**eastward movement is included

20061216

year in review.

looking back, the past twelve months have most certainly been a tumultuous ride, seeing as i was able to participate in a joint studio with a world class spanish architect, help create a documentary, graduate from college, move away from home, get a job and endure the growing pains of the real world. still, contrary to common belief and practice, it most certainly did not fly by.

now - 2006, musically, kicked ass. who knows; maybe this 'awakening' is simply a function of me finally expanding my scope of taste and this year is no different than any other, but i'd like to think that this year was something special. hopefully 2007 continues along the same path and proves that the quantity of quality beats was not an aberration. so, the 2006 year in review.

FAVORITE ALBUMS. {alphabetically}

> beirut - gulag orkestar
I have been in love with this album since the moment I bought it months ago, but the main reason this gets the ‘top albums’ nod is because I witnessed them live. Basically, i was not expecting a 20-year old and eleven other members of his full blown Balkan pop orchestra to put on such a prodigious spectacle. The album draws in-the-aeroplane-over-the-sea comparisons, and justifiably so. Still, neutral milk hotel isn’t a pimple-faced three-time college drop out drawing creative inspiration from an impromptu trip to Europe.

> the evens - get evens
Being exposed to fugazi in college was a significant moment in my growth as a music fan. my boy evan threw 'the argument' in my lap third year, and I haven’t been the same since. Essentially, when ian mackaye speaks, I listen. I bought this album without even listening to it, but it didn’t take long to fall in love with its leftist post-hardcore minimalism and rusticity. This time, it is full of ‘contained’ rage; a sea change from previous freak-out anthems like ‘epic problem’ or ‘caustic acrostic.’ It was refreshing to hear that familiar voice entrenched in gritty
acoustics and Amy Farina’s harmonization. Solid album.

> the hold steady - boys and girls in america
i really really really like this album. however, when i first bought it, i really really really did not like this album. the e-street band impersonation seemed deliberately kitsch, the over-promotion made it feel like it was on the fast track to TRL, rumblings of 'concept album' were comical, and i was not in the mood for another shameless jukebox-rock album filled with accessable riffs and 'been thee done that' ballads. then one day i got over myself, lightened up and came to my senses. this was, in fact, exactly what i needed. when you're twenty-four, restless, scatterbrained and perpetually unsatisfied with everything you see, nothing comforts you more than hearing heartbreaking stories of general quarter-life crises; binge drinking, perpetual drama, youthful indescretions. comfort music ... yeah.


> neko case - fox confessor brings the flood

This album’s significance seems to go beyond its sonic uniqueness and multi-generational appeal. Neko case is the reason girls are wearing
cowboy boots in both offices and nightclubs. She’s making people forget about stevie nicks. Her stunning growth in popularity has had a profound social effect. Granted, her ascent has been paralleled by other bands-in-genre-limbo such as the drive-by truckers and wilco, but can you really think of any other artist who has taken country and folk, two traditionally forlorn and unpopular styles, combine them with the punk rock scene and elevate them to mass appeal?

> joanna newsom - y's
who said classical music is boring? This a five-track masterpiece from the graceful fingers of a classically trained harpist/pianist/elf proves otherwise. her voice is off-putting to some; a combination of an eleven-year-old and a chipmunk. But the results are magical. Watching her perform live was absolutely mesmerizing. Her tiny body serves as the anchor to her enormous harp, her arms flailing in a blur, and her voice cuts you to the core. You can’t help but sit on the edge of your seat. Furthermore, her songs are fairytale stories filled with baroque imagery; vineyards, astronomy, alliances between farm animals. I’m two listens away from buying the chronicles of narnia and reading them all over again. Lastly, and perhaps more importantly, she exudes a certain professionalism and stateliness that is a necessary departure from the typical routine of indie-posturing and ungrounded pretentiousness. Even if I hated her music, my respect for her as a musician could fill the cosmos.


> justin timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSound
Justin timberlake is a dangerously talented musician, and I absolutely love this album. It’s as simple as that. Furthermore, if it hasn’t already occurred, this monumental album, a vacillation between polished pop hooks and sexually charged disco-funk, should finally eliminate the naysayers and quiet the ‘boy-band’ nonsense. Some of the boys-2-men~ish charm in a few of the songs isn’t his strong suit, but he more than makes up for it with it’s never-ending mystery and grandeur further reinforced by powerful cover art imagery. He’s ascended to the status of pop icon, whether we all want to admit it or not.

> the knife – silent shout
2006 was a year of great personal growth. Fears were tackled, motives were questioned, and restlessness was palpable. All cheesy self-awareness minutia aside, if you had hypothesized in January that I’d have my mind shattered by the sound of a Swedish synth-rock brother/sister dynamo, I’d probably have a chuckle, think for a second, and then humbly agree with you. but that’s neither here nor there. The point is, this album receives the award for ‘most necessary for corbin to hear.’ The knife gives me something that no other band gave me this year; musical perspective. I can’t decide if Karin Dreijer’s shrill but sexy voice instills a haunting fear of zombies and the apocalypse or a schoolboy lust; either way, I’m a new believer in the power of gorgeously layered and cacophonous electronic rock.

> the sunset rubdown - shut up i am dreaming
powerfully cryptic tales of revenge, retribution, anger, and love all orchestrated by the masterful hand of spencer krug? um. that sounds good. i'll have that. triangles, sythesizers, and legend of zelda~esque synth provide for a euphoric path down indie rock lane. krug is basically riding the momentum that he built with wolf parade last year, and continues to leave no doubt in music snob's collective unconscious who the best musician is in music today.


> the thermals - the body. the blood. the machine
the portland natives deserve some local love. they might be the most pissed off group of hipsters to leave the northwest since those three crazy kids vomited on george bush's limozene years ago. Furthermore, the liner notes are hilarious. A blindfolded image of jesus with arms stretched overlooking apocalyptic plumes of smoke and sunshine? color me inspired. Essentially, Hutch Harris is incensed with just about anything political, and pretty much attacks everything within reach with his violent and neurotic diatribe.

> tv on the radio - return to cookie mountain
simply brilliant. seeing them perform back in october only solidified their legitimacy. their energy and passion is unmatched. Most songs exude a tremendous sense of urgency; others reveal their sense of humor. Overall, it sounds dangerous, and at times, even eerie and with every listen, something new and fascinating ambitiously reveals itself. the layering is just magnificent. furthermore, there wasn't an album this year that crossed such a variety of genres. is it art-rock? is it hip hop? soul? hypothetically, if a gun were put to my head and i had to choose my favorite album of the year, i'd probably go with tvotr's second effort. coincidentally, this was also the album i was looking forward to the most this year.


> the walkmen - a hundred miles off
perhaps my second most anticipated album this year, although this one took quite a bit more convincing. their indie-garage rock roots are still visible, but they're clearly eager to explore different territories. the first few listens i was ready to declare it a flop; a snorefest. however, one visit to npr's live feed of one of their shows and i was hooked. suddenly the album's cathartic and raw sound made complete sense. it feels live, scattered, maybe even a little ugly. while some people find hamilton leithauser's dylan~esque croon a tad gimmicky, i'm in love with it. it's as if this was a demo tape stolen out of some Record Collection exec's briefcase, and some intern stole it and spread it to the masses. this album get's the 'security blanket' award. reliably awesome.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

almost made it :


> arctic monkeys - whatever people say i am, that's what i'm not.
musical junk food. nothing more. nothing less. the energy and youth is palpapable. their name sucks.

> band of horses - everything all the time
as tony vontz said, "band of horses wrote a better built to spill album in 2006 than built to spill." still not tops, though.

> the black angels - passover
this album completely blew my mind. I’m still partial to BRMC, though.

> cat power – the greatest
this selection pretty much replaced Sea Change in the ‘somber and brooding’ department. “willie” might be one of my top 5 songs of the year.


> islands - return to the sea
just another incredible band from montreal. their sounds lands somewhere between the arcade fire and the animal collective.

> my morning jacket - okononos
one of my top five favorite bands. somehow i feel like there's something lacking here.

> m.ward - post war
considered his weakest album. saw him live. incredible show.

> the raconteurs - broken boy soldiers
intimate secretary was stuck in my head for at least two months back in the spring. still, the album seemed to end just as fast as it started.

> ratatat - classics
I missed their show a few weeks ago with the faint. But, I saw Joanna newsom instead. I don’t regret this decision one iota.

> wilderness - vessel states.
dark, powerful, explosive. it has a beautiful overall 'movement' and pace. still, it doesn't quite make my blood boil.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

too soon to tell:

> figurines - skeleton
i just got this the other day. i like the cut of their jib. if the strokes had a greater sense of urgency from pounding double digit shots of espresso and were hit with a flaming lips~esque shot of adrenaline, they'd sound something like this.


> the dears - gang of losers
saw them live. they’re legit, but they haven’t convinced me yet. a poor-man’s Morrissey, perhaps?

> swan lake - beast moans
I’ve listened to three songs on this album. This may take some time.

4 comments:

Reverb said...

great list corbin. i dig the band of horses, joanna newsom, and justin timberlake for sure.

sloring said...

you're a loser, you should just go write for pitchfork.

regards, and a very merry christmas

Anonymous said...

Uncle Tupelo, which you know as Jeff Tweedy's pre-Wilco outfit in which he was essentially a bass playing sideman and a budding songwriter, served as one of the chief architects of the country-folk-punk sound you speak of. check out "still feel gone" and "march 16-20, 1992"

Anonymous said...

no kinks? it may not be new, but it's new to you.

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