Wednesday, December 27, 2006

In House #1773: Best of 2006: Rock n' Roll Singles

In many ways, the year in rock music 2006 was all about the hype. For every deservingly fawned over act or album that gripped the blogosphere's attention for an internet minute, it seemed there were twenty more getting way more attention than a band playing recycled music deserves (and at least ten more that actually deserved attention getting none at all). Such are the mysterious machinations of taste and psychology one supposes, coupled with a human lust for HYPE. But I digress.

The fact is, there were plenty of musically positive things to talk about in 2006, including a couple of transformations that were met with near universal acclaim. The Denton, Texas-based band Midlake opted for a lush, autumnal sound full of shades of Fleetwood Mac and America for their Trials of Van Occupanther. Little the band had done previously suggested such a direction, but the early mp3 release of "Roscoe," and its haunting textures caught the immediate attention of many and didn't stop all year long. Indeed, it may be the single of 2006, or at least indie rock's version of "Crazy."

Elsewhere, Chan Marshall reinvented her Cat Power as Dusty Springfield for what is by far her warmest-sounding album in The Greatest. Recorded in Memphis, the album is steeped in roots, gospel and classic soul sounds-- or at least their indie pop doppelganger. The stellar results suggest that this is perhaps the sound that Marshall should have been mining all along as her voice could hardly be a better fit.

There were plenty of strong debuts to go around, the most surprising and successful of which was likely Band of Horses' Everything All the Time. Formed by former Carissa's Wierd members Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke, the album was surprising not only for just how little it sounds like their former band, but for how popular it became. Bridwell's reverb-drenched vocals form the basis for a solid set of songs, including the epic "The Funeral," which announced just how far this apple was going to be falling from the Carissa's Wierd tree. Other debuts of note in 2006 included Catfish Haven's Tell Me, Islands' Return to the Sea, Snowden's Anti-Anti, The Raconteurs' Broken Boy Soldiers, and The Silent Years' self-titled effort, among others.

Finally, the year saw returns from several longtime favorites that continue to impress with their consistent excellence. At the top of this list was undoubtedly Hoboken's own Yo La Tengo, who issued a return to form of sorts with I Am Not Afraid of You & I Will Beat Your Ass, an album that revisits their vintage noise-pop in places (including its 10-minute bookends) while never leaving occasionally horn-laden, occasionally bossa nova-inspired indie-pop behind. We also saw the returns of Built to Spill (You In Reverse), the Pernice Brothers (Live a Little), the Mountain Goats (Get Lonely), The Decemberists (The Crane Wife) and Belle & Sebastian (The Life Pursuit).

In House #1773.

Airdate: 12/27/06
Focus: Best of 2006: The Rock n' Roll Singles.

The Silent Years, from The Silent Years:
"Someone to Keep Us Warm" (MP3)
Midlake, from The Trials of Van Occupanther:
"Roscoe" (MP3)
Band of Horses, from Everything All the Time:
"The Funeral" (MP3)
Cat Power, from The Greatest:
"The Greatest" (MP3)
Catfish Haven, from Tell Me:
"Tell Me" (MP3)
Crystal Skulls, from Outgoing Behavior:
"The Cosmic Door" (MP3)
Bishop Allen, from the June EP:
"The Same Fire" (MP3)


In House PODCAST #228


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