This was a stupendous year for AbsolutePunk. We saw amazing development in our ABSOLUTExclusive and contest sections. Thanks so so much to anyone who checked out any of these features. It is a total blast for me to bring some slices of good music to the frontlines, and when you guys continue to check out and enjoy these premieres, downloads, and free EPs, it gives me the ability to keep on bringin' them. I hope to provide the biggest and best features in the coming year, so hopefully you'll continue to take a listen. Thanks guys! Happy Holidays and best wishes for the New Year!
Reiterating what I said last year, I know there were "better" records released over this past year, amongst the quadrillion albums that came out, but these are the bands and songs that moved me, rocked me, rolled me, and fucked me... okay not fucked me, but these were the records that soundtracked my 2006:
*~Top 30 Records of 2006~*
1. Sleeping at Last – Keep No Score -How is this even possible? I’ve actually caught myself off-guard here. But seriously how did Sleeping At Last make this record? There is not a word, not a whisper that doesn’t sound like it could have floated off the wings of an angel. As what I like to consider today’s The Gloria Record, this band has redefined emotional release. More delicate than Coldplay, glorious words alternatingly seep and flood from Ryan O’Neal lips and lift you to the heavenly elevation from which he seems to be writing. Shivers down the spine through and through – a big sound was never so gentle – sweeps my feet clean off the ground.
2. Saves The Day – Sound the Alarm -A dismal masterpiece. The perfect balance of self-depreciation and energized pop-punk. Simultaneously conjuring the elements that made Stay What You Are a classic, recalling the traits that allowed Can’t Slow Down to take off, and wrapping it all in a black cloud of despair, STD made this a tight, concise, rock record that I almost wore out and enjoyed a superb return to form. Tearing me up with its grit and loathing, t’was a close contender for album of the year.
4. Rocky Votolato - Makers -Review: http://www.absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?t=112455 -Called it at the beginning of the year! Let’s face it. Rocky V. is irresistible. Just happens to be blessed with a sandpaper voice perfect for his pensive, twangy, ghost-town acoustic ramblings. Makers is wise, aged, and reflective. As one reviewer says of Maker’s Mark whisky: “It is both subtle and full-flavoured.” I feel the same about this record.
5. The Decemberists – The Crane Wife -Great progression, while still piquing our minds with wistful tales and eclectic folk-pop-rock. A not-so-old dog is still learning new tricks. Most fun live show of my year.
6. Portugal. The Man – Waiter: “You Vultures!” -2nd most fun show of my year. Mars Volta meets new Seattle scene = I have no idea what goes through these guys’ minds, but it’s a sonically stimulating experience. Great record to just play.
7. Gatsby’s American Dream – Gatsby’s American Dream -I’m now a believer of reincarnation because I swear this is punk rock. Down with the man! The equivalent of George Bush subsidizing a Michael Moore documentary, GAD never fail to twist their sound just enough to keep it fresh, and weave in some sort of deeper implication. This time the weaving isn’t so discreet, but the outpour of frustration and defeat, sometimes tongue-in-cheek and sometimes awkwardly blunt, had me pulling out my hair and screaming along with their struggle.
8. The Format – Dog Problems -A gift from above, soundtracking the summer. I hope they make music forever.
9. Brand New – The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me -This record really warmed up to me; charmed me into loving its flashes of brilliance. Fortunately for Mr. Record, I haven’t had enough time to decide if these songs are getting old quick. Either way, Jesse and crew are still a force of nature and I actually kinda like the comparison to The Bends. Our scene’s Radiohead? Probably not... but in the words of ‘90s McDonald’s advertising: “Hey… it could happen!”
10. Two Gallants – What the Toll Tells -Punk/country wha? Huh? Awesomeeee
11. M. Ward – Post-war -Masters the beautiful consonance of simple lyrical metaphor characteristic of history’s most beloved songwriters: “She’s got one magic trick, just one and that’s it… she disappears” or “You’re like a ro-woah-woah-llercoaster, you give me heavy metal dreams, you could make a dead man scream, you’re like a ro-woah-woah-woah-llercoaster.”
12. Justin Timberlake – Futuresex/Lovesounds -Haven’t spent a weekend without it. “Summer Love” rocks my body, and “Until The End of Time” sets the mood right.
13. Forgive Durden – Wonderland -My crack music for a month or so. Technical? Concept record? Dark, thematic, and musical-esque? GIMME!
14. This Day and Age – The Bell and the Hammer -I feel this record is heavily overlooked. TDAA have created an amazingly complex, multi-layered atmosphere of feelings and guitar notes. Witness just another pop-rock band becoming bona fide artists. Brilliant development.
15. Islands – Return to the Sea -Immedate 10 points for song title: “Don’t Call Me Whitney, Bobby.” Just lovely, fun, light-hearted, and still profoundly orchestrated.
16. Copeland – Eat, Sleep, Repeat -Whoever said that an Aaron Marsh is as good as a Ben Gibbard hit the nail on the head. Only now… there’s a Copeland that’s as good as a Death Cab. Stunning growth and outreach.
17. Cursive – Happy Hollow -If only for “Big Bang.” A striking socio-religious commentary that goes by the alias of concept record. Love Kasher’s words, and though dense as fuck, the record rocks in idiosyncratic Cursive fashion.
18. Anathallo – Floating World
19. Muse – Black Holes and Revelations
20. Kevin Devine – Put Your Ghost to Rest -His most comprehensive, well-rounded yet.
21. mewithoutYou – Brother, Sister
22. Robine Thicke – The Evolution of Robin Thicke -Did you make this for me Robin? What I wouldn’t give to have the creamy falsetto, blues/soul/RnB/hip-hop talents you possess. Robin Thicke is just the man. Giving JTimberlake a serious run for his money with this more sophisticated, elegant approach.
23. Joe Wilson – A Day In My Shoes
24. Action Reaction – 3 is The Magic Number
25. Head Automatica – Popaganda
26. The Hush Sound – Like Vines
27. The Mars Volta – Amputechture
28. John Mayer – Continuum
29. RxBandits – …And The Battle Begun
30. The Elected – Sun, Sun, Sun
Mew – And The Glass Handed Kites
The Blood Brothers – Young Machetes
Regina Spektor – Begin to Hope
New Found Glory – Coming Home
Band of Horses – Everything All the Time
The Matches – Decomposer
Dragonforce – Inhuman Rampage
Jenny Lewis - Rabbit Furcoat
InMemory – Safety in Rumors
Fear Before The March of Flames – The Always Open Mouth
Thom Yorke – The Eraser
Jeremy Enigk – World Waits
01. The Dear Hunter – Act I: The Lake South, The River North -Best EP ever? The voice, the music, the concept = spectacular. Post-emo progressive who knows. Just keep it comin’ Casey.
02. Say Anything – Was A Real Boy -Shutup… it counts. Seven new songs that all continue Max’s supreme reign of pseudo-psychotic rock wunderkind stardom – what fun will he roll out with next?
03. Saves The Day – Bug Sessions: Volume 1 -Bunch of STD classics with the Chris’ new vocal approach…nice
04. Mew – The Zookeeper’s Boy 05. Luke Pickett – For Every Petal Lost; Another Gained 06. David Bazan – Fewer Moving Parts
This Providence – This Providence
Matchbook Romance – Voices
Yellowcard – Lights and Sounds
AFI – Decemberunderground
Angels and Airwaves – We Don’t Need to Whisper
Tilly and the Wall - Bottoms of Barrels
Spitalfield - Better Than Knowing Where You Are
-This Providence just wasn’t as well-rounded as I hoped and Matchbook had 0% lasting appeal. I enjoyed AFI but it also couldn't hold up.
*~Need to Spend More Time With~*
Joanna Newsom – Y’s
Fear Before the March of Flames – The Always Open Mouth
The Matches – Decomposer
Owen – At Home With Owen
Moneen – The Red Tree
Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
Rory - We're Up To No Good, We're Up To No Good
Rainer Maria - Catastrophe Keeps Us Together
-Stoked to spend more time and hopefully fall for each of these
*~The Songs of '06~*
Cobra Starship – Snakes On A Plane
Teitur – Don’t Want You To Wake Up
The Dear Hunter – Battesimo Del Fuoco
Decemberists – The Island…
Justin Timberlake – Summer Love
John Mayer – Gravity
The Format – If Work Permits
Robin Thicke – Lost Without You
Forgive Durden – Il Tango
Envy On The Coast – You Won’t Hear This
Hellogoodbye – Stuck To You
Fair – Carelessness
This Day and Age – All We Thought We Could
Mew – The Zookeeper’s Boy
Hit The Lights – Bodybag
RxBandits – In Her Drawer
ActionReaction – With My Voice
Brand New – Millstone
This Providence – A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing
Islands – Swans (Life After Death)
mewithoutYou – In A Sweater Poorly Knit
-So many songs blew me away really, this list isn't even complete. "The Zookeeper's Boy" is an unreal composition with out of this world vocals, "Snakes On A Plan" was just all the rage for a while, "Summer Love" is THE dance jam, "Gravity" hits the spot every time, "Battesimo Del Fuoco" is the coolest use of the voices, and it goes on...
*~Favorite Slow Tunes~*
-Regina Spektor – “Samson”
-Damien Rice – “9 Crimes”
-Owen – “Bad News”
-Sleeping At Last – “Umbrellas”
-As Tall As Lions – “Kickin’ Myself”
-Justin Timberlake – “Another Song (All Over Again)”
-Joe Wilson – "My First Heart Attack"
*~Favorite Hip-Hop/RnB Jams~*
-Pharrell – “Young Girl/I Really Like You”
-Mario Vasquez – "Gallery"
-Ne-Yo – "Sexy Love" & "When You’re Mad"
-Justin Timberlake – “Damn Girl” & “LoveStoned/I Think She Knows”
-Robin Thicke – “Lost Without You”
-Rihanna – "Murderer"
-Janet Jackson – "So Excited"
-Chris Brown – “Run It” & “Excuse Me Miss”
Amanda Rogers – "No Surprises"
Jenny Lewis – "Handle With Care"
New Found Glory - "Cry Me A River"
Cobra Starship - "Bille Jean"
The Killing Moon - "You Oughtta Know"
-Cute Is What We Aim For
-Tim Kinsella Vs. Max Bemis
*~Best Record Labels~*
1. Equalvision -Signing Damiera, ActionReaction, Dear and the Headlights, Dustin Kensrue, The Prize Fighter Inferno
2. Triple Crown -As Tall As Lions, Signing The Dear Hunter, Hit The Lights, Signing The Secret Handshake
3. Capitol -A major label with good-ass music - Signing Decemberists, Kevin Devine, Relient K, Saosin
4. Fueled By Ramen -Signing Forgive Durden and This Providence
1. Cursive 2. Brand New 3. M. Ward 4. The Decemberists 5. mewithoutYou 6. Forgive Durden 7. The Format
1. Dan Nigro (As Tall As Lions) 2. Casey Crescenzo (The Dear Hunter) 3. Nic Newsham (Gatsby's American Dream) 4. Ryan O’Neal (Sleeping At Last) 5. Jason Gleason (Action Reaction)
*~Best Album Artwork~*
1. mewithoutYou – Brother, Sister -Takes my breath awayyy 2. Forgive Durden – Wonderland 3. As Tall As Lions – S/T 4. The Prize Fighter Inferno – My Brother’s Blood Machine -Tarot cards! 5. Spitalfield – Better Than Knowing Where You Are 6. The Dear Hunter – Act I: The Lake South, The River North
-This Providence - A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
-Taking Back Sunday – “Make Damn Sure”
-In Memory – “Drinking and Dialing”
-Gnarls Barkley – “Crazy”
-Hit The Lights – “Bodybag”
-Boys Like Girls – “The Great Escape”
-A Change of Pace – “Shoot From the Hip”
-The Hush Sound – “Like Vines”
*~Best New Bands~*
-Kay Kay and his Weathered Underground
-The Dear Hunter
-Christians and Lions
1. Forgive Durden
2. The Dear Hunter
4. The Decemberists
5. Saves The Day
6. Gatsby’s American Dream
7. The Format
-The concept record fad died down for the most part this year, but you still had some strong thematic releases.
1. The Decemberists – Culling of the Fold/After the Bombs
2. The Format – 1,000 Umbrellas
3. Portugal – The Pines/The Devil
4. Brand New – Coca Cola
5. New Found Glory – Make It Right/Golden/It’s All Around You
-Can The Decemberists write a bad song? The fact that these two songs were left off the record says something about its quality.
*~Best Other Zine~*
*~Best Musical/Broadway Album~*
-Sweeney Todd (Revival)
-The Color Purple
*~Predictions For '07~*
-The 4th Coheed record (conclusion of the story saga) knocks me flat on my ass
-Say Anything’s record takes forever to come out
-Nic Newsham’s vocals pops up somewhere outside of GAD
-The Spill Canvas will either do some growing up and make a gem or put out a “meh” effort
-The Higher will take a lot of shit, but i likeee
-Relient K can't top MmHmm but effort is valiant
-Panic! put out another record that nobody wants to admit they love
-The Format go to a major... again
-Kiss Kiss will/has already reserved a spot on my best of 2007
-Google buys AP.net because we are getting HOT
Love to everybody who's an AbsolutePunk! My staff brothaz (and sisters) and all our amazing readers, thank you thank you for this wonderful year! Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza, and Happy Holidays to everyone! Bring on the '07!