Sometimes you just can't listen to everything when it comes out. Sometimes you don't know about it, don't have the money to get it, haven't gotten around to checking out what your friend may have burned for you, or just flat out missed it the first time around. Hell, maybe you missed it the second or third time around. Anyway, these are some things I was late to the game on, and my life is better for having finally heard them.
Amy Millan - Honey from the Tombs
This record came out mid 2006 by the frontwoman for Stars. A beautiful set of folky, whiskey drenched tunes, on the acoustic side (but the album is done with help from Stars, BSS and other Canadian pals). It's lovely and sad, not too complicated and endearing.
The Mint Chicks - Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No!
This was something I found on my trip to Australia last year - frantic Kiwis with melody and spunk to burn. This is what Redd Kross would have evolved into, had they continued evolving. Bubblegum punk tempered by metal riffs in a crazy early 80's Devo-lutionized way that only the kids in Auckland can get so wrong that it's right.
Beirut - everything
Luckily for me, they (or rather, "he") put out a new album this year so I wasn't too far behind the pack... but I don't know how I missed this one. Orchestral cafe pop with melodramatic vocals? I love that stuff! I heard it for the first time at a friend's in Austin while out for SXSW last year - and was capitivated, along with a million other morose popsters.
Honeycut - The Day I Turned To Glass
This is one of those records that sat on my back burner all through 2006. I'd heard a song here or there on KALX, Berkeley when I would listen in from afar, but this past March, when I ran into my friend Bart Bavenport at SXSW, I had to go check out Honeycut. And I was immediately ashamed for not having listened to them sooner. Not only are they a blast live (I've vowed never to miss them again if I can help it) but the record is a tapestry of deeply dark and moody yet intensely groovy funk. Bart's daydream/nightmare lyrics and silky smooth vocals just add to the scary electro soul this album throws out. Amazing stuff.
Snatch and the Poontangs
My girlfriend Heather-Marie (aka Uni & Her Ukelele) used to sing backup for Johnny Otis, but she never told me about this naughty, naughty gem he put out on (you guessed it) 1969 under the name befitting the music most. It's all filthy, dirty r&b, with lotsa trash-talkin' and sex-havin' and murderin' all over the place. Fiddy ain't got nothing on Grampa Otis, that's for damn sure!
I'm sure there's more, but I was definitely obsessed over those things over the last year. More countdown goodness to come...