USSM Endorsed 2006 Albums

DMZ · December 21, 2006 at 2:45 pm · Filed Under Off-topic ranting 

Because it’s the off-season and nothing’s happening. Also, this seems to come up in conversations at Feeds and baseball fans seem to be disproportionately music freaks. Hopefully Jeff (at least) will join in and update this here post with his. Here’s what I’ve been listening to this year while posting/doing site work/tearing my hear out trying to keep USSM up.

Anyway, feel free to comment/complain/add. I tried to do ten and found I’d done 15 before I stopped myself. In no particular order:

Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, Neko Case. I love Neko Case.
Fishscale, Ghostface Killah
Mr. Beast, Mogwai
The LoonThe Loon, Tapes ‘N Tapes
The GreatestThe Greatest, Cat Power
Blood Mountain, Mastodon. Someone, who wishes to keep his friendship with USSM authors secret, insisted that I listen to this even though they do the Cookie Monster metal voice, which drives me nuts, and it was even better than his half-crazed evangelism promised.
Game Theory, Roots. Voted ‘Least Likely to Succeed’ /’cause my class was full of naysayers, cheaters, and thieves
Taking The Long Way, Dixie Chicks. Really. I wrote this, hesitated (“Do I really want to put this in a post where everyone sees it and risk ridicule and flame wars?”). But I love the CD.
Everything All the Time, Band of Horses
A Blessing And A Curse, Drive-by Truckers
Let Me Introduce My Friends, I’m From Barcelona (no link, this ‘CD’ is copy-protected).
Magic Potion, the Black Keys
Night Ripper, Girl Talk
The Audience’s Listening, Cut Chemist. I used to have a strict policy of deleting/purging my music collection when artists sold music for commercials, but this year I couldn’t keep up. The iPod commercial with people leaving neon trails to that catchy tune is taken off this.
So This Is Goodbye, Junior Boys
Silent Shout, The Knife
Nine Times That Same Song, Love is All

(And now I’m tagging them with Amazon links because I’m unemployed. Hee hee hee.)

Dave’s Additions: I’m not a big music guy, but these two guys are friends of mine, and if you’re a Christian, you’ll like their CDs. If you’re not, not so much, so don’t say you haven’t been warned.

The Awakening – Jonathan Helser

Closer to the Burning – Stephen Roach

Jeff’s additions

I won’t duplicate anything Derek or Dave have already mentioned except to say that Neko Case does rock. With all the hip-hop I’ve been listening to lately, I’m surprised there is so much indie rock on my list, but I guess I was disappointed by a lot of the releases I was highly anticipating from my favorite MCs (Mr. Lif’s “Mo’ Mega,” anyone?).

A lot of records missed the list either because I like them, but not enough (the RJD2 and Aceyalone disc), or I like them, but not as much as everyone else seems to (“Return to Cookie Mountain” by TV On the Radio). I swear I did not plan for exactly 15 albums to be on this list, but it mirrors Derek’s list, so there. Maybe I’ll add two more later to mirror Dave’s list.

The Coup, Pick a Bigger Weapon
M. Ward, Post-War
Asobi Seksu, Citrus
The Brazilian Girls, Talk to La Bomb
Golden Smog, Another Fine Day
Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins, Rabbit Fur Coat
The Long Winters, Putting the Days to Bed
Loose Fur, Born Again in the USA
Madlib, Beat Konducta, Vol. 1-2
Mates of State, Bring It Back
Nouvelle Vague, Bande a Part
The Pernice Brothers, Live a Little
Snow Patrol, Eyes Open
Soul Position, Things Go Better with RJ and Al
Viva Voce, Get Yr Blood Sucked Out
Stuff you might not have heard that is worth picking up: Pigeon John’s album “… and the Summertime Pool Party” is uneven, but has some really fun high spots if you like feel-good hip-hop; The Hold Steady’s “Boys and Girls in America” sounds like the halcyon days of Bruce Springsteen updated for the indie kids; I wish Of Montreal’s “The Sunlandic Twins” and “Caravane” by Raphael had been released in 2006 so I could include them; I must confess I haven’t heard the new Mason Jennings record (hard to find in Okinawa), but if it’s anything like his previous folk-rock work, it’s awesome.


210 Responses to “USSM Endorsed 2006 Albums”

  1. Jar on December 23rd, 2006 8:42 am

    DW – I am with you about “christian rock”. I hate the whole idea that it is a seperate lable. What makes a song “christian” exactly. There are a lot of “secular” bands who write songs that would be called “christian” if they where on another record label. I like good music by good musicains whether they profess to be Christians or not. Good music is good music.

    Also, if you like Sufjan you should check out Danielson. Sufjan use to play with them when they went as The Danielson Famile. Danielson’s Ships is my album of the year. It’s not the most assesable ablum ever, but if you value creativity and originality in your music you might like them.

  2. trentonkyle on December 23rd, 2006 10:42 am

    I teach high school video production in Shoreline and we had The Blakes in for a live studio performance. You can watch it at
    There are also performances by the Cops, Speaker Speaker, and a few others that you might enjoy.

  3. colm on December 23rd, 2006 11:36 pm

    Dead thread but…

    One of the two best gigs I’ve ever seen (out of several hundred mostly 1987 – 1998) was Sonic Youth playing Belfast in August 1990.

    They’d just signed to Geffen and released Goo and were a week away from headlining Saturday night at Reading Festival in front of about 50,000 people, yet somehow they were playing in the Connor Hall in the bar of Belfast art college. This venue was slightly bigger than my living room. It was a fucking epic, two and half hour jam/racket. I didn’t care for Sonic Youth going into the gig and I came out loving them. I also kicked over Lee Renaldo’s mic stand. Sorry Lee.

    Not that you’re wondering but the other best ever gig was Mano Negra at the Sheffield Leadmill a month later.

    Recommened listening for 2006:
    Fujiya and Miyagi “Transparent Things”
    Micah P Hinson “Micah P Hinson and the Opera Circuit”.
    I saw Micah Hinson playing support to Dave Bazan at the Tractor a few months back. He was quite a bit better than Dave.

  4. patl on December 24th, 2006 1:43 pm

    On the theme of “music by christians that’s actually interesting”, the new album by David Crowder Band (A Collision) is fantastic. Creative, great musicianship, well produced but not syrupy at all. it’ll stand the test of time, which is all too uncommon with the christian rock genre.

  5. patl on December 24th, 2006 1:48 pm


    The only way we could be any more diverse would be to have a member of Al-Qaeda start blogging with us.

    I hereby nominate this as Quote of 2006! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Jim Thomsen on December 24th, 2006 2:09 pm

    What I would find just as interesting as the music we like is the history (and aesthetics) that inform our tastes.

    I’m 41. I grew up in Christian suburbia (Bainbridge Island), went to nothing but Christian schools through two years of college (in keeping with rebellious-teen spirit, I rejected all Christian music and embraced punk, classic rock, Goth and New Wave in bewilderingly equal amounts before settling into New Romantic singer-songwriters like Lloyd Cole, The Blue Nile). After transferring to Western in the mid-80s, I embraced alterna-Eighties like Husker Du, The Replacements, Mission of Burma, Echo and the Bunnymen, etc.)

    By virtue of where I lived, I also got into Canadian music quite a bit, and artists like Bruce Cockburn and Tom Cochrane helped me settle into a singer-songwriter mode through the early 90s (Peter Himmelman, Dar Williams, Graham Parker, Warren Zevon, Robbie Fulks, Red House Painters, etc.) That led me to my “103.7 FM The Mountain” period in the late 90s … and then the Balkanization of music got to be so enormously splintered that no one radio station could keep my interest any longer, and I fell out of listening to new music for several years.

    Recently, in rediscovering my Christian self somewhat, I’ve discovered some fine Christian artists whose sound runs along the lines of popular alternative today without outright mimicking or lick-ripping. There are plenty of treacly, crappy artists out there in CCR (Conetmporary Christian Radio), and there are some great artists who are marginalized because of their faith รขโ‚ฌโ€ or because their faith is insufficiently mainstream for conservative radio programmers. (And I don’t mean ideologically conservative … I mean, conservative as in unwilling to take risks outside of focus-group-approved material.)

    No one artist bridges and encompasses every step of my musical journey like Jars Of Clay. They rock hard without being abrasive or unmelodic, they practice faith in their songs without overt preaching, and they can weave a dense tapestry of sound around a killer hook and crochet effortless great timeless songs like I’ve never heard before.

    I don’t wear glasses (contacts rule), I haven’t driven a scooter since 1982 and I don’t wear black to the exclusion of all else. I’m gainfully employed, graying at the temples, scornful of Starbucks, usually vote Democrat … and am, well, just some guy.

    And I love the Mariners with all my irreparably broken heart.

  7. Jim Thomsen on December 24th, 2006 2:15 pm

    One artist I’ve stuck with steadfastly during my musical exile in the New Millennium, however, is the Pernice Brothers (I go back with Joe Pernice to his Scud Mountain Boys days). “Overcome By Happiness” was the soundtrack to many, many nights of banging out news stories in the Bainbridge Island Review newsroom. Nice, airy, sweet, melodic pop that bridges the Brill Building era with the 90s singer-songwriter movement.

    Good call, Jeff.

  8. Jeff on December 24th, 2006 4:33 pm

    If you’re interested in a few explanatory notes, I just put up a post at my Okinawa blog with my personal list.

  9. CSG on December 24th, 2006 6:19 pm

    good call mentioning the Live at KEXP CD, Jeff. I was among the people on this thread who had given up on radio, until I found KEXP a couple years ago. It’s the only station worth listening to.

  10. Jeff on December 24th, 2006 6:45 pm

    Glad you like it, too. I thought about plugging it here, but there’s something about compilations … anyway, KEXP does consistently great stuff, and while many similar “Live on the Radio” appearances don’t seem to work, the hit rate at KEXP is really high. That Death Cab track is fantastic.

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