;We just ended the year of The Long Tail. The publication of that trend-defining book crystallized the notion that there is a vibrant cultural scrum going on well past the bottom of the best-seller list, much of it coming from material that was originally released long ago. Combined with other approaches like Idolator.com's semi-regular "Coulda Shoulda Woulda" feature that talked up long-forgotten songs and records, this year it became public knowledge that we busy trendsetters don't spend all our listening time culling through the often overwhelming barrage of new releases.
;;Sure, there were plenty of great albums that were released or reissued in 2006, but I thought that for this edition of Orlando Weekly's annual wrap-up, it would be interesting to ask OW contributors and local music types to weigh in on the non-2006 music that got a lot of unexpected play this past year. The rules were simple: Keep it short, don't talk about your all-time favorite albums and make sure that none of the records mentioned were released or reissued in 2006. The results were interesting.
;;— Jason Ferguson
;;Chris Cucci (guitarist, the Heathens; owner, Post Records);
;;On tour with the Heathens this summer, Chris Rae (our bassist) picked up Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's Orange record at a small shop in D.C. The album got its fair share of play during overnight drives … large doses of caffeine and a JSBX theremin solo helped keep us awake (when we weren't playing Super Mario Kart). I stole the album when we got home and ripped it onto my iPod. I've also been hooked on Nedelle & Thom's Summerland record that Kill Rock Stars released in 2005. Nedelle Torrisi and Thom Moore, two of the West Coast's most talented songwriters, paired up to write a Dusty Springfield/Burt Bacharach–influenced '60s pop record along with Karate's Jeff Goddard and Gavin McCarthy on bass and drums. This album has me looking forward to Nedelle's upcoming project with Chris Cohen (Deerhoof), The Curtains.;;
;Ray Cummings (contributor, Orlando Weekly);
;;Scott Joplin — The Entertainer: During my nine months in utero and first decade or so in the outside world, Scott Joplin's jolly ragtime piano banged a hidey-hole into my subconsciousness; my mother is to blame for this. Twenty years later, unforeseen circumstances have forced me to take up ;partial-week residence in my childhood home; as an unexpected bonus, I happened upon The Entertainer, a CD cache of popular Joplin foppery wherein the Texarkana-bred pianist dips the keys with a delightfully playful aplomb that can overlay any locale with some Platonic ideal of gin-joint merriment. The disc gets play every night after work; I bet I'd have stuck with clarinet lessons in middle school if Joplin's cheery compositions hadn't been temporarily lost in the adolescent shuffle of Nintendo Entertainment System battle-pixels and early rap singles. Alas.;;
;Jonathan Cunningham ;(staff writer, Orlando Weekly);
;;Nina Simone — It Is Finished: There are certain singers whose sound is more enjoyable on vinyl and Nina Simone is one of them. I can't count how many times I pulled her seminal 1974 record It Is Finished off of the shelf and let its rhythms help me feel sane again. The entire album is recorded live and it captures Nina at her best. Songs like "Funkier Than a Mosquito's Tweeter" and Bessie Smith's "I Want a Lil' Sugar in My Bowl" are precious. Highly recommended if you can find it.
;;Gregory Isaacs — One Man Against the World: The Best of Gregory Isaacs: This is easily the most succinct collection of the Cool Ruler's stellar material. All the hits are here: "Night Nurse," "Rumours," "My Number 1" and "Private Secretary," plus a host of other lovers-rock gems. It's an essential piece of vinyl.;;
;Rich Evans (conspirator, Floridas Dying);
;I'm still not sure I fully understand this concept — an end-of-the-year wrap-up spouting off a top-10 list of records that ;didn't come out in 2006. In an attempt to give some method to the madness, I picked records by artists that were relevant this year: Whether it was major record deals, breakups, comebacks, deaths, new projects or making great records in 2006 that I won't mention here.;
;1) Black Lips — We Did Not Know …
;;2) Lost Sounds — Memphis Is Dead
;;3) Catholic Boys — Psychic Voodoo Mind Control
;;4) Wreckless Eric — Big Smash
;;5) Functional Blackouts — (self-titled)
;;6) Dead Moon — Unknown Passages
;;7) Country Teasers — Satan Is Real Again
;;8) Swell Maps — International Rescue
;;9) King Khan and BBQ — (self-titled)
;;10) Killed by Florida compilation;;
;Jason Ferguson (music/film & dvd editor, Orlando Weekly);
;;In 2006, I rediscovered and reinvigorated my long-neglected vinyl collection. Years of working in a record store had numbed me to the joy of records, but for no real reason, I started digging around my depleted crates (made startlingly empty by a couple of particularly lean summers that found me becoming the most dejected eBay Power Seller around). I remembered how much I love Venom, Opal and, uh, the Beatles. The two studio albums Ronnie James Dio did with Black Sabbath (Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules) also got frequent spin after I heard about that underrated lineup hitting the road again in '07. Nothing got played on my brand-new Rega turntable as much as the long-forgotten debut EP by debauched New York noise-rockers Surgery; the unhinged Souleater is one of the grungiest and grimiest "rock" records I own. But it wasn't all vinyl in '06; below are the CDs I unexpectedly kept coming back to:
;;1) Geraldine Fibbers — Lost Somewhere Between the Earth and My Home
;;2) Cave In — Antenna
;;3) Flop — Whenever You're Ready
;;4) Initial State — Abort the Soul
;;5) Can — Soon Over Babaluma;;
;Brad Fischetti (owner, One Eleven Records);
;;Every year I hope to find that release, outside of my own label's, that elicits a strong feeling or emotion like so many records in the past have. And it seems like every year, I wind up sticking with some old favorites. One album that stands out on a more relaxed level is The Man Who by Travis. It's one of those records you need to listen to with some headphones on to appreciate the real beauty. At the opposite end of the spectrum is Toxicity by System of a Down. Besides the fact that the music certainly will increase your energy and adrenaline levels, these guys actually have something to say, which is a rarity in today's music business. Lastly, Fear of a Black Planet by Public Enemy is always in my disc changer or iPod playlist.;;
;Josie Fluri (bassist, New Roman Times; co-owner, Redlight Redlight);
;;So one day earlier this year I set out to transfer my CD collection to my iPod. Of course this easy task turns into days of listening to dusty CDs that have been ignored for no other reason than keeping up with the new stuff is so f'ing hard. (So many bands, so little time.) I came across Elastica's self-titled debut, and I thought, "Wow, what the hell have we all been listening to and doing for that matter?" This record is what most "rock" musicians strive to accomplish: a real live sound that's edgy, melodic and to the point. It's not at all contrived or lost behind postproduction tinkerings that hide the real real sound of the band. Hit after hit, this record blows me away. I was recently playing this record (on my iPod) at the bar where I work. A customer comes up to me so excited: "Oh my god, is this the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs?" All I could think is that Justine Frischmann so kicks Karen O's ass.;;
;Matt Gersting (drummer, the Sugar Oaks);
;;I never would have imagined the words would leave my mouth, but it's true: I've been listening to a lot of Steely Dan this year. Aja, arguably Fagen and Becker's most acclaimed record, is a master's course in studio production and musicianship, and features a basic who's-who of session players. If you need those "so-uncool-it's-cool" scene points without the risk of traveling into full-on soft-rock territory, look to the Dan's earlier, more traditionally band-centric albums Can't Buy a Thrill and Pretzel Logic. Depending on your age you'll probably catch a few songs you vaguely remember hearing in your parents' car or the dive-bar jukebox that one very drunk, highly questionable night in Kansas City, 1976.;;
;Bao Le-Huu (columnist, Orlando Weekly);
;;I revisited Immortal Lee County Killers' These Bones Will Rise to Love You Again this year for two reasons. First, the Hex Tremors were on hiatus amidst rumors of bickering at the time and I had a blues-punk jones. Second, I didn't like this new sound when I first listened to it and wanted to see if I had come around … sort of a Brussels-sprout check. No dice. Despite the expanded lineup, it was still blunted and bland. This unfulfilling realization forced me into the bed of their magnum opus Love Is a Charm of Powerful Trouble for satisfaction, a collection that revs with danger, psychosis and raw power. Ripped by a two-man tornado, it's the apotheosis of economy and impact. It slashes with genuine blood lust and is a bold, revelatory vision of both the blues and punk, making it one of the greatest albums made in either genre. Hall of fame shit here.;;
;Billy Manes (staff writer, Orlando Weekly);
;Six for '06:;
;1) Arcadia — So Red the Rose: Now a classic view of '80s post-blond pretension, shot through the collective turned-up nose of LeBon and Rhodes. "I rushed up to meet the roses in your hair …," etc. Gloriously decadent.
;;2) Bananarama — Please Yourself: The closest thing you'll ever get to The Muppet Movie on a Eurotrash cruise ship. Sadly, but somehow expectedly, import only. Disposable, fantastic ear candy.
;;3) Pet Shop Boys — Behaviour: Epic, elegiac U.S. career killer for the Boys, then tiptoeing out of the closet with erudite AIDS anxiety. "Being Boring?" (So) hardly.
;;4) Whipping Boy — Heartworm: Out-of-print early-'90s marriage of Bunnymen swirls and Waterboys laments, set at the driving pace of impoverished self-destruction.
;;5) Bongwater — The Power of Pussy: Actress Ann Magnuson's perf-art masterpiece, including the line: "They make Nick Cave dolls now? I want one." Also features the Best 10-Minute Breakdown Ever Written: "Folk Song."
;;6) Thompson Twins — Here's to Future Days: Poodle-haired, spandex-ankled global village manifesto of love, drugs, peace and, well, "Tokyo." An ill-advised cover of "Revolution" only makes it more absurd. Hasn't aged well, which makes it all the better.;;
;Andrew Miller (contributor, Orlando Weekly);
;;Before he started saving the world through advocative folk, Everlast ranked among rap's purest nihilists. Back in the House of Pain days, his sex-and-violence stories weren't glamorous — the trysts are ugly (he spits about "stained sheets from hookers" with virulent disgust), and the beatdowns lack a gunshot's merciful efficiency. On the trio's 1994 album Same As It Ever Was, Everlast tones down his Irish accent, unleashing a feral delivery that exudes menace and transcends race. "Like G.G. Allin I'm crazy ill," he announces during "Back From the Dead," which addresses his rumored demise. His protestations notwithstanding, Everlast raps like he emerged from the Pet Sematary as a homicidal avenger. Many malevolent hip-hop albums come with a redemptive message song, but Everlast tweaks that template with an unsentimental depiction of a hood who guns down a clerk and escapes unpunished. The beats match the lyrics' intensity, with Bomb Squad–style wheezing whistles and hard-bop bass-and-sax breakdowns.;;
;Rob O'Connor (contributor, Orlando Weekly);
;;This was the year I learned how to work the Internet. Well, more baby steps. I learned how to download albums from fan sites and burn them to CD. Now before the RIAA throws a subpoena my way, let me clarify that these are obscure little buggers. The highlight was coming across two albums by Perry Leopold: Experiment in Metaphysics and Christian Lucifer. Neither are as life-changing as a Nick Drake moment, but each captures a blip in time (1970 and 1973, respectively) that feels even more remote, considering how I stumbled upon them. I have no artwork. I have no information, other than Richie Unterberger's notes from the All Music Guide site, which tells me that Leopold opened for Hall & Oates, Tom Waits, Jerry Garcia and Supertramp throughout the '70s when he had no album to promote. Musicians lead tough lives.
;;Dan Owens (guitarist, New Roman Times; co-owner, Redlight Redlight);
;;Creedence Clearwater Revival — Chronicle: How in the hell a bunch of burnout dudes from the East Bay captured the sweat and sleaze of the central Southern states always blows me away. From lifting Screamin' Jay Hawkins ("I Put a Spell on You") to the somber recollection on "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" CCR's Chronicle is the record that has pulled me through many long drives this past year. I put it on and let the soothing rasp of Mr. Fogerty whisk me away to a land where I am always frighteningly welcome.;;
;Dan Stone (creative services director, WTKS 104.1-FM);
;;Rather than writing about my fixation with Spoon's Gimme Fiction or Def Leppard's High and Dry, I'm going to try and capture the true spirit of The Long Tail and create a playlist. Besides the eminent demise of conventional mass media and my ability to make a living in it, the central message was about freedom of choice. So these are the songs I choose to listen to over and over and over again in the Year of Our Lord 2006:
;;Wax — "Who Is Next"
;;Rival Schools — "Used for Glue"
;;The Promise Ring — "Why Did Ever We Meet"
;;Interpol — "PDA"
;;Spoon — "The Delicate Place"
;;Pedro the Lion — "Magazine"
;;Wilco — "At Least That's What You Said"
;;Def Leppard — "You Got Me Runnin'"
;;Le Tigre — "Hot Topic"
;;Led Zeppelin — "Out on the Tiles"
;;Moldy Peaches — "Anybody Else but You"
;;Knapsack — "Katherine the Grateful";;
;Justin Strout (contributor, Orlando Weekly);
;;Busta Rhymes — When Disaster Strikes: Since the days of Leaders of the New School, I've been a fan/apologist of Busta Rhymes, so the artistic failure of this year's The Big Bang hit me hard. We waited for three years while Rhymes wallowed in his own purgatory — assault, weapons and shootings, not to mention rumors of gay-bashing and drug addiction — only to be rewarded with a steaming pile of polished lethargy. In the aftermath (bad pun intended), I found myself digging out the rapper's one cohesive album, Disaster, for comfort. Laced with hilarious pop-culture references, bizarre wordplay and an unparalleled urgency of production, it was a time when Rhymes' biggest worry was his belief that the world would end in 2000. Listening again this year, it's tough to admit he was partially right: The new millennium has not been kind to the man.;;
;Dominic Umile (contributor, Orlando Weekly);
;;A Tribe Called Quest — The Low End Theory: My cat and library of music are sitting in the living room of my brother's apartment; he's kindly keeping an eye on both because I moved and have less space in my new digs. Litter box and ample cat shit excluded, he is reportedly enjoying their company. So I returned to older records on my hard drive this year, but none as often as A Tribe Called Quest's The Low End Theory. It's my favorite Tribe effort — the verses are lively with atypical concepts as MCs Q-Tip and Phife ride dusty beats and a still-sterling jazz-heavy backdrop, even after 15 years. Best of all, it takes me back to a time when I had everything: a stack of well-trod dubbed cassette tapes and plenty of room to house them. Here's hoping my brother isn't getting too cozy with those CDs and vinyl. Or my cat.