacPortable Sounds
Virgin BlackRequiem – Pianissimo
Virgin BlackRequiem – Mezzo Forte
Virgin BlackRequiem – Fortissimo


Anonymous said...

i am extremely pleased to see mewithoutYou at the number one spot on your list. i whole heartedly agree with brother, sister being hands down the best album of 2006. however in response i am suprised that there are some albums not even in your honorable mentions that i would put in my top 5. maybe you haven't heard them, or maybe you've heard them and hate them (which i don't see how that's possible), but even though you didn't ask for other peoples opinions i will give mine any way, because that's just what i do. at #1 mewithoutYou - brother, sister; #2 joanna newsom - Ys; #3 My Morning Jacket - OKONOKOS (double live album); #4 Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat; and #5 Akron/Family - Meek Warrior (although it is my least favorite of theirs to date, it is still good enough to make it on my top 5 of the year); honorable mentions Zookeeper - self titled ep; Jeremy Enigk - the world awaits; and Nada Surf - the weight is a gift. i hope you enjoyed my list, and i hope you and faith and the children are doing well, and continue to do well in the new year.

your internet stalker,

Pinkey the Axe Fairy said...

great to hear from you! you present a very eclectic list. and i must give you props for being the one to get me into mewithouYou, although i still don't like their first record. the problem now is that i have to listen to six new bands / artists i've never even heard of, which i guess makes you better than me. i've actually been meaning to check out jeremy e. for quite a while now. didn't he do guest vocals on brother, sister?
after writing this list i realized that i forgot to include pretty much anything ever put out by arcade fire.
oh, by the way, next week i'm seeing misery index, necrophagist, and origin, in trier, germany.

Anonymous said...

i happened to just by that leahy dvd for my library before i saw your recommendation- i feel like a million bucks. also, new tobymac means new ddr songs! -sarah d

love -joy- peace said...

I was waited with baited breath Greg!! I WAS!!!

Pinkey the Axe Fairy said...

great to hear that you got the leahy dvd. did you know they came through elmira last october?
we recently got two other dvds that i highly recommend, although i didn't include them on the list, since they weren't released in 2006: "Blast! -- An Explosive Musical Celebration" is an extremely entertaining stage show, loosely based around drum and bugle corps, but with dancing and singing too. it truly has to be experienced. also, if you like djimbe music, we got the Mamady Keita -- Live dvd. Mamdy is one of the world's greatest djimbe masters.