Sunday, December 20, 2009

Heavy Hitters Hit Heavily in '06

This crap is getting close to feeling recent!

You may have noticed the name Devin Townsend come up a couple times so far here. Well as it just so happens in 2006 our Devy was a very busy Devy. He put out a Devin Townsend Band album, a Strapping Young Lad album, and a minimalist ambient album. I have never listened much to the latter but let's discuss these first two because they were great and my 2006 had a Dev-like coloring.

Synchestra is one of Dev's most interesting and diverse albums. It features lots of folky elements (including a banjo solo and a tune that is largely an allusion to Wild Mountain Thyme), a guest solo by Steve Vai, a barely-audible sample of a Ravi Shankar piece, and several solid pop songs. And then there's the video for Vampira. All in all, while it's not strictly the best Devin Townsend album by all standards, it was a fantastic and more or less completely successful experiment.

Actually, this year was quite the endeavor in poppiness for Dev. The SYL album The New Black had a larger-than-usual number of catchy tunes, such as the above. The album seemed to have a theme of metal is awesome shut up pop singers, which I can't imagine is merely coincidental.
The upbeatness of the album was actually very well-timed for me this year as I was driving a lot between Seattle and Bellingham. Neat!

Yes! Another album by Blind Guardian came out in '06! And it had a song on it about Peter Pan! This is always a reason for a party. A Twist in the Myth is a solid album, in some ways not as ambitious as the previous couple from BG, but containing enough really great songs to make up for it. Plus they again played Seattle while touring on this one and it was even more amazing than the first time I saw them, even if we had to deal with the awful Leaves' Eyes as openers.

I love a good singer-songwriter, I love a good pop album, and I love when the former puts out the latter. Regina Spektor is a great singer-songwriter and Begin to Hope is a great pop album, so there you go. Her songs are really smart and sweet and poignant and fun. I think I got into her slightly after 2006 but hey that never stopped me before.

Around '05 or '06 I was turned on to James Kochalka, who is a total genius weirdo sociopath. And in '06 he put out Spread Your Evil Wings and Fly, an awesome half-family friendly half-typically-obscene album which I finally got around to buying this year, when I was able to do it right from him at Comic Con. He is just as awkward as I would have thought. The album is full of tunes about drugs and fun and rainbows and creepy old men and Britney Spears.
"Britney's Silver Can" was named one of the best songs of 2006 by Rolling Stone. I'd really like to have been the publicist who told Britney about that one.

Other things not to forget: Agalloch - Ashes Against the Grain; Isis - In the Absence of Truth; Estradasphere - Palace of Mirros; My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade; Solefald - Black for Death; Waterclime - The Astral Factor; Lamb of God - Sacrament; Sunn 0))) and Boris - Altar

Aur 2007 bhii.


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