Matador continued their excellent Pavement reissue campaign in ’06 with the Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Edition. Like it’s reissued predecessors, the Sentinels reissue brings the goods making itself truly essential to Pavement fans. The two disc affair gathers the outtakes, BBC Sessions, demos, b-sides, one-offs and EPs of the era in an easy one stop shop. Even the most savvy Internet downloader will find something here to warrant ponying up the bucks. Besides the music Sordid Sentinels includes in the packaging a sixty-plus page booklet that includes SM liner notes, photos and other noteworthy tidbits.
Relishing in it’s own quirkiness the album holds up extremely well today — as well as it did upon it’s release — making it many a Pavement fans most preferred and cohesive listening experience in album form. An excellent creeper album that will soon have you coming back for more, and further cements Pavement’s reputation as the most important band of the 1990s.
MP3: Pavement :: Rattled By The Rush
MP3: Pavement :: Grounded
MP3: Pavement :: Heckler Spray/In The Mouth Of A Desert
Amazon: Pavement – Wowee Zowee (Sordid Sentinals)
+ Pavement catalog available through eMusic’s 25 Free MP3 trial offer
Best 2006 Concert DVD Release :: Neil Young – Heart of Gold
The Jonathan Demme directed concert film originally blew me out of my seat when I saw it on the big screen in Hollywood last winter. Neil Young — bigger than life onstage — with new material and in excellent form. With the DVD release of the Heart of Gold movie last June we have the perfect take-home souvenir from the event.
Filmed in Nashville at the famed Ryman auditorium, the concert was a fine way to debut material off his (then) latest album Prairie Wind. Backed by an incredible band, with some players going back 35 years with Neil, the film is an up close look at the concert experience. Demme, in a move similar to his work on Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense, concentrates on the players rarely acknowledging the audience which assists in not breaking the wall for the film’s viewers.
Best 2006 Music Documentary Release :: The Devil And Daniel Johnston
A truly great documentary works for the audience regardless of it’s source material; one such recent example of this is The Devil And Daniel Johnston. Regarded by some as an incomparable artistic genius, and by others as a troubled and talentless hack, Johnston’s cult of personality is polarizing to say the least.
A haunting film, director Jeff Feuerzeig captures the life and times of the outsider musician and artist splicing Johnston’s old Super 8 footage, audio cassette journal recordings, past performances, and interviews with Johnston’s family, friends, and colleagues past and present. Plagued by crippling mental illness since his teens, the documentary is at times an incredibly tough watch thankfully aided by the levity of humor.
MP3: Clem Snide :: Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Grievance (cover)
MP3: Daniel Johnston :: Casper The Friendly Ghost
Video: The Devil and Daniel Johnston (Trailer)
Amazon: The Devil And Daniel Johnston
+ Daniel Johnston available through eMusic’s 25 Free MP3 offer.
Best 2006 Compilation/Box Set :: What It Is! Funky Soul And Rare Grooves (1967-1977)
This is without a doubt one of the best compilations, of any genre, I have seen/heard in years. Though I rarely write about it on An Aquarium Drunkard, old and rare funk, soul and r&b long has been a favorite of mine. Having said that I was thrilled upon learning of this release earlier in the year and even more excited hearing the results in October.
Sadly bastardized commercially in the late ’70s, the charms and nuggets of rarer funk and soul have been rediscovered by a new audience in recent years (aided by the Internet) and collections such as this are further proof of the validity of long ignored sub-genres.
What It Is, in 91 tracks, covers 1967-1977, a decades worth of creativity boasting both tunes familiar to casual funk and soul fans, but more interestingly gathers up little known and, until now, harder to find tracks, some of which have long been out of print. Organized chronologically, the evolution of the music is both fascinating and enlightening as you listen to the pieces coming together over ten years. Highly Recommended.
Runner up — Best 2006 Compilation/Box Set :: The Motown Sound Single Series
HIP-O Select’s website should be on your go-to list once a month just to see what incredibly interesting rare albums and/or compilations they are putting out. Absolutely one of my favorite imprints releasing music today. If you have been keeping track, you are aware HIP-O has been releasing The Complete Motown Singles Series throughout the year. The end of 2006 leaves us with Vol. Six which encompasses every single from the year 1966. Volume five was amazing, but number six may be edging it out the more I listen to it. Scoop: a 5-CD, 125-track set. It features the A-side and B-side of every single released by Motown and its subsidiary labels during the year, including several alternate pressings.
Best 2006 Film Soundtrack/Score :: Little Miss Sunshine OST
A nice little indie flick with a nice little accompanying soundtrack. It was the die hard Devotchka fans who first tipped me off to this soundtrack prior to my having any knowledge of the film itself. The soundtrack, like the film, became one of my favorites of the year edging out Sophia Coppola’s excellent and eclectic choice of music in her luke warm film Marie Antoinette.
Besides Devotchka, Little Miss Sunshine’s soundtrack features Sufjan Stevens and one remixed Rick James hit. Don’t laugh…it’s dope. But overall it’s composer Mychael Danna’s work with Devotchka that is really worth the trip. Their work together perfectly compliments the film’s nuances and holds up steadily as a stand alone listen which, in my opinion, is the true testament of a film score and/or soundtrack.
Best Video of 2006 :: Bonnie “Prince” Billy – “Cursed Sleep”
“Cursed Sleep,” the video to the lead single off of Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s 2006 album The Letting Go ,finds Will Oldham’s alter-ego lost in the woods before being taken in by what appear to be his kin. Throughout the video we are treated to scene’s of The Bonnie Prince and family dining, exchanging gifts, wrestling, breaking out a smoke machine for impromptu living room jam sessions, flying hawks, and other assorted tomfoolery. Watch it below. Directed by Andy Bruntel.
Stand Out Single of 2006 :: Midlake – “Roscoe”
A year ago I couldn’t begin to tell you who the Denton, TX band
Midlake were or what brand of music they penned — in 2006 they certainly got my attention. Hands down Midlake’s song, “Roscoe,” takes the cake as single of the year as far as An Aquarium Drunkard is concerned. At four minutes and fifty seconds this indie-rock epic bridged the gap in a wide variety of genres with a story imagining life if born in 1891 named Roscoe.
The second track on the band’s second LP, The Trials of Van Occupanther, “Roscoe” works as an invitation into the album’s atmosphere and sound which dates back to ’70s prog-rock-folk without sounding retro or kitch. Listen below, and be sure to check out the excellent accompanying video….
Stay Tuned: Up Next, Aquarium Drunkrd’s 2006 Year End Review, Part Two