Top 5 Records Missed in 2006
There are tons of records that get put out every year, and as such, people will invariably miss some gems that fall beneath the radar. As 2007 ticked by the days, I found several records that came out in 2006 that I egregiously declined the listening pleasure, and these five records are constant reminders this year of the fact that I still miss out on good records.
Playing Enemy - Accessory
Playing Enemy announced their dissolution right around the beginning of 2007, much to my dismay. I finally caught up with their "EP" Accessory about the same time. Lucky for me, it is a mammoth record, two tracks clocking in at well over seventy minutes, one of which happens to be an interesting addition to the oeuvre of covers that Playing Enemy recorded in their existence. That leaves the majority of the record to one drastically long track, "To Her, To Thank Her" is over sixty minutes in length and proves to be a challenging listen that serves up some great moments. I still stand my saying that Accessory is not the best point to jump on the Playing Enemy bandwagon, but it is still well worth the time invested in listening to it.
Stabbed By Words
Stabbed By Words' eponymous full-length is another album that I missed in 2006; their pedigree alone almost screams that this record should be required listening with members doing time in Holy Roman Empire, Suicide File, Hope Conspiracy, and the legendary Unbroken. This album sounds as though the band tried to not overtly mine their previous outfits' legacies but married elements of those with the angular post-hardcore sounds of San Diego band Drive Like Jehu. It works really well, and I keep wishing that the band would somehow someway find their way out to the East Coast so that I could see them play. In any case, it is not too late for you to catch this band on record, and I highly recommend that you do.
Skullflower - Tribulation
The first several times that I listened to Tribulation from Skullflower can be chalked up to wrong time, wrong place type mistakes as the album does not lend itself to driving nor writing background. No, Tribulation sounds as though it demands the complete attention of the listener. And while the album is harsh and quite literally an assault on the senses, it rewards those who brave the initial onslaught of sound. Skullflower crafts an intricately complex aural soundscape that proves to reveal more and more layers with repeated listens. One of its more endearing qualities in the profound density of sound that the record contains. Listening to this forced me to go out and search for more records by Skullflower, and I am still thankful that it did.
The Fleeting Joys - Despondent Transmitter
The debut album by The Fleeting Joys was mistakenly given to me by a friend; it was meant for someone else. However, I found myself entranced by the duo's faithful interpretation of My Bloody Valentine's take on guitar-based music. Despondent Transmitter is a pleasantly surprising album that I still kick myself for learning of too late, but I guess the phrase "better late than never" could never be more apt than this instance. Heavy layers of guitars mix with sickeningly sweet male/female vocals that trade off over the course of the record's ten tracks. Finding a physical copy of this album will be tricky as it was released in a small run, but I believe you can find it through some of the digital distribution sources. If you are a fan of My Bloody Valentine then you will find a great deal to like on The Fleeting Joys' Despondent Transmitter.
Gaza - I Don't Care Where I Go When I Die
In July I had the opportunity to play a show with the boys from Gaza. I had never heard of the band prior to playing with them, but when they started to destroy the crowd, I was pinching myself. They reminded me of a more metal version of Deadguy, which is high praise from me, although this is a poor description as it is much too simplistic a categorization of Gaza. I procured their album, I Don't Care Where I Go When I Die, and continued to be knocked in the head by their sarcastic lyrics and caustically explosive musical delivery. I would not necessarily call it ballsy to disparage Hawthorne Heights or Dale Earnhardt in your lyrics so much as funny and bringing some levity to an album chock full of heavy and noisy pieces with lyrical commentary on today's society here in the United States - "Hospital Fat Bags" might be one of the best song titles of 2006. I Don't Care Where I Go When I Die from Gaza is worth checking out. If you like heavy music, do not miss out on this record. Whether you like it or not, at least you did not miss out on it from ignorance.
So what will I have missed in 2007? I can already think of at least two records. Check back next year to see what they and the others may or may not be.