Well yet another year has past us by… We’ve seen the loss of musical luminaries like Arthur Lee, RL Burnside, Syd Barrett and most recently James Brown just to name a few.
What I want to know is what great music has been spinning your gears this year that has slipped under my radar. There’s so much great stuff put out there these days from self-releases to major labels that it’s tough to find out about all of it.
Here’s a list of some of my favorite aural narcotics from 2006 in no particular order:
Tom Waits – Orphans (Anti) – Sprawling three discs of new material from one of the greats. Every track may not be a winner on this set, but the ones that are more than pull out the slack left from the others. Waits seems to be a love it or hate it affair for most, if you fall in the former more than the latter this is worth the price of admission.
The North Sea – Under the Jesus Tree (Barl Fire Records) – Brad Rose is the founder of the Foxglove/Digitalis label out of the unlikely town of Tusla, OK. Like sleeping under a glowing forest canopy on a spring night. Soft, subtle and soothing.
The Black Keys – Chulahoma (Fat Possum) – Who whoulda thunk a couple of middle class white dudes from Akron, OH could capture the raw intensity of the late great Junior Kimbrough with so much authenticity yet still sounding like it’s their own.
Bob Dylan – Modern Times (Columbia) – Here’s another that doesn’t need much said about it, but it likes to find it’s way into the stereo and stay for days on end.
Him – People (Bubble Core) – I miss Rex but am glad that Doug has taken his music in a totally different direction. I was hooked from the first release I picked up on Perishable. Much more Cuban/S. American infused than previous releases and the dub seems to have faded.
Raro & Apenino – s/t (Foxglove) – Packaged in the signature Foxglove handmade sleeves in editions of 100. Droned-out Appalachian sounding lullabies from the other side of the pond (Spain to be precise).
Califone – Roots and Crowns (Thrill Jockey) – A bit of a no-brainer here, would you even be reading this if you didn’t agree?
Faruq Z. Bey w/ Northwoods Improvisors – Infa’a (Qbico) – Fantastic LP only release from the Italian Qbico label. Modern free-jazz records that are solid from beginning to end are few and far between these days. Fantastic improvisation that is not as much about skronking as it is about finding a groove.
I could keep going a little futher, but I’ll stop boring you with too much of my input. I know there is a ton of stuff I’m missing here…let’s hear about it.