Thursday, December 28, 2006

songs of the year

I'm (also!) not really as up-to-date with the latest in music as I'd like to be, and it can get hard for me to get out of comfort zones I have with certain folk or electronica artists, but I have heard some really good, varied stuff this year which I feel like sharing. At different times, these songs were the most repeatedly-played for me. For the most part, the source albums correspond with my favourite albums of the year (the unmentioned: Scott Walker's The Drift - how to pick a performance and separate it from the rest? - and William Basinski's amazing The Garden of Brokenness, which is one continuous piece). Anyway, here they are:

(I'd recommend right-clicking and then saving the mp3 file, rather than just clicking on the title which may not necessarily work)

Josephine Foster - 'An Die Musik' - scroll down for song (album)
Joanna Newsom - 'Sawdust & Diamonds' (album)
Espers - 'Dead Queen' (album)

Meg Baird's voice in 'Dead Queen' is the easiest to like from these three enchanting folky trillers, while Newsom's and Foster's seem to emerge from another time, another consciousness. Two songs surprise and awe us by the sudden appearance of an electric guitar, taking the songs to spooky new levels altogether, while the third is transporting on the strength of the words, a restless harp, and one of the most distinctive voices in music today.

The Skygreen Leopards - 'William & the Sacred Hammer' (album)
Tenhi - 'Sarastuskävijä' (album)
Akron/Family - 'Gone Beyond' (album)

Three more of my favourite folk outings of the year; male voices for a golden sunset.

Subtle - 'Midas Gutz' (album)
Matmos - 'Semen Song For James Bidgood' (album)

I'm not familiar with underground hip hop at all, but surely Subtle's very experimental For Hero: For Fool is one of the best things to happen to the genre? The surreal lyrics need closer attention. Matmos' tribute to James Bidgood is probably the most gorgeous song from their new conceptual artwork: delicate piano and harp, shimmering strings, and Antony's voice backgrounded by... semen?!

São Paulo Underground - 'Balão de gás' (album)

A fantastically busy song from a busy album. Come for the Afro-Brazilian drums and percussion, stay for the wandering trumpet and chanting.

Kettel - 'Sekt I Sing' (album)
AFX - 'Cilonen' (album)

From two highly listenable electronica outings of the year. 'Sekt I Sing' is a sexy mutating beast, and one of the most uplifting songs of the year. 'Cilonen' is just plain nasty (of the low-key Aphex Twin kind).

The Knife - 'We Share Our Mother's Health'
Ellen Allien & Apparat - 'Leave Me Alone'

Cut yourself on 'We Share Our Mother's Health' (or a couple other songs from Silent Shout). Wish Apparat sang more on Orchestra of Bubbles as he does on the gorgeous 'Leave Me Alone'.

El Perro Del Mar - 'Candy' (album)
The Pipettes - 'Because It's Not Love (But It's Still A Feeling)' (the awesome album)
Amber Smith - 'White' (album)
Beirut - 'Postcards from Italy' (album)

Pop/radio songs of the year, give or take Sean Paul's 'Temperature' or T.I.'s 'What You Know'.

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