Probably the best major-label release of 2006 that never came out. His label blamed online leaks but probably just lacked the creative vision to market such a strange product — namely, inventive modern soul music.
(5) Tiombe Lockhart, "O Bloody Day, O Starry Night on the Bowery" (Bling47). Evil genius Waajeed and the brilliant Ms. Lockhart released the first of what should be many classic joints.
(6) GQ, "Better Must Come" (Calibud). Something about an eight-year-old having a number one hit with a conscious anthem just kinda makes me feel good about the future.
(7) Alice Smith, For Lovers, Dreamers and Me (BBE Music). Though the incredible Maurice Fulton remix of "Love Endeavor" isn't here, this album reflected a new direction for urban music.
(8) The hyphy movement. Kinda obvious, but its impact is hard to overstate. Bay Area club music took the world by storm in 2006, leading taste-making rags and bloggers from here to Denmark scouring the Web for the latest Bay Area slang, style, and sounds.
(9) Journey into Paradise: The Larry Levan Story (Rhino). After a couple attempts, 2006 saw a definitive two-disc collection of some of the songs that trademarked perhaps the most influential DJ of all time, besides Herc.
(10) TV on the Radio, Return to Cookie Mountain (Interscope). I prefer the leaked version because "Wolf Like Me" is the shit, but it's still pretty damn good for a major-label debut, nyuk, nyuk.
GENE "BEAN" BAE
(1) Punk section at Amoeba, SF and Berkeley. I know I work there, and this comes dangerously close to an advertisement, but isn't it about time?
(2) Domino Records' Sound of Young Scotland series. Lovely reissues of Orange Juice, Fire Engines, and my current fave, Josef K. Courtesy of Franz Ferdinand's severance check.
(3) Boy, I sure picked a bad year to swear off box sets: This Heat's Out of Cold Storage (ReR) finally makes available all the in- and out-of-print recordings.
(4) Boy, I sure picked a bad year to swear off metal: Boris, Pink and live, and collaborating with Sunn O))) on Altar (both Southern Lord).
(5) The Bay Area represents: running into fellow local bands such as the Fucking Ocean in NYC and T.I.T.S. in Leeds, England, while on a too-long tour was the salve for the weary, homesick, itinerant musician. And by the way, the Fucking Ocean's new CD, Le Main Rouge, harks back to the heady times at the turn of the century when it seemed like every day a new band that didn't suck crawled out of a new crack in the sidewalk.
(6) It would be irresponsible of me to not mention the midterm elections.
(7) Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man was the best music-related film of the year. And it gave me more reasons to hate U2.
(8) Coming to a curbside near you: the Bay Area's best new venue, John Benson's decommissioned AC Transit bus converted into a biodiesel RV and mobile venue.
(9) Billy Childish's unplugged show, Mama Buzz Café, May.
(10) And one thing that sucked this year: Lance Hill quit booking and working the Stork Club. The man who brought you the club's happy hour and free admission during the Oakland Art Murmur — and who let Battleship record an album at his venue — has left the building. May the East Bay rise to the occasion and continue nurturing good local music.
(1) Mariee Sioux, A Bundled Bundle Of Bundles (self-released). So. Ridiculously. Good.
(2) Death Vessel, Stay Close (North East Indie). I've listened to this five billion times since I got it in October.
(3) Laura Gibson, If You Come to Greet Me (Hush).
(4) CMJ Music Marathon, accompanying Alela Diane and Tom Brosseau on banjo. When Brosseau breaks into the highest part of his range, it makes me almost believe in ghosts.
(5) El Capitan live at the Rite Spot, Oct 15. They did a medley covering and reworking other Bay Area artists' music — one of the most creative and heartfelt things I heard all year.
(6) Last of the Blacksmiths, "And Then Some"/"You Think I'm.