The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Notable Local Releases of 2006

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 29, 2006 8:25PM

While we felt nationally the year was a little flabby when it came to music to get us excited, we found succor in Chicago’s constantly expanding scene that continues to grow in its influence. We had a hard time winnowing down our list to just a few stand-outs since so many great albums came out locally, but the following acts kept finding their way into our iPods and our DJ sets. And for those of you who want to quibble, The Changes almost made it in, and Office is not on the list because, while their album got lots of buzz this year, it actually came out in 2005. So, with no further delay, we present five albums (in alphabetical order of artist) that made Chicago a little bit cooler this year.

2006_12_assassins.JPGAssassins - You Will Changed Us
Chicago’s Assassins have undergone so many false starts when it comes to the fame game, it seems fitting that they decided to reclaim their tunes from a Major Label and release their debut on their own dime. The result is an electro-rock album with soul beneath the sheen.

Bound Stems - Appreciation Night
From our original preview of their Chicago appearance: Bound Stems don’t sound like they’re from Chicago. Actually, they sound like they should either be from the Pacific Northwest or D.C., since both of those areas seem particularly adept at teasing out the emo (and we mean Rites of Spring emo, not Flop Haired Boy mall-punk) and fusing it with jarring pop.

The Ladies & Gentlemen - Ladies And Gentlemen...The Ladies & Gentlemen
This Chicago glam-pop quartet deserves super-stardom since they kick out danceable rock gems that routinely clock in at under the 3-minute mark. This displays a mastery of economy and a knack for picking out the perfect hook. Plus, their live shows bring out that rarest of beasts: The Dancing Chicago indie-rocker!

The Like Young - Last Secrets
This husband/wife team pulled the plug on their (musical) collaboration and we were saddened that development followed on the heels of their best album yet. A little bit of The Who peeks out from behind their noisy pop and that just makes us love ‘em even more.

Lupe Fiasco - Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor
This disc took far too long to come out, but once it did it met and exceeded all our expectations. Plus, it gave rhythmically challenged white-boy bloggers a common denominator they could all agree was pretty awesome in 2006. (See also: Clipse.) Between Lupe Fiasco and Rhymefest it’s nice to see Chicago hip-hop gaining national prominence. (And no, we don’t count Kanye anymore.)

Assassins photo by Paul Elledge