December 12, 2006

Best of 2006, Part Two: The New Faces

Every year a new group of young bands come out of nowhere and impress us greatly, and 2006 had a treasure-trove of them, it seems! This list was hard to compile, because there are a TON of bands who deserve to be here. So here are the newer kids on the block, all of whom are worthy of your attention, and all of them helped to make 2006 a great year in music!

Bound Stems Appreciation Night: Chicago five-piece really wowed a lot of people last year with their debut, The Logic of Building the Body Plan, but they really sent one out of Wrigley Park with this debut. Quirky pop and rock music that, uh, actually rocks, while being both highly literate and musically complex. Personally, I'm a sucker for "Excellent News, Colonel," but, really, the entire album is ace. (Flameshovel)
Listen To: Various Tracks

Tacks, the Boy Disaster Oh, Beatrice: This Austin combo has ties to Midlake and The Polyphonic Spree, which sort of explains the band's grand yet earthy jazz-pop sound. But they're no mere offshoot or side project; their sound stands squarely on its own merit, and this debut EP is extremely beautiful. Their style and sound makes this an EP that you'll eat up and hit repeat to every listen. The sound of a rainy, cold afternoon never sounded this lovely. (Self-Released)
Listen to: Various Tracks

Hello, Saferide Introducing Hello, Saferide: My new indie-pop crush! Annika Norlin is from Sweden, but she's made a witty, whip-smart, and charming record that makes you miss the better moments of Liz Phair, Mary Lou Lord, and Juliana Hatfield. No boast in that! Songs about letters to pen-pals, wishing your crush would get sick so that you could take care of them, making love interests take quizzes to test their personality, and an extremely happy song entitled "If I Don't Write This Song, Someone I Love Will Die"--these things make Introducing... a wonderful find. She's funny, talented, beautiful, and she's someone whose music you really need to hear! (It's A Trap!)
Listen To: "If I Don't Write This Song, Someone I Love Will Die"

Free Diamonds There Should Be More Dancing: Punk Rock from England, yet quirkier than Art Brut and Futureheads combined! But, of course, this is a very good thing, too! Vocals that kind of recall Ween, rhythms that are tight--repeat, tight, and lyrics that are clever and funny! This record was painfully and unjustifiably overlooked this year. Don't overlook it!
(Deep Elm)
Listen To: Various Tracks

Angela Desveaux Wandering Eyes: This Canadian songstress released her debut album on Thrill Jockey, but her sound is much more traditional than the roster would lead you to believe. We're talking "gives Shania Twain a run for her money" kind of thing here. I've really enjoyed this record for its simple pleasure and unassuming nature. A sleeper, to be sure, but a nicer country record this year, I have yet to find...
(Thrill Jockey)
Listen To: "Heartbeat"

Evangelicals So Gone: Oklahoma trio's music is loud and pretty and sounds like it is about to fall apart in a huge, noisy heap. It never does, though. So Gone is held together by Josh Jones' sweet, Morrissey meets Ian Masters crooning, and the music always sounds like it's smiling at you. It's happy music, for a world gone so terribly unhappy. Comparisons to the Flaming Lips and Starlight Mints take nothing away from it.(Misra Records)
Listen To: Another Day

The Twilight Sad The Twilight Sad:
Scottish post-rock baby band blends big, grand sounds with gentle, soft electronics. Sure, the post-rock elements have been played to death, but recruiting classical-minded electronica composer Max Richter to produce them was an interesting choice, one that paid off well. Though this self-titled five-song EP is merely an introduction, it is an impressive enough introduction. Place this band squarely in the "one-to-watch bin."
(Fat Cat)
Listen To: Various Tracks

Headlights Kill Them With Kindness: This trio isn't exactly new; they released their debut EP in 2003, but didn't get around to releasing their debut until this year. But they were far from inactive; during this time, they spent most of their time out on tour. This album is a collection of gorgeous harmonies, lush arrangements, and good songwriting. Maybe taking years to release their debut wasn't a bad idea! (Polyvinyl)
Listen To: TV

The Envy Corps I Will Write You Love Letters If You Tell Me To:
Iowa-based band comes out of nowhere, bringing with it an EP of catchy, anthemic songs of a quality not heard since the heyday of James. Am I surprised a major label swooped them up? Not at all. As much hype goes into the overused phrase I'm about to mutter, it's no real understatement to suggest that this band is going to be big...
Listen To: Various Tracks

Annuals Be He Me: North Carolina band of youngsters throw together a wonderfully rich, exciting blend of big baroque pop songs. Large arrangements, excellent production, and just damn good songs make this band worthy of the blog hype. (Ace Fu)
Listen To: Various Tracks

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