Alright, so I didn’t post for a week… I blame it on the holidays. Got too caught up in the nog and catching up with old friends. And sitting outside, wondering where the snow is.
My little men that work in my ears have recently advised me that they are ready to continue the onslaught of new music. Here goes.
Check out Maybe Smith from Sir, Handsome Records
This is the work of Saskatchewan artist Colin Skrapek. Since 2002, Maybe Smith has released four bodies of work, most recently Second Best Death.Think pop mixed with electro, with samples and soft melodies intertwined. He’s had comparisons to the likes of Dan Snaith and Andrew Whiteman so far. Sounds like an artist who’s daring enough to tackle that genre of music where the is such fine line between creating organized noise via laptop and writing challenging songs that say a little more than what you’re going to hear on commercial radio.
I was really surprised to find out that he doesn’t have a myspage page…. sign of the changing times maybe?
My favorite track is Favours for Favours. Very nice wall of sound is going to jump out at you and yell boo around the halfway point.
As well, here is the title track off Second Best Death. I really hear a similarity to Ferraby Lionheart here.
I consider this masterpiece one of my favorite albums of all time. Every track on this beauty brings a little something different and completely unique. This was one of the nominees for the 2006 Mercury Music Prize while the album’s lead single “Over and Over” was rated as the best single of 2006 by NME.
Aside from being from my neck of the woods, Jesse F. Keeler (formerly of Death From Above 1979) and AL-P, (producer of Death From Above 1979′s You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine) have created one of the quintessential dance albums of 2006. Check them out and get yer booty shaking.
This band reminds me of Neutral Milk Hotel, with a little Ida thrown in for good measure. I was turned on to this band after hearing their 2004 track “We Remain as Two” in which they state: “I saw a flower on the doorstep making love with the sun, and it turned into a garden when they were done”. It can’t get much better than that.
This Chicago band has played with the likes of Pedro the Lion, American Analog Set, Broken Social Scene, Minus the Bear and Pinback. That’s keeping some damn good company, and this is an album which shouldn’t be missed.
A really sexy album. Check out “Collarbone”, a song about the enthralling world of sneakers and tripping over shoelaces.
The National Trust – Kings and Queens
I read a description of this album which I could never possibly beat: “Kings and Queens is a freaky conflation of dance music, like a 31-flavor ice cream social on a hot summer?s day where bongos and subs keep time for a gaggle of face-painters, genies and roller-queens.”
I wrote about this album here a little while back. Stick it in your significant other’s stocking this holiday season, and if you don’t have a significant other, dry your tears and buy it for yourself. Girl Talk – Night Ripper
Some people might consider this album offensive. Personally I think it’s offensive that not more of you have heard this masterpiece.
They are just going to be in alphabetical order. As well, I’m sure there were many great records put out this year that I never got a chance to hear. These ones below are the ones that inspired me the most.
(Not going to put in a lot of words, just a couple thoughts that come to mind.)
The album is totally there, lives up to the bluzz. Tracks like Brother entice you at the start and knock your head off at the climax. Complete Or Completing is the best nu-waltz I’ve heard and tracks like Sway hide at the end, slowly growing on you as you start to wear down the disc. Great example of songwriting by a bunch of kids from North Carolina.
Band Of Horses – Everything All The Time
Great debut from this Seattle band. Toss it on for roadtrips and bar-b-ques.
Maybe the true definition of DIY? Along with writing and recording the songs, Chad makes his own instruments and does all the artwork himself. Interesting record. Look for Flower Gardens, best stuttering song since My Generation.
Eagle*Seagull – Eagle*Seagull
Another great debut. Get past the obvious Robert Smith sound of the lead singers voice and dig deeper. Phenominal live band.
Seven songs from a great ‘chemical trio’ from Montreal. Lizzie’s amazing voice is captivating. This EP is another great start, also keeping Montreal on the map as the best place to discover the next biggest thing.
‘AM Radio Gets A Modern Sheen‘. That quote has really stuck with me as the best way to describe this band. Think beautiful harmonies backed by 70′s influence folk-pop. If Roscoe doesn’t get you, try Young Bride. If neither work, try peanut butter.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’d be able to guess that these guys would make my top 10. A grittier sounding record, still with tons of reverb and organs. And its a grower, Lousianna didn’t get me the same way The Rat did the first time I heard it. Go see this band.
Click on this image below to stream music from my top 10.
Also, a quick thanks to everyone that has been reading my rants here. And a happy holidays!
Ok so I guess I’ll get the bad news out of the way early. Unfortunately, the band that produced my favourite album of the year, the Like Young, have decided to call it quits. Describing this album as having “culminated 15 years of songwriting, recording, touring, and releasing records.” I guess that means this is the best they had to offer, and I’d have to agree. It’s pretty freaking great. Joe and Amanda Ziemba will be missed – by me, if nobody else. Hopefully after you listen to Spell It Out, and All The Wrong Reasons you’ll miss them a bit yourself.
myspaceEveryone’s favourite depressing band from Montreal. I guess that might make them like the opposites of the Arcade Fire in a sense. I wrote them up on here after seeing them at the Virgin Music Festival this summer, right after they released this album, and I’m still very impressed by it today. Fear Made The World Go ‘Round is wonderful. On that song Murray Lightburn’s voice and writing make me want to slit my wrists so I can bleed out the loser inside, thus making me a winner, just like this album.
I’ve really enjoyed this band since I first saw them at Healey’s during NXNE a couple years ago. Wonderful live show, great live musicianship (ship? collective?), and really nice people. This is their debut full length release and if you were a fan of the Smashing Pumpkins after Siamese Dream or Mellon Collie, then you’ll love this album. Lazy Eye and Well Thought Out Twinkles are both great tracks. Look for more solid stuff out of this band in the future.
This was probably one of my top 2 or 3 choices this year. Original, interesting, and funtastic. Poppy, distinct, and involved. I could come up with more adjectives to describe it but it might just be easier to listen to it for yourself. My favourite tracks are How The Leopard Got It’s Spots, and Chicago.
I tend to listen to a lot of Fugazi related stuff. If you want to read more about my man-crush on Ian MacKaye see the Evens commentary below. This album was recorded by the Thermals with the help of Fugazi’s Brendan Canty. I think it is wonderful. If you are religious you might find it offensive. If you dislike religious commentary… or find it trite, you may think this album is not for you. I think it rocks. Enjoy it or not, it’s on the list.
This was the first of two 2006 releases for my favourite sons of Glasgow. They also did the soundtrack to a documentary film that traced the actions of Zinedane Zidane during a soccer match – ALSO a very good album. But I liked this one more, so it made the list. Glasgow Mega-Snake is my ring on my phone. I don’t think I need to offer any more endorsement than that. Listen to it.
New York, New York’s Action Action… now there’s a seemingly redundant statement. These guys first came to my attention when I listened to their debut release on Victory Records, don’t cut your fabric to this year’s fashion. This, their second release, is far more mature, but continues the 80′s synth pop resurrection they were cultivating in the first place. If you’re into pop-punk, and 80′s era bands like devo or depeche mode, you’ll enjoy this one. I’m particularly fond of Paper Cliche. Following this release the band has completed their contract with Victory, and is now moving on to a new label, with another album already completed – so expect it to be released sometime in the new year.
8. The Evens – Get Evens
I got ahold of this right near the end of the year and frankly I’m just as impressed with it as I was with the Evens’ first release. Ian MacKaye is still a genius, and I’ve basically had a huge man-crush on the guy ever since I started listening to Fugazi when I was in High School (I am also a fan of Minor Threat, but since this thread avoids Hardcore Punk I shouldn’t mention that necessarily). The music he’s making with Amy Farina (formerly of the Warmers) is perhaps far more accessible than any of the work he’d done previously to adult contemporary listeners. A bit political, a bit wonderful, the whole album is quite solid. I am a big fan of the title track, Get Even.
M Ward’s knack for redefining himself with every record continues on this, his fifth solo release and first full-band effort. Upbeat, lo-fi renderings that appeal to the sensibilities of any appreciator of americana, the tracks on Post-War are definitely worth a listen. Cameo appearances by Neko Case and Jim James from ‘My Morning Jacket’ are also worthy of mention. If you haven’t already heard this album, you could make doing so your New Year’s Resolution.
10. Yo La Tengo – I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
Considering this band has over 14 releases to their credit, it shouldn’t surprise anyone who is aware of them that this album is hard to categorize or pin down. Extremely diverse musical meanderings, with a depth that might require a few listens to completely absorb. I found this one grew on me over the last 3 months of this year, I’m a big fan of the track Point and Shoot. The album title is a quote from then NY Knick, Tim Thomas, directed at his then team-mate and fellow NY Knick, Stephon Marbury: “Everyone in this organization is afraid of you, but I?m not, and I will beat your ass.”
Just getting the final touches on our best albums of the year. Burtch has done his, I just got to put it together. Hackett, have you got anything yet? As for me, I’m now up to 10 records, but I don’t really want to put them in order….. they all grabbed me this year in their own way. We’ll see what I do, expect my list by Saturday.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has come by my little spot on the web since I started. Its nice to hear from complete strangers who share the fun of discovering new music. A big happy holidays out to you!