Now that we're a solid month into 2007, I guess it's as prime a time as ever to question what the hell happened in 2006. Now that I'm finally getting used to writing 07 at the top of my notes and checkbook, I've come to realize that another year has slipped away. Youth is fleeting, and the cold reality sinks in. But I'll save the depressing life's reflections for another blog post. For now, I'll be content with considering 2006 as it progressed in terms of music. As always, it's hard for me to recall exactly what I did with my time and what I was listening to for a whole 365 days, but there are certain releases of course that stick out in my hazily distorted brain. The following is a list of records that I indulged in frequently, and reflect at least some of the things that I thought made 06 a decent year for music. It still seems to be lacking somewhat, though. Maybe we're on the brink of something. Maybe something will give soon. Whatcha got 2007, seven? Don't be gentle. We need a new movement.


1. MACHINE GUN TV: Go-> (Public Eyesore)
And odd choice for #1, maybe, but this album got more repeated listens in my stereo than any other this year, and for good reason. The infectious J-pop melodies were lodged in my brain for weeks, and completely assaulted thoughts with a deranged sensory overload. The sound conveys an image of one of those cute Japanese schoolgirls smiling seductively at you, all the while holding a machete and a stick of dynamite behind her back. Drum machine beats were buried beneath a mountain of sound and destruction, tearing apart song structures and erasing any trace of mediocrity. Theres so much joy on the brink of insanity, taking ecstatic anthems and sticking a rocket in the ass of the beholder. Im as clueless as you are, but I know that I like it.

2. SKULLFLOWER: Tribulations (Crucial Blast)
Matthew Bower collapsed solar systems with this release, from start to finish. This is what psychedelic music is all about, monumental and filled to the brim with jolting textures and a rumbling sea of electronic chaos. Theres no fucking around, no initial buildups, no time wasted. Mesmerizing and wholly uncompromising, Tribulations will swallow you.

3. CLOUDLAND CANYON: Requiems der Natur (Rough Trade)
I forget how I stumbled across this release, but as soon as I heard it, I was hooked. The tracks were all recorded by Simon Wojan & Kip Uhlhorn over the course of 2-3 years, and showcase a massively wide range of sounds, sonic manipulations and out-there odysseys. Beginning with traces of something that resembles free-folk fucking electronics, things take a turn for the weird as time progresses, incorporating a host of ghastly environments. This one made the walls bend for me, and I do love the feeling.

4. EKKEHARD EHLERS: A Life Without Fear (Staubgold)
Gravelly-voiced and gritty, crackling in a crockpot of scrapes and prophetic mutterings, Ehlers got down dirty on this one. The lyrics are a gem by themselves, and, combined with the lo-fi pool of bluesy guitar refrain make for an irresistible album of doomsday deconstructions. You can feel it down in your stomach, and it rises out to the top, lining up with a hum and whirl.

5. GIRL TALK: Night Ripper (Illegal Art)
Greg Gillis' show at the Local 506 last fall was one of the more amazing experiences Ive had at a live performance in a long time. The party immediately commenced from the first beat dropped, as drunken fans were invited to dance wildly on stage around a laptop and semi-naked man, showing that you can in fact rock out with a computer (see Jason Forrests show at the Nightlight as well). Some said Girls Gone Wild, and I can see the point, but it was still a blast. The fact that this album is completely comprised of works credited to other artists is a testament to the ability of the digital age to allow for the appropriation of existing music/thoughts/ideas to create something new, free from legal prohibition. Illegal Art isnt so illegal anymore, and that is progress.

6. THEO ANGELL: Dearly Beloved (Amish)
I still have no idea what the words to Sheost are, but it hasnt stopped me from singing along at the top of my lungs.

7. POREST: Tourrorists! (Abduction)

8. ANLA COURTIS: Tape Works (Pogus)

9. WOODEN SHJIPS: Dance, California b/w Clouds Over Earthquake 7"/Shrinking Moon For You 10” (Sick Thirst/Self Released)

10. IDRIS ACKAMOOR: Music of Idris Ackamoor, 1971-2004 (EM)

11. LUC FERRARI: Far West News Vol. 2 and 3 (Blue Chopsticks), Son Memorise (Sub Rosa)

12. EXTREME ANIMALS: Music, The Great Communicator (self-released)

13. FOLKE RABE/JAN BARK: Argh! (Kning)

14. YIP YIP: In the Reptile House (SAF)
The above video is Yip Yip playing a high school homecoming dance. Priceless.

15. LOS GAITEROS DE SAN JACINTO: Un Fuego de Sangre Pura (Smithsonian Folkways)

16. BURIAL: s/t (Hyperdub)

17. LE VOLUME COURBE: I Killed My Best Friend
I have no idea where to hide all these bodies.

18. V/A: Good God! A Gospel Funk Hymnal (Numero Group)

19. PEDESTRIAN DEPOSIT: Vestige (Hospital)
Favorite act at No Future Fest last year, hands down. The record isn't as harsh as I expected, but in a good way.

20. MANDALAY MARIONETTES: The Magic of Burma: Mandalay Marionette Music (Blueberry Buddha)

Other Stuff that I highly enjoyed (in no particular order):

Halleleujah Chicken Run Band: Take 1, 1974-979 (Alula)
Mustafa Ozekent: Genclik Ile Elele (Finders Keepers)
Dan Deacon: Acorn Master (Psych-O-Path)
H.B.: The Great Apocalypse (Self-released)
Mohammed Jimmy Mohammed: Takkabel! (Terp)
Tim Hecker: Harmony in Ultraviolet (Kranky)
Comets on Fire: Avatar (Sub Pop)
Bird Show: Lightning Ghost (Kranky)
V/A: Big Apple Rappin'(Soul Jazz)
Oakley Hall: Gypsum Strings (Jagajaguwar)
Sic Alps: Pleasures and Treasures (Animal Disguies)
Ghostface Killah: Fishscale (Def Jam)
Gordon Monahan - Speaker Swinging & Piano Mechanics (C3R)
VA - Less Self Is More Self (Ecstatic Peace!)
Bob Sinclair: Western Dream (Yellow Productions)
Chris Watson/KK Null/Zev
Fe-Mail - Blixter Toad (Asphodel)
Create(!) - Sounds of Freedom (Sounds Are Active)
Oneida - Happy New Year (Brah)
Johann Johannsson - IBM 1401 - A Users Manual (4 AD)
Wolf Eyes - Human Animal (Sub Pop)
Peter Brotzmaan: Alarm (Atavistic)
Snakes Say Hiss: Ill Be Loving You (Famous Class)
Skygreen Leopards: Disciples of California (Jagjaguwar)
Flat Earth Society: Psycho Stout (Crammed Disks)
Dark Meat: Universal Indian (Cloud)
To Live and Shave in LA: Noon and Eternity (Menlo Park)
Peeesseye: Communicating Between the Surface and the Underworld (Evolving Ear/Pax)
Alec K. Redfearn & the Eyesores - The Smother Party (North East Indie)
Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury (RE-UP GANG)
Wzt Hearts - Heat Chief (Hit Dat)
Oakley Hall - Gypsum Strings (Brah)
Xela: The Dead Sea (Type)
Wang Changcun: The Mountain Swallowing Sadness (Sub Rosa)

Live shows that blew me away (I know there were more, but oh the memories come slow):

Jason Forrest (Nightlight)
Girl Talk (Local 506)
Gerbils (Little Kings, Athens)
Gutbucket/Ahleuchtastias (Nightlight)
Orthrelm (Wetlands)
Emperor X (Nightlight)
Pedestrian Deposit (No Future Fest @ Nightlight)
Dark Meat (Kings, Raleigh)
Extreme Animals (everytime is amazing @ Nightlight)
Belong (Duke Coffeehouse, I think that was this year)
Psychic Paramount/ITYOTP (Nightlight)

Up yours 06.