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Favorite Albums & Concerts of 2016

16th Dec 16 (Fri) 1 comment
To my fellow music friends… here are my favorite 25 albums that I heard/purchased in 2016… still more to discover as I dig into 2017 and catch up on 2016 stuff…
  1. Car Seat HeadrestTeens of Denial (lo-fi indie rock) fave song: “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” (#6)
  2. Glen Phillips (of Toad the Wet Sprocket) – Swallowed by the New (singer-songwriter) fave song: “Criminal Career” (#3)
  3. SiaThis Is Acting (pop) fave song: “Alive” (#2)
  4. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool (rock) fave song: “Ful Stop” (#5)
  5. WussyForever Sounds (lo-fi indie rock) fave song: “Dropping Houses” (#1)
  6. Holy FuckCONGRATS (groove electronic) fave song: “Tom Tom” (#2)
  7. Elliott SmithHeaven Adores You (indie rock) fave song: “Plainclothes Man” (#6)
  8. Steve Taylor & the Danielson FoilWOW to the Deadness -EP- coffin (indie rock) fave song: “Wow to the Deadness” (#1)
  9. Circle of DustMachines of Our Disgrace (hard industrial) fave song: “Machines of Our Disgrace” (#2)
  10. Lily & MadeleineKeep It Together (singer-songwriter duo) fave song: “For the Weak” (#2)
  11. Charlie Hunter, Bobby Previte, and more – Everybody Has a Plan Until They Get Punched in the Mouth (jazz) fave song: “No Money, No Honey” (#7)
  12. Allison Miller’s Boom Tic BoomOtis Was a Polar Bear (jazz) fave song: “Fuster” (#1)
  13. David Bazan (of Pedro the Lion) – Blanco (indie rock) fave song: “Little Landslide” (#7)
  14. Anna TivelHeroes Waking Up (singer-songwriter) fave song: “Black Balloon” (#2)
  15. The Jelly JamProphet Profit (prog rock) fave song: “Care” (#1)
  16. Dave Douglas’ High RiskDark Territory (jazz with electronics) fave song: “Celine” (#1)
  17. Amendola vs. BladesGreatest Hits (jazz) fave song: “Lima Bean” (#1)
  18. Damien JuradoVisions of Us on the Land (indie rock) fave song: “Exit 353” (#11)
  19. Greydon SquareOmniverse : Type 3 : Aum Niverse (rap/hip hop) fave song: “Defiant” (#5)
  20. Elysian FieldsGhosts of No (sultry indie rock) fave song: “Shadows of the Living Light” (#11)
  21. Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree) – 4 ½ -EP- (prog rock) fave song: “My Book of Regrets” (#1)
  22. OpethSorceress (prog metal) fave song: “Will o’ the Wisp” (#4)
  23. ScandroidScandroid (keyboard electronic) fave song: “Aphelion” (#3)
  24. The Claypool-Lennon DeliriumMonolith of Phobos (weird rock) fave song: “Cricket and the Genie, Movement I: The Delirium” (#2)
  25. Kaada & PattonBacteria Cult (ambient experimental) fave song: “Immodium” (#7)
Stand-Out Live Music in 2016: chronological
  • {8 Apr} Peter Mulvey w/ Anna Tivel :: Alberta Rose Theatre :: Portland, OR
  • {22 Apr} Sufjan Stevens, BØRNS, Parov Stelar, LCD Soundsystem & more :: Coachella 2016 :: Indio, CA
  • {23 Apr} CHVRCHES, Guns N’ Roses, Gary Clark Jr., Ice Cube, GoGo Penguin & more :: Coachella 2016 :: Indio, CA
  • {24 Apr} Sia, Kamasi Washington, Wolf Alice, Joywave & more :: Coachella 2016 :: Indio, CA
  • {16 Jun} Holy Fuck :: Doug Fir Lounge :: Portland, OR
  • {25 Jun} Flight of the Conchords with Eugene Mirman :: Keller Auditorium :: Portland, OR
  • {28 Jul} Ozomatli :: HiFi Music Hall :: Eugene, OR
  • {29 Jul} Weird Al Yankovic :: Cuthbert Amphitheater :: Eugene, OR
  • {13 Aug} Buster Keaton’s The General film with live score by Mark Orton, Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi, Todd Sickafoose :: Bohemia Park :: Cottage Grove, OR
  • {29 Oct} Failure presents Fantastic Planet’s 20th Anniversary :: Star Theater :: Portland, OR
  • {9 Nov} Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet Sprocket :: Alberta Rose Theatre :: Portland, OR
  • {17 Nov} Car Seat Headrest :: The WOW Hall :: Eugene, OR
Looking forward to much more in 2017…
DT
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2012 mix

24th Dec 12 (Mon) 3 comments

Time for this year’s mix CD, except I decided to go CD-free again (like 2011’s mix). It’s still formatted to stay contained on one CD (21 tracks ~79 mins); so if you want to download the whole shebang and burn to a CD – go for it!

Check out prior year-based mixes: 2009 (CD) and 2010 (CD) and 2011 (digital). No major theme this time like some of my prior mixes (4 Elements & A-to-Z mixes)… the only rule I placed before myself was that everything is current (i.e.- released in 2012).  A few of the songs were technically released in 2012, but the album will hit in 2013.

This year’s mix ended up poppier and/or melancholier than prior mixes.  Sometimes that’s just how things shake out. I hope you enjoy.

The following songs were put on the mix from mostly lossless sources where possible and for promotional purposes only (read: free direct market advertising to people who decidedly love music). Most of the artists on this compilation are independent (put out the music themselves) or signed to smaller, independent labels. If you like what you hear, check out their music / support them with your wallet if you are able. The artists’ Webpage, Facebook, and Amazon links are available for each song below. I’ve also included concert review links if I’ve seen the artist recently.

Download the ZIP File (140M) available *HERE*, extract then drag & drop the mp3 files to your iTunes (or other playback software).

All Songs Streaming Playlist (click arrows to skip back & forth… for individual songs find them below.)

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01 Brian Borcherdt / Dusted(Into The) Atmosphere” from Total Dust

Brian Borcherdt from Canadian live-electronic band Holy Fuck has done some singer-songwriter-y solo projects in the past, but this album in-between HF albums still held on to some electronics and keys versus the standard acoustic guitar fare.  This lo-fi, melodic, and haunting affair hit me well this rainy Oregon fall.

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02 O.S.I.Wind Won’t Howl” from Fire Make Thunder

The fourth album in the O.S.I. partnership of Kevin Moore (Chroma Key) and Jim Matheos (Fates Warning) isn’t a metal heavy as the other albums.  I love how there’s a bit of rock in this track to offset the melancholy delivery of Kevin’s vocals.  Guest drummer on the entire album is Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree.  The album fits in with what I’d call “glitch prog,” to which Kevin liked my moniker.  Organic/real drums cut up electronically alongside with prog rock keys & guitars.  This album is easily one of my favorites of 2012.

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03 Peter MulveyEgg Radio (instrumental)” from The Good Stuff

04 Peter MulveyGreen Grass” from The Good Stuff

Peter Mulvey is an American treasure. His lyrical storytelling, guitar prowess, and overall charm and earnestness make him a favorite artists of mine, period.  With his recent album, he put together a band and re-purposed others’ music… “new standards” if you will.  The instrumental “Egg Radio” is originally penned by jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and “Green Grass” is from Tom Waits & Kathleen Brennan.

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05 Levi WeaverTalk Me Down” from I Am Only A Tiny Noise [EP]

Less than a year ago, I had no idea who Levi Weaver was.  I joined a fantasy baseball league online (uncharacteristic of me) and met Levi via that.  I had no idea he was a travelling musician until he mentioned on twitter something about a documentary being shot about him (String Theory).  Then the cards fell in place for him to play a show at my house, and then I bought and fell in love with all of his records.  Such is my musical addiction.  Sometimes I luck into gems.  Levi put out the Tiny Noise EP in 2012, but I also strongly urge you to check out his earlier work.

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06 Emily WellsInstrumental (Lolo Remix)” from Mama Remixed

08 Emily WellsFire Song (Doctor Rosen Rosen Remix)” from Mama Remixed

Emily spans indie rock, chamber music, and hip-hop near flawlessly (check her cover of the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy“).  With her latest album, Mama, she has continued in that vein… and then also released a remix album for free on Soundcloud.

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 Kim Taylor - Love's A Dog07 Kim TaylorSave My Life (demo)” from the forthcoming album Love’s A Dog

Heartfelt Cincinnati singer-songwriter Kim Taylor successfully Kickstarted her forthcoming album.  I loved this song so much; so here’s a glimpse in what is to come.  Since the Kickstarter is officially done, keep in the loop via her webpage and Facebook for when it’ll hit regular retail outlets in 2013.  Also, take a listen to her back catalog… her music has a special place in my heart.

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09 Sufjan StevensAlphabet St.” from Silver & Gold: Christmas Infinity Voyage [EP]

Five EPs of Christmas music released this year, and I find a non-holiday-forward Prince cover to break things up on this mix.  This song is more indicative of things on The Age of Adz versus the rest of the Christmas EPs.  Enjoy!  Skip below for the other Sufjan track on my 2012 mix for something different…

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10 Digital Noise AcademyMelting Inside” from the forthcoming album DNA

Way back in 2006, the Los Angeles Digital Noise Academy (LADNA) did a couple of shared tracks… passing around pieces via the internet as they’re all busy musicians in their own rights.  Back in those days, there was mention of releasing an album, but nothing ever materialized.  Well, in 2012, they changed things up to just DNA and finally had enough momentum to get a Kickstarter going – which succeeded on its 2nd try.  The album will come out in 2013.  DNA is the cooperative of Ken Andrews (Failure, On, producer/mixer of tons of rock bands), Charlotte Martin (pop singer-songwriter), Sharky Laguana (Creeper Lagoon), Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck & NIN), Fernando Sanchez (popular hired gun), and Jordan Zadorozny (Blinker the Star).

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11 Aimee MannLabrador” from Charmer

I don’t have much to say about this song outside of that I love Aimee Mann, and the video for it was a shot-for-shot remake of the “Voices Carry” video from her ‘Til Tuesday days.  Wacky and fun!

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12 The Album LeafStretched Home” from Forward/Return [EP]

The Album Leaf is Jimmy LaValle, and he’s had some good success making some great keyboard-driven, organic post-rock.  This EP almost escaped me, though, as the word on the street was faint.  Jimmy has an upcoming project with Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon); so I guess I’ll have to keep my eyes & ears peeled better!

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13 Damien JuradoMuseum of Flight” from Maraqopa

Damien Jurado is one of those pure songwriters that hits me hard with his lyrics.  This song has impacted me a lot this year, and I think I’ve listened to it more than 100 times, which knowing the amount of music I go through each year is saying something.  Maraqopa is a gorgeous record, and it will end up high on my list for 2012.

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14 Glen PhillipsStill Carrying You” from Coyote Sessions

Glen Phillips (the voice behind Toad the Wet Sprocket) can bend my ear no matter what he’s doing.  His latest self-release, Coyote Sessions (via bandcamp), is full of some old favorites that he’s done for a while in a live setting, but have never made their way onto formal releases.  A must purchase for the pop singer-songwriter in me.

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15 Charlie Hunter & Scott AmendolaNot Getting Behind Is The New Getting Ahead” from album of the same name

The ease at which Charlie Hunter plays both the guitar and bass parts on his 8-string guitar makes witnessing him in concert confounding. Fuck that guy! He’s too damn good to be an actual human being.  He’s been working with drummer Scott Amendola in several incarnations in the past (trios, quartets).  For this recent album and tour, it was just the two of them.  Stripped down, yet full of sound.  Highly recommended guitar jazz.

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16 Ben Folds FiveAway When You Were Here” from The Sound of the Life of the Mind

One of the saddest days was when I heard that Ben Folds Five broke up.  I kind of always hoped they’d get back together, but Ben Folds kept chugging away on his solo stuff… which was excellent, but not… you know, not “the same.”  There was a glint of hope a handful of years ago when Darren Jessee and Robert Sledge joined forces with their pianist brother for some live shows.  This year, they got back together for real in the studio!  They’ll hit the road in early Winter 2013.  I’ll be lucky to see them in Portland in February.  When I saw them back in the late 90s/early 2000s, they blew me away.  Truly a fun band to see live!

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17 Bad VeinsIf Then” from The Mess We’ve Made

Cincinnati rock duo Bad Veins should own the world.  Their 2nd full length is lush, hooky, and a perfect follow-up to their 2009 debut.  With the lushness on this record, Ben & Sebastien are probably giving “Irene,” their reel-to-reel band member, a good workout.  Hopefully they buy her new cords and oil her joints in between gigs.

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18 John ZornPathway of Fire” from The Concealed

One of nine releases from John Zorn this year, this album is a jauntier, more accessible jazz compared to some of his other work.  I desperately wanted to put on some screeching, grating stuff from Music & Its Double, but I spared you all.  I was *that* close to doing it, too.  You’re welcome!  Anyway, The Concealed album features some excellent packaging – embossed white inks on white digipack with die-cut shapes in the front.  Kudos to Tzadik’s designer Chippy for her always stunning work.  The music was written by Zorn and performed by the usual suspects in his arsenal – the stellar cast of NYC jazz cats: Joey Baron on drums, Trevor Dunn on bass, Mark Feldman on violin, Erik Friedlander on cello, John Medeski on piano, and Kenny Wollesen on vibes.

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19 Fiona AppleWerewolf” from The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do

It’s Fiona.  What can I say? Great standout track on her stupendous new album. There’s “nothing wrong when a song ends in a minor key.”

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20 Sufjan StevensJustice Delivers Its Death” from Silver & Gold: Christmas Unicorn [EP]

Sparse acoustic guitar and Sufjan’s angelic voice thrust this song into my head and heart like no other.  I take its lyrics as disappointment in the temporary, which can also be a call to do more fruitful things while we’re here.  Which I think is good advice for everyone.  This song is also not too indicative of most of what you’ll find on the Christmas EPs. I don’t really like Christmas music, but I think Sufjan makes some wonderful art.  And, whoa, his concert tour this year was amazing (see review with photos of the Portland/Aladdin show)!!!

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21 Au4So Just Hang On, Beautiful One” from the forthcoming album …And Down Goes the Sky

These Canadian soundscapers haven’t released music since 2006. I found them in the halcyon “MySpace days,” if that tells you anything.  Their first album (On: Audio) is amazing and textured.  Their 2nd album from which this song is from is out now (digitally) with an official release date in 2013.  It’s also textured and gorgeous, with a little mixing up on the vocal duties.  I’m still digesting it, but I can still very much recommend it!

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Let me know what you think… If you enjoyed what you heard, please support the music. Definitely feel free to pass the link the mix along:

http://tinyurl.com/MixyD2012

~Dan – np: Au4On: Audio

there are no torrents, free mp3 or other downloads available

2011 mix

24th Dec 11 (Sat) 6 comments

Time for this year’s mix CD, except I decided to go CD-free this year.  It’s still formatted to stay contained on one CD (20 tracks ~77 mins); so if you want to download the whole shebang and burn to a CD – go for it!

Check out 2009’s mix over here and 2010’s mix over here.  No major theme this time like some of my prior mixes (4 Elements & A-to-Z mixes)… the only rule I placed before myself was that everything is current (i.e.- released in 2011).  This year’s mix ended up mellower than most mixes from me.  There are a few rock songs, but whilst re-listening, it’s definitely less rocky.  I hope you enjoy.

The following songs were put on the mix from mostly lossless sources where possible and for promotional purposes only (read: free direct market advertising to people who decidedly love music). Most of the artists on this compilation are independent (put out the music themselves) or signed to smaller, independent labels. If you like what you hear, check out their music / support them with your wallet if you are able. The artists’ Webpage, Facebook, and Amazon links are available for each song below. I’ve also included concert review links if I’ve seen the artist recently.

Download the ZIP File (136M) available *HERE*, extract then drag & drop the mp3 files to your iTunes (or other playback software).

All Songs Streaming Playlist (click arrows to skip back & forth… for individual songs find them below. Note: Track 20 has explicit content.)

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01 PusciferThe Green Valley” from Conditions of My Parole

Tool / A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan makes wine and makes other music in his time off from Tool and APC.  I loved Puscifer’s debut and the subsequent EP, but this album tops it all.  It’s a brilliant record, recorded in one of his wine cellars with his friends – featuring backing vocals from Carina Round.  It’s self-released by Puscifer music with a small distribution partner (available in indie shops, primarily).  While there are some rockers (maybe 1/3 of the album), this song is fairly representative of the feel of the album.  It’s my #1 album in 2011.

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02 My Brightest DiamondBe Brave” from All Things Will Unwind

Shara Worden (aka My Brightest Diamond) took some time off since her last album – 2008’s A Thousand Shark’s Teeth.  She put out some stunning collaborations in the past three years (including her first kiddo); so the lapse in studio work was a-OK.  On this album, Shara teams up with NYC-based ensemble yMusic to create a lush backdrop for her gorgeous voice.  It’s my #2 album in 2011.  I can’t praise it enough!

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03 Ric HordinskiMy Pretty Bagatelle” from Arthur’s Garden

Guitarist extraordinaire Ric Hordinski (formerly of Over the Rhine – in their rockier days) has been a favorite of mine for a LONG TIME. He’s the kind of guitarist who is subtle and unassuming in his approach, but you end up wracking your brain how he gets such lush and complex sounds out of the frets.  This album was part of a Kickstarter campaign, and while the physical manifestation hasn’t hit my mailbox yet, I was happy he sent it out to Kickstarter funders early.  It’s such a great record… you can get it now on bandcamp!

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04 Goddamn Electric BillSin” from Jazz

GdEB is the one-man brainchild of Jason Torbert.  He hits the spot for organic electronic meets post-rock for me.  Ambient at times, melodic other times.  His latest work has featured some vocals, but he’s primarily a groove-induced soundscape kind of guy.  Chirps and glitches, too.  Excellent stuff!

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05 RadioheadCodex” from The King of Limbs

I could probably put the “indie” icon next to Radiohead, too… I think technically they put TKOL out by themselves.  But they’re a huge superpower of a band.  I like this record, but I’ll admit that it’s still sinking in… I need to give it some more spins.  This album spawned a seven 7″ vinyl remix set.  The video for “Lotus Flower” also spawned a silly “Thom Yorke dancing” meme… one of my favorites being the tennis/fish and the “Single Ladies” editions.

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06 Garage A TroisAssault on Precinct 13” from Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil

Skerik, Stanton Moore, Marco Benevento (who replaced Charlie Hunter) and Mike Dillon make their way through Oregon quite a bit.  They are a sight to see – you don’t know exactly what kind of show you’ll get, but it’s definitely a fun time.  Fun, groove-oriented “new jazz.”

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07 dredgThe Tent” from Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy

I love this band.  I hate the album title, but I love the band.  Modern progressive rock, tons of talent, thoughtful lyrics, none of that “prog wankery” that is generally detestable.  While it’s hard for them to follow-up the stunning The Pariah The Parrot The Delusion, this new album does a hearty job of maintaining their quality rock standards.

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08 Tres Mts.Makes Me Feel” from Three Mountains

Supergroup made up of dUg Pinnick of King’s X, Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam, and Richard Stuverud of the Fastbacks.  They jangle through about an hour of solid rock tunes… more closely resembling a soulful King’s X trajectory vs. Pearl Jam – mainly due to dUg’s vocal duties.  This is a great trio that I hope isn’t a one-off.  With King’s X on tour in 2012, I doubt we’ll hear more from Tres Mts for a while, though.

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09 Chamberlain/Krauss/PhelpsEverest” from Modular: Sonic Explorations

Gorgeous soundscapes from Matt Chamberlain, Viktor Krauss, and Dan Phelps.  The Modular Project is the collaboration of the aforementioned musicians working together to “discover what the spontaneous and organic manipulation of sound can yield. Inspired by the world around them, they set out to discover what it might sound like when continents shift, clouds form, and roots push through soil.”  This track, “Everest,” features one of my favorite cellists – Eyvind Kang (who has worked with Secret Chiefs 3, John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Mike Patton).  It’s a great mix of cello, vibes and soaring atmosphere.  It’s only available digitally or on vinyl (it’s a luscious triple-gatefold!)…

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10 Jeffrey FoucaultPasserines” from Horse Latitudes

Jeffrey Foucault is a favorite Americana artist that I got turned on to by singer-songwriter/storyteller Peter Mulvey.  Jeffrey and Peter work together in the band Redbird (with David Goodrich and Jeffrey’s wife Kris Delmhorst).  I didn’t pick up Jeffrey’s albums until the past year and a half.  He’s definitely more on the cusp of country than I tend to traverse, but I dig his authenticity, poetic wit and charm.  He’s a delight on stage and a fantastic Prine-esque songwriter for the new generation.

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11 Peter Mulvey & David GoodrichDrumlin Trail” from Nine Days Wonder

Peter Mulvey has toured all over the US and the world for about 2 decades.  Some of the first times I saw him in concert, he had “Goody” with him on backing guitar.  They don’t get a chance to tour together much lately, but they did find some time to hole-up inside a studio to write and record some instrumental guitar duets.  While I love Peter’s vocal storytelling, it’s nice to hear his and Goody’s instrumental interplay tell a different story.

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12 Steven WilsonHome in Negative” from Grace for Drowning

Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson is a hard worker.  Whether he’s producing albums for others or making albums & touring with PT, Blackfield, No-Man, Storm Corrosion, or solo – he’s always busy each and every year.  This year brought his second solo album and a small tour.  The album is a bit more stripped down from his other projects.  It is reminiscent of Pink Floyd in spots – specifically this song “Home in Negative.”  He also rocks out a bit in the almost two hour double album… check out the video for “Track One” here (it’s a bit bleak then startling).  Gorgeous work.

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13 WussyPulverized” from Strawberry

Well, I was super happy when I found out that Wussy was putting out their fourth full-length studio album this year. They’re a fantastic rock quartet made up of Chuck Cleaver, Lisa Walker, Mark Messerly, and Joe Klug. They write catchy, poppy choruses and meld it perfectly with Midwest Americana-meets-indie-rock grit (or “Midwestern drone” as their press says).   Vocal duties are traded off with Chuck (of Ass Ponys) and Lisa (of Magic Words).

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14 PomplamooseTelephone” from The Album You Bought At Our Show…

This is the song that got me into Pomplamoose.  It’s a cover of the collaboration between Lady Gaga and Beyoncé (whose ridiculous but still kind awesome original video has 129 million hits as of Dec 2011).  Pomplamoose does “video songs,” and this was the hook to lure me in.  Click the image at the left to see their video of the song.  The CD came out this year as part of their first tour ever… which I caught in Portland.  Excellent, fun band!

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15 David BazanWolves at the Door” from Strange Negotiations

Continuing in his solo expressions after the official ceasing of Pedro the Lion, David Bazan manifests wit, a sharp tongue, and a questioning mind into his DIY-indie rock.  This year, he toured quite a bit, solo and with a band.  An album last year (Curse Your Branches), an album this year, and another on the way.  He’s slogging away, trekking all over the country, and making some great music on the way.

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16 John ZornSong of Experience” from At the Gates of Paradise

“Channeling the work of Romantic visionary William Blake and ancient Gnostic writings from the Nag Hammadi archives, At the Gates of Paradise is the newest installment in Zorn’s ever growing catalog of mystical works. The music is filled with bright light and a childlike innocence, and ranges from long form compositions with constantly shifting time signatures that unfold with a compelling inner logic to mysterious ballads and hypnotic moods.”  The album features a quartet that I know and love from many jazz/avant outfits: drummer Joey Baron (Masada and many more), bassist Trevor Dunn (Mr Bungle, Fantômas, Nels Cline Singers), keyboardist John Medeski (Medeski Martin & Wood) and vibraphonist Kenny Wollesen (Sex Mob, Electric Masada, etc).

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17 Over the RhineDays Like This” from The Long Surrender

For those that don’t know Over the Rhine, they started out as a four piece in Cincinnati in 1989 and put out their “post-nuclear, pseudo-alternative, folk-tinged art-pop” indie debut ‘Til We Have Faces in 1991. After about a decade as a four-piece, Ric Hordinski (guitars) & Brian Kelley (drums) left.  Karin Bergquist (vocals) & Linford Detweiler (keys) carried on the Over the Rhine flame throughout the years… moving away from a rockier feel to a more folky-pop-Americana thing. What I like about Over the Rhine is they continually change and evolve into a different band with each album and each outing. I’ve seen them rock out, I’ve seen them jazz it up, I’ve seen them happy, I’ve seen them somber, I’ve seen them celebratory, and I’ve seen them tell stories that will make you laugh and cry.  This tune was written by fellow Cincinnati singer-songwriter Kim Taylor (it originally appeared on her 2008 EP The Greatest Story).  I’d highly recommend checking her out as well.

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18 Elysian FieldsSleepover” from Last Night On Earth

Brooklyn-based sultry art rockers Elysian Fields don’t really tour outside of NYC often.  Jennifer Charles and Oren Bloedow find their way to Europe on occasion, but most U.S. fans only really have their studio albums to sate their musical desires.  This is their sixth full-length album in their near 16-year career.  Well crafted, well produced, lush vocals and folk meets dusky jazz.

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19 Kevin MooreHypnogogic” from Shine

This is a little palette cleanser for the mix CD – right before the end.  Kevin Moore’s main projects are the trippy/sample-heavy Chroma Key & heavier prog collaboration band O.S.I. (with Jim Matheos).  Shine is the soundtrack to the 2006 Turkish film Küçük Kiyamet (“Little Apocalypse“).  It came out in early 2011 after a successful Kickstarter in 2010.  The next album from O.S.I. comes out in February 2012 on Metal Blade.  I can almost guarantee it will be my Top album of 2012, and I haven’t heard a shred of it yet.

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20 Childish GambinoHeartbeat” from Camp (warning: explicit content)

I first heard of Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) like many people – via television.  Donald plays Troy Barnes on NBC’s Community.  I’ve heard a few of his albums, but this was his first full-length with a wide release.  This song almost didn’t make the cut, but the melody in the chorus and the grinding keyboards just made it to difficult to ultimately cut from the mix.  Brilliant song about the messiness of dating.  If you’d like the “clean” version of the song, there is a “clean” version of the whole album on Amazon.

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Near misses from the mix: something from Earth’s Angels of Darkness Demons of Light 1 & Opeth’s Heritage (songs are too long) and Azealia Bank’s “212” (infectious as hell)… plus songs from several other albums that’ll still be on my Best of 2011 lists (coming soon).

Let me know what you think… If you enjoyed what you heard, please support the music.  Definitely feel free to pass the link the mix along:

http://tinyurl.com/MixyD2011

~Dan – np: Florence + the MachineCeremonials

there are no torrents, free mp3 or other downloads available

2010 mix

18th Dec 10 (Sat) 2 comments

Time for this years mix CD… check out 2009’s over here.  No major theme this time like prior mixes… the only rule I placed before myself was that everything is current (i.e.- released in 2010).

The following songs were put on the mix CD from lossless sources where possible and for promotional purposes only (read: free direct market advertising to people who decidedly love music). Most of the artists on this compilation are independent (put out the music themselves) or signed to smaller, independent labels. If you like what you hear, check out their music / support them with your wallet if you are able. The artists’ Webpage, MyFace & Spacebook (whether official or not), and Amazon links are available for each song below. I’ve also included concert review links if I’ve seen the artist recently.

If you want one of these mix CDs, message me (see my “About” page).

PDF front liner is available HERE (designed to print double-sided).

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01 Mike PattonIl Cielo In Una Stanza” from Mondo Cane

Mike Patton of Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, Fantômas, et cetera is known for more boisterous, left of center fare.  With Mondo Cane, he classes up the joint that is Ipecac Records.  Mondo Cane, named after the film, is Mike’s homage to 50s Italian pop songs.  He croons some classic Italian songs with the backing of the Orchestra Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini conducted by Aldo Sisillo.  The artwork, in both CD digipack and vinyl, is stupendous.  This is a magnificent record – both aurally and visually.  It’ll rank near the top of my upcoming year-end lists…

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02 Charlotte Gainsbourg & BeckIRM” from IRM

IRM came out in late November 2009 – which was after I had done last year’s mix; so I’m sneaking it into this year’s mix.  Beck collaborated with singer/actress Charlotte on the whole album (outside of one song).  It’s a nice poppy-electronic mix… some French tunes as well (her father is French musical legend Serge Gainsbourg).  The album and track were inspired by her head trauma in 2007 (“IRM” is the French acronym synonymous with what we call an “MRI machine” in the US).  My favorite part may be that the IRM delivers rhythmic support to the track.

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03 ElleryPieces (live)” original from This Isn’t Over Yet

This version is from Ellery’s live album that preceded their wonderful 2nd studio album that hit this year.  Ellery is one of my favorite things in Cincinnati… I miss being able to see them multiple times a year (sad face).  Husband/wife duo of Justin & Tasha Golden craft singer-songwriter pop songs… usually layered nicely on their albums with the help of producer, knob-twiddler Ric Hordinski (of Over the Rhine fame).  This album is with Malcolm Burn at the helm (Daniel Lanois / Bob Dylan / Iggy Pop / Kaki King / Emmylou Harris / etc).

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04 Comic WowNice Chaps” from Library Catalog Music Series: Music for Mysteries of Mind Space and Time

Asthmatic Kitty’s Library Catalog Music Series (LCMS) is much more hit than miss.  There have been a couple albums that didn’t interest me for multiple listens, but Comic Wow’s settled nicely from the get go.  LCMS (as a series) is made up of instrumental albums designed for possible use in films and television, background sounds for home or office.  Per the P.R., “Comic Wow are sonic illustrators, alchemists, designers, dilettantes’, poets, teachers, Socialists, and outdoorsmen whose advocacy of affordable colored cod pieces helped influence the look of thirty-third century America.”  Whatever you call it, I like it.

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05 Holy FuckRed Lights” from Latin

Despite what you think of their choice of band name, these Toronto band continue to put out great, groove-infused live electronic music that is both experimental and a poppy-force in the indie rock movement.  Latin, their third full length album, grabbed me immediately when it came out this past May… and it’s #1 with a bullet as far as instrumental albums go in 2010.  To top it off, they swung through Oregon twice this year (both excellent shows), and they put out quite possibly the cutest video for the raddest song (“Red Lights” – click the kitty to the right).  The video now has over 1,000,000 views on the YouTubes.  Only 900,000 views are from me.

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06 Damien JuradoBeacon Hill” from Saint Bartlett

I got into Damien Jurado via the Seattle-based melancholy, indie singer-songwriter scene (i.e.- Pedro the Lion / David Bazan).  While similar in general geography and friendship, Damien strikes me as more of a pure “songwriter” when compared to David’s social critique set to music.  Saint Bartlett fits well into Damien’s oeuvre.  At a show this past February (6 months before the album came out), I hardly knew any of the songs but felt as though I did.  That’s a testament to his craft.

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07 Jeanne CherhalCertains Animaux” from Charade

I first heard Jeanne Cherhal when we picked up her second album (Douze fois par an) when in Toulouse, France, for my MBA program in 2004.  Only available in France, I’ve managed to get her albums via Amazon.fr (good thing the buttons are in roughly the same spot).  I still don’t know what she’s saying, but I dig her style.

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08 Nellie McKayThe Portal” from Home Sweet Mobile Home

Nellie McKay’s move to Verve (instead of Sony) has been good for her.  They seem to give her free reign to put out Doris Day cover albums one year and an album of originals the next.  HSMH is a return to the quirky, diverse collection of songs that drove me to fall in love with her.  “The Portal” is one of the mellower tunes from the album… the rest of the album is full of Nellie’s modern piano jazz-pop, ukulele ditties, and even a pro-animal reggae tune.  The album has grown on me nicely, and I’m looking forward to more Nellie in the near future.  She seems to be in a period of prolificity as of late.  This is greatly welcomed.

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09 PusciferThe Humbling River (Duet Mix)” from C is for… EP

When Tool / A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan isn’t rocking with those bands (both had touring activity this year), he’s usually tending to his grapes or noodling around on some mildly offensive, but well-crafted music with his other side-project Puscifer.  The C is for… EP actually came out last year, but since it was digital only at that stage and since the 2010 CD & vinyl releases contained a touch of new material – it fits the criteria for this year’s compilation.  He also put out new mixes / remixes for the Blood Into Wine documentary (about the Arizona wine scene).  That record is called Sounds Into Blood Into Wine.  As I type this, I actually got a call from my local Eugene Oregon wine/beer shop (16tons).  They have my Caduceus/Merkin order in stock… so, coincidentally, I’ll be dropping some major coin on some of Maynard’s wine very shortly… glug glug.

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10 Haftor Medbøe GroupPneumatic” from A Box of Monkeys EP

This is another record that came out in late 2009… but I got it in 2010 and iTunes recognized it as 2010 (plus it was too late to be stricken from the CD mix rolls, as I liked it too much).  The track faatures some nice guitar-based jazz, and the EP also features some songs with vocals that aren’t too unlike Björk or Under Byen (also known as “a-OK with me”).  It’s a delightful EP that put Haftor on my radar… for good.

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11 Sufjan StevensFutile Devices” from The Age of Adz

The first Sufjan track that made its way onto this 2010 compilation comes from his second release from 2010.  The Age of Adz is a odd musical assembly.  At first I didn’t know what to think of it, then I started to like it, and then after seeing him live – I truly loved the album.  This song is actually one of the songs that I fell in love with right away.  For those not familiar with Sufjan, this track fits better with some of his earlier work and not so much with Adz as a whole.  But I think if you have an open mind and a desire to explore, you may very well fall in love with this record as well.

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12 AutorYnoOverture Automatique” from Pastrami Bagel Social Club

I am fans of some of the other Jewish rock acts on John Zorn’s Tzadik label: like Eyal Maoz’s Edom, Jon Madof’s Rashanim, and Yoshie Fruchter’s Pitom.  The description for this AutorYno debut from Tzadik was “a wild klezmer/rock fusion by this crazed band of Paris-born punk rockers… AutorYno hits with a hardedged sound and an exciting musical imagination. Full of youthful energy, massive guitar and centered by a powerful beat, they present eleven instrumentals that combine the power of rock with a taste of Jewish tradition.”  Regardless of Tzadik’s usual/expected hyperbole, I couldn’t not get it.  I’m glad I did, and I will say that it will rank high amongst my instrumental finds in 2010.

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13 Glen PhillipsThe Innocent” from Tornillo

The voice of Toad the Wet Sprocket has been putting out some fantastic albums since his first solo album (2000’s Abulum).  Tornillo was recorded in 2003 with David Garza, but was shelved / lost.  Many of the songs were re-recorded and put out on 2005’s Winter Pays For Summer (a favorite of mine).  Regardless of some of the songs making their way out to the fans, there are still some never-before-released gems on here.  Glen put it out about a month ago via his bandcamp page.  $7.  A total steal.

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14 Beats AntiqueEgyptic” from Blind Threshold

I got to see Zoe Jakes of Beats Antique twice this year… once with Beats Antique during Eugene Celebration, and once with the Indigo Bellydance troupe as part of their Le Serpent Rouge tour.  She had a knee in a brace during Eugene Celebration; so she lended her stage presence to additional percussion instead of dance – which was unfortunate.  Beats Antique is a bellydance-friendly, electronic and live instrument band from the Bay Area.  Elements of Balkan music and tribal-fusion dance music.  “Egyptic” is indicative of their infectuous sound.

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15 The WeepiesEmpty Your Hands” from Be My Thrill

Syrupy singer-songwriter pop is not my bailiwick, but I do find myself drawn to it on occasion.  I guess even my CD collection needs a “rom-com” soundtrack every now and again.  The Weepies write well-crafted songs about love and life.  It’s hard to say anything bad about them.

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16 JónsiKolniður” from Go

Sigur Rós-frontman’s debut solo album was going to be an acoustic affair, and then it turned into a lushly produced, Rós-ian opus with a multimedia firestorm of a tour (two U.S. legs with stunning stage design by 59 Productions).  Jónsi is superbly brilliant and and ambivalently hyper-sensitively shy individual (ex. his abrupt cancelation of in-store performance tour) and boisterous-acting performer (ex. his magnificent stageshow).  This album makes me excited for more solo work in the future, but I hope his day job with Sigur Rós is not on hold for too much longer.

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17 George HrabHai Yookito ‘Ya” from Trebuchet

George Hrab creates one of my favorite podcasts ever… the Geologic Podcast.  It’s not about geology.  It’s about science, skepticism, and his general life as a musician from Bethlehem, PA.  He is both humorous and intelligent, and he puts out great albums as well.  Trebuchet is his 6th studio album, and it features some great instrumental songs as well as some witty numbers fitting his skeptical, atheistic viewpoint.  One of my favorite songs on it is “A Small Comfort,” which is about the death of his dog Oscar.  I’d put it on a mix CD, but it honestly makes me cry everytime I hear it.  I also give George some kudos for kicking off his album with the Christopher Hitchens’ inspired “God Is Not Great” (an atheist pop song).  Bravo!

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18 Kaki KingFalling Day” from Junior

Kaki King is a guitar phenom, and this is her second album in a row that seems to be moving more towards turning into a more vocal, indie rock songstress.  It’s still full of her amazing guitarwork, but brings in a whistful lyricism.  I’m still getting used to her “vocal legs,” but I like what I hear so far.

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19 John Zorn’s The Dreamers Hashul” from Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 14 (Ipos)

Let’s just put this out there now… with thirteen albums and a DVD out in 2010, John Zorn might seem to have more misses than hits.  Well, I don’t think there’s been a more consistent set of songs than his Masada songs, and there hasn’t been a more consistently great series than the Masada Book Two series (Zorn’s Masada songs covered by others).  The Dreamers is a supergroup, too: Marc Ribot, Joey Baron, Cyro Baptista, Kenny Wollesen, Trevor Dunn and Jamie Saft – pillars in the adventurous, downtown NYC scene.

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20 Sufjan StevensThe Owl and the Tanager” from All Delighted People EP

This is my favorite song from Sufjan’s 50+ minute “EP” from earlier this year.  Beautiful and haunting, and again, not as characteristic of the rest of the EP, which seems more experimental and adventurous compared to “Owl” or his older material.  Originally only released online via bandcamp, the EP saw physical form (CD & vinyl) earlier this month.  I’m looking forward to spinning the vinyl when it hits my front porch.

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Let me know what you think…

unfortunately missing (due to space or flow limitations, or that I simply didn’t get them in the mail yet): Kevin Moore’s Shine, Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (Sean Lennon & Charlotte Kemp Muhl)’s Acoustic Sessions, Mogwai’s Special Moves/Burning, Zero 7’s Record… and John Zorn’s Moonchild Trio Ipsissimus, because I didn’t want to scare you.  Oh well, those may make it on my “favorite albums” of 2010 list.

~Dan – np: Radiohead101010 (aka OK Computer & In Rainbows cross-fade mix)

for more on the Radiohead cross-fade mix, check out Puddlegum

there are no torrents, free mp3 or other downloads available

2009 mix

12th Nov 09 (Thu) 2 comments

Well, thanks to a certain bigwig, I got off of my duff to make a mix CD for his round robin dealio.  No major theme this time like prior mixes… the only rule I placed before myself was that everything is current (i.e.- released in 2009).

{If you aren’t part of the round robin and want a CD, contact me.  If you’re local, even better. I’ll get ’em out around Thanksgiving.}

The following songs were put on the mix CD from lossless sources for promotional purposes only (read: free direct market advertising to people who decidedly love music).  Most of the artists on this compilation are independent (put out the music themselves) or signed to smaller, independent labels.  If you like what you hear, check out their music / support them with your wallet if you are able.  The artists’ Webpage, MyFace & Spacebook (whether official or not), and Amazon links are available for each song below.  I’ve also included concert review links if I’ve seen the artist recently.

PDF front liner is available HERE (designed to print double-sided).

UPDATE (12/18): free download / bonus track #18 below

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01 Nellie McKayDo Do Do” from Normal As Blueberry Pie: A Tribute to Doris Day
Well, the person who got this round robin going (Brad) was a direct influence in me getting into Nellie McKay back when Get Away From Me came out.  I’ve been a fan ever since.  I think GAFM is my favorite of hers, but she’s still quite consistently entertaining to me.  Her latest album is a tribute to the late great Doris Day.  It’s missing some of Nellie’s sly wit, but is definitely fitting in her “I wish I was born in another era” wishes.  The album art is 135% fitting for Nellie, too.  Perfect choice!

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02 John ZornMiller’s Crake” from O’o
I could have put on some more skwoky Zorn, but I opted for a more accessible number.  John Zorn is prolific, but this was actually a slow year – I only count six Zorn-related releases.  O’o is twelve lyrical and adventurous instrumentals combining world music, surf, exotica, soundtracks, easy listening, and minimalism dedicated to twelve different birds (Chippy’s artwork is amazing).  “Miller’s Crake” is a delightful Guaraldi-esque jaunt from the band that came out of the Electric Masada / The Gift / The Dreamers sessions: Marc Ribot, Jamie Saft, Kenny Wollesen, Trevor Dunn, Joey Baron, and Cyro Baptista.

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03 Extra GoldenGimakiny Akia” from Thank You Very Quickly Vol 3
I was planning on going to Eugene Celebration anyway, but I got a call from a friend who suggested that we meet and definitely go to see Extra Golden.  Um, OK, sure.  Then I saw them, and wow… fuuuuun.  I love African music, but sometimes it’s gets all too similar unless you do something fun (a la Fela Kuti, Antibalas, etc).  Well, Extra Golden are half Kenyan and half American (which I guess is the “something fun” part?  I don’t know).  They fuse some great jam-rock with Kenyan beats* and singing… great stuff.  Fantastic live show, too. *-Though, coincidentally, not so much Kenyan beats on this track.  Yeah, sorry.

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04 Ember SwiftHollowed Bones 空骨” from Lentic :: 子玉
Ember Swift (yes, her real name) is finally starting to head in a new direction.  I mean, I dig her a lot, but her past albums have been slightly derivative of Ani DiFranco (with maybe a little more adventurism).  She’s from Canada, but has spent time living in China recently.  In fact, I think she’s still living there (don’t quote me on that)… that culture has definitely had an impact on her music.

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05 Works Progress Administration / Glen PhillipsRise Up” from Works Progress Administration
This song first showed up on the Concert to End Slavery compilation as a Glen Phillips solo song.  It’s my favorite from WPA, but it’s not very representative of the album.  The album is more folky / americana via the heavy influence of Sean & Sara Watkins from Nickelcreek and Luke Bulla (from Lyle Lovett’s band).

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06 Madeleine PeyrouxDamn the Circumstances” from Bare Bones
I am usually not a fan of vocal jazz… it’s usually too full of schlock, if you ask me.  Well, Madeleine’s smoky voice overrides that generalism for me.  She’s a fantastic vocalist, a throwback to the golden era of jazz vocalists.  This album is her first of non-covers.  All original, either written solo or co-written, Bare Bones moves her from a “fantastic standards” singer to bringing vocal jazz back into fresh territory.

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07 dredgGathering Pebbles” from The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion
dredg is one of my favorite bands now.  2005’s Catch Without Arms floored me, and I was eagerly awaiting the follow-up.  It took too long (4 years), but it was well worth it.  The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion is by far my favorite album this year.  It was inspired by Salmon Rushdie’s essay “Imagine There’s No Heaven: A Letter to the Sixth Billionth Citizen.”  In fact, this past fall, dredg and Salmon did a joint show that was captured by Spin magazine.

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08 Porcupine TreeFlicker” from The Incident
The best progressive rock band around, Porcupine Tree’s The Incident is a 55-minute epic concept album/song.  “Flicker” is actually a session b-side from the 2nd disc from the collection.  I got a chance to see Porcupine Tree this September, and Steven Wilson & Co delivered the impeccable studio sound to the stage.  It’s almost magic.

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09 O.S.I.Terminal” from Blood
I really like this 3rd record by O.S.I. (formerly know as the Office of Strategic Influence).  O.S.I. is a joint collaboration of Chroma Key’s Kevin Moore and Fates Warning’s Jim Matheos.  Most of Blood is heavier progressive rock, but I tend to like the more Chroma Key-esque tracks like “Terminal.”  The album has guests Gavin Harrison (of Porcupine Tree) on drums, Mikael Åkerfeldt (of Opeth) on vocals for one track, and Tim Bowness (or No-Man) on vocals for one track as well. The 2nd disc also features a Kevin Moore-sung, rockin’ tribute to Elliott Smith (“Christian Brothers”).

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10 900XThe Black Beach” from Library Catalog Music Series: Music For Lubbock, 1980
Sufjan Steven’s label Asthmatic Kitty is really becoming a favorite.  They host music by Sufjan, My Brightest Diamond, Fol Chen, Osso, and now the excellent experimentation from the various Library Catalog Music Series artists.  The 900X release is my favorite of the six releases so far.  I received the high quality mp3s from the record label for free, and I loved it so much that I bought it on vinyl.

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11 Chali 2Na featuring Talib KweliLock Sh*t Down” from Fish Outta Water
I’m still sad that Jurassic 5 broke up, but now we get albums from Portable Payback (Marc7 & Soup), Cut Chemist, DJ Nu Mark, Akil the MC, and, of course, Chali 2Na (my favorite from the group).  Chali’s got that deep booming voice that makes you pay attention.  This song’s lyrics (and video) are kinda cheesy, IMO, but it still features some nice flow from the “lyrical manphibian.”

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12 Peter MulveyVlad the Astrophysicist” from Letters From a Flying Machine
Storytelling has always been a fantastic part of Peter’s live shows.  Nine years ago, when his first niece was born, Peter got into the habit of writing physical letters to his nieces and nephews (now 17 kids in total).  This album is interspersed with spoken word letters and new music.  I think it’s his strongest album since 2000’s The Trouble With Poets.  I like a lot of different music, but with that being said, I think Peter is by far my favorite singer-songwriter.  Support indie music!

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13 David BazanCurse Your Branches” from Curse Your Branches
I wanted to put on “Hard to Be,” but due to space limitations, I went for a shorter song.  This is David’s first full-length solo album since disbanding the indie rock band Pedro the Lion.  PTL was really David’s thing anyway; so him disbanding the band isn’t that big of a deal, if you ask me.  This album also marks his first decided move away from the “religious guy” things into the “heavily agnostic thing” (kudos to him, from me at least).  This album is peppered with his thoughts and doubts of his religious upbringing – even moreso than in his prior Pedro days.  It very well called a “breakup letter to God” by some.

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14 John ZornNovato” from Alhambra Love Songs
Alhambra Love Songs is a set of 11 songs that are an eclectic homage to San Francisco Bay area musicians.  This particular song is dedicated to Mike Patton (and, no, that’s not why I picked it).  The album is played by pianist Rob Burger, bassist Greg Cohen, and drummer Ben Perowsky – and also falls into the “more accessible” John Zorn camp.

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15 WussyLittle Paper Birds” from Wussy
This little band that could from Cincinnati is getting some good buzz in major publications (I know Spin has featured them several times).  I went to college with their female lead singer, Lisa Walker, and remember when she did a more folky thing.  I think Wussy’s sound suits her well (and vice versa).  Anyway, this is their third record, and features some great songs from both Lisa and Ass Ponys’ Chuck Cleaver.

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16 The Dead Kenny G’sBirther Blues” from Bewildered Herd
Prior to moving to the PacNW, I had heard of saxophonist Skerik via John Zorn and other avant-garde connections.  I never got to hear him until I moved here and saw him at Sam Bond’s.  He seems to be down here in Eugene every other month or so, in different band incarnations.  The Dead Kenny G’s features Skerik on tenor sax & pianos, Mike Dillon on drums (who I recently saw drum with Ani DiFranco), and Brad Houser on bass & baritone sax.

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17 Ikue MoriRedeye Skimmer” from Class Insecta
Ikue Mori is an interesting instrumentalist.  She mostly utilizes a laptop, and I saw her play live with Ellery Eskelin & Jim Black in NYC in 2007 and was wowed by the improvisational nature of her craft.  Most of her albums are more avant-garde.  She has one album that I’d consider to be much more accessible (1995’s Painted Desert on Japan’s DIY/Avant label).  Class Insecta is also more accessible than most of her work.  I suppose if you like well composed, electronic music dedicated to insect species, it’s for you!

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18 Derek WebbWhat Matters More” from Stockholm Syndrome
(bonus mp3) DOWNLOAD it >> http://www.derekwebb.com/387/WMM.zip
Stockholm Syndrome is an album that I’m bummed I didn’t get fit on the CD version of this compilation.  It’s going to place fairly well in my year-end “Best of 2009” list.  I think it’s the best thing Derek’s ever done, including Caedmon’s Call and prior solo work.  It has a great overall vibe, and a message that I can agree with, even though I don’t agree with his religious philosophy.  This song, while not the best on the album (IMO), has a great lyric and pro-gay marriage position and was actually banned by his independent Christian label (INO Records).  He subsequently released an “uncensored” version of the album, and now has the song available for free on his site.

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Let me know what you think…

unfortunately missing (due to space or flow limitations, or that I simply didn’t get them in the mail yet): pop from Regina Spektor, Zero 7 & the Swell Season; jazz from Dave Douglas’ Brass Ecstasy and A Single Sky, Masada Quintet + Lovano, and The Fantastic Terrific Munkle; comedy from Flight of the Conchords; and some metal Ahleuchatistas, Megadeth, Isis, Dream Theater, Puscifer, Tides From Nebula & Alice in Chains.  Oh well, those may make it on my “favorite albums” of 2009 list.

~Dan – np: PusciferC is For…

there are no torrents, free mp3 or other downloads available

Favorites of 2007… local music, vinyl, internets, podcasts…

1st Dec 07 (Sat) Leave a comment

Well, this is Round 2 of the traditional year-end wrap-up… Round 1 (here) was all about concerts I attended. Since I’m still not ready for my favorite album recap, I’ll ease into with some non-standard categories…

Favorite Local Music 2007
Well, being caught in a move 2,600 miles away this year, my “local” is not quite Oregon-related, yet. In fact, I built up such a battalion of favorite local Cincinnati/Dayton artists, that I may always consider them “local” for me…

1) WussyLeft for Dead – Simply a fantastic record through and through. “Airborne,” from the first Wussy record (Funeral Dress), may be one of my favorite songs as of late… and the new Wussy record had many songs up to its caliber. Don’t be shocked if this album shows up in my Top 20-something overall albums of the year. It’s a beaut.

http://www.wussymusic.com/
http://www.myspace.com/therealwussy

2) Kelly EvansEasy (ep) – I heard of Kelly Evans barely a year ago (MPMF in Sept ’06). Her debut -EP- is something of a gorgeous effort. Great guitarwork, great vocals, fun songs… sorta jazz with a world beat in spots. She’s posted roughly 10 more songs to her MySpace page over the year… this girl needs a full length record. :-) Her record is not in stores, as far as I know… so ask her how you can get one…

http://www.kellyevansmusic.com/
http://www.myspace.com/skyfeathervivella

3) Auragami+/- (ep) – This was a gift from a very talented bassist in the Dayton area named Michael Miller. I’ve been a fan of his music since Space (circa 1998). He’s got a great feel for groove, experimentation, and melody. To quote another SW Ohio bassist Mike Georgin, “bass is good.” His record is not in stores, as far as I know… so ask him how you can get one…

http://www.myspace.com/auragami

Favorite Backwards Technology Releases 2007
What’s not to love about vinyl? It crackles when you play it, scratches easily, and it a pain to put on your iPod, and some artists like to release things on it as special releases that won’t see the light of day in a more accessible format. That’s what not to love about it. With that being said, I still love it. Here are my favorite vinyl-only releases of 2007:

1) Secret Chiefs 3 – four 7″ vinyl singles – Cool design and music to boot. I wish they’d crank out some more music soon, but these vinyl singles were a good layover until Trey Spruance and the SC3 can get Book of Souls or his take on Masada Book Two out (in 2008).


http://www.webofmimicry.com/
http://www.myspace.com/secretchiefs3

2)
Pearl Jam (with U2) – Love Reign O’er Me (fan club 7″ single) – PJ and U2. Nuff Said.

http://www.pearljam.com/
http://www.myspace.com/tenclub

3) Sufjan StevensI Went Dancing with My Sister / Waste of What Your Kids Won’t Have (7″ single bonus with Seven Swans vinyl re-issue) – I dislike the “only way you can get this is by getting this, too” aspect of it all… but, hey, it was cheap(ish) and it is Sufjan. He’s new to my camp of “can’t do wrong.” I’m a sucker.

http://www.myspace.com/soundsfamilyre
http://www.myspace.com/asthmatickitty

4) Sigur RósHljómalind 7″ single – Of any current band that I’m happy to “grow up” with, this will be one that I’ll be happy to tell people 30 years from now that I saw live.

Sigur Rós is. They just are.

http://www.sigur-ros.co.uk/
http://www.myspace.com/sigurros

Favorite Internet-only Releases 2007

1) Ben ElliotFairytales (ep) – Rarely do those “band spammers” who claim to sound like “such and such” actually get much attention. Well, Ben Elliot actually bothered to message rather than just friend requesting me. His claims of Silverchair/Dissociative-ness seemed suspect. Alas, I found his music to be QUITE GOOD… so far his stuff’s only available online (no CDs), but well worth whatever change-per-song you throw his way. Do it!! You’ll thank me.

http://www.benelliot.com/
http://www.myspace.com/benelliot

2) Derek WebbOne Zero (Remixes) – I’ve been a fan of Derek since the Caedmon’s Call days. The “remix” notion wouldn’t seem like it’d fit a primarily acoustic singer-songwriter. Alas, it does. Fun stuff…

http://www.derekwebb.com
http://www.myspace.com/derekwebb

3) Xenuphobe2.0: Electrolux – OK, technically, this one is not internet-only… but I only had funds to get the download version. Xenuphobe is Wally Farkas (of Galactic Cowboys fame) and Ty Tabor (of King’s X fame). It’s an experimental, psychedelic, ambient rock album… I dig it a bunch. I loved X1, and this one beats that one… great works, guys!

http://www.xenuphobe.com/
http://www.myspace.com/xenuphobemusic

4) My Brightest DiamondTear It Down (b-sides) – I hate exclusives on iTunes… but at least I didn’t have to buy the whole album again to get these extra gems. I can’t wait for MBD’s next one, A Thousand Shark’s Teeth. Shara’s vocals are sublime.

http://www.mybrightestdiamond.com/
http://www.myspace.com/mybrightestdiamond

5) Puscifer Don’t Shoot the Messenger (ep) – Ah, Maynard James Keenan, you wiley tool of the devil. Not for the faint of heart or ears…

http://www.puscifer.com/
http://www.myspace.com/censorshipisacancer

Favorite Podcasts 2007
I blame two people for this new addiction of mine… Gary Lenaire and Kevin Smith. Gary Lenaire was interviewed on The Infidel Guy show, and I got hooked on that podcast. I had stayed away from podcasts until that show. And then, Kevin Smith started pod’ing with the also amusing über-producer Scott Mosier… ensuing hilarity. Anyway, podcasts help fill my “new audible content” addiction… for free.

1) Smodcast – Filmmakers Kevin Smith & Scott Mosier discuss things that probably should never be discussed. For fans of their movies/commentary tracks, this is right up your proverbial alley. Guests include Kev’s wife Jen, Jason Mewes, Walt, Bryan, Malcolm, and others in the askewniverse.

http://www.quickstopentertainment.com/smodcast

2) Real Time with Bill Maher – Posted a few days after the show airs on HBO. This show is fantastic. I wish I had HBO for this show (and Curb Your Enthusiasm), but this podcast is the next best thing. Great sociopolitical content, discussion, comedy, and world class guests (almost as world class as Ali G’s guests). :-)

http://www.hbo.com/billmaher/downloads/

3) Ken Laster’s In the Groove, Jazz and Beyond – There seem to be a bunch of jazz podcasts out there that are just plain weak or irregular… or play things that simply aren’t jazz. Ken plays a great jazz mix from old greats to up-and-coming to local… not too “smooth jazz” and enough hard bop and experimental thrown in to keep me interested.

http://jazzandbeyond.com/

4) The Infidel Guy: The Way of Reason – Reginald Finley, Sr. puts on a great free-thinker show, hitting many topics primarily revolving around religious dogma and other atheistic topics.

http://www.infidelguy.com/

5) Dogma Free America – RIP. It just ended at 50 episodes… after lasting about a year… it’ll be missed. (Note: this podcast came back to life in May 2008… woot!)

http://www.dogmafreeamerica.com/

6) NPR: Jazz Profiles – Superbly crafted A&E-type audio biographies on the greats. Duke, Monk, Bird, Dizzy, Miles, Billie… I came into jazz via the avant-garde scene (Zorn, et al); so getting some exposure to the founding fathers (and mothers) of jazz is awesome!

http://www.npr.org/programs/jazzprofiles

7) Jazz NW with Jim Wilke – A Seattle-based radio show that more often than not makes me happy to be living in the PacNW. Who knew there’d be such a great jazz scene? Favorite find thus far has easily been Seattle-based Monktail Creative Music Concern (and side band Reptet).

http://www.kplu.org/wilke.html

8 ) George Hrab’s Geological Podcast – I just got into this one… it’s fuuuuuuun. and his love for all things Zappa can’t be bad. Geo’s music is pretty damn good, too.

http://www.geologicpodcast.com/

9) Soccergirl, Incorporated – I just got into this one, too… because of GeoHrab. SG’s very similar to Sarah Silverman in comedy stylings — oft-raunchy, un-PC, oft-ridiculous. And that’s a good thing.

http://www.soccergirlincorporated.com/

10) Compassionate Cooks: Vegetarian Food for Thought – One word: quinoa. It changed my life with regards to home stir-fry, salads, burritoes, and all around superfood goodness. :-)

http://www.compassionatecooks.com/

best videocast: (tie) Les Concerts à Emporter -and- Liam Lynch’s Lynchland – One for intimate performances in public places by indie-rocks’ biggest indie-stars. One for crazy videos and tidbits from the guy who brought us the puppet-rific Sifl & Ollie (an unrelated pre-cursor to Greg the Bunny), who happens to be friends with the Tenacious D guys and Sarah Silverman, etc…

http://www.blogotheque.net/concertaemporter/
http://liamlynch.net/

best internet mini-series: Clark and Michael – Michael Cera (George Michael from TV’s Arrested Development) is one of the funniest young men in comedy. He is straight-man GOLD. He and Clark made a witty, pseudo-documentary, 10-episode internet series. Clever.

http://www.clarkandmichael.com/

That’s all for now…

~Dan – np: Iron & WineThe Sea and the Rhythm -ep-

Favorite Albums of 2006 (and Instrumental albums & EPs, too)

20th Jan 07 (Sat) Leave a comment

TOP 15 Instrumental Albums of 2006

1)
EstradaspherePalace of Mirrors (epic and cinematic) : A sibling band of Secret Chiefs 3… Estradasphere got their start on SC3’s label Web of Mimicry (and many of their members from SC3 as well). This is their The End Records debut, and it went in a direction that I wasn’t expecting. Their previous albums have been quite ADHD (a la SC3 and Mr Bungle), but they always had a gypsy-meets-cinematic feel. This album is quite epic and gypsy-cinematic throughout. It’s got a touch of metal in spots and some SC3-type middle-eastern roaming, but the production on this album is masterful compared to their prior works. It truly blew me away. Seeing them perform this year also helped the album’s appeal with me. Brilliant band. Web: http://www.estradasphere.com/

2)
Bobby PreviteThe Coalition of the Willing (groove-laden jazz) : A drummer-led jazz band with inescapable grooves, this CD was a “whim” purchase that totally paid off. It also features some of my fav NYC jazz musicians: guitarist Charlie Hunter & organist Jamie Saft, to name a couple… Web: http://www.bobbyprevite.com/

3)
Irving Fields Meets Roberto RodriguezOy Vey…..Olé!!! (klezmer jazz with a latin flavor) : This album is quite the engaging mix of Jewish and Latino musical culture. More of a collaboration than a mashup, though. Great stuff from a great bunch of musicians. My wife liked it, too… Web: http://www.tzadik.com/

4)
Frank ZappaTrance-Fusion (the return of meedley meedley meeeeee) : Apparently FZ fans have been waiting on this for 10 years… hell, I only found out about it a month before its release, but it’s a great guitar-centric album that fits nicely near the top of my Frank Zappa collection. Web: http://www.zappa.com/

5)
Dweezil ZappaGo With What You Know (the son of the return of meedley meedley meeeeee) : The lead-off track has vocals, but after that it’s an entire shredfest. Wicked fast, but with a nice groove that DZ usually delivers at a level on par with his father… *gasp* Web: http://www.zappa.com/

6)
Dave DouglasMeaning and Mystery (trumpet-led jazz quintet) : After getting into klez-jazz phenom Masada earlier this year, Dave Douglas quickly became one of my favorite jazz soloists. He’s got great sound, composition and groove. Web: http://www.davedouglas.com/

7)
Medeski Scofield Martin & WoodOut Louder (groove-jazz with guitars and a bit more meandering) : I dig MMW a bunch, and MSMW adds a familiar guitar tone to the groove-jazz. Web: http://www.mmw.net/

8 )
Cracow Klezmer BandMasada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 5 ~ Balan (klezmer jazz) : Masada still plays live, but I’m fairly certain that John Zorn’s quit writing tunes for them as a band. His new Masada tunes (“Book Two” as it were) are numbered upwards of 200-300 songs that he wrote over a few years, and different artists are recording them and putting their own spin on the music. Five Masada Book Two albums came out from different artists in 2006, and this one by the Cracow Klezmer Band was the most engaging (Jamie Saft Trio’s & Kobe Israelite’s were also good). 2007 looks to be awesomer, though… as Secret Chiefs 3 (one of my fav bands ever) is going to releasing their Masada Book Two angel-demon incarnation in May (or so). Web: http://www.tzadik.com/

9)
John ZornAstronome (glossolaliac noise metal) : I’m a big avant-garde, screamo fan. I dig many projects from John Zorn and Mike Patton that are so absurd that no one should really listen to them on a recommendation. This one is just that way. I don’t expect anyone to take a recommendation to check out Astronome (or Moonchild). If you’re curious, maybe check it out on iTunes… or shove a guitar into a blender with some avocadoes. I’m a big Fantômas fan — and for both Astronome and Moonchild (below), John Zorn has written some Crowley-influenced, magick-heavy “tunes” with vocal-utterance master Mike Patton in mind. The songs are all fairly instrumental, with the “vocals” not being lyrical, but rather very primitive. He rounds out the trio with fellow-Fantômas bandmate Trevor Dunn on bass and Masada drummer Joey Baron. Astronome beats out Moonchild only due to Mike Patton’s vocal acrobatics being more kooky. The third in the series is due in 2007. Web: http://www.tzadik.com/

10)
Jon Madof’s RashanimShalosh (klezmer rock) : Great fretwork with the sound of old culture seeping through. Of all of the radical Jewish culture series that I’ve gotten into this past year, Jon Madom & Rashanim stands out due to its “rock band” feel… Web: http://www.tzadik.com/

11)
Flat Earth SocietyPsychoscout (orchestral big-band with a sense of humor) : I first heard of FES while getting into bands on Mike Patton’s Ipecac label. They stood out as not really fitting the heavy, screamy type of band. Multi-instrumentalist big band with its hand in jazz and its other hand in orchestral scores. Fun stuff that’s very much “familiar” without being “all up in your junk.” More Ennio Morricone than, say, um… John Williams. Web: http://www.fes.be/

12)
Electric Kulintang (Susie Ibarra & Roberto Rodriguez)Dialects (percussive, yet smooth) : Two drummers making a very accessible instrumental record… crazy, huh? There are some non-lyrical vocalizations by Susie on some songs; but all in all, this is straight up instrumental fun. It’s way more poppy than I would have thought. Web: http://www.susieibarra.com/

13)
TalatThe Growl (klezmer jazz) : Lots of klez-jazz this past year… this one rose to the top. Web: http://www.tzadik.com/

14)
MogwaiMr. Beast (post-rock ) : Mogwai put out some solid material in 2006… the Zidane Sountrack is also good, but more mellow in spots (not head-butty, like I expected it would be). rolleyes.gif Web: http://www.mogwai.co.uk/

15)
John ZornMoonchild: Songs Without Words (glossolaliac noise metal) : Ditto reason as #9 (Astronome) above, ‘cept Moonchild had some neat-o artwork… Web: http://www.tzadik.com/

TOP 5 EPs of 2006

1)
Glen PhillipsUnlucky 7 (poppy singer-songwriter) : His full-length this year was good/OK, but this -EP- is what I feel is up to par with his prior work. Great stuff!! Web: http://www.glenphillips.com/

2)
David BazanFewer Moving Parts (melancholic singer-songwriter) : Two versions of five songs (one acoustic, one band format) from the former Pedro the Lion frontman. PTL was pretty much a one man band; so his “departure” doesn’t hurt me so much. I look forward to his “debut” full-length in 2007. Web: http://www.davidbazan.com/

3)
Thom YorkeSpitting Feathers (twitchy electronic rock) : This -EP- has some nice b-sides, a video and an extended version of “Harrowdown Hill.” Web: http://www.theeraser.net/

4)
O.S.I.Re: Free (progressive rock, remixed) : A great follow-up to a wonderful sophomore album. Web: http://www.osiband.com/

5)
TristezaEn Nuestro Desafío (organic electronic) : This -EP- was coupled with a great live DVD; which is fun, seeing as they never seem to come ’round these parts… Web: http://www.trstz.com/

Best Soundtrack/Score
Mogwai‘s Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (runner(s)-up: OutKast‘s Idlewild & The Beatles‘s Love: Cirque du Soliel)
/ /

Best Debut Album
My Brightest Diamond‘s Bring Me the Workhorse (runner-up: Ellery‘s Lying Awake)
/

Best Concept Album
Estradasphere‘s Palace of Mirrors (runner-up: Jóhann Jóhannsson‘s IBM 1401, A User’s Manual)
/

Best “I Found them on MySpace” Album
Au4‘s soaring On: Audio (runner-up: 8mm‘s sultry Songs to Love and Die By)
/

and now… my favorite albuims of 2006… at the time… note: I got lazy after I had written little blurbs for all of the instrumental and EPs by the time I got to the album list. Eh.

TOP 30 ALBUMS of 2006
1)
O.S.I.Free (prog rock meets trip-hop beats) : Web: http://www.osiband.com/

2)
Nellie McKayPretty Little Head (witty & spunky piano pop) : Web: http://www.nelliemckay.org/

3)
Sean LennonFriendly Fire (John would be proud) : Web: http://www.seanonolennon.com/

4)
Tool10,000 Days (art metal) : Web: http://www.toolband.com/

5)
My Brightest DiamondBring Me the Workhorse (quirky pop with operatic training) : Web: http://www.mybrightestdiamond.com/

6)
Peeping TomPeeping Tom (hard rock meets hip-hop meets pop-avant-garde) : Web: http://www.ipecac.com/bio.php?id=44

7)
Au4On: Audio (sweeping and lush atmospheric rock) : Web: http://www.au4-audio.com/

8 )
NoctalucaTowering the Sum (hard rock masterpiece) : Web: http://www.noctaluca.com/

9)
ElleryLying Awake (passionate Cincinnati songwriting duo) : Web: http://www.ellerymusic.com/

10)
Kim TaylorI Feel Like a Fading Light (singer-songwriter with a Berquistian voice) : Web: http://www.kim-taylor.net/

11)
Pearl JamPearl Jam (rock icons) : Web: http://www.pearljam.com/

12)
Sufjan StevensThe Avalanche (quirk-folk b-sides) : Web: http://www.asthmatickitty.com/musicians.php?artistID=5

13)
Ani DiFrancoReprieve (consistent folk hipster) : Web: http://www.righteousbabe.com/ani/index.asp

14)
BeckThe Information (electronic hip-pop) : Web: http://www.beck.com/

15)
DramagodsLove (melodic hard rock) : Web: http://www.dramagods.com/

16)
Thom YorkeThe Eraser (not kid a… maybe kid b ) : Web: http://www.theeraser.net/

17)
JudeRedemption (golden-voiced songwriter) : Web: http://www.judemusic.com/

18 )
EvanescenceThe Open Door (hard rock, angsty and hooky) : Web: http://www.evanescence.com/

19)
Johnny CashAmerican V: A Hundred Highways (his last complete work) : Web: http://www.johnnycash.com/

20)
IncubusLight Grenades (melodic hard rock) : Web: http://www.enjoyincubus.com/

21)
David GilmourOn an Island (longing for Floyd) : Web: http://www.davidgilmour.com/

22)
PlaceboMeds (post-punk brit-glamrock) : Web: http://www.placeboworld.co.uk/

23)
Red Hot Chili PeppersStadium Arcadium (funk rock?) : Web: http://www.redhotchilipeppers.com/

24)
IsisIn the Absence of Truth (heavy metal ambiance) : Web: http://www.isistheband.com/

25)
The Gotan ProjectLunático (modern tango) : Web: http://www.gotanproject.com/

26)
Ty TaborRock Garden (melodic rock) : Web: http://www.tytabor.net/

27)
Jurassic 5Feedback (rap) : Web: http://www.jurassic5.com/

28 )
Regina SpektorBegin to Hope (quirky piano pop) : Web: http://www.reginaspektor.com/

29)
The Blood BrothersYoung Machetes (screamo) : Web: http://www.thebloodbrothers.com/

30)
RivuletsYou Are My Home (Nick Drake-ian singer-songwriter) : Web: http://www.rivulets.net/

Honorable Mention:
AudioslaveRevelations / Cut ChemistThe Audience’s Listening / DJ LogicZen of Logic / Jars of ClayGood Monsters / MugisonLittle Trip / The ReceiverDecades

Best Album Packaging & Design
Peeping Tom‘s snazy pull-out casing (runner(s)-up: Anathallo‘s Floating World die-cut slipcase and Beck‘s The Information sticker set)

Best Album Artwork
Tool‘s 10,000 Days artwork, including “Net of Being,” by Alex Grey (runner-up: Au4‘s On: Audio)

Biggest Disappointment
Web of Mimicry Records not coming through with their “Fall 2006” promise… and way too many X-mas albums this year (including Over the Rhine‘s Snow Angels, Sufjan Steven‘s Songs for Christmas, Aimee Mann, Bootsy Collins, your mom, your grandma)… ugh. X-mas albums usually sucked (save parts of Sufjan’s and “Goodbye Charles” from OTR’s)

and since I didn’t want to end on a sour note, here are some more “Best Of” winners…

Best Book on CD
Noam Chomsky‘s Failed States (runner-up: Eric Schlosser‘s Fast Food Nation (Updated))

Best Music-related DVD
Tori Amos‘s Fade to Red (runner-up: Megadeth‘s Arsenal of Megadeth)

Best Live Album
dredg‘s Live at the Fillmore (runner-up: Over the Rhine‘s Live from Nowhere Farm Vol 1)

Best Internet-only Release
Iron & Wine‘s iTunes Live Session (runner(s)-up: My Brightest Diamond‘s Disappear -EP- and Celldweller‘s Remix -EP-)

Best Re-issue

Porcupine Tree‘s Stupid Dream (runner-up: Steven Wilson‘s UEM on black-CDR)

Best “Late Getter”
Masada‘s Alef through Sanhedrin (runner(s)-up: Elysian FieldsQueen of the Meadow and Cibo Matto‘s Stereo Type A)

Best “Best Of”

No-Man‘s All the Blue Changes (runner-up: Medeski Martin & Wood‘s Note Bleu: 1998-2005)

Best Side-project
Electric Kulintang (Susie Ibarra & Roberto Rodriguez)‘s Dialects (runner-up: Xenuphobe (Ty Tabor & Wally Farkas)‘s Xenuphobe 1.0)

Looking forward to in 2007: Secret Chiefs 3 x 6 (or so), Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, OTR, Mum, Megadeth, Andy Yorke, Tori Amos, Amiina, Jenn Ghetto’s S, Silverchair, John Zorn’s 3rd in the Magick series with Patton/Dunn/Baron, Monk (Ric Hordinski), Tegan and Sara, Coheed and Cambria, Time Lapse Consortium, Eisley, Tomahawk, My Brightest Diamond (remix album) …

~Dan

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