2006 was a great year for music and a great year to be a fan of music. It seemed like every month, some unheard of band released a great album, making you ask “where have you been all my life?!” And for every album I heard and thought this, I am quite certain there are three others released the same time… which could’ve made me think exactly the same thing. I’ve been checking out other bloggers best of lists and have been thoroughly impressed at the breadth of music that was released this year. Sure, there were over-hyped bands and acts that I just didn’t get… umm Artic Monkeys anyone?!? And genius artists who it seems got no press (outside of SOTS)… like my personal favorite, Elvis Perkins or up-and-coming Seattle band, The Sea Navy. But all in all, the way technology is increasing, it seems like you could be almost anywhere in the US and find a great band. Sure there’s still Top 40 Radio (which makes no sense to me) and somehow acts like Fergie and dribble like “My Humps” get massive amounts of air play, but then there’s things like KEXP, music blogs like largeheartedboy and goodweatherforairstrikes, and even the dreaded, MySpace which gives all of us without ‘payola’ or major labels a chance to be heard and beloved.
The following are abbey’s random reflections on 2006…. enjoy!
* What a great year to be a music fan in Seattle! KEXP continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and has perfected it’s incredible website… compelte with searchable live archives, streaming playlists, and a blog. With all our great local venues, you could easily catch a show a night. Even better We have great neighborhood venues for live music, all within walking distance of your house or apartment! Like Georgetown’s “Jules Maes,” Ballard’s “Sunset Tavern” and “Tractor Tavern,” Fremont’s “High Dives,” and my hood’s “Chop Suey” and “Neumo’s.” And to go with all those great venues… we’ve got GREAT FUCKING BANDS! Sure there’s the biggies, local/national acts like: “The Decemberists,” “The Shins,” “Pearl Jam,” “Death Cab for Cutie,” “Neko Case” and this year’s breakout success “Band of Horses.” But many of the best Seattle bands don’t get national press or play like: “Thee Emergency,” “The Sea Navy,” “Ice Age Cobra,” “Speaker Speaker,” “Awesome!,” “Man Plus,” “A Gun That Shoots Knives” and “The Long Winters.” For you Seattle hip-hop fans, the 206 has also been having a revival… “Blue Scholars” and “Common Market” have had the city abuzz all year long.
* 2006 just might have been the year of the EP. I’m hoping 2007 features full length releases from the following EP Stars: Voxtrot (who can do no wrong in my mind…. or at least, they haven’t yet), Tokyo Police Club, The Little Ones, Wild Sweet Orange, Joanna Newsom, Cold War Kids (whose EPs were immensely better than their full length… which was filled with… redone songs from their EPs.)
* Even though I wasn’t crazy about The Avalanche, Sufjan Stevens still completely rocks my world. I mean, the guy did the impossible: release a 5 cd set of Christmas music, that I like! Since Sufjan’s a young, talented, prolific song-writer, he get’s the Dylan Label… but I think Sufjan is our generations answer to Woody Guthrie. His work, like Guthrie before him, is a cohesive musical narrative about America and life in the United States.
* and since I’m sharing… I’d like to let you in on Abbey’s fan-geek accomplishment of the Year: travelling to middle of nowhere Illinois (champaign-urbana) to see Cursive kick off their US Tour at a great venue, The Canopy Club, with Sound On the Sound’s biggest mid-west fan, Chris Mayne. Then catching one of the tours last shows in my hometown, three months later. And still getting my mind blown. Completing the perfection: grabbing the Seattle set list from Tim Kasher. Cursive, and many of the bands I’ve loved this year, are easily worth the trip to the midwest.
Happy New Years!