31 December 2006

my top music releases of 2006

My top eight 2006 releases, or in other words, the eight cds i've played over and over and....well, you get the idea. Plus, if you don't like my 8 darlings there are 80 more from 10 other writers in the article!

Here you may find the nicely edited version: www.superstarcastic.com

Here is my longer, unedited version:

Some 2006 releases that changed my life, at least a little bit.

It's a lot of work to get out of town, especially when the town you live in is Denver. I got out of here two times this year. In March I drove almost sixteen hours straight to get to Austin for SXSW. It took six cans of Red Bull, (shudders) and only a few stops for fuel and food. The music made it worth all the effort, but it takes a long, long time after you leave Denver before you get to anyplace else that doesn't look like a likely spot for aliens to visit. It made me drive as fast as I could (hence the only sixteen hours of driving). Thanksgiving I decided to not risk the speeding tickets and took the train back home to Kentucky. Again, hours and hours of vast nothingness before signs of life appeared. Point being, living in Denver can feel as isolated as living on an island.

Okay, I was trying to get somewhere clever with that intro but lost it. Probably because trying to get somewhere clever takes you off the path of where you really need to go. So, lemme start this over with as basic and honest a start as I can. Any music I've deliberately chosen to listen to countless times qualifies as life impacting, at least for a time.

These are the 2006 releases I've employed the repeat button on, repeatedly, this past year:

  1. Porlolo – Storm and Season. I have certainty that I will never ever tire of hearing this album. Certainty isn't a regular visitor to my life. This is a beautiful collection of songs. Beautiful.
  2. Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. I love Neko Case and bought this the day it came out. On first listen I liked it, but disappointingly only kinda liked it. The songs didn't immediately take to my ear. But I've loved so much other Neko I kept listening. It has grown on me. Like bindweed choking out mainstream radio crabgrass. Very pretty.
  3. Paul K and the Weathermen – Panopticon. This guy had Will Oldham listening at his feet back in the day. Me too, but that's a less interesting comment. This is an ambitious three disc project, all hand made covers. Love it.
  4. Twilight Singers – Powder Burns. I could do more back in the day references what with Dulli/Whigs and Lanegan/Trees citations. But I don't need to. This record's pretty good without reminiscing.
  5. Bright Channel – Self Propelled. The lady at the old hotel up in Fairplay said Jeff Suthers looked like a young Donald Sutherland, but that's only because she's never seen Thurston Moore. Bright Channel proves they don't need an Albini after all. Might be my favorite Denver band to hear…and that's saying a lot.
  6. Head Like A Kite – Random Portraits of the Home Movie. I arrived late and totally missed this Seattle band's show at the Larimer. I had gone to see them solely on a friend's rec and had only a myspace idea of what they sounded like. So I bought their disc. I put it on and about immediately started dancing even though I was stone cold sober when I pressed play. Whoa.
  7. Cowboy Curse – Nod Up and Down (To the Simulcast Singing). Best Denver pop band? Might be. Nod Up and Down is addition to the proof that pop songs can be much more elaborately crafted than their easy to listen to exterior first lets on.
  8. Tarmints – Toil Like Devils. Yes, these sounds are definitely coming from inside Denver, but they can travel anywhere. There's a fierce rhythm not to be fooled with, guitars to match and as if that weren't enough, there's the unflinching eye of a poet in there too.

So, I fell asleep at the keyboard at this point last night and had a nightmare. It was cold and dark. I appeared to be in a cave. There were dim lights in the background. I stepped outside and it was even colder and smoky so I stepped back inside and it smelled bad and…wait, this sounds a lot like hanging out in the Larimer Lounge. Aha, this dream I could analyze. And it ties back into my clever introduction. No, I didn't get out of town much. Not in a physical sense and admittedly not so much in a musical sense either. But I did see 2/3 of the bands that made the releases I listened to the most this past year actually perform some of the songs on them. And that made all the difference to me.

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