Monday, February 12, 2007

Skip To The End - 2006 Songs

Better late than never... my favorite songs from 2006. I'm already looking at 2007's mix with early candidates Lily Allen, Jesse Malin, The Shins, Patty Griffin, The Broken West and The Red Button. As my partner says - I wish I could sleep less so I could listen more.

1. The Futureheads – “Skip to the End” – Short blasts of white heat, high harmonies and nah-na-na-na-na’s out the wazoo – is it a happy ending or a broken heart? It’s the best rock song of 2006 – kick yourself in the ass if you have yet to be captivated by its charms.

2. The Hold Steady – “Massive Nights” – It’s rare that one band can crystallize everything I love about rock and roll – great hooks (check), face full of guitar (check), literate songs (check), sense of humor (check), unmistakable passion (check), whoa-oh-oh-oh vocals (check). If you’re a regular reader of Teenage Kicks (and seriously, who isn’t) – buy Boys And Girls in America today.

3. The Format – “She Doesn’t Get It” – This is pop music so inventive, so thrilling, so joyously melodic, I can’t believe it was made in 2006. Can’t we invent top 40 radio that plays this stuff?

4. The Fratellis – “Flathead” – The soon to be ubiquitous Fratellis leap out of the gate with this frenetic genre-hopping stomper and before you know it, everything old is new again.

5. Primal Scream – “Country Girl” – While I love the Drive By Truckers, their influences seem more homage than Primal Scream’s in-your-face Faces/Stones swagger – this little greasy plate of amphetamine rush approximates 70’s Stones with a “Maggie May” mandolin – and if that description ain’t working for you, then don’t bother.

6. Art Brut – “Good Weekend” – Because if I didn’t have it on here, my son would kill me. Every 10 year old that has graced my car in the last 9 months now knows “He’s seen her naked. TWICE!

7. Lucero – “I Can Get Us Out of Here Tonight” – Certainly destined to play dive bars in perpetuity, Lucero’s scorched earth vocals, mid E-Street camaraderie and white heat passion combine for the year’s best country punk record.

8. Ben Kweller – “Penny on a Train Track” – Kweller’s fatalistic view of “the grass is always greener” allows every one their faults but still awaits the inevitable crushing blow… all with sweet as apple pie vocals and a sticky sweet melody:

“I’m just a penny on the train trackwaitin' for my judgment day
Come on baby girl let me see those legs before I get flattened away”

9. Rhett Miller – “Help Me Suzanne” – Even though The Believer doesn’t scale the heights of classic Old 97’s, this song is a jangle pop classic. And ladies, sorry, but he’s in love.

10. Tilly and the Wall – “Rainbows in The Dark” – Indie bubblegum with a tap dancing percussionist – you bet it’s good. They know music has the ability to ease the pain, even if only for a little while:

"I laid on my back, let the punk record spin
The stomping guitar, it was shooting out stars
It all went to my heart, yeah some rainbows in the dark"

11. Jason Collett – “I’ll Bring The Sun” – I am such a melody whore. Much more accessible than Broken Social Scene, Collett’s Idols of Exiles was brimming with bouncy, shimmering alt pop, alt country “waiting to be” hits. Thanks Michael for the heads up on this one.

12. Portastatic – “You Blanks” – I’ve been ignorant to Portastatic’s pleasures until recently. Thanks to a few mix cds from a friend, I’m now hooked. How did such a fine rock band elude me for so long? Just be careful if you play this one around the kids.

13. Terry Anderson & The Olympic Ass Kickin’ Team – “Raindrops” – Two reasons this makes the list. First, this song comes closest to matching the spirit, wit and insouciant sensibility of prime Big Al NRBQ. And second… great band name.

14. Bottle Rockets – “Mountain to Climb” – While former alt country leading lights have left for whacked-out, over-praised psych pop (Wilco) or Boreassville (Jay Farrar), Brian Henneman has kept the Bottle Rockets chugging along with salt-of-the-earth ruminations like this one, which comes complete with guitars that sound like horns and handclaps, sweet handclaps (and why do handclaps always make a song sound better?).

15. Todd Snider – “Looking For A Job” – The working man’s battle cry for 2006 – this update of David Allan Coe’s “Take This Job and Shove It” hits the right balance between bubbling under rage and a sly sense of humor.

16. Josh Ritter – “Girl in the War” – Forget Neil Young, the Dixie Chicks and Bruce Springsteen, the great anti-war statements of 2006 were Josh Ritter’s “Girl in the War” and “Thin Blue Flame”. Spellbinding.

17. The Elected – “The Bank and Trust” – Blake Sennett, the other half of Rilo Kiley’s brain trust, is the mastermind behind this little alt-country firecracker that seems to rue the creative tension in signing with a major label or being in a band with your paramour. Love the pedal steel.

18. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins – “The Charging Sky” – I *heart* Jenny Lewis.

19. Radney Foster – “Half of My Mistakes” – Best ever song - not named “Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)” - by somebody named Radney.

20. Scott McClatchy – “Come Across The River” – Gently loping, sweet alt-country love song by my little brother… my little brother just discovered rock and roll!

21. Lester Chambers – “Walking Home Late” – From the Peter Case 3 disc tribute (A Case For Case), this folk-country-blues shuffle celebrates not only Case’s superb songwriting but 70’s southern soul. Bravo and a tip of the hat to Arthur Alexander.

22. The Hiders – “Into the Sun” – Yeah they sound like Neil Young… that’s a good thing. So don’t let that deter you from checking this out elegiac rear view look at faded love – it’s an end of film song for a script yet to be written.

1 comment:

-tom said...

Ahh right from my mailbox to the soundtrack for my ride into work this morning.

Thanks T !

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