Monday, January 01, 2007

Extra! Extra!

The January issue of Chicago Innerview is now available online. I have contributed a write-up on Chicago group Plane. Follow the direct link to read the article:

And as a special feature to the "print" version of the magazine, I have contributed to the Top 6 Albums of 2006 piece. For those who can not pick up a copy of the magazine, I have re-printed my list for Getting In Tune.


Top 6 Albums Of 2006

1. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife (Capitol)

In a time of fast-paced multimedia consumption that grows faster with each second, it's fairly easy for the gems of solid songwriting and marvelous storytelling to go unnoticed. By now, it's not hard to notice the steady rise of the Decemberists. Singer/songwriter Colin Meloy's ability to draw from a world long past and bring it to the present seems almost effortless.

2. Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 - Ole! Tarantula (Yep Roc)

Leading off with "Adventure Rocket Ship", Robyn Hitchcock brilliantly nails the psychedelic-pop sound of the '60s with members of R.E.M. serving as his backing band. The diversity of styles throughout Ole! Tarantula makes it an album with everything; from the country touch on the title track to the sneering swagger of "The Authority Box."

3. Robert Pollard - From A Compound Eye (Merge)

It feels like it was just yesterday when Guided By Voices drunkenly bid farewell at Metro on a New Year's Eve that many are still trying to sober up from. The band is no more, but Robert Pollard remains. From A Compound Eye consistently hits the mark, which is saying a lot since past Pollard efforts tended to resemble erratic EKG readings.

4. Elf Power - Back To The Web (Rykodisc)

Menacing, haunting, and beautiful. Back To The Web is like some long walk through the forest at night; there's a peacefulness about it all, but tension reaches for your ankles when you least expect it.

5. Paul Weller - Catch-Flame! (Yep Roc)

Paul Weller was in top form while touring for his latest solo album As Is Now (2005). Spotlighting a show in London near the end of that tour, 2006's live album Catch-Flame! dishes out the jam from every era of Weller's career with a sheer excitement that never lets up.

6. The Who - Endless Wire (Universal)

Thought to be their most magnificent album since 1973's Quadrophenia and 1975's The Who By Numbers, Endless Wire marks the end of a 24-year creative drought from Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey as The Who. Whether or not Endless Wire would have been a more interesting album with just Townshend on acoustic guitar and Daltrey taking a break from his bare-chested bravado is anyone's guess.

*This list is re-printed from the January 2007 issue of Chicago Innerview for use on Getting In Tune. Chris Castaneda is a contributing writer to the magazine and author of this list.