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my favorite music from 2006

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  • Carl Z.
    I missed a lot, but here s what I heard. My favorite albums from 2006: 1. Eleventh Dream Day, Zeroes and Ones (Thrill Jockey) Screaming feedback combines with
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 15, 2006
      I missed a lot, but here's what I heard. My favorite albums from 2006:

      1. Eleventh Dream Day, Zeroes and Ones (Thrill Jockey)
      Screaming feedback combines with gentle organ and (on one track) pedal
      steel, and the references extend beyond Neil Young's loud stuff to the
      Who's "Happy Jack" and a wonderful lift from "Be My Baby." The best
      rock recording of the year, sounding like it was recorded at 140db.
      It is also the best album of Eleventh Dream Day's career.

      2. Chris Brokaw, Incredible Love (12XU)
      This came out in 2005 but I did not hear it until this fall. The
      former guitarist for Come and Steve Wynn focuses on singing and
      playing acoustic guitar and came up with an album David Grubbs would
      (or perhaps should) kill to make. Best parts: when he picks up an
      electrical guitar to flesh out some Roger McGuinn licks on
      "Cranberries," the strings on "Xs for Eyes," and the propulsive
      "Move." By far the best singer/songwriter record I heard this year.

      3. Yo La Tengo, Yo La Tengo Is Murdering the Classics (self-released)
      The new Matador release is good (and I am especially happy to hear Ira
      Kaplan has rediscovered his electric guitar), but if I am going to be
      honest, this compilation of unrehearsed WFMU pledge drive performances
      is my favorite Yo La Tengo release since Electr-O-Pura. Falling
      somewhere between Fakebook and Eugene Chadbourne's approach to the
      American songbook, I simply can't resist a record that tackles both
      "Meet the Mets" and "Don't Worry Kyoko."

      4. Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (Anti-)
      Gorgeous, elaborate arrangements. Neko's singing has never been
      better and she's grafted the atmospherics of Blacklisted onto a
      stronger set of hooks.

      5. Ernest Dawkins' New Horizons Ensemble, The Messenger/Live at the
      Original Velvet Lounge (Delmark)
      Most of the tracks by Chicago saxophonist Dawkins's funky ensemble
      clock in at about 10 minutes, but seem much shorter. Best live album
      I heard this year, and the best AACM-related disc I've heard since
      Lester Bowie died.

      6. Mission of Burma, The Obliterarti (Matador)
      Picks up where onOFFon left off, but with more walloping drums.
      Burma's challenging Wire for bragging rights on whose reunion
      recordings could rock harder.

      7. Steve Wynn + Miracle 3, Live Tick (Blue Rose)
      The live follow-up to my favorite release of 2005 airs out many of
      tick...tick..tick's best songs, cherrypicks other highlights from
      Wynn's work with The Miracle 3, Come, and The Dream Syndicate, and
      tosses in a fine cover of my favorite Bob Dylan song ("Blind Willie
      McTell") to make this my favorite live rock album in quite a while.

      8. Various, An Idiot to Not Appreciate Your Time: The Songs of
      Silkworm (Genuflect)
      This 2CD tribute to Silkworm involving a bunch of bands associated
      with Steve Albini's Electrical Audio studios. Works both as a tribute
      to Silkworm and a sampler of some of the best indie rock (hear the
      tracks by .22 and The Kadane Brothers for starters) being made these
      days.

      9. Nina Nastasia, On Leaving (Fat Cat)
      If Eleventh Dream Day is the child of Neil Young's live work with
      Crazy Horse, On Leaving is its sister from Young's quieter work.
      Might be the poppiest of Nastasia's (all gorgeous) recordings, and a
      good place to start for the uninitiated.

      10. Richard Buckner, Meadow (Merge)
      Maybe his best disk since Since. The approach isn't terribly
      different but the songs seem to be in more comprehensible English this
      time around.


      Other stuff I liked:

      Bonnie Prince Billy, The Letting Go (Drag City)

      Calexico, Garden Ruin (Quarterstick)

      Outkast, Idlewild (Arista)

      Yo La Tengo, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass (Matador)

      The Roots, Game Theory (Def Jam).


      Other stuff I liked but I need to spend more time with (just heard
      these for the first time in the past couple of weeks):

      Silkworm, Chokes (12XU)
      I got the posthumous EP this week and have only heard it a couple of
      times. Fittingly it ends with an enthusiastic Michael Dahlquist cover
      of "Spanish Harlem Incident." I spent more time with the new
      Bottomless Pit MP3s, which sound quite different. (Think Movement-era
      New Order with no keyboards.)

      Cat Power, The Greatest (Matador)

      Califone, Roots and Crowns (Thrill Jockey)

      Pere Ubu, Why I Hate Women (Smog Veil)


      Favorite songs
      Eleventh Dream Day, "New Rules" "For Martha" & "Pinwheels"

      Bottomless Pit, "Dogtags"

      Chris Brokaw, "Cranberries" & "Move"

      Neko Case, "Hold On, Hold On"

      Calexico, "All Systems Red"

      Steve Wynn + The Miracle 3 "Blind Willie McTell"


      Favorite live shows:
      Rocket From the Tombs, Beachland Ballroom, July.
      Wow. If the reunion record rocks half as hard as this show, it will
      join the conversation with Mission of Burma and Wire. The best David
      Thomas show I have ever seen.

      Steve Wynn & Miracle 3, Beachland Ballroom Tavern, March.

      Dirtbombs, Blueberry Hill (Twangest), June.


      Biggest disappointment: While I am glad Alejandro Escovedo is active
      again, and the lyrics on The Boxing Mirror certainly read well, the
      production and arrangements sound stilted. Maybe John Cale is simply
      not a good match for Alejandro. I hope the songs sound better in
      concert and would love to hear if this is the case.

      Carl Z.
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