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10 albums from 2006 i would skip through fields of flowers with.

i am ecstatic and relieved to reveal my final countdown(s) regarding the precious year 2006. if for whatever reason you still buy "records," i would say these are the only 10 records of 2006 that are worth purchasing as they are the only ones without any missteps and i could listen to them all the way through without pressing "next track." the top 50 songs of 2006 is a good place to go if you're more into songs. i'm into both i guess, but overall...music's kinda last year's bag, know what i mean? silence is gonna be the next big thing i'm pretty sure. at least that's what i've been hearing from other, hipper people.

10 joan of arc.
eventually, all at once.
[record label].

the laid back slacker with the acoustic guitar meets the erratic pontificator with the dirty string section. they've tried deconstructing their sound before and now they're just holing it up in a rusty old shack with just some lonely thoughts and some empty space to wiggle around in. i hate dust and wood, but this is as close as i'm going to get to the soil of the earth. luckily i'll be writhing with insecurity and acceptance the day i am finally buried, fighting it as a form of facing it. key tracks: "many times i've mistaken," "if all these people can understand money," "miss cat piss and peppermint"

09 human television.
look at who you're talking to.
[gigantic].

'shimmer' is probably one of my favorite adjectives. and when guitars do it, it's probably my 2nd favorite guitar sound, next to a delay pedal. so tons of shimmering reverb is pretty damn close to shimmer delay pedal, and i am content. the snow's starting to melt and the sun gets REALLY bright in the middle of the day and that's the perfect time to break out this album. with acknowledgment of past icings and still somehow shimmying through the pavement to find that glimpse of brisk air as you reach the surface with a dandelion in your teeth saying "hey! here's spring you bastards!," you know the future exists. key tracks: "i'm moving on," "tonight's the night," "such a trip"

08 love of everything.
superior mold and die.
[record label].

i've always been fascinated by the jack-in-the-box. you KNOW what's going to happen and yet you KEEP doing it! because it is SO DAMN CUTE. whether you have an animal-themed one or the classic jester/clown visage jumping out at you like it's gonna eat you-oh-just-kidding it just wants to say, "hey friend long time no see!" even thought you JUST saw it like 10 seconds ago! regardless, bobby burg does the same thing over and over again on this record and it's cuter with every song and it becomes a little adorable talking cgi animal friend that you just never want to let go of. sure it's just twinkles and tee hees, but that's what keeps me going sometimes. and he realizes that even the twinkles and the tee hees brush against the real and the real tough, and with more listens you'll hear the darkness underneath the cuteness. key tracks: "too much happy wet hair," "drive through rainbow," "bad year"

07 chin up chin up.
this harness can't ride anything.
[suicide squeeze].

mumble mumble CLARITY slinky slink BAM CHA-CHING! it's all about the hook with chin up chin up. and not JUST that line from the chorus you hum over and over again throughout your workday to try to pass the time. they know how to make every instrument's riff sink into your skin until you know it by heart, then stealthily move to the next to do the same thing until you witness the most glorious orgy of sound intersecting as one, whether it be a gentle lullaby or a headphone-hard-bopper. it's all about forming confidence out of the lack thereof, because everyone's got it, but chin up chin up are one of the only ones that know how to ooze fragility as a variation on brightness and know-it-all-ness. key tracks: "this harness can't ride anything," "islands sink," "water planes in snow"

06 the velvet teen.
cum laude.

[slowdance].


at first i was like, "hey cool it's their spasm-pop record," reminding me of how danse macabre was the faint's "vocoder record," almost dismissing it as a gimmick record that was pleasant to listen to but substance-less. but then i remembered i LOVED danse macabre and i do indeed LIKE gimmick records when they're a flawless piece of genre and theme concentration apart from anything the band has done before. while every song blends and sometimes dissolves into the next, this is a sound that i've really never heard (or at least never heard done right before). from megaphones to glitches, the velvet teen have mechanized youth and the earnest desire to stay young in gloriously angsty pop music. key tracks: "noi boi," "spin the wink," "gyzmkid"

05 don caballero.
world class listening problem.

[relapse].


i don't like metal. i feel like i never feel so bored/dismayed with life that i need to scrape to find stimulation from the music i listen to through aggravation and pain. oh wait i listen to emo. well i just don't like screaming. i thought the music gods were listening to my struggles when they brought me the new don caballero record. instrumental emo-metal may just sound too pretentious and overfilled with agony to handle, but the best thing (actually) about this record is its willingness to have fun with music. people who listen to enough metal and emo realize that there's a certain joy in poking fun at the genre just as much as there is in listening to it. so with an album full of powered-up guitars with licks that cut deeper than a ginsu, you know it's not only because they really really really want to make you FEEL something with their music, but they also want to make sure they AND you are having as much fun as possible. the song titles don't hurt either. key tracks: "railroad cancellation," "palm trees in the fecking bahamas," "i agree....no!....i disagree"

04 maritime.
we, the vehicles.

[flameshovel].

calling something "power pop" is almost as ridiculous as calling something "alternative rock" in the 90s, except it's got that hard-to-deny modifier: "power." coupled with the catch-all term "pop," it's like "whoa, it's like everything we've heard before but with an overwhelming blast of je ne sais quoi." basically it's when it's something you've heard a million times before but it still digs into your ear like you've never heard it before. it's an odd feeling and it happened to me more than ever before when listening to maritime's we, the vehicles. soaring choruses? check. steady, mid-tempo beat? check. bubbly and/or airy keyboards fill that hungry corner in your stomach? check. but wow ALL of these songs are solid. and it's like i've grown up but not grown out of everything that formed my musical taste back in 1995 in the first place! key tracks: "don't say you don't," "tearing up the oxygen," "parade of punk rock t-shirts"

03 mew.
and the glass-handed kites.

[columbia].


the killers are a band i hate. death cab for cutie is a band i hate. sigur ros is a band i love. the killers are a band i like when i'm listening to top 40 radio. death cab for cutie is a band i loved in a previous life (who am i kidding? i still love them). sigur ros is a band that has done no wrong. so basically, when you put these three in a blender you're going to get the sound that takes out all possible presence of boring, jampacks it with priss AND egoism, and sprinkles it all with complicated delicacies such as fluid transitions, keyboard/extraneous flourishes, and nonsensical abstract lyrics up the wazoo. it's like candy that goes to your brain (depending on what mood you listen to it in). key tracks: "apocalypso," "why are you looking grave?," "the zookeeper's boy"

02 the album leaf.
into the blue again.
[sub pop].


when i went to listen to my first ambient brian eno record, i was thinking i'd just put it on in the background. i thought it would help me relax and concentrate on my work at the same time. within minutes i stopped doing any work, sat straight up in my chair, turned the lights off, and turned the music up. this is what you'll have to do with into the blue again. it IS the ultimate relaxation. and with a year that has probably been my most stressful EVER, i owe this artist a debt of thanks. whereas when listening to sigur ros, i alternate between falling asleep and being jolted to life, the album leaf keep me in that meditative, calm state of perfection and balance that i think yoga was supposed to do but failed miserably. and my calves don't hurt and i'm not sweaty after i listen to the album leaf. key tracks: "always for you," "shine," "into the sea"

01 owen.
at home with.

[polyvinyl].

this year i co-bought my first home. and while it's really not very different from paying rent every month, there's something so bizarre feeling about HAVING a home. at first i thought i should be worrying about if i'm doing it too soon, if it means i'm growing up too fast, if i'm less hip because i now have a mortgage, etc. and honestly i probably worried about these things longer than i should have. when i got a hold of owen's at home with and i listened to it on my headphones at 2:00 in the morning on my couch with my laptop, i seriously started feeling peace for the first extended period of time with myself and my decisions i've made since i stopped going to school in august. i loved my home, my girlfriend i live with, my friends who visit us, my cats, my MODE OF LIVING...and the gentle clouds of songs that owen caresses with are the perfect soundtrack to acceptance and contentment. key tracks: "bad news," "use your words," "a bird in hand"

and FINALLY i have #s 5-1 of my top 50 songs of 2006 up on the listulator! that feels nice to have done as well, and in a reasonable amount of time in comparison to years past.

  1. Blogger Patrick | 9:55 AM |  

    I'm not hip enough to comment on most of these, but 2-4 are right on the money. I think "Into the Sea" is one of the 5 most beautiful songs I have ever listened to.

    Excellent list, my friend.

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