best of '06, part uno
1) neko case - fox confessor brings the flood : i know i've extolled the virtues of ms. case here before, but no other album sat with me the way this one did. in fact, just two nights ago, nine months after the release of the album, i found myself listening to 'the needle has landed' three times in a row, 'dirty knife' twice, and 'hold on hold on' three times. as obsessive as i get with music (could ya tell?), for me to be doing that many repeats after nine months, it's gotta be good (or i've gotta be crazier than previous diagnoses may have indicated). also, she put on the best live show i saw this year, and just saw that she's got a tour date at the henry fonda in l.a. in february. color me in the audience.
2) jenny lewis & the watson twins : also raved about these ladies, but bears mentioning again. both their 'rabbit fur coat' album together and the watson twins ep 'southern manners' were in frequent rotation on lyrical robot radio.
3) marie antoinette : this got booed at cannes and panned nearly everywhere else, but this was one of the most bracing, exhilirating things i saw all year. to start with, the first movie ever filmed at versailles? j'adore! then throw in a surprisingly fantastic pair of lead performances from kirsten dunst and jason schwarzman. bravo and brava! stir in some great supporting casting (judy davis, molly shannon, steve coogan, rip torn)...praise jesus! then add in a fantabulous soundtrack, and you had me at hello and goodbye. i took it as a reading of what it was for sofia coppola to grow up sheltered, fabulous and tragically hip in new wave cali the daughter of movie royalty, but it also works as a poignant and impressionistic bio of marie antoinette.
4) solomon burke - that's how i got to memphis : it's been years since i heard a song on the radio or somewhere and it stopped me dead in my tracks (the previous one that comes to mind is 'bleed' by forgotten l.a. band, the negro problem). nic harcourt grates on my nerves a bit now that he is the voice of land rover (is that the subtle sound of an ego bursting its seams i hear emanating during his interstitial commentary?), but he is dj par excellence, and i owe this one to him. i can't remember where i was heading when i heard it, but i literally stayed in the car until harcourt came back on to identify the last 400 songs he played (another annoyance with his show) so that i could find out who was responsible. available for only ninety-nine pennies on itunes and beyond worth it.
5) the dixie chicks - silent house : as you people probably know by now, i love me some dixie chicks, and though i didn't think this album was as amazing as many year-end music critics have, i did think it was plenty great, and i had a hard time deciding which track to cite here. perhaps you did not know that i love me some neil finn (if i've ever been drunk around you, i'm sure i launched directly into my reminisence of seeing and meeting crowded house, appearing with a not-yet-famous sheryl crow, in a charleston, south carolina country western bar called desperadoes in the early nineties), and he co-wrote this track with them. i don't know what it's like to have a mother with alzheimer's and hope i never find out, but this heartbreaking and insanely perfect track seems to capture it. also ninety-nine cents well-spent. incidentally, the two runners-up are 'the long way around' and 'voice inside my head.' and let me add that my biggest disappointment entertainment-wise in '06 was not getting to see 'shut up & sing,' the barbara kopple documentary about the bush brouhaha, though the sting is less now that i know the dvd comes out in february.
another five to come later when my typing fingers are rested.