Eric Fine   PoOPlist 2006


I look around the room for inspiration. It used to be that the music was enough. Didn’t matter whether it was good or bad; just mattered that it was new and I had something to say about it. Not this year. Not sure why. Personally, it’s been a year of wonderful triumphs. My wife and I had a beautiful baby boy. I was able to get back to NYC full-time with a job I really enjoy. I still have Rhapsody to turn to for musical inspiration. Still, nothing moved me. Have I reached the bottom of the writing well? Maybe I’m not working hard enough – digging deep enough. They say inspiration comes from within, right? Maybe it’s just the exhaustion. I know my wife laughs in the face of exhaustion – she is a true champion in my eyes. Anyway, I guess I wouldn’t be here right now if I did not feel compelled to speak to the music of 2006. As always, I began the year with a promising new list. And again, I end the year struggling to find ones that will stick with me and stand the test of time. Sure, my standards are rather high, but shouldn’t they be?

The Top 9, in no particular order:

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1. Built To Spill – You In Reverse
That’s right, Built To Spill rules. Those of you who really know me know I grew up on balls out rock. Led Zeppelin kicks ass. Foo Fighters picked up the torch. And just because Doug Marsh is a bit weasely looking does not mean he does not know how to rock. Also, seeing them perform practically the entire Perfect From Now On album live makes up for all the disappointing times I saw then play previously.

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2. Belle & Sebastian – The Life Pursuit> Less precious, more pop. A true masterpiece. Even for non-B&S fans. Reminds me of 70’s AM radio and fighting with my dad to turn off those damn oldies. Oldies now take on a whole new meaning for me…

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3. The Lemonheads – Lemonheads
I guess I finally grew up. You see, I never really loved The Lemonheads. I appreciated their quirkiness – thought the stories of Evan Dando’s exploits were humorous, but also thought their music was second rate indie-pop. It all makes sense now – as if the divergent paths Mr. Dando and I took to get here finally crossed.

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4. Gomez – How We Operate
As a senior member of the illustrious POOP staff, I would like to think I bring a uniqueness to the table. It used to be that my fellow New Paltz crew and I would run parallel to each other in musical tastes. As time moved on, and we moved apart, it became a solo job to seek out new music and stand tall about what actually moved me. And this is one I am out of the closet on. Hard for me to compare it to their older titles, as this is a new discovery, but it makes me want to seek out more.

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5. Damien Rice – 9
Is it wrong to call him the new David Gray? Let me explain, it goes beyond the Irish comparison. There used to be a time when you could hear the angst in Mr. Gray’s voice. Now I just hear the register cha ching. One can hear his need to make music – used to be the same for Gray.

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6. Flaming Lips – Mystics Explained
I’m sure I will see this on people’s most disappointing lists. Quite frankly, I don’t care. That’s the problem with great bands – they set their own bar so high that if anything falls short it is considered a disappointment. Too bad; I like it.

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7. The Raconteurs – Broken Boy Solider
As much as I dig this album, I think it should be better. Anyone familiar with Brendan Benson’s music knows he is one of the great pop writers of our day. Jack White, well he knows a good garage rock beat when he hears one. Unfortunately, that is just what this is: Garage Pop.

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8. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
Great band with a ton of energy. A true standout that fits into multiple generations; the kind you can groove to with your children.

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9. Neil Young – Live At The Fillmore East
I heard he put out a new album this year. That’s nice. These Fillmore show’s have been a bootleg staple in my collection for years. Newly remastered just makes it all the more meaningful and relevant.

Things I know I liked on first listen but wish I heard more of to be able to articulate intelligently upon:
Golden Smog – Another Fine Day;  | | |  Rhett Miller – The Believer;  | | |  Gnarls Barkley – St. Elsewhere;  | | |  Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings The Flood;  | | |  Cut Chemist – The Audience’s Listening;  | | |  Yo La Tengo – I Am Not Afraid Of You and I Will Beat Your Ass;  | | |  Bob Dylan – Modern Times;  | | |  Sparklehorse – Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain;  | | |  Tommy Guerrero – From The Soil To The Soul;  | | |  Portastatic – Be Still Please;  | | |  The Who – Endless Wire;  | | |  Gob Iron – Death Songs For The Living;  | | |  Anders Parker – Anders Parker

Box Sets, Reissues, Tributes, and things I was previously familiar with but sound new again:

  1. Tortoise – A Lazarus Taxon There is not a time or a place where this soundtrack is inappropriate. A complete collection of singles and spacey sounds equal one great harmonious landscape.
  2. Tom Waits – Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers, and Bastards Great collection of odds and ends, as well as a few new ditties.
  3. Big Star Tribute Wilco, Whiskeytown, and The Afghan Whigs in one place. ‘Nuff said.
  4. Pavement – Wowee Zowee: Sordid Sentinels Tons of goodies packaged together.
  5. Matthew Sweet – Girlfriend I never thought Matthew Sweet would ever make a list of mine again, unless it was a “where are they now” list. But, reissuing Girlfriend with the Goodfriend CD was one of the smartest things he’s ever done. Unfortunately, owning the original Goodfriend CD makes me feel not so special anymore.

Major Disappointments
I usually avoid these lists because I may regret something one day. Yet I think I could probably sum them all up today with one word: boring. Oh well, let it fly…
Sean Lennon – Friendly Fire;  | | |  Aimee Mann – One More Drifter In The Snow;  | | |  Josh Rouse – Subtitulo;  | | |  Badly Drawn Boy – Born In The UK

Lastly, I know I started off my POOP with mention of my new boy. I certainly do not want to gloss over this event. Jaden Cole Brensilber Fine was born July 12th. He has profoundly changed my life. Everything I do now has different meaning. I cannot thank my lucky stars enough as to how healthy and happy he is. Although I may not show it or appreciate her enough, as always, the dedication to my wife has different meaning this year. Thank You for your new patience with this child and for being an incredible mother to our new child.

E Fine NYC