Nate’s Top Ten for 2006:
Om – Conference of the Birds
Espers – II
Ostinato – Chasing The Form
TV on the Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain
Lobi Traore Group – Lobi Traore Group*
Ali Farka Toure – Savane
Boris – Pink*
Daniel Higgs – Ancestral Songs
Toumani Diabate’s Symmetric Orchestra – Boulevard De L’independence
T.I. – King
*These were basically released in 2005, but I’m allowing for the discrepancies between international and domestic release dates to allow me to include these. I just wasn’t that psyched about too many records that came out this year.
Personal Top Ten:
Franco & T.P. O.K. Jazz Orchestra - ‘Kinsiona’ / ‘Likambo Ya Ngana’
I probably haven’t made it a day without listening to either of these songs, probably multiple times. I cannot even begin to imagine better songs. Discovering Franco is the second most revelatory musical moment of 2006.
Joe Cuba – ‘El Pito’
Who knew a salsa song could send you into a trance like this? Who knew that the combination of a whistle, a piano, a bunch of handclaps, some drums, a bunch of dudes chanting, and never going back to Georgia could make such an insanely compelling song? Oh, and the devilish laugh helps as well. Watching John and Adam feed this song into a processor and a barrage of noise and distortion was a fitting end to a very strange year.
Spacemen 3 – The Perfect Prescription
A little late in the game, I guess, but this record defined large portions of 2006 for me. Talking about authenticity in music is a little played out, but this record projects such a palpable feeling of absolute nothingness that its hard to feel anything but affected by it.
Quintron and Miss Pussycat at the Satellite Ballroom, Charlottesville, VA
I’m generally of the school of boring dudes who hate on any sort of showy-ness in rock-n-roll shows, but Quintron was easily the most entertaining show I saw all year. If only I knew what Quintron was pushing, I’d probably have come out a believer. (And I haven’t even started talking about the drum buddy.)
Kyuss – Welcome To Sky Valley
I’ve always loved this record, but flying through the Nevada desert with this blasting made it make sense in a totally different way. My vote for best rock-n-roll record of 1994.
Kohoutek / Little Howlin’ Wolf / EMT at DUST, Charlottesville, VA
DUST is where my particular vision of Charlottesville tends to coalesce, and this particular show was an apt expression. It started somewhere after 1 AM, was sparsely attended, and probably freaked the bands out a little bit, but there was a point, when I was reeling from moonshine and Little Howlin’ Wolf was squealing on his saxophone and Kohoutek were actually hitting that point in improvisational music where it sounds like the sounds are coming from outer space, that I could not have imagined a place I belonged more. Charlottesville at its absolute best.
Rick Ross – ‘Hustlin’
By all standards, a decidedly mediocre song, but what a song! Rick Ross swaggers through four minutes of Miami bass, synthesizer choruses, and overdubs of his own weak rhymes, but I’ve listened to it a hundred times and I’m still not sick of it. Most importantly though, Caleb and I listened to this song every morning of what was probably the best couple of weeks of this year, and its hard to divorce music from memory. Beeenzeees
Chuck Brown at the Satellite Ballroom, Charlottesville, VA
The most fun show I saw all year.
The Body at DUST / Red Wizard too many times to count
One band that understands the virtues of unrelenting volume and simplicity, and one that continues to get more and more complex and exciting every time and I see them. Two bands that have never disappointed and kept getting better throughout 2006. Stay tuned for a special edition of the Beard Hour starring Red Wizard.
Salif Keita – ‘N’Toman’
More about newly solidifying friendships than anything really, but a fantastic song nonetheless.
Jim Waive and the Young Divorcees– Twice a month at Atomic Burrito, every month of 2006, Charlottesville, VA
The Young Divorcees are a well-oiled machine. If you live in Charlottesville and did not see Jim Waive in the last year, you have a very quick and easy resolution to make.
Silver Jews at the Grey Eagle Tavern, Asheville, NC
Finally. Despite Caleb not getting his sweet potato fries, this was probably the best place to see the Joos, and after waiting years to get a chance to see these songs played live, the Asheville setting proved to be near perfect. Almost the musical highpoint of 2006.
Ofo & The Black Company – ‘Allah Akbar’
The number one most revelatory musical moment of the year. I played this song largely by accident on the beard hour one night, and not only did it open me up to new ideas in music, but to a whole new continent. Imagine the Nigerian Stooges, with a guitar sound that sounds like someone is rubbing sandpaper directly on your brain. When the drums kick back in 2 minutes and 44 seconds into this song and all hell breaks loose, or at least continues to break loose, its like nothing I’ve ever heard save for Fun House
. If all Muslim songs sounded like this I would have converted when I was sixteen. According to these dudes, God is apparently a pretty badass dude.