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Saleski’s Holiday Shopping Guide ’06

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It's late and you may be tired from the rush of the season. You still need a few more presents. This is where I come in. There were a pile of records that I fell in love with this year. Some of them I reviewed while others languished on my desk, victims of a year full of events designed to keep me out of my listening room. Given the season, it only seems fair to let these albums out into the sun to play with some of my other favorites.

So here are my recommendations for your last minute shopping needs. Why pick up that cheapo CD of holiday music at the gas station when you can take the advice of a guy who has a large collection of music that sounds like a herd of cats?

Uh… Merry Christmas everybody.

Susanne AbbuehlCompass

Mixing poetry and music can be a recipe for disaster. Not here. Not at all.

Lindsay BuckinghamUnder The Skin

There's no denying that Lindsay Buckingham knows how to put together a tune. On this solo record, he flings beautiful guitar lines all over the place. I was hooked from the first listen.

Nels ClineNew Monastery

A tribute to the music of Andrew Hill? Yes. That and Cline's guitar chasing around the clarinet. Really wonderful stuff.

Depeche ModeThe Best Of Vol. 1

I'm not big on best-of collections, but this one hangs together better than most. Somehow I've managed to not buy Violator. At least now I can listen to "Personal Jesus" whenever I want.

Andrey DergatchevThe Return

Soundscapes. Foggy tropes. Muffled voices. Mesmerizing.

The Ditty BopsMoon Over The Freeway

In the mood for a quirky pop tune? Better yet, how about a quirky pop tune with gorgeous harmonies? Why this group isn't famous is a mystery to me.

Neil Diamond12 Songs

I'm not kidding.

Dixie ChicksTaking The Long Way

Yes, they're not really "country." Yes, they're communists. Yes, this is a great record.

Ornette ColemanSound Grammar

It's an official event in the jazz world whenever Ornette releases something. This record is a stunning example of what Ornette's "Harmolodics" can do.

Bob DylanModern Times

This made a lot of critic's top 10 lists, deservedly so. Like Tom Waits, Dylan is his own genre.

GusterGanging Up On The Sun

This danged record stirred up all sorts of fun this year. It all started with the single "One Man Wrecking Machine," perhaps the best pop song of the year.

Pat Metheny & Brad MehldauMetheny/Mehldau
What's more amazing? The fact that Pat Metheny and Brad Mehldau together sound so incredibly simpatico, or that I managed to not review this disc? Just guitar and piano. Tremendous.

My Chemical RomanceThe Black Parade

Pop pop. Punk. Emo. Whatever. This record rocks hard from start to finish. Don't let the Liza Minnelli cameo scare you.

New York DollsOne Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This

The two surviving memberes of the original Dolls (David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain) give us an updated glam fest. Turn it up very, very loud and just try to keep driving below the speed limit.

Michael O'NeillOntophony

The best bagpipe record I've ever heard. Seriously!

Peeping TomPeeping Tom
I've been accused of buying this disc because I wanted to hear Norah Jones utter the word "motherf*cker." Well, the truth is that…OK, I bought this disc because I wanted to hear Norah Jones utter the word "motherf*cker." So sue me.

Bruce SpringsteenThe Seeger Sessions

For me, this is the record of the year. Every time I put it on the pure joy and passion just knocks me out. The shows were even more stunning.

Regina SpektorBegin To Hope

Spektor should be a household name. Yea, people said that about Kate Bush too. Wait, I think I said that about Kate Bush! Fantastic and weird songs combined with a lovely voice.

Tom WaitsOrphans

Good gawd, the man is a veritable Fort Knox of ideas. From barroom stompers to pensive ballads to clattering percussion to spoken word oddities. Waits reciting Bukowski? Yes, please! Waits is the weird uncle you're fascinated by and scared of at the same time. You still love him though.

The WhoEndless Wire

Townshend and Daltry put out the best Townshend solo record of recent memory.

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About Mark Saleski

  • Peter

    why would you add “I’m not kidding” to Neil Diamond’s 12 Songs?That album must be one of the most universally praised of the past 12 months.I doubt you will see Punk blogs and college radio dj’s and mainstream publications like Rolling Stone and the housewives of America agree on much else.

  • Mark Saleski

    true. but some people have a certain idea of what Neil Diamond is like and are very surprised at the praise tossed this recording’s way.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    So, Mark, am I supposed to buy just music for my family?

  • Mark Saleski

    well, either that or porn.

  • http://www.keithdeweese.com Keith DeWeese

    What? You mean “Kate Bush” isn’t a household word? Where’s your house?

  • Mark Saleski

    hey, i didn’t say she wasn’t a household word in MY house now did i? ;-)

  • http://serenadeingreen.blogspot.com/ Stephen V Funk

    Mark, you and I must be the only two people on the planet who own albums by Neil Diamond, Rhys Chatham, AND Susanne Abbeuhl… (I liked “Compass” too but prefer her first album, “April.”)

    ho ho ho

  • http://serenadeingreen.blogspot.com/ Stephen V Funk

    oh, and am I the only one that thinks Metheny/Mehldau is a massive bore? I wanted to like it, and tried several times, but it just wasn’t happenin’ for me.

    My holiday advice: get one (or both) of the Bill Evans/Jim Hall albums instead.

  • http://daslob.blogspot.com/ Pico

    FWIW, I didn’t think Mehldau/Metheny was a massive bore, just a minor one. I still need to get that Ornette you’re recommending, that’s got to be a good one.

    I listened to New Monestary at least a dozen times in its entirety trying to like it; I’m still not getting it. Except, of course, for “Compulsion”.

    -P

  • Mark Saleski

    it’s funny how some pieces of music resonate and others don’t. i still remember the first time i heard The Lounge Lizards. a friend of mine had a copy of Live in Tokyo: Big Heart that somebody had given him. holy crap, i could hardly carry on a conversation because i was so taken with the music.

    why? i just don’t know.

    i have this coming week off, i should review Metheny/Mehldau.

  • goat boy

    Keith-if you ask 100 random people on the streets of New York who Kate Bush is,99 of them will probably say that she is George Bush’ daughter.

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Well the only things on this list I actually own are Dylan, The Who, and Springsteen, Of those three, I had my doubts about the latter two going in. Happily, I was proven wrong on both counts. I’ve had my eye on Buckingham, Waits, The Dolls, and yes, Neil Diamond, for awhile now. So those are definitely on my “get list.”

    Of the others you mention, I know Guster has gotten all kinds of raves. So far, I don’t hear it but perhaps I’ll give it another chance. My Chemical Romance I’m more leary of — although I did like Queen the first time around.

    Pat Metheny is a guy I loved around the time of “As Falls Wichita” and “Offramp.” “As Falls” for me is the perfect soundtrack for driving on a dark two lane late at night with no traffic. He lost me somewhere in the years following those two albums, but again I may have to take a look at whats he’s been up too lately (though Mr. Funk calls it a “turkey”).

    I also have to be honest and say I’m not sure I heard enough truly great music this year to fill a top ten list. Good stuff there was plenty of. Great not so much.

    I would put Dylan and Springsteen on a personal Top 3 though. Right along with Johnny Cash’s American V.

    Happy New Year!

    -Glen

  • Mark Saleski

    Glen, you should get the Metheny Group’s The Way Up, a long suite of interconnected parts. very cool..

    also, for something more straight ahead, check out the live Trio record.

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Mark,

    On your recommendation, The Way Up just got added to my “get list.” Which means I may actually buy it sometime within the next six months –LOL– but I will buy it.

    I used to absolutely love the guy, but somewhere there in the late eighties/nineties (not sure exactly), I lost interest. When you describe a “long suite of interconnected parts” though, that definitely sounds encouraging.

    I’ll let ya know what I think once I get it.

    -Glen

  • SHARK

    Glad to see you had the Dixie Chicks on the list; this is a great album. These days, that takes a lotta nerve!

    xxoo
    S

  • BRICKLAYER

    1.THE KILLERS-SAM’S TOWN
    2.AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD-SO DIVIDED
    3.BOB DYLAN-MODERN TIMES
    4.BOUNCING SOULS-THE GOLD RECORD
    5.ALL AMERICAN REJECTS-MOVE ALONG
    6.PLANES MISTAKEN FOR STARS-MERCY
    7.XXXTINA AGUILERA-BACK TO BASICS
    8.AGAINST ME!-SEARCHING FOR A FORMER CLARITY
    9.HATEBREED-SUPREMACY
    10.BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME-ALASKA

    11.HONORABLE MENTION: CARRIE UNDERWOOD-SOME HEARTS, IRON MAIDEN-DANCE OF DEATH, MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE-THE BLACK PARADE, SLAYER-CHRIST ILLUSION, JUDAS PRIEST-ANGEL OF RETRIBUTION,TERROR-ALWAYS THE HARD WAY SPARTA-THREES

    BUT NONE OF THE ABOVE ARE BETTER THAN THE MISFITS BOX SET, AND THAT COMES IN A COFFIN SHAPED BOX!

  • BRICKLAYER

    I FORGOT ABOUT BRAND NEW-THE DEVIL AND GOD ARE RAGING INSIDE ME. PLEASE PLACE THIS AT #9, AND REMOVE HATEBREED TO THE HONORABLE MENTION LIST. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

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