Those of you who know me or remember my Portland proselytizing from past years will be unsurprised to see my first contribution (of hopefully several) to this year's jamboree deals with local music made here in Portland, OR. I maintain my position that we here are lucky to host the most exciting, vibrant and varied music scene in America, and the world has definitely been catching on over the past few years. This was a relatively quiet year for some of the bigger names here in town (Malkmus, Modest Mouse, The Shins, let alone the now defunct Sleater-Kinney), but some other acts broke through nationally in really exciting ways (The Thermals, The Decemberists, Viva Voce, The Blow). I'm uncertain yet whether I'll include PDX acts in my master Best of 2006 list, but in the meantime, here are my favorite 2006 releases from Stumptown, with links to mp3s, myspaces or what-have-you:
1) Parenthetical Girls - Safe As Houses
2) Alan Singley & Pants Machine - Lovingkindness (ed: Paul, I think you'll truly love this)
3) Evolutionary Jass Band - Change of Scene
4) Talkdemonic - Beat Romantic
5) Alela Diane - The Pirate's Gospel
6) Nice Nice - Fall EP/Winter EP (ed: This duo is one of the best live acts I've ever seen, and they just signed to Warp!)
7) Horse Feathers - Words Are Dead
8) Copy - Mobius Beard
9) The Blow - Paper Televison
10)Wet Confetti - Laughing, Gasping
If you have any interest in Portland music, I heartily encourage you to take a visit to the website for PDX Pop Now! which is a Portland-music-oriented non-profit I co-run up here. Among other things, we put on a 3-day, free, all-ages festival of local music, released a 2-disc compilation of local music, and put out a DVD of the 2005 festival. 2007 will be our 4th year - you should come for the festival in August!
I will also add that my band, At Dusk, released its 3rd album "You Can Know Danger" this year, all of which is available for download for free on our website.
As for 2007, I predict that Menomena's new album "Friend and Foe" is going to take the world by storm when it comes out next month.