Best of the Bitch

February 19, 2007  |  music
Peace

It’s already seven weeks into 2K7 and you’re probably wondering, “where the sam hell is my best of 2006 list?!?” Patience, my monkeys, patience. You will be rewarded soon.

You may recall that (((withoutsound))) began just over a year ago, right around the beginning of Chinese New Year. Drewl had written a few posts on Blogger before that, but our first official post as (((withoutsound))) was on January 31st, the third day of the Year of the Dog. Soooo, in light of our One Year Anniversarycake, our talent for procrastination, and the fact that we’ve finally managed to recover from our collective hangovers, we present to you not ONE “best of” post, but a whole freakin’ week of subjectivity to celebrate the end of a bitch of a year and ring in the Year of the Pig.

We tried to mush our three “Best Albums of the 2006” lists together into one “Top 10”, but it was a futile effort and maybe that’s because ’06 wasn’t really an album kind of year. Sure, there were some good albums, some that might even be considered great at some point in the future…but when began to compile our list of “Best Songs of the Year” we discovered that many of these songs weren’t on any of the albums in our “Best Albums of the Year” list. And that, perhaps, is a sign of the times.

Album sales reportedly dropped another 5% this year and with the large number of places available to download individual tracks, legally or illegally, the Year of the Dog may be best remembered as when the quartet practiced in the park, and we sang dirges in the dark, the year the album died.

But I digress. Let’s start off this week with our list of…

Top Things We Just Don’t Understand

Wolfmother

Mike Patton probably best summed up the way we feel about Wolfmother with this rant at Lollapalooza.

[swf width=”480″ height=”360″]http://www.g4tv.com/evl/12786[/swf]

We’ve got plenty of friends who looooove Wolfmother, but our inability to understand this love is based on two things:

  1. Wolfmother isn’t contributing anything new to modern music
  2. We liked them better when they were called Black Sabbath

They are, in essence, a good cover band and we haven’t heard any convincing arguments that make us think otherwise.

Be Your Own Pet + Arctic Monkeys

There were probably other groups of teenagers who released albums in 2006, but only a select few of them spent the rest of the year wiping NME’s spooge off of their faces. The Arctic Monkeys’ and Be Your Own Pet’s threesome with the British press turned into the such an all-out orgy stateside that we half expected band members to be serving grilled cheese sandwiches at Bianca’s Smut Shack in the Black Rock Desert. Yes, both of these bands are young, and yes, both of these bands released good albums. Very good albums for someone their age. But that’s a qualification.

Your Friend – Hey, who are these guys?

You – Arctic Monkeys.

Your Friend – Not bad.

You – Yeah, can you believe these guys have a combined IQ of 79?

Your Friend – Wow. (pauses, while digesting this new information) These guys are fucking awesome.

The sudden and meteoric rise of these two bands leads us to ask one question. What ever happened to Silverchair?

(turns out they’re baaaaaaack)

Silversun Pickups

In a way, SSPU are like OKGO. But before you jump in with, “But, but, OKGO is hilarious! I looooove their videos…” let me just say, yes, OKGO makes very innovative music videos. OKGO also has been known to have very entertaining live shows. But musically, OKGO leans way too heavily on their image and the result is, at best, cold, calculated, commercial crap. They can’t seem to write any good material and so they have resorted to gimmickry. And good for them for realizing their limitations. But the Silversun Pickups also cannot make very good music – they do a long-winded screaming emo impersonation of Billy Corgan. And although we loved the Smashing Pumpkins, we hardly need two Billy Corgans.

Interestingly enough, the Silversun Pickups are currently on tour with Wolfmother.

  • Listen to Range Life by Pavement
    (“…out on tour, with the Smashing Pumpkins…”)

Interruption from Drewl

This is actually one of the year’s more talked about bands that I get. I saw these guys play 3 or 4 years ago before Tenacious D and was rather impressed. Most people showed up to laugh along with the devil and I think we were all surprised to get seriously rocked by angels. Okay, that was cheesy, but everyone I was with remember them well enough today. I borrowed Carnavas from a friend just a few weeks ago and this has become one of my favorite albums from last year. At first listen, it does sound somewhat like Smashing Pumpkins, but the comparison melts away after, like, the third listen and you’re left with a steadily rocking, honestly catchy gem.

The Raconteurs

Okay, we get it. Jack White is fucking brilliant. Brendan Benson is his friend. They enjoy having a good time together.

If you live in LA or have ever been there, you may have had the opportunity to catch Jon Brion at one of his weekly performances at the Largo Club. Brion is a very talented musician who has produced the likes of Aimee Mann, Rufus Wainwright, and the Eels in addition to scoring films such as Magnolia and IcakeHuckabees and his own solo work. The Friday night shows at Largo can be great fun, Brion tinkers around with various song structures and you’re bound to see the likes of Fiona Apple, Rhett Miller, or even Michael Stipe show up and play. But for the most part, Brion’s Friday night specials are just him fucking around and after one or two visits it starts to get old. It’s like watching someone rehearse.

Which brings us back to the Raconteurs. There comes a time when you just wish a band would stop fucking around and start playing some music. But unfortunately, the Raconteurs have not reached that point yet. And despite what they tell you, they are NOT from Nashville, TN.

  • Listen to Level Live from Lollapalooza.

There were probably other things we just don’t understand from the Year of the Dog, but this seems like an appropriate amount of bile for a Monday. Our Bitchin’ Albums of the Year will start rolling out tomorrow and we’ll save our Songs of the Year until the end of the week.

1 Comment


  1. Re: Wolfmother/Silversun Pickups

    “Derivatve” should be a genre. I’m not defending Wolfmother – their full-length isn’t very good, especially when compared to their two very short E.P.s, the first of which I bought on a whim at Amoeba and rather enjoyed. At best, Wolfmother is a stonerrock.com-ers wet dream. At worst, they are Witchcraft, but less sincere and less Swedish. As a fan of the genre, (both “heavy/psych” and “derivative” – one and the same, really) I cannot explain Wolfmother’s success. There are better bands doing a better job of being derivative, (see: The Atomic Bitchwax) even of themselves (see: The Obsessed > Spirit Caravan > The Hidden Hand)

    But I have no frame of reference for comparing Silversun Pickups to Smashing Pumpkins, mostly because Billy Corgan irritates me, so I avoid them at all costs. So maybe Wolfmother provides people who hate Ozzy Osbourne a way to enjoy his music without having to tolerate the man himself.

    Finally, I also have the latest Danielson, Islands, and Phoenix albums. I (marginally) prefer Wolfmother.

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