A few quick notes -- I'm not at home and have a horrible memory. So my top list is a list of my top ten different things. Favorite 7", favorite LP, favorite reissue, etc. Still, I'm handicapped by not having my records here to look at, re-listen to, etc. I'm relying on whatever is on my iPod. And truth be told, I spent more time this year listening to Dwight Twilley, the Suburbs and the Easybeats than anything that came out in 2006. That happens when you get old. There was some awesome shit that came out this year. I just have a shitty memory and can't remember much of it. So forgive me for the generic-ness of what's at the top of my list, music-wise anyways. And in reality, I guess if I can't remember a release, that means I probably didn't spend a whole lotta time listening to it, and thus it's not a favorite. Right?

7 inch Record: "Disconnected" - Red Red Red (Perpetrator Records)
This record just so completely blew me away when I first heard it, that it's lodged into my skull like a piece of shrapnel. I'd gone to see just about every Red Red Red show in the greater Detroit Metro area. But the record...man, the music just leapt off the vinyl in a way I hadn't experienced in years. Vicious? Yeah. Loud? You bet! The "Mind Destroyer" album on Big Neck is equally great, but you know, I have a special fondness for a tight, perfect 7". And this fits the bill in spades.

Album: "Blood Visions" - Jay Reatard (In the Red)
Ahhh...the long-awaited, much hyped and argued about solo album from Jay Reatard. To be honest, I think this album has a few blemishes. It's not a wholly perfect album, but the great parts are so, so great that this album still blows most everything else outta the water. Warts and all, this rules.

Reissue: Bastards/Nasal Boys LPs (uhh)
Okay, I haven't heard these yet, but these Swiss bands' original 7"s are two of my favorite KBD-type records. And I've always been surprised that they hadn't yet been reissued or booted. Finally, we get full albums of both. As awesome as these may (or may not) be, I still think the singles should get reissued.

How do you judge the best show? Was it the band I thought was best? Or the show I went to at which I had the best time? If you're going by bands, I'd probably say the Ex. They're always just stunning live and it's a rare treat to see them in the States. If you're talking about just having a good time, it'd either be the day show at Phil's House in Gainesville, Florida during The Fest or the show Defect Defect played in a third floor Brooklyn apartment after driving like hell from Philadelphia following an early show. Both those shows were quintessentially awesome punk house shows. Completely packed with people dancing, going nuts...so yeah, one of those. If I'd gotten to see Mark Pesci shit himself at the Albion House, after the Defect Defect/Bayonettes/Busy Signals/Pedestrians/etc show, that would've been the hands-down winner.

Reunion Show: Radio Birdman
I'm gonna say Radio Birdman even though I didn't go see them. Oblivians might take it, but to be honest, I wasn't a huge Oblivians fan back when they were around (I've since seen the light). And everything I heard about Radio Birdman was that they just put on a no-holds-barred, killer show.

Fest: Blackout 2006
Yeah, four days was too fucking long. Yeah, it was crowded as hell and all that shit. You've heard the complaints. But it was a fitting send-off for an excellent, long-running fest. All I really remember is getting a hot dog tattoo, chugging a coupla cans of Wild Stallion and...that's it.

Interview: Jay Reatard, by Mitch Cardwell (MRR)
Mitch Cardwell puts the boots to Jay Reatard (to borrow an expression from Richard Adventure). In a long-overdue, lengthy interview Cardwell shows us that, despite the Feelers interview fiasco, he is a great writer/interviewer and gets Jay to talk seriously about his music.

Photobook: Satellites, by Jonas Bendiksen
Do you care about photobooks? Probably not. Feel free to move on...but this photobook by the young (26 or so) Jonas Bendiksen makes me want to shoot myself in the face. Gorgeous color photos of former Russian "satellite" countries/autonomous regions like Transdniester, Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh. This is the book I wish I would have done (even if I might have shot it in black and white).

Old Book I Just Now Read: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 by Hunter S. Thompson
So I decided to move to Washington, DC to get in place to take pictures of the 2008 election. In preparation, I've been reading lots of books about elections past. The 1972 election was momentous for a number of reasons. One reason is that two of the best election-coverage books ever were written about it -- Boys on the Bus (by Timothy Crouse) and this monster (both by Rolling Stone reporters). And picking which I liked more was hard...but Hunter S. Thompson is in his fucking prime here. You just don't get "reporting" like this any more, as hard as a lot of young journalists try. But then, you don't get campaigns like the '72 Nixon/Humphery campaign anymore either. The drinking, drugging and all around debauchery on this campaign is the stuff of legend. And it will never happen again. Both in style and content, Thompson captures the mood, feeling and some of the facts that marked this campaign.

Hot Dog: Hot Doug's, Chicago, IL
Honestly, I tried to think of a better hot dog I've had this year. The closest 2nd runner up I could think of would probably be a Nathan's hot dog I cooked my self this summer. That fucker was G-O-O-D. It was one of those hot dogs that's just juicy enough, just perfect enough that it's gone in 2 or 3 bites and you're dying for another. And as good as that Nathan's dog was, I do miss Koegel's, a hot dog brand found in the Detroit area. But if we're talking hot dogs you get at a stand or whatever, even Hot Doug's basic, all-beef dog kicks the shit outta most others. Throw in the duck fat fries and I'm in orbit.

Contact Icki: eataturd-at-gmail.com
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