This is the last edition of this list; you can return to your normal daily lives. I would remind you, this is not a “best of” list, but a favorites list, in order of number of plays on my iPod this year (these 10 close in around the 200 mark).

Have a wonderful new year. This ball has dropped.

Cheers,
Your Invisible Friends.

The Invisible Songs of 2006 (vol. 4)

 

Cat Power – “Lived in Bars” from The Greatest (Matador). Chan Marshall starts us off with a slow dance and leaves us dancing on tables to a retro-50’s groove. In the video, she looks stage-fright-less and hot.

 

The Walkmen – “Louisiana” from A Hundred Miles Off (Record Collection). I originally thought this song was terribly annoying, but over the year it’s won me over. (I’m still mourning Jonathan Fire*Eater.) It’s a slightly Dylan, slightly Latin (trumpets anyone?) indie rock song as laid back as “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” 

 

Pearl Jam – “Worldwide Suicide” from Pearl Jam (J). The last time Pearl Jam produced anything this vital or urgent-sounding was back in the early nineties under another Bush during another war. The production of this song may be a more viable reason for Iraq Redux than WMD’s.

 

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Gold Lion” from Show Your Bones (Interscope). Karen O & Co. pretty it up with unexpected acoustic guitars on their sophomore album opener, and then tear it open as only the YYY’s can.

 

Tokyo Police Club – “Citizens of Tomorrow” from A Lesson in Crime (Paper Bag). A tale of science fiction put to Strokes-esque garage rock by one of Canada’s finest young bands, and on this song, most excellent clappers.

 

Monkey Swallows the Universe – “Sheffield Shanty” from The Bright Carvings (Thee SPC). A lovely acoustic ballad by a little-known UK band who dream of playing pirate when the deluge comes. Look for them to follow fame on the heels of the Long Blondes.

 

Islands – “Rough Gem” from Return to the Sea(Equator). The Ex-Unicorns (Jaime Tambeur and Nick Diamonds, get it?) return with this quirky and infectious piece of pop rock. Think Kanye West, but not. It’s as good as anything our beloved Unicorns put out there.

 

The French Kicks – “So Far We Are” from Two Thousand (Vagrant). Please ignore the detractors: The French Kicks are cool. Yeah they live on the same street in Brooklyn as everyone else, but give this record a second listen; they’re better than The Walkmen.

 

Rainer Maria – “Life of Leisure” from Catastrophe Keeps Us Together (Grunion). Emo was largely dropped from what is now Rainer Maria’s last album; the band grew up. (A Nico cover for example…) This song plays to the band’s main strength: De Marrais’ vocals, and in a better world would have let RM usurp the MTV spotlight from the eyeliner emo that was so last year.  

 

Mates of State – “Like U Crazy” from Bring It Back (Barsuk). On keys and drums, the dynamic duo of indie-rock give you the Prince-like-title and the doo-wop chorus, “I-I-I-I like U crazy.” I think I’m in love with them both.

*Please remember, you should support all of these artists, and buy every song on The Invisible Songs of 2006 Collection. Thanks. 

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The Invisible Songs of 2006 (vol. 3)

Yes, the list just goes on and on… it’s like the Casey Kasem countdown, ad infinitum. As Casey himself has been known to say, “It’s fucking ponderous, man… ponderous, fucking ponderous.”

Oneida – “History’s Great Navigators” from Happy New Year (Jagjaguwar). This song sounds as mean and desolate as a dark alley. I like that it features what sounds like a broken Fisher Price piano.

 

The Twilight Singers – “There’s Been An Accident” from Powder Burns (One Little Indian). This song just goes to show, Greg Dulli is still pretty fucking cool.

 

The Evens – “No Money” from Get Evens (Dischord). Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina return in full political punk form, just in time for the Dems to take back Congress. I know, it’s not Fugazi, but admit it, you like this band and the idea of saving your hearing (you sellout!).

 

El Perro Del Mar – “God Knows (You Gotta Give To Get)” from El Perro Del Mar (Memphis Industries). Sarah’s songs are a bit like a time machine: This is the most perfect 60’s pop song released this year.

 

Say Hi To Your Mom – “These Fangs” from Impeccable Blahs (Euphobia). Eric Elbogen offers up the sweetest and catchiest indie-pop song about the undead. “I don’t mind if you want to hide your fangs too.” This song reminds me of Bunnicula.

 

Casiotone For the Painfully Alone – “Young Shields” from Etiquette (Tomlab). It’s a dark lo-fi electronic anthem to freshman year at university. “Got a letter from Mom and Dad. They didn’t send me anything.” Disappointment has never sounded this good.

 

I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness – “The Ghost” from Fear Is On Our Side (Secretly Canadian). As far as I can tell, this song is about total disaster. It sounds a little like Interpol, but without the comedic timing.

 

Jenny Lewis – “Rise Up With Fists!” from Rabbit Fur Coat (Team Love). Sure, Jenny Lewis sounds like she’s a country sweetheart (especially with the Watson Twins singing backup) but this song just goes to show, the girl kills with kindness.

 

The Mountain Goats – “Woke Up New” from Get Lonely (4AD). This is the saddest indie-rock song around since Joanna Newsom’s “Sadie.” If John Darnielle and Sam Beam should get in a fist fight, who would win? 

 

Maritime – “Parade of Punk Rock T-Shirts” from We, The Vehicles (Flameshovel). It’s post-emo indie-rock dance floor bliss brought to you by the boys who said, “I get paranoid. I get on the floor and I just freak out.”

And now, for another exciting installment of…  

The Invisible Songs of 2006 (vol. 2) 

 

Morrissey – “The Youngest Was The Most Loved” from Ringleader of the Tormentors (Attack). “There is no such thing in life as normal.” It’s pure Morrissey. His latest record was his second consecutive solo album that didn’t suck. (Actually, it sort of rocks).

 

The Roots – “Baby” from Game Theory (Def Jam). The Roots from Philadelphia prove once again (just as they did on Phrenology) that they are still one of the best working rock bands today.

 

Man Man – “Engwish Bwudd” from Six Demon Bag (Ace Fu). This song is crazy: Think Tom Waits singing a Mother Goose story… on Halloween… in some stop-action Tim Burton movie.

 

Teddybears – “Yours To Keep” from Soft Machine(Big Beat/Atlantic). This song is troubling and addictive as crack. I imagine it would make the perfect background for an OC montage. (I sort of despise myself for liking it so much.) 

 

Grizzly Bear – “The Knife” from Yellow House (Warp). This song happily of reminds me of the Beach Boys taking a long hot shower on drugs together with the Velvet Underground. Wouldn’t it be nice when we are older…

 

Voxtrox – “Rise Up In Dirt” from Mothers, Sisters, Daughters and Wives (Cult Hero). With every song, Ramesh Srivastava makes all of your perfect indie-pop dreams come true. This just happens to be my favorite Voxtrot tune this year.

 

Asobi Seksu – “New Years” from Citrus (Friendly Fire). Behind all the dreamy shoegaze shine and shimmer, this band offers up a beauty of a pop song riding on the MBV-esque waves of feedback.  

MAYA BOND – Kyutto Papa (Cute Papa) mayabond.com

Maya Bond– “Cute Papa.” I saw this posted on Gorilla vs. Bear, and listened to this song three days straight. My roommates now refer to people as Cutie Papa Face. I think the singer is 6 years old.

 

Measles Mumps Rubella – “Algorithm of Desire” from Fantastic Success (Doubling Cube). It’s a dance-punk song played like only a band from DC could do.

 

The Decemberists – “Sons & Daughters” from Crane Wife (Capitol). The band that dared to take on Stephen Colbert, give us the indie Brit folk rock we all expected (and deserve, despite the move to Capitol).

So this the first part of a list containing some of my favorite songs from 2006.

I’m sure there are many songs that I didn’t hear this year, that if I should have heard, would have made this list. But I didn’t hear them, so here are the ones I did hear, since it would be rather difficult (though possibly interesting) to create a list of my favorite songs I hadn’t heard. 

They appear in no particular order of preference, but in ascending order according to how many times they’ve been played on my iPod. Oh, and you should buy them all on iTunes.

Cheers,
Your Invisible Friends.

 The Invisible Songs of 2006 (vol. 1)

 

Neko Case – “That Teenage Feeling” from Fox Confessor Brings The Flood (Anti Records). If you haven’t noticed, Neko Case is hot. (She’s the hottest part of The New Pornographers.) Yes, she plays country music, but it’s alternative-country music, so it’s okay. 

 

Sonic Youth – “Do You Believe In Rapture?” from Rather Ripped (Geffen). Thurston Moore et al. return to save the fucking day in the USA with harmonics.

 

Annuals – “Brother” from Be He Me (Ace Fu). North Carolina’s answer to the Arcade Fire and the Animal Collective. Adam Baker is a genius. 

 

Ghostland Observatory – “Ghetto Magnet” from Paparazzi Lightning (Trashy Moped). The latest offering from Austin’s two-man band on the move. This song reminds me of At The Drive-In singing along to oldies radio.

 

TV On The Radio – “Wolf Like Me” from Return To Cookie Mountain (4AD). The most hyped album of the year makes good on David Bowie’s enthusiastic endorsements.

 

Bob Dylan – “Thunder Mountain” from Modern Times (Columbia). Mr. Dylan’s a living legend playing blues about Alicia Keys. At 65 years old and with a number one album, anything’s possible.

 

The Thermals – “Pillar of Salt” from The Body, The Blood, The Machine (Sub Pop). Easily the best pop-punk song this year about escaping the US government.

 

Birdmonster – “Cause You Can” from No Midnight (Birdmonster). The San Francisco band’s follow-up to their promising 3-song EP. The new version of “All The Holes In The Walls” is not nearly as good, but “Cause You Can” more than makes up for it.

Parts & Labor – “A Great Divide” from Stay Afraid (Jagjaguwar). These guys are friends of a friend, who live in Williamsburg. They are nice people who play huge sounding songs. This song gets me up in the morning and kicks my ass.

 

Sound Team – “Handful of Billions” from Movie Monster (Capitol). This may be the best thing to come out of Austin since Voxtrot, or Spoon, or I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness, or And You Shall Know Us By The Trail of the Dead, or Ghostland Observatory, or Ann Richards.

Merry X-mas!

December 25, 2006

Merry X-mas to everyone who wants to be wished a Merry X-mas and isn’t offended by the statement. To those not in the first group, have a very special Monday! Take the day off! Especially you, Tom Flynn (The Trouble With X-mas), but not you Mel Gibson (LA County DUI, 2006). You’re a fucking psycho. 

12 days of X-mas – Muppets & John Denver

And to save you the window shopping, PNC has calculated just how much the twelve days of X-mas is going cost your true love in 2006. The PNC X-mas Index.

Yes, pear trees are up 40%! Sell! Buy!
(To a healthy economy in the new year.)
We hope you get everything on your list.
Listen: Santa Baby – Eartha Kitt

Happy Festivus!

December 23, 2006

I gotta lot of problems with you people…
(and by you people, I mean Michael Richards).

Seinfeld – “The Strike”

A Festivus gift: The Coup’s My Favorite Mutiny, from Pick A Bigger Weapon.

And now for the Feats of Strength…

Vague Angels

December 22, 2006

 

Chris Leo (formerly of The Van Pelt and Native Nod, and brother of Ted, as in Ted Leo and the Pharmacists) is now Vague Angels. Earlier this year the debut album, Let’s Duke It Out at Kilkenny Katz’, was released on Pretty Activity.

As in his former band The Van Pelt, continued are Mr. Leo’s hyper-literary spoken-narrative songs, though this time around they seem more beat-poetry-cool than emo-wordcore. Likewise, the music supporting Mr. Leo’s lyrical prose has changed from the jingle-jangle of post-hardcore indie-emo rock to a range of acoustic guitars and lo-fi electronic sounds. I suppose this is what happens when you become a published author. 

Vague Angels previously toured with brother band Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, and will be touring Europe in the early portion of 2007.

(On a related note in Brooklyn, Lou Reed played Berlin for the first time in 33 years.)

Listen: The Princess and the Newt, The Vague Angels of Vagary from Let’s Duke It Out at Kilkenny Katz’, available from Pretty Activity.

Also Listen: The Van Pelt: Yamato (Where People Really Die) and My Bouts With Pouncing from Sultans of Sentiment, and His Saxophone Is My Guitar from Stealing From Our Favorite Thieves, both available on Gern Blandsten Records.