So we thought it might be interesting to ask some of our favorite local musicians and artists (as well as a local music writer and a member of Voxtrot
) to list their favorite records and/or songs from 2006. We told them the lists could be as long or as short as they wanted, and we asked that they limit their selections to music or music related items that were released or occurred in 2006. The responses we received are below (yeah, I know its a massive post. Deal with it. If we ever figure out how to do that page break thing, we'll do it.):Michael Chamy (Observer writer and member of iDi* amin and Zanzibar Snails):
Wolf Eyes Human Animal (Sub Pop) and Black Vomit w/ Anthony Braxton (Victo)
Wolf Eyes just blew the field away this year. It’s hard to fathom how anyone could have better control over broken machines, creepshow thuds, and squelching electric currents, weaving it all together with powerful restraint and reckless fury. Human Animal alternates between harrowing and mind-melting, and the live set with avant-jazz legend Braxton is just pure magical intensity, a redefinition of what music might be.
THE OTHER TOP ALBUMS
Insomniac Doze (Temporary Residence)
A Japanese combo that sounds like Explosions in the Sky playing black metal. Totally gripping.
Solo Guitar (Silber)
Low’s Alan Sparhawk takes a surprising left turn into meditational Krautrock. Beautifully patient instrumentals with an ancient, almost menacing edge, well-tempered with minimalist layers of soothing drones and loops.
Ghostcar Too Strong/The Art of Transition
There has been a sighting of the first-ever studio Ghostcar album after all these years, and it smells vaguely like Miles’ carcass mixed with the ashes of the Rhodes piano these guys blew up in the middle of redefining electric jazz for the devil-may-care improv-rock set.
They’ve toned down the guitars, but Andrew Huffstettler’s freakishly bombastic intensity rings clearer than ever, as does the band’s proclivity for hiding dissonant bits nestled inside Newbery Award-winning songs. Well, if they gave Newbery Awards to songs.
hotel, hotel allheroesareforeverbold (lo bango sound)
My Education played my wedding, but I want these Austin/Denton/Arizona dudes to play my funeral. Ornate violin/guitar/drums wafting in an early Kranky Records abyss.
March of the Carpenter Ants
This is my random MySpace discovery of the year. A Columbus, Ohio duo who breathe more life into mangled electronics and circuit-bent textures than Sonic Boom could ever do alone.
Black Happy Day
In the Garden of Ghostflowers (Silber)
Featuring members of Stone Breath and Lycia, an eerie shotgun wedding of folksy medieval dirges and magickal ambiance from the dark side of Stonehenge.
Fort Recovery (Misra)
Indie-rock perfection can be off-putting to some, but not when Will Johnson’s honest, gritty and idiosyncratic songs are at the heart of it all.
Boris & Sunn 0)))
Altar (Southern Lord)
Not always all it promises to be, nevertheless, locking in and listening to this frappe of low-end doom and hushed gossamer dream states is like peeling away the layers of a fascinating eternal fruit from the great beyond.
supersilent 7 (Rune Grammonfon Norway)
Haven’t yet shelled out for this import DVD, but if it’s anything like the last DVD-only live release from this 100% improvised jazz-trained sound-sculptor combo, it’s musically and visually cinematic in a way that both music teachers and connoisseurs of extreme music can agree on.
Notes From Underground, Strategies of Beauty Festival, July 1@Rubber Gloves
This often chaotic Denton fivepiece was in command like never before that night, offering a series of captivating teases and buildups, helped along by sax player Mike Forbes, before loosing an ear-splitting, whiplash-inducing maelstrom that damn near blew the lid off the place.
Savage Republic’s tribal-punk clinic at Room 710 in Austin during SXSW
Austin indie rockers Fivehead’s homecoming circus of a show at Porchlight Popfest during SXSW
It’s hard to beat the intimate and unique events that happen at the House of Tinnitus and (sometimes) J&J’s Pizza in Denton, but in terms of overall venue, Rubber Gloves Rehearsal studios is hard to beat. The bar-separation layout couldn’t be better.
THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN DFW IN 2007
- Local label lo-bango sound’s upcoming drone/drift series of 3-inch discs, in editions of 333 each.
- The return of FW’s Chimeneas (guitarish Josh was in Africa for much of 2006)
- A Great Tyrant record
- A new Shiny Around the Edges record (special guests galore)
- Second editions of Strategies of Beauty and Dead Echoes
- Continued improvements at the Metrognome and Secret Headquarters
- Notes From Underground as a seven(!)-piece
- More interesting new bandsDJ Sober of The Party
J Dilla Donuts
Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory Tree Colored See
The Rapture Pieces of The People We Love
Milosh MemeJared Van Fleet of Voxtrot and Sparrow House
-----grizzly bear, yellow house
we played with these guys twice this spring, before their album came out, and i knew very little about them beforehand. those shows indicated that they were extremely talented musicians and songwriters (not to mention really nice guys), but the music didn't affect me fully until i finally heard yellow house. this record seems to balance itself perfectly in places where it could easily fail: the music is complex, but never pedantic, and it pulls from a diverse range of genres, influences, moods, and motives, without ever seeming disingenuine or contrived. somehow, through all of that, i still found the record immediately appealing, in a way that almost obscures its overwhelming accomplishments in songwriting, production, arrangement, and (true) experimentation. paradoxically, it's exactly that lack of pretension that underscores yellow house's greatest qualities.
-----joanna newsom, ys
the milk-eyed mender introduced joanna newsom as a precocious talent, if somewhat polarizing. while cynics dismissed her voice and lyrical vernacular as cloying and postured, that album's concise and poignant melodies were strong enough to demand attention... and attention reveals a perspective and approach as mature and honest as it is unique, with songs that transcend the barriers of arrangement, style, and aesthetic. ys is anything but concise, and requires perhaps even more patience, but it delivers an equally compelling experience. this is really a record to sit down and enjoy with the lyrics and the liner notes. with an a-list of iconic collaborators, this album could have been a mess of competing visions, and it's really a testament to the restraint and empathy of van dyke parks (and all of the involved parties) that ys maintains cohesion as well as it does. it's a beautiful accomplishment.
----tv on the radio, return to cookie mountain
my first exposure to many of these songs was in prospect park in brooklyn, where tv on the radio played my favorite show of the year. their performance that night (which featured guests including the antibalas afrobeat orchestra) prompted me to buy their album as soon as i returned home, for which i was immediately grateful. while their recorded energy does not equal the all-out explosion of their live performances, it does showcase their equally daft senses of production and arrangement, revealing a whirlwind set of fully-realized songs that work as well in a living room or a bar as they do on a stage.
-----vetiver, to find me gone
i'm not sure what's in the bay area water, aside from the body of frank lee morris, but they should start exporting it, whatever it is. here andy cabic turned in a beautifully subtle record that pushes vetiver into their own place, finally... out of the pidgeonhole-reach of lazy journalists who would like to reduce the collective output from that whole community of diverse talents to a singular movement or statement. this record really grew on me after many listens. i did say it was subtle. also, noah georgeson is a name more people should be familiar with.
-----dr. dog, takers and leavers EP
dr dog just might be the best band making music in the united states. actually, fuck it, they are. to be completely honest, i still haven't been able to hear this EP in its entirety. some things you just know, and i just know that dr. dog inspires a hyperbolic reaction from me. on that note, their show at big orange during SXSW was the best show that week.
-----sound team, movie monster
we in austin have been anticipating this record for a long time, and for good reason. for years, sound team impressed local audiences with their artistic ambition and excellent live musicianship. this 'debut' only hints at sound team's diverse capabilities, as evinced by their live performances, outtakes, singles, and self-released recordings. even in spite of its limited scope, it easily ranks among the year's most accomplished releases, filled with well-balanced sound textures and melodies that are impossible to predict (or forget). misunderstood by a few shallow-sighted critics, and perhaps not immediate enough for radio, movie monster was a largely overlooked but undeniably promising debut from a band that is working to define what it means to be DIY artists.
-----hot chip, the warning
it would be worth it just for the melody introduced in "colours" at 2:21. fortunately the rest of the songs hold up just as well. this year i've been particularly concerned with bands who i feel are actively pushing pop music in new directions, and hot chip certainly fit that description. obviously throughout the course of the year this record was over and overplayed, but i still can't find it annoying, which is a rarity for me.
-----peter and the wolf, lightness
lightness is for many people an introduction to red hunter, revealing an extremely talented melodicist and songwriter with a wide (bipolar?) range of influences and aims. the stripped-down production (with help from josh duke) highlights a group of songs that are strongest at their core, which is kind of the point, isn't it? with an equal balance of self-aware humor and unselfconscious honesty, the album is at once playful and emotionally moving, as complex as the nostalgia which seems to have provided much of its inspiration.
-----cat power, the greatest
a beautiful record from one of my favorite current songwriters. one of the things i appreciate about chan marshall is her intuition for how to take advantage of the talents of her collaborators in recording and producing her own songs, and i for one fell in love with the classic arrangements and mostly straight-ahead presentation of the songs on the greatest, played by some of the best-known session musicians in american music. the album feels to me like a triumphant, if bittersweet, celebration over internal conflict. in short, it was good for me.Wanz Dover
1. Liars "Drums Not Dead"- album of the year. Album of the decade. I can't really emphasize enough how mindblowing this record is. After all of these years of Sonic Youth Knock offs these guys really broke through to next barrier and then some. It’s dissonant, melodic, disturbing, peaceful, abstract, with a hook around every twisted corner. I read a review of this record earlier this year in a local paper that pretty much dismissed it as a “Bunch of Noise” which let me know that journalists don’t always listen to the records they review. This is the missing link between Brian Wilson, MBV, Sonic Youth and Boredoms. The most original statement I have heard in way too long of a time. And they do it with a sly sense of humour and their tongue placed firmly in their cheek.
2.Scott Walker “The Drift” – I hope I am making music this incredible when I get his age. Hell I hope even get close anytime in my lifetime.
3. Jesu “Silver” – If you ever wondered what Kevin Shields would sound like backed up by the Melvins here it is. This record has been criminally overlooked. Shoegaze for Metalheads on codine.
4. Ellen Allien and Apparrat “Orchestra of Bubbles”- Germans rule and so does this beautifully constructed record by 2 of my favorite producers. They both step outside of their comfort zones to bring something new to the table.
5.Hot Chip “The Warning” - great songs to sing along to. Great songs to dance to. This record is pretty infectious.
6. Clark “Body Riddle” – I came to this record late in the year. Warp needs to get more stuff like this out.
7. Boris “Pink”- Fuck Yeah…..hook and horns sign on one hand…..a joint in the other.
8. Burial “Burial”- I got into a lot of Dubstep this year, but this record stands out above all others. Even Nurse with Wound has this mysterious guy in his myspace top 16.
9.The Knife – “Silent Shout”
10.Mission of Burma “The Obilterati”- They are back and rock way more than all of the kids still ignoring them.
Brazilian Girls “Talk To La Bomb”
Mission of Burma “The Obliterati”
Slayer “Christ Illusion”
Spank Rock “yoyoyoyoyo”
Marked Men “Fix My Brain”
1.The Futureheads – Worry about it Later(Switch remix)
2.The Liars – The Other Side of Mt.Heart Attack
3.Uffie – Pop the Glock
4. [A]pendics.Shuffle – Award Winning Actor
5.Benga – Star Wars(The Hatch VIP)
6.Arthur Russell – Springfield (DFA Remix)
7.Hot Chip – Just like We Breakdown(DFA Remix)
8.Ellen Allien – Just a Woman
9.Klaxons – The Bouncer
10.Throbbing Gristle – Hot on the Heels of Love(Carl Craig remix)Faux Fox
1. Krispee Ones/S.O.C.
3. Chief Death Rage
4. Cadillac Don
5. San Serac/The Internet
6. Golden Boys
7. AIDS Wolf
9. Great Tyrant
10. Crystal Castles
11. Glass Candy
13. Laura Palmer
14. Sean Kirkpatrick
15. Strange Boys
17. Snow Foxxes
19. Indian Jewelry
1. Prince William
2. Steven Void
3. Mikey Apples
4. Wild in the Streets
5. Lisa Light
10. Tommy Boy
11. WanzSean Kirkpatrick
1. Scott Walker – "Jolson and Jones"; I'm a huge fan of Walker's early work, but nothing could have prepared me for this bizarre masterpiece.
2. Shoplifting – "Male Gynecology"; This track contains some of the most innovative guitar playing and boldest lyrical statements I heard all year.
3. Andre' Ethier – "Didn't I Love You Better than Him"; There wouldn't be so much shame in the love song if more people knew how to write and sing them as perfectly as this.
4. Liars – "It Fit When I was a Kid"; That part that goes,"Crystals flying everywhere" kills me. Too bad the live show was such a disappointment.
5. Pink Mountaintops – "Lord, Let Us Shine"; Pseudo-gospel hymn, druggy lo-fi bedroom gem, wartime noise march. I have a party in my head every time I listen to it.
6. Mudhoney – "It is Us"; Yeah, they've still got it.
7. Chris Garver – "Put the Papers Away"; Someday I'll write lyrics as cool as this. Well, actually I probably won't.
8. Califone – "Pink & Sour"; It's like 'Bone Machine' and 'Remainin Light' had a baby, and Rutili spins his signature yarn over the top.
9. Mastodon – "The Wolf is Loose"; It would take most bands 12 minutes to accomplish what these guys do here in 3:30.
10. Ghostface Killah – "Shakey Dog"; Unstoppable. Yeah, just try to stop it. You can't.
11. Destroyer – "European Oils"; I only recently discovered Destroyer. What the hell is going on in Canada that's causing people to write songs like this? Obviously I'm a sucker for the elegant piano playing too.
12. M. Ward – "Poison Cup"; The song and voice have a timeless quality. This dude is (almost) the Roy Orbison of indie rock.
13. Neko Case – "Dirty Knife"; With such a strong vocal, you almost don't notice what a creepy song this is.
14. The Arm – "I'd like to Make a Complaint"; I thought for sure 2006 would be a big year for this Austin band upon hearing tracks like this, but alas we saw their demise.
15. Matmos – "Public Sex for Boyd McDonald"; I saw them play in Philadelphia. The encore featured real, live ass-spanking.Mom
Beach House's Beach House is a really great record. They're really pretty live too.
William Basinski's Garden of Brokenness was very interesting, although not quite as amazing as his disintegration loop anthology.
Colleen never falls short with anything every released and her album Colleen Et Les Biotes A Musique, a record made using only music boxes, is really fantastic.
A Hawk and a Hacksaw- The way the wind blows. Its the drummer from Neutral Milk Hotel. In this band Jeremy Barnes plays all sorts of instruments including a hat with bells on it. He also does some stuff on Beruit's album, which is good, but not as amazing as this record. If you are into Balkin gypsy tunes, then give this a listen. Kocani Orkestar is a huge influence on both of these band and is also worth a listen.
On the note of world music, we just found out about this group from africa called Konono No. 1, who are phenomenal. they build amps out of old car stereo's and broken megaphones. they also build electrified thumb pianos. I'm pretty sure they're working with Bjork for something on her new album. who cares if they put anything out this year, they fucking rule.
Eluvium put out an ep called When I Live By the Garden and By the Sea, which is really good. Talk Amongst the Trees remains his masterpiece.
Animal Collective's People EP is really swell. We're looking forward to anything these guys produce. Girl Talk's Night Ripper was a pretty interesting album.
Man Man's Six Demon Bag kept us laughing and stomping for a good portion of this year. Grizzly Bear's Yellow House is very well done and pretty.
Benoit Pioulard- Precis its pretty much along the lines of Beach House and Grizzly Bear. Very good bedroom pop.
Juana Molina- Son is the last record we bought, and it is beautiful. I love love love this record. cant wait to see her live one day.CJ Davis of Good Records
1. Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies
2. Benoit Pioulard - Precis
3. Beach House - s/t
4. Skeletons & The Kings Of All Cities - Lucas LP
5. Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory - Tree Colored See
6. Icy Demons - Tears of a Clone
7. Vetiver - To Find Me Gone
8. Bibio - Hand Cranked
9. The Gentleman Losers - s/t
10. Danielson - ShipsMcKenzie Smith of Midlake
1. the dears- gang of losers
2. joan as police woman- real life
3. the devics- push the heart
4. fionn regan- the end of history
5. band of horses- everything all the timeTommy Atkins of The Great Tyrant
Om- Conference of the Birds: cycling mantra-like bass and drums with chanted vocals. beautiful, heavy, and hypnotic.
Orthodox- Gran Poder: Black Madonna worshipping doom from Spain. riffs that manage to be classic and refreshing at the same time, notes drawn out to the perfect length, sudden waves of free jazz drums, droning tremolo and reverb drenched vocals. probably the only new doom band to bother with
Current 93- Black Ships Ate the Sky: beautiful and sad album based on David Tibet's dreams of flying black ships ushering in the apocalypse. dark folk featuring great strings, guitar work, and piano. loads of great guest musicians and some of Tibet's best lyrics to date
Scott Walker- the Drift: surprise of the year. thick blocks of sound, sometimes reminiscent of late era Swans, with Walker's pained and broken voice crooning bleak and bizarre stories. leaves you with the feeling you've just heard a truly fractured psyche
Corrupted- El Mundo Frio: hour + song from Japan's heaviest band. quiet passages of layered guitar, nearly sub bass, and harp lead into massive walls of noise and guitar. spoken as well as impossibly guttural vocals. at one point near the middle, theres even a harp solo. amazing.
Khlyst- Chaos is My Name: James Plotkin (OLD, Phantomsmasher, Khanate) and Runhild Gammelsaeter (Thorr's Hammer). sick blasts of destroyed guitar, drums, drones, and some of the most horrific vocals to ever come out of a human being. at times quiet and unsettling, others almost unlistenable. one of the more challenging and rewarding releases this year.
Slomo- the Creep: slow motion, low-end improv. not like the hundreds of instant-drone releases, as it actually moves, changes form, and keeps you engaged despite the incredibly slow pace
Coffins- the Other Side of Blasphemy: perfectly done doom in the vein of Winter or a slower Celtic Frost. nothing particularly groundbreaking, just slow thick and loud. compulsive listening
Urfaust & Circle of Ouroborus (split) - Auerauege Raa Verduistering: particularly the Urfaust side. mid paced, gloomy black metal with strange, high pitched, dramatic vocals. the faux modern classical passages are a bit of a bore, but the rest is a confounding and highly addictive listenShiny Around the Edges
For whatever reason, 2006 was the year of our favorite music being made by friends or friends of friends (well, except for one notable member of royalty on this list). And, as all lists go, this is just a sampling, really.
Stumptone – Gravity Suddenly Released Dense guitars and beautiful, sprawling songs, like country music filtered through Failure’s “Fantastic Planet.” Not officially released yet, but has been in constant rotation in our home.
Alan Sparhawk – Solo Guitar
Al from Low exploring guitar soundscapes that at times are reminiscent of a barge slowly crossing a grey lake before a snowstorm envelopes all.
Blair Harris – Songs on her MySpace page
All year, we’ve been riveted by her intimate songs like poems transmitted in code by ghosts that show up on old cassette tapes recording static.
Josh T. Pearson – “The Clash” video
God Bless Texas... that’s the way to play guitar.
Lite Brite – Self-titled CDR
One half of Mom, this is an ambient mix of samples, classical guitar, and cello, that, like Stumptone’s CD, has been in our player quite a bit.
Bosque Brown – Cerro Verde EP
Mara and her guitar on vinyl. If you listen to the words you will be thinking about them for a long time after the needle has left the record.
Notes from Underground – Their live shows Pick a show, any show from 2006, and it was the best show of the year.
The pAperchAse – Now You Are One of Us
The most disturbing and straightforward work of art we’ve encountered in 2006. Layered brilliance with Sean Kirkpatrick’s piano a perfect foil for John Congleton’s angular, near-metal riffs and bitingly direct poetry.
History at Our Disposal – Symbols in the Architecture
Shifting time signatures, soaring vocals, subtle electronica, driving folk, the frenetic percussion of Record Hop’s Josh Prisk, all combine to provide a collection of songs that further entrench HAOD’s Jason Reimer as one of our favorite songwriters and performers.
Prince – 3121
We do not doubt for one minute that, in fact, he and his friends drink champagne from glasses with chocolate handles. This record IS the party, just add friends and libations.Wilson Omora of Oveo
this album, despite its "no-fi" (aka. totally mono, thanks dconstruction *sarcasm tag*) aesthetic and its pegging as a dark sort of free-jazz outing, stands on its own as one of the best local releases this year, unfortunately the pressing was way to small and not nearly enough people heard it.
Violent Squid- several free releases and a video
Ty and his cohorts did so much amazing shit this year. Along with the two releases that I picked up at rubber gloves (which were both incredible by the way), they also managed to do a perfectly sleazy video at the UNT union FOR FREE... and they managed to get people excited about it! seriously, if you can't find any other reason to love these guys, at least you can appreciate their omnipresence
Chris Garver- everything: E4 E5, the December EP, his Strategies of Beauty set, etc. EVERYTHING Chris Garver does is golden, and 2006 has been his year.
Robedoor- Unsummoning (not local)
These guys are a group to watch out for, for real. I know that the market for "doom metal" and this kind of dark drone stuff is way over-saturated at the moment, but these guys do it right, when they do it at all. This band is coming at something familiar from so many new angles that I think it would be a crime for someone not to notice. Maybe they should change their name though.
El Aviador Dro y Sus Obreros Especializados- Electrico
This slightly sub-par compilation of tracks from the best spanish electro group ever wouldn't even have made it on to my list if it wasn't for the fact that it is THE FIRST AVIADOR DRO US RELEASE EVER. That being said, I am glad that this band has finally been formally imported.
Warmer Milks- Radish On Light
This album just kicks ass, in every way. It is the best rock album of the year, best noise album of the year, best noise-rock album of the year, best bluesy psych-rock album of the year and overall best album of the year.
Growing- Color Wheel
This album is an argument for why people shouldn't give up on guitars. and finally Leslie Hall- Doorman's Daughter My fiancee has been listening to this album non-stop, and I have to say that it is the best fabulously over-the-top bedazzling gem-fest this side of the milky-way.Jason and Matt of Eat Avery's Bones
bands I once loved but now hate of 2006: Islands; Eagles of Death Metal.
catchiest songs of 2006: Bogota-Bipolar Bear; It Fit When I Was a Kid-Liars.
best show of 2006- Liars/Apes/Deerhunter @ gypsy tea room
most lop-sided show of 2006: Final Fantasy (really good) and The Curtains (really bad). (8/16/06) (hailey's)
top guilty pleasure of 2006: Tenacious D- The Pick of Destiny.
bipolar bear man mountain
sonic youth rather ripped
whirlwind heat types of wood
dmonstrations night terrors, shock!
favorite music video: the horrors "sheena is a parasite"
favorite shows attended: whirlwind heat (emo's) (6/22/06) sonic youth (gypsy tea room) (6/24/06) deerhunter/apes/liars (gypsy tea room) (5/27/06) attractive and popular/the strange boys/the undoing of david wright (rubber gloves) (4/21/06) swan island/mika miko/the gossip (hailey's) (9/23/06)Aresene Houssaye of Oveo
The unreleased record by The Undoing of David Wright. Sparrow/Hawk. Christian Teenage Runaways. Heater Okular Nerves. Rob and Amelia. Yetzer Hara. Fringe. Opera (a group from France). Dan Paul. Hotel Hotel and P.D. Wilder. iDi * amin and Zanzibar Snails. Saturday Night Wrist by Deftones. Chromatics. Art Naif by Sally Paradise. Night Game Cult. Jasmyne Rose. A Scanner Darkly the film. Cry Blood Apache. Zom Zoms. Ettrick. DJ Nature. Back Stabbath. Akie Takada. I like You by Black Tie Dynasty. Shiny Around the Edges. V for Vendetta the film. Gym Mat Nap. Violent Squid. Black Dahlia the film. Warmer Milks. Paul Baker. Ghost Tape. Dreamland Recordings. Venison Whirled. Unk. One Umbrella. Aviador Dro at Rubber Gloves. The Angelus. Apocalypto the film (Thanks Jason in North Hollywood!) Notes from the Underground. Fra Pandolf. EAB. Dream Tigers. Marie Antoinette the film. Nimbus. Faux Fox. Roger O’Donnell. Masmod. Kace. Nevada Hill. Julie’s neighbor that played the flute for us that one night (sorry I can’t remember your name).Lars of Undoing of David Wright
My favorite release was the new pAper chAse record. Didn't keep up with much new shit other than that... I keep on digging up weird international 80's post-punk bands.