Friday, December 15, 2006

Album of the Year: 2006

The Eels: With Strings, Live at Town Hall

(In order to win Album of the Year for my blog, the album must be released in that year - which is unlike the criteria for my Album of the Month.)

Of course I haven't heard everything released this year (including Tom Waits' 'Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards'), but the year is coming to a close and its time for me to post what I think is the best listen of the calendar year 2006.

This album is a new side of the Eels that came through to us slightly in last years release of 'Blinking Lights and Other Revelations'. Only this takes it to the most personal and beautiful level that I have ever imagined the Eels could play.

Instead of trying to make your ears ring, Mister E swings us through his extensive library with string arrangements that will sometimes make you smile, and other times haunt you. I have been a big fan of the Eels collection for at least a couple years now, and never have I heard it presented this way. Its is one of the best live albums I have ever heard.

Honorable Mention: Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, 'Rabbit Fur Coat'.

Album of the Month: December 2006

Brian Wilson - SMiLE

Sometimes when I think of my childhood, I think of listening to my Dad's old Beach Boy records all the time throughout the house. Of course it was more of the post-Wilson insanity surfer records during their brief stint of touring with Uncle Jesse, but I still managed to take something away from it.

Call it nostalgia, but lately this Album has taken over my listening schedule.

The vocal harmonies on this album are amazing, as is the overall arrangement of the entire pieces. I also like the cohesive feeling of the album and its repeating melodies and whatnot. While this is one of the most hyped up and praised releases in the history of records I feel it lives up to every expectation. Just imagine if it had been released in the 60's when Wilson first dreamt it up.

This is one of those albums that teaches you what music really is all about. If you sit and listen to it, it will take you in directions you'd never thought you'd enjoy. Thats the only way I can describe it.

Holiday Mix

Well, since I don't have any Christmas music (despite my overwhelming urge to buy 'Twisted Christmas') I have decided to fashion myself a mix to get me through the holidays.

And here it is;
  1. What's This - Danny Elfman - Off of the 'Tim Burton's - The Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack'.
  2. On A Holiday - Brian Wilson - Off of his album 'SMiLE'. This is the Album of the month, so you can give this track a listen to get a little taste.
  3. Wind Chimes - Brian Wilson - Also off of 'SMiLE' which is the Album of the Month.
  4. Christmas - The Who - Off of their album 'Tommy'.
  5. I'm In No Mood - The Fiery Furnaces - Off of their album 'Bitter Tea'.
  6. Black-Hearted Boy - The Fiery Furnaces - Off of their album 'Bitter Tea'.
  7. Christ For President - Wilco/Billy Bragg/Woody Guthrie - Off of the Mermaid Avenue Vol. 1 Album.
  8. Holidays In The Sun - The Sex Pistols - Off of their album 'Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols'.
  9. One Big Holiday - My Morning Jacket - Off of their album 'It Still Moves'.
  10. Styrofoam Plates - Death Cab For Cutie - Off of their album 'The Photo Album'.
  11. So Much Wine - The Handsome Family - Off of their album 'In The Air'. This is my favorite folk song right now. It is one of the best songs ever in my opinion.
  12. Living Life - The Eels - Off of their album 'With Strings, Live At Town Hall'. This is the Album of the Year so you can listen to this track to get a little taste of that.

I normally wouldnt put two songs from the same album on a mix, especially twice in one mix, but both combinations were perfect for this mix and the mood I was trying to capture throughout. So it was worth it.