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  1. #1
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    jc's top 10 of 2006

    Wish I had better skills for writting and more time to polish it up. As it is, I have neither. As I work to try to get the rest of my comp online for d/l I'll go ahead and put up a down and dirty top 10 of 2006. Personally I had a great time listening in 2006 as there's several discs I enjoyed that didn't make the cute. The Strokes, Radio 4, TV On The Radio, Paul Simon, Viva Voce, Apoptygma Berzerk, The Grates, Black Angels, and others were a great deal of fun but in the end came short of the final ten.

    10. Sufjan Stevens – Songs For Christmas

    What can I say, after all these years a Christmas purchase makes my top ten. Sure I love Christmas but to me this was a pretty special little collection. It wasn’t made to be an elaborate production and not all of the tracks have a lot going for them. On occasion you get the feeling that the guy writes 5 songs a day and maybe one of them was good and once a week he comes up with something really great. Well over the course of the 5 discs there’s enough there to create one fantastic disc. At it’s most mediocre it invokes typical Sufjan Stevens. At it’s best it recalls what makes Christmas memorable to me. A solid pick for the tunes, bonus points for the most attractive packaging.

    09. Pretty Girls Make Graves - Ẻlan Vital

    Actually my first PGMGs and I have enjoyed it all year. Not really what I expected but was glad to buy this on impulse. Much poppier than the band name would suggest but simple yet elegant pop song craft can go a long way with me. At times the simplicity reminds me of something like the Strokes. Now I enjoy the Strokes but after 2-3 listens I’ve pretty much absorbed it all and seldom if ever return to it. Not the case with this disc as I always find something there to keep me intrigued. The section with the Saturn missiles firing always startles me and has me looking around. On a top notch stereo you get to follow the trajectory which is pretty cool but admittedly not enough to kick an album up to my top 10. Luckily the music carries across the goal.

    08. Snow Patrol – Eyes Open

    I will not apologize for this one. Emo is not a four letter word. I don’t think it’s really Emo anyway but rather an easy way out for critics who resent a really small time indie band suddenly making it BIG TIME. Hey I’ve been a Gordon Lightbody enthusiast since my first Reindeer Section album and nobody would ever dream of calling that Emo. Let’s face it; the music is essentially the same and delivered in the same heartfelt manner. The appearance of Martha Wainwright channeling her best Kate Bush impression is worth the price of admission and makes Martha another Wainwright worth looking in to. The Sufjan Stevens name dropping in “Hands Open” is an admittedly shameful ploy to try to hang on to some indie cred in spite of the big time nature of the album but I’m willing to overlook this lapse of judgement. I’ve heard songs from this album everywhere from commercials to a huge Grey’s Anatomy video. I think it’s a testament to the general public that some new music from different roots can take hold and appeal to the public at large. There’s hope for us yet.

    07. Voxtrot – Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, and Wives

    OMGosh did I ever dig this little EP. This is another first, and EP making it’s way into my top 10. It would have scored higher but I recognize that it’s much easier to cough up 5 stellar tracks rather than 10 so I’ve weighted the score. Simply can’t wait for a full length to appear. Pure indie pop bliss. A quick glance at AMG list of similar artists reveals the following: Reindeer Section, Broken Social Scene, The Decemberist’s, Belle and Sebastian, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, among others. Gee, wonder why I like this so freaking much?

    06. Silversun Pickups – Carnavas

    Not really sure what a Carnavas even is but I like this one a lot. Lots of frentic buzzing guitar and traits hewn from a myriad of influences create a musical tapestry that’s completely enjoyable from start to finish. The current reference is the Smashing Pumpkins and to be honest if I’d have known that going in I’d probably have passed. I already have plenty of Smashing Pumpkins albums I don’t listen to. It’s a whole lot more than Iha and Corgan rehash though. Grabbed for 6.99 on sale at Best Buy and it remains one of my better buys for 2006. This one is further testament to the fact that all indie rock isn’t hairless freaks making music with no balls. This one is right at home all cranked up.

    05. Now It’s Overhead – Dark Light Daybreak

    Another Saddle Creek signee that probably doesn’t get the attention it deserves due to lack of budget and label mates already getting more than their fair share of the buzz. Too bad for us. Lot’s of layers and textures to this although not quite to the extent heard on a Radiohead album. Dark indie pop with a great balance of electric and acoustic guitar with just enough electronics to keep it interesting for me. It probably didn’t make any year end lists other than mine but that’s OK by me.

    04. The Appleseed Cast – Peregrine

    Local legends from Lawrence whipped up another disc that only the coolest people could love. These guys get you as close to flying as you can possibly get by listening to music. Very tough to describe what these guys do but there’s a whole lot of music going on and sounds coming from every which way. Not a grower but one of those discs that you can appreciate even more with each subsequent listen. Very, very cool disc.

    03. Rodrigo y Gabriella – s/t

    Oh my. Very late entry into the fray but they acquitted them selves nicely. Basically we have 2 shredders from Mexico that finally had enough (“the Mexican metal scene is ****” according to Gabriella) and they took off to Ireland where there legend began. Ellos son quitaristas magnificos. Seriously, these two play lights freaking out. As monumental as this disc is, do yourself a favor and grab the version with the companion DVD so you can see them at work. It’s simply amazing the music these two can make with a guitar. The percussion is all Gabriella and her frentic latin strumming style. I’m telling you this, buy this disc if you love music in general and guitar playing in particular. This kind of thing isn’t normally my thing but these two have created something that transcends boundaries and genres. Even the done to death (no pun intended) Stairway To Heaven is now worth listening to again. The DVD version gives me goosebumbs.

    02. Electric President – s/t

    Sitting comfortably alongside label mates Lali Puna at Morr music this disc had a very long run as my fave of 2006. The familiar laptronica/indietronica or whatever you want to call it hit my music bone is just the right place. Although similar to Nowtist/Lali Puna there’s more than a touch of Postal Service pop sensibility to make this disc noteworthy on it’s own merits. The quick little rhyming lyrical content is infinitely catchy and while it may be a bit gimmicky I find I can’t get enough of it. Kudos to Mike in the UK for pointing this one out to me, its something that I enjoyed greatly throughout the year.

    01. Wovenhand – Mosaic

    I knew when I grabbed this disc that I had something really special. I also knew it wouldn’t show up on many other year end lists. Way too Christian in it’s content and among the music elite that just don’t fly. To be fair it’s also unrelentingly dark and has a powerful delivery style that attests to David Edwards conviction. Still, I promise that if you listen to it you won’t burst into flames or start knocking on neighbors doors and evangelizing. A lot of the music is based on updated ancient melodies or an ancient text set to modern day music. Quite original in it’s conception and the end result is remarkable in it’s scope. A perfect title would have been Ancient Melodies of the Future but of course that one’s already taken. Mosaic is an apt plan B. This one is thanks to that dbi guy who has already written a review that I couldn't even begin to compete with.

    Regards,
    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  2. #2
    42 Regular
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    On a lark, I picked up that Now It's Overhead disc over the weekend. So far, me likey. Nice tip, JC...I'm wondering how their previous efforts sound. I get the very strong impression that the Slosh-meister would dig this one too.

    Every time I listen to online snips of that Woven Hand disc, I have a love-it or hate-it reaction. Maybe I'll just have to pick it up too...so I can have an actual opinion and not just a vague-yet-contradictory impression.
    Mr. MidFi
    Master of the Obvious

  3. #3
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Registered Member Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Wow, really nice descriptions.
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  4. #4
    guitar mongoose icarus's Avatar
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    Great list you have there and i love your descriptions. am i out of the loop of music or are some of those bands a little less well known, considering that only 1 of them (snow patrol) have i actually heard of.
    that makes as much sense as a drunken mongoose playing the piano

  5. #5
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icarus
    Great list you have there and i love your descriptions. am i out of the loop of music or are some of those bands a little less well known, considering that only 1 of them (snow patrol) have i actually heard of.
    Well, you may not really be out of the loop. I don't specifically go out of my way to find anything obscure but I find that in general, top 40 radio and the like don't do much programming that does anything for me. If a band I like happens to gain wider acceptance ie. Snow Patrol (formerly Reindeer Section) then more power to them. Radio play doesn't doesn't automatically put them on my don't buy list. Still, off the beaten path there are thousands of bands/musicians making music that is screaming to be heard. Some of it sucks, some I like. Pretty much the standard dichotomy for all of us listeners I suspect.

    If by the descriptions there's something that you think may be of interest, you can always go to a source like allmusic.com and listen to some samples and in most cases read a more professional review. Oh, and in this case there's a comp online avail. for download that can give you a little preview of what these bands have to offer.

    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  6. #6
    very clever with maracas Davey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    01. Wovenhand Mosaic
    ... This one is thanks to that dbi guy who has already written a review that I couldn't even begin to compete with.
    Yeah, right. Reads pretty fine to me. Nice job. Nice list. My top two were probably the Woven Hand and Califone, but lots to like. The Neko Case has made a big come on in the last couple months, and is right up there for me now too. Wish she had kept that lush sound she had on the last one, with Howe and the Calexico boys backing her up down in Tuscon, but still great music.

    Anyway, just wanted to commend you on a pretty cool post. Not near enough insightful writing around these days by real music lovers.

  7. #7
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davey
    Not near enough insightful writing around these days by real music lovers.
    Well, there's may be more than we know about. The problem is that they're writting about prog.

    All said, even with the technical issues that I blame Mediafire for, 7 complete copies of my YEC got downloaded. Back in the day I'd send out 20 - 30 copies. Guess we like what we like and they like something different. Oh well.

    Enough has been written about the decline of this joint. Wish I had more time to devote to adding some life. Maybe someday.

    Thanks for the response and please keep me posted with tips of stuff I should be listening to.

    Regards,
    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  8. #8
    Indifferentist Slosh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    7 complete copies of my YEC got downloaded. Back in the day I'd send out 20 - 30 copies.
    Sheesh, and I felt unappreciated with only 17 for my YEC, and yours is clearly superior. Really, I rank it right up there with the best comps from dbi, rae, Stone, etc. Even that Andrew Bird advance, which I did entirely via PM, got 19 downloads (out of 21 PMs).

    How people with broadband access can turn down free CD quality music is beyond me. I don't think it's a technophobia thing either. How many people here have iPods and the like? Nearly everyone I would guess.

    Back in the day I would send out 20 plus copies as well and now wonder how many of those never got played.

    I guess people would rather talk about music than actually listen to it. Weird.

    NP: Arcade Fire - Funeral
    Originally Posted by Troy: She has that same kind of cleft-pallet, slightly retarded way of singing that so many other people find endearing.


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