As the year winds down to a close, thoughts inevitably turn to the year gone by and the year to come, and so like every music blog on the face of the planet, I’ve decided to indulge myself in the popular pastime of making retrospective lists and mixes. Over these next few weeks, in an extremely irregular manner, I’ll be offering my own two cents on the past year and what it’s had to offer.

To kick things off, I’ve made a mix.

I know, I know. Worst album art ever. But you can’t fault me for trying, right? Actually, in this case, you probably should, haha.

Anyways, this is a mix of some of my favorite rock songs of the past year. Click on the title for a download link.

Even Destroyers Have a Price Best of 2006, Vol. 1 – Pinups:

  1. I’m From Barcelona – Oversleeping
  2. Phoenix – Consolation Prizes
  3. Golden Smog – 5-22-02
  4. The Music Lovers – You Have the City
  5. Camera Obscura – Let’s Get Out of This Country
  6. The Essex Green – Cardinal Points
  7. Neko Case – Star Witness
  8. Pas/Cal – Little Red Radio
  9. The Bicycles – B-B-Bicycles
  10. Sloan – Right or Wrong
  11. …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – So Divided
  12. Paul Westerberg – Love You in the Fall
  13. Keene Brothers – Death of the Party
  14. Cat Power – Lived in Bars
  15. Grizzly Bear – Knife
  16. Arctic Monkeys – Fake Tales of San Francisco
  17. Voxtrot – Trouble
  18. The Mountain Goats – Ox Baker Triumphant
  19. Destroyer – European Oils
  20. Yo La Tengo – Sometimes I Don’t Get You

A lot of you have probably heard most of these songs before, but I think I’ve done a good job sequencing them, and I hope that all of you at least find something new in here.

Note that these are my favorite songs, not representatives of my favorite albums. In fact, most of my favorite albums of the year aren’t even represented on this list. This mix is meant as a showcase of independent song, leading to the unavoidable topic of whether the single or the album is the preferred scale of operation in pop music, but that’s a different topic entirely.

You’ll also note that this is Volume 1. I may decide to create future installments as well, trying my hand at non-rock songs, and the best of the rest. Of course, that would be incredibly elitist of me, and my tastes are certainly undeserving of any sort of elitism. I don’t expect this mix to blow up the blogosphere, literally or figuratively, it’s really quite pedestrian, so just think of this as my fun little side project to indulge myself with for a few days.

Let me know what you think! Make your own mixes, and share them with the world! Be merry!

John Darnielle on Halloween. Best dude.

And as I’ve been working on this, there’s been a backlog of links:

  • An extensive compilation of respective Best Of 2006 lists from throughout the world wide web. I could browse this for hours.
  • What happens when you try and install 200 Firefox extensions at the same time?
  • Donate money to charities every time you simply do an internet search. How nice.
  • 50 works of art to see before you die. This was my introduction to the Angel of the North, which I’ve now added to my list of must-see landmarks.
  • More lists! The Economist unveils their books of the year, 2006 edition. This was my introduction to The Cloudspotter’s Guide, which I’ve now added to my list of must-read books.
  • The Economist also brings us an interesting article on organic farming, and whether or not it’s actually good for the environment.
  • Photos from inside the new Airbus A380 superjumbo. Qantas needs to get one of these for my flight to Australia, thx. I love how there’s like this pimped-out butler smugly standing in the background. Yeah, you have the best job in the world.
  • Let’s say you happen to be a devout Muslim, and you happen to be orbiting the Earth in the International Space Station. Okay, check. Where do you face if you need to pray towards Mecca?
  • Darius Johnson has rushed for over 1,000 yards as the runningback for his Kansas high school’s football team. Quite impressive. What’s even more impressive is the fact that he has no field vision whatsoever, because, uh, he’s legally blind.
  • Donald Rumsfeld’s replacement as Defense Secretary, Mr. Robert Gates, has a history of posting on football message boards. I like this guy already, and pretty much for this reason only.
  • Airport security didn’t let Troy Smith take his Heisman trophy on the plane.
  • So far, the two best soccer goals of the year in the English Premiership have probably been Robin van Persie’s rocket volley, and Xabi Alonso’s stunning shot from distance. Let’s add Matt Taylor’s volley to that list, for sure.
  • A subtle and inconspicuous way to cheat at Minesweeper.
  • Good overview of the coming Windows Vista, and why you should think about upgrading if you’re an XP owner. Or, you can follow my lead and get a Mac. I know, surprising. I’m not sure if I’m making the right call here, but we’ll find out soon enough.
  • Find out what happens when you drill a hole through a laptop screen that’s turned on. Remarkably beautiful, actually.
  • Playstation 1 can easily be used as an audiophile-quality CD player. Unbelievable, if I wasn’t so busy with finals I’d be all over eBay right now.
  • Speaking of finals, indispensable tips on how to successfully pull an all-nighter.
  • Twenty things that students can do with Post-it Notes.
  • Five interesting uses for your cellphone.
  • Get a digital hourglass. Wiat, what?
  • Or, get an ice-skating treadmill. Wiat, what?
  • The unnoticed societal benefits of height, with possible evolutionary explanations.

    In the last century, all but three U.S. presidential contests were won by the taller candidate. A survey of Fortune 500 CEOs shows that the average corporate titan is much taller than the national mean, roughly six feet to roughly five feet nine (nearly 60 percent of the executives top six feet, compared to 14.5 percent of the country at large).

  • And finally, Cornell has just published its 2005-2006 report (pdf) concerning the search of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Arkansas. Basically nothing definitive, just a few intriguing recordings, and some brief tantalizing glimpses of birds in flight. If the birds around, there can’t be many of them, and they may have moved on from this part of Arkansas by now.

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