Year in Music 2006

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Last month, I downloaded a torrent entitled “Only 20 Tangerine Dream Albums.” Only. I divided them by date, threw the post-’81 contents in a hidden folder, and now have hours upon hours of background music for reading and working. I had been fiercely resisting the relegation of music to BGM, but at least I finally understand why people get so drawn to Riow Arai or Cluster or whatever.

All that 2006 young indie band stuff: can’t get into it, blends together too much like Phaedra and Ricochet — maybe even Rubycon. Someone gave me Tapes N. Tapes, and my iPod just automatically switched over to Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain instead. I blame the technology for the easy avoidance of contemporary, yet inferior products.

2006, however, was the year I could finally channel my age-old obsession with Jenny Lewis into the music sphere. Before now, I had been buying old SLP recordings of Brooklyn Bridge off eBay. I actually checked my email next to her at Fuji Rock, which I could guess is as exciting as eating in the same cafeteria as Jens Lekman or having the same hairdresser as Connor Oberst, except I have no idea who that last person is. As much Faust as I listened to this year, I secretly wanted songs to sing along with, and “Rise Up with Fists” and “You Are What You Love” were extremely satisfying in this regard — despite Ms. Lewis’ habitual resignation to rhyme a word with itself.

Unlike everyone else in the entire world, I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy the The Crick Watsons album, and yeah, I know who produced it. Call me a hater, but there is something very toxic about this whole promotional climate, where bloggers might as well be on the Girlie Action payroll. (Wait, I’m a blogger too. This is like the pot calling the Ketel One a drug.) Regardless, unlike my peers, I could not get into Seven Pack, Chedd, Like a Like, Minty Quintet, Kambodia, The Flag, nor Pretend You Are Here. Nor Sophie’s Choice, Lionel Hutz (how many more Simpsons band names will there be?), The Golden, Bumblebee Man, and Fast Car.

If the album is dead, someone forgot to tell The Telegraphix — who released one. I liked “Radio on the TV” as a single, but it kinda dates yourself to comment on a contemporary band in real time.

I could complain about YouTube-mainstays Yes Maam being all visual and no audio, but this criticism has been shrill and redundant ever since MTV rolled into town. In Yes Maam’s case, however, their silent clip started an aggravating trend where the video was free, but you had to buy the music separately. I hope to see a lot less of that in 2007.

The other day I considered purchasing a CD for the first time in about five years only to find that the prices have not dropped recently — even though the market is completely disintegrating. (Toshiba got out of Toshiba-EMI, which could not be a good sign.) HMV had the Klaus Schulze CD I wanted for 3990 JPY, which I would like to say is “X-times the amount I want to pay for it” except that X is an impossible number since you can’t divide 3990 by 0. In most shrinking markets, the prices go down: I don’t think the Virtual Boy kept getting more and more expensive the less units Nintendo could sell. But labels can’t catch up to consumers here: the macro-psychological value for music has already plummeted to near zero. There’s too much of it, and it’s too readily available for free. Anyone who actually bought a CD this year should win an award for their impressive commitment to charity.

W. David MARX (Marxy)
December 21, 2006

Marxy wrote a lot of essays back on his old site Néomarxisme. This is one of them.

19 Responses

  1. Momus Says:

    Googling these non-existent bands took me 2 minutes, which is x times the amount of time I wanted to waste. Since I wanted to waste zero time, that’s 2 divided by zero — an impossible calculation, but a great Pet Shop Boys song.

  2. marxy Says:

    Faust is a good name for a fake band though.

  3. michael Says:

    i did my part for charity this year: i recently wandered into a Tower Records to see how their bankruptcy routine was going, and found an obscure Albert Ayler CD for, like, 2 dollars or something. it is interesting how regular CD prices have been the same for years and years. no wonder people are disillusioned with them.

  4. dotdash Says:

    If new music’s coming in second to the likes of Faust and Tangerine Dream for you these days, you could check out some of the neo-Kraut scene. Feu Orange, Ergo Cthulhu and Es Smecht Schlecht are all good. There’s not much to sing along with, but Qumran Khan’s debut album “Mumra Sic Mammon” does feature the strangely catchy (although probably ironic) psych-pop single “Rainbowberries”.

  5. Duffy Says:

    You seriously did not like the Crick Watsons? Dude, I lost my baby corn virginity to their Trang Haw(!)-produced cut “Wilt, You’re a Tall Man Now.” Yeah, they are *that* good, people. And I paid ca$h-money for that shit. Hard copy.

  6. marxy Says:

    Another band I don’t recommend is Jonny 354. Jonny 331 is pretty good though.

  7. carolalotta Says:

    “You are what you love” has also been one of my hit songs this year.
    Together with “leap year” by Maria Taylor…alleged ex-girlfriend of the guy you dont know who does not sing about black cabs (also a classic on my list for 2006)
    oh and….see u in March…i just got accepted…

  8. clh Says:

    es shmecht schlecht – hah, they are a blast.

    Close on my list to gehwechichmusskotzen

  9. dzima Says:

    I’m still waiting for the day in which Marxy will graduate from Krautrock and finally discover Einstuerzende Neubauten.

  10. marxy Says:

    “oh and….see u in March…i just got accepted…”

    Nice!

    “I’m still waiting for the day in which Marxy will graduate from Krautrock and finally discover Einstuerzende Neubauten.”

    Dude, I have a EN tattoo on my neck.

  11. Your Humble Janitor Says:

    I guess I’m just a charitable guy buying as many CDs & records as I do. Oh well. Maybe the karma will offset some of the capitalist pig negatives.

    Einstuerzende Neubauten is one of the bands that I managed to see for free and be able to pelt with whiskey bottles or beer cans. Others include Sonic Youth, The Swans and Billy Squier (my first whiskey bottle toss ever. Ah sweet sweet memories)

  12. dzima Says:

    I bet Michael Gira deserved it but Blixa is too much of a gentleman, I wouldn’t do it to him.

  13. trevor Says:

    i like the idea that you (as in, anyone), can just make up bands.. and it requires research to prove they aren’t real.. music is so nitch.. it’s almost pointless. it’s a non-shared public experience anymore.

  14. niles Says:

    A much more successful version of this from a 2003 Amazon review:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A1QALK7X3579ZA/ref=cm_cr_auth/102-6418425-3047348

  15. john Says:

    Making up band names? Come on. It was like 2 paragraphs after making fun of an actual band not many people outside the internet-hipster-oh-god-i-have-to-know-about-a-band-before-anyone-else do not know about!

  16. john Says:

    Also check this out, its actual band names from this year which are implausible. My favorite name would have to be This Moment in Black History http://www.avclub.com/content/node/48956

  17. Sho Says:

    Well, since the total amount I feel like paying for kyoshu nostalgia also approximates $0.00 (0円), where can I find the mp3s?

  18. marxy Says:

    If you had said that in a nicer way, I may have complied.

  19. Gorbert Says:

    You cynical bastards. Jesus.
    Listen to these:

    OOIOO – “Taiga”
    Gang Gang Dance – “God’s Money”
    Marconi Union – “Distance”