Monday, November 13, 2006

2K6 in song

Sorry about the lack of activity. A guy's gotta have some downtime, and with a full schedule shaping up for next quarter, several-day intervals in between blog posts could happen again. But you'll come crawling back. You always do.

A selection of some of my favorite songs released this year:

Sunset Rubdown- Stadiums And Shrines from Shut Up I Am Dreaming

Spencer Krug has proven himself as one of the more interesting young voices around with his work in Wolf Parade, but it's tracks like this, off of Sunset Rubdown's Shut Up I Am Dreaming, that show him becoming the next Isaac Brock. "Stadiums And Shrines" perfectly blends that Canadian "indie" sound that his band has basically trademarked with a more anthemic, U2-size songwriting style. Fist-pumpingly good.

TV On The Radio- A Method from Return To Cookie Mountain

TV On The Radio blew every one's collective minds this year with Return To Cookie Mountain, a beautiful, unclassifiable amalgamation of about 15 genres of music. Other tracks may be more flashy, but I keep coming back to "A Method" as the album's highlight. It's a fully realized version of the psych-barber shop quartet sound they used on earlier tracks like their cover of The Pixies' "Mr. Grieves" from the Young Liars EP and "Ambulance" from their first full length, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes . Four separate melodies weave in and out of each other amongst tribal percussion and atmospheric synths that blend with the Brian Wilson-esque harmonies. Technically impressive, yet more emotive than anything else the band has done, "A Method," and the rest of the album, is about as close as we've gotten to truly "important" music this year.

Neko Case- Star Witness from Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
Honestly, when people ask me to list my favorite songs, I may have to start including this. We've known for a while that Neko Case is in possession of one of the most startlingly beautiful voices in modern music, Americana or otherwise. What we didn't know up until now is just how great of a songwriter she is. Fox Confessor Brings The Flood is full of incredibly written, placed and delivered lyrics, but none pack as much of an emotional wallop as those in "Star Witness," a heart wrenching tale of the human side of gang violence she witnessed in Chicago. Case transforms the dark, mundane details of a crime scene (bloody jeans, a broken thermos) with absolutely perfect production and soaring vocals. If the "my nightgown sweeps the pavement clean/please, don't let him die" line doesn't make you feel something, you're a cold, cold person.


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