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Thursday, December 21, 2006



THE BEST OF 2006 (Part One)
So this is how the end of the year is going to go down at the Marble Stature blog: I’ve painstakingly spent the last week digging through my records and CD’s, downloads and tapes in order to cull what I believe to be “The Top 25” of 2006. There’s gonna be some bitchin’ because I’m close friends with a lot of bands, and I feel a little weird listing something that I’ve had my hands in, but I think that the end result is as fair as it gets. Next year it’ll be a little easier as I am stranded out East for keepers (not really, but for the time being). These aren’t in any order because it’s hard to say that one thing that you like a lot is necessarily better than something else that you like a lot, but they will be presented to you as five groups of five albums. Here’s the first group:

Home Sexteen (Brah/Jagjaguwar, 2006)

This is a hard one to write anything about; I tried to come up with a review for The Z Gun a few months ago and it got tossed because it was couple paragraphs that didn’t really go anywhere, or do anything, but this is about as clever as indie-pop music got in 2006, with a rotating cast of singers, songwriters, lovers, and fuckers, coming off like swarm of arrogant Brooklyners looking to do nasty things to their long-time girlfriends. The result is a wild-card; as style, point-of-view, affection, and intention never remain constant. Home have been around for a long time now, and it has taken them 16 albums to finally make one that feels like a focused album, with real album character, although each of the songs have very distinct and diverse identities.

Sparks Hello Young Lovers (In the Red, 2006)

Whoa. Let me collect my thoughts about this; this is one of the few albums that my girlfriend banned me from ever playing while she was around… so in that way, I guess that it makes sense after all, being released by the notoriously crude and rude L.A. punk and garage rock label In the Red. I had never listened to Sparks before this, and Hello Young Lovers has since turned me into a big fan. While it turned out to not be half as good as their string of classic albums in the 70’s (Kimono My House, Propaganda, and Indiscreet) it is better than the rest, and that counts as a comeback in my book. What we have here is an inventively arranged album of snappy melody, operatic intensity, and puns… oh, the puns. I can’t wait to hear a follow-up from the Mael’s, because they’re riding on a wave that hasn’t been this high in 30 years.

Wooden Shjips Shrinking Moon for You 10” (Self Released, 2006)

In a brilliant move earlier this year, this group from San Francisco pressed a 10” record, housed it in a plain white sleeve, stamped it with a mysterious sun image, and sent it out free to whoever wanted one. Well, the record fell into some grateful hands, getting praise from taste-makers such as Agony Shorthand, Terminal Boredom, and Siltblog, and the rest is history. Yeah, but the beauty of this 10” is not just the story behind it, the music is fantastic; the A-side, “Shrinking Moon For You,” takes a simple bass riff (or is that a keyboard?) and lets it churn out a poppy groove as guitars, drums, sleighbells, backwards vocals, solos, and chintzy electronics simply, but provocatively get added and subtracted from the mix. On the other side, the mud just ain’t as deep, but is a nice contrast to the more conventional side of psychedelia, with enough air in the room to get a good feel for the keyboard, guitar and voices. Simple, exciting, mysterious; and they’ve put a 7” out this past fall that’s almost just as good.

Psychedelic Horseshit Who Let the Dog’s Out? 7” (Columbus Discount, 2006)

The ‘Shit had spent the first 8 months (or so) making precious little EP’s, playing what seemed like just about every show that was thrown their way, and basically carving out a name for themselves one chip of the chisel at a time, that is until this solid three-song EP came out, instantly hurdling these guys onto the top of the heap. It’s infectiously amateurish, sloppy, even lazy, but it’s mostly drug-induced… they ain’t dumb; they have wild ideas, write great songs, and consistently execute with everything that they’ve released to date. They’ve got a split with Times New Viking out now on 300% (which I haven’t heard yet), and a full-length with Siltbreeze in the works (which I also have yet to hear stuff from), but they’ve yet to let me down, so I expect some kills.

Red Red Red Mind Destroyer (Big Neck, 2006)

Ryan Sabatis, former drummer of the much-missed punk outfit The Piranhas, grabbed himself a guitar and fucking cranked up the amps with his new group, the Detroit-based, Red Red Red. Easily the loudest CD I got (except maybe for an unlistenably loud vinyl-rip of a GBV boot that I tried to make my Junior year at Ohio State), and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Loud and fast, a lot like pre-Rollins Black Flag, but some songs remind me of the middle, more hardcore areas of Zen Arcade- I think you can get the picture. While the territory has been beaten to shit by a million bands… Mind Destroyer is one of the few that actually stand out, crammed with unexpected hooks and packed with about as much bite as a White Castle 'Slider.' If you’re gonna make an album like this it’s gotta be as nasty as you can make it, and Red Red Red really got it right from the start, and didn’t try to fiddle it to death. If this would've been released last year, we'd have a street-fight with The Feelers' Learn to Hate..., that would rival this year's OSU/Michigan game, but it wasn't, and therefore Mind Destroyer gets the punk revival title by a longshot.

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of similar interest:
marble stature archives
art for spastics
crud crud
detailed twang
electric pure land
population: doug
static party
terminal boredom
world of wümme
the z gun

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