Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 Year End Survey | Paul Searls

Paul Searls is a Vermont author, history professor and former faculty advisor at UVM to WRUV. Plus, he has a fantastic music collection (and is a longtime soccer fan) so we wanted to be sure to include him in our year-end wrap-up.

Between changing CDs in his player and reading Four Four Two, Searls penned the book, Two Vermonts, which was released earlier this year. Two Vermonts is a historical look at the tension between the competing forces of tourism, conservation and development in Vermont. It shows that the current struggles we have today with finding balanced solutions mirror the issues Vermonters faced all the way back to the 19th century.

If you received any Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Borders gift certificates for Christmas, Two Vermonts is available at the online store for each. Plus, I'm sure Bear Pond Books could have a copy within a few days.

Well, here's Searls' list of faves:

1) What was your favorite song of 2006?

That would probably be "Possible Harm" by Pony Up! A mechanically perfect pop song. Builds nicely, great harmonies, an excellent bridge. Kind of a cross between Electralane and the Softies. Has many of the same elements as one of the greatest songs from last year, Stars' "Ex-Lover is Dead," in that it moves forward in discreet but logically-flowing movements.

Other candidates:
Page France: "Chariot"
Silversun Pickups: "Lazy Eye"
Beirut: "Postcards from Italy"
and there must be 1000 others but those come to mind first.

2) What was your favorite album of 2006?

That has to be Christine Fellows' "Paper Anniversary." Such a wonderful album. I'm constantly amazed how CF can convey such a complex mix of emotions--wry humor, naivete, resignation, despair--with the slightest vocal inflections. Ranks up there with Tracy Shedd's "Blue" and "Exile in Guyville" in the pantheon of female singer-songwriter albums. It has beautiful sparse instrumentation but a mix of sounds and instruments that keeps it a lively listening experience throughout.

Other candidates:
Mixtapes and Cellmates: "If There Is Silence, Fill It With Longing"
The Sprites: "Modern Gameplay"
I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch here, but honorable mention to the new Aberdeen collection, "What Do I Wish For Now"

3) What was your favorite concert of 2006?

I'll pass on this category for lack of a sufficient sample. That's what kids will do for you. And to think how I used to see 3 or 4 shows a week when I lived in NYC...

4) What was your favorite thing about 2006?

You suggested it would be the World Cup, but actually I thought it was an awful, depressing, disappointing tournament, the worst since 1990. From the quarterfinals on, the only match I thought remotely exciting was Spain-France. But even if it had been a great tournament, it wouldn't have trumped the outcome of the election in November.

5) What are your best wishes for 2007?

The continued health and normal development of my sons. American troops out of Iraq without the country and region collapsing violently. Leyton Orient to avoid relegation. And a Sufjan Stevens album about Vermont.

Pony Up! | Possible Harm | Buy
Page France | Chariot | Buy
Silversun Pickups | Lazy Eye | Buy
Beirut | Postcards From Italy | Buy


jay said...

That book sounds really good...the future of Vermont's economy and environment are definitely things that all of us should be concerned about.

Nice music selections as well!

Paul Searls said...

Seems like a long time ago that I sent these favorites, and, rereading
them now, and couple of things jump out at me:

1) amazing how many of my long-time favorite bands put out excellent
albums this year--Mates of State, Mountain Goats, Hem, Yo La Tengo,
Decemberists, Sonic Youth, Stereolab, Belle and Sebastian, Rainer
Maria, et al.--and none came to mind when composing this letter. 2006
was an excellent year in music.

2) I'll always remember 2006 as the year of shoegazing's revival.
Mixtapes and Cellmates, Radio Dept., Alcian Blue, Asobi Sexsu, Panda
Riot, She, Sir, Sunny Day in Glasgow, the mighty Pia Fraus (Estonia's
finest!), and many, many others either released new albums or were
bands I discovered this year. All wonderful.

3) Sweden! Sweden! Sweden! How can 70% of the world's best music come
from such a small country?