2006 has been a year that’s lived up to and exceeded all expectations. With enough fantastic albums to treble the length of my Albums of the Year list and a gig list long enough to frighten even the hardiest tour manager, I’ve seen plenty of goodness this year.
However, at this time of year it’s difficult to remember exactly what happened. Or maybe, if you can remember what happened, you can’t remember when it happened. Luckily we’re on hand to jog those memories and help you reminisce about the good times and the couple of sad moments which brought us all back down to Earth with a big bump. This is 2006.
We began the year with a landmark for DiS as January saw the launch of the award-winning DiS Radio podcast. There was even a special podcast celebrating our 6 Tips For 2006 show at the London Barfly, which was not just sold-out: it was a heaving sweatpit that also had some people and bands in it. Other news saw the sixth ultra-glossy edition of the marvellous Loose Lips Sink Ships magazine hit newsstands across the country and Regina Spektor’s wonderful new album hitting delicate eardrums just as delicately. Broken Social Scene's self-titled album also received an official UK release through City Slang, and Cat Power returned with The Greatest, even if DiS didn't think it was. Her greatest album, that is. Oh, and some Sheffield band or other released their debut album.
I’d like to suggest that February was a quiet month but this was when DiS editor Colin Roberts’ (other) favourite new band volcano! released their debut album. Needless to say it got a hallowed 10/10 rating and Colin went and hung out with them when they played London’s Luminaire. The Kilburn venue was voted London’s best venue in February. What a linkup. Other news saw the best grunge band ever, Alice In Chains, announcing their return with a new singer. I love them. Belle And Sebastian also returned with a bang, and DiS awarded their The Life Pursuit album 9/10; the same score found its way to Liars' excellently weird Drum's Not Dead, too. One of the success stories of the year, Panic! At The Disco, also released their debut album in February.
There actually was a bit less happening in March as half the DiS crew tottered off to Texas for South By Southwest and gorged themselves on pancakes and free beer for a week. Some of us sorry bastards were left behind in the UK, licking our wounds after almost dying in the Will Haven moshpit. The Sacramento noiseniks had returned after splitting and it was like nothing had changed. Apart from their hair. Other news saw iLiKETRAiNS lead singer David Martin involved in a painful shoulder incident. The Knife released one of our albums of the year: their Silent Shout attracted a rare 10/10 from DiS. Mystery Jets, too, received the DiS stamp of approval for their Making Dens debut.
Iceland was fun.
April was an awesome month as Reading… sorry, Carling Weekend tickets sold out in minutes, outstanding albums from Mono, Satyricon and Todd (which was reviewed even more outstandingly), and the DiS Radio podcast hosting a Rock Show that was downloaded by loads of people who were promptly scared off by Gojira’s merciless metal tones. The month’s festival coverage was of Rite Of Spring: held in Reykjavik, the wild experiences prompted the triumphant return of the Raz on The Raz article. It was clear that DiS would be back in Iceland before long.
Sticking on the festival theme, the first proper British festival of the year was being held in Brighton in May, and DiS had a stage at The Great Escape with Metric and The Cooper Temple Clause playing. I was probably watching Disco Ensemble and Gojira, but there have been more than enough jokes about that this year. More jokes were had when I received death threats from Angels & Airwaves fans about an album review and guitarist Dave Baksh left Sum 41 to form Brown Brigade. Oh dear. Kaiser Chiefs’ singer Ricky Wilson also got hit by a car, but he wasn’t run over. Luckily. In more album news, Howling Bells got us all hot abour our collars with their self-titled debut.
The first summer heat wave gave us all sunstroke at Download in June, but the joy and sickness found at the Midlands metalfest was soon tempered with the news that Billy Bell of Les Incompetents was almost fatally injured in an incident with a drunken tree hugger. You couldn’t have made that shit up. DiS editor Colin Roberts wrote a piece on Muse that has proven to be remarkably prophetic. Things like this that make you realise that the success of DiS thus far may not be a whimsical fluke. Some albums were also released – most notably by bands with funny names (iLiKETRAiNS, 36 Crazyfists, Final Fantasy and SikTh). June was also the first time we heard Beirut, whose Gulag Orkestar album made its way to DiS on import - it's now out officially through 4AD.
July was a controversial month. That Muse album was released and, true to form, sparked massive debate about whether they were actually good or actually the worst band EVER or whether Bellamy is just Thom Yorke but better (get over it, kids). The self-titled Razorlight album got fewer people flustered but was one of the most comprehensive and massively long reviews ever seen on DiS, and the latest Winnebago Deal album split opinion just like Muse did. But not as many people cared. Or else they’d be playing Wembley Stadium next summer. Oh, and Top of the Pops faded away to less than four million people. It was a shame, but clearly nobody really gave a shit. Guillemots released their debut album, too; we might just have liked it. That, and TV On The Radio's quite, quite magnificent Return To Cookie Mountain.
Lifesblood of DiS, content editor Mike Diver, risked life, limb and reputation by interviewing My Chemical Romance in August. Unsurprisingly he came out looking even better than before. Ale in hand and pie in mouth, he thrust a copy of The Daily Mail in their face and before they could even be bewildered he cackled and pointed at their sorry emo arses. They spoke about that emo article Mail onstage at Reading. Nice one, Mike. Talking of the Carling Weekend, we got our coverage up on DiS even before the weekly magazines. Respect to the sad fool who coordinated that. Right? There were also wicked albums by Cursive and Comets On Fire.
September mainly saw us recovering. From Reading, from hearing the new Gallows, Bat For Lashes and Mastodon records, from toiling over the design of the DiScover subsite that was launched that month (after approximately 17 hours we decided on the brightest pink available), and then we brainstormed and thought up the Some Questions feature. It was something a bit different and only the usual suspects moaned about it, so we weren’t that arsed.
2006 was a really
great year for Muse
Birthdays are always to be celebrated. I don’t care if you’re 18 or 81, it’s the one day of the year when you should demand attention from everyone that reckons they’re your friend. If they don’t turn up then they’re not worthy. Probably. Luckily, when DiS was Six in October we had a whole month of celebrating so nobody could miss out. Not even Icelandic people. There was a tour with Fields and GoodBooks and a countdown of our favourite 66 albums of the last six years, imaginatively called Our 66. We finished it off with a gig at Iceland Airwaves (told you we’d be back), and then we went to see Panic! At The Disco at Brixton. It was great. October also saw an amazing fourth album from Lamb Of God, a blissful second from Subtle, a fantastic fifth from Deftones, and a stunning debut EP from Rolo Tomassi. October was amazing. Sing 'Happy Birthday' again.
When unsigned Hertfordshire trancecore merchants Enter Shikari announced they were to headline the Astoria in November there was uproar. Opinion was wildly divided just as it is/was with Muse. Are Enter Shikari to headline Wembley in future? Time will tell. It was a month for great gigs as we saw DiS faves Les Incompetents play their long overdue final show with Billy Bell back in action, looking as pissed off as ever with Fred’s wacky antics. We also got stupidly drunk and saw Slayer. Twice. In terms of records, Joanna Newsom released a rather spiffing album as did Killswitch Engage, The Long Blondes and Blood Brothers but, like I said, November was all about going to lots of gigs. Lots and lots.
Now it’s December and you have read this article. You’re now able to remember some snippets of the last year with the assistance of my memory, and you may have even been to the DiS Christmas parties we’ve hosted with Guillemots, GoodBooks, Jeremy Warmsley, Tiger Force and Sky Larkin this week. Who knows. Maybe you've voted for our Album Of The Year? (If not, do so quick.) You may have even bought tickets to see the most important British band of our generation. Or maybe, even, tickets to the DiS-sponsored Blood Brothers tour in January...
Who knows. Who cares? Roll on 2007, I say, because if 2006 was anything to go by, the next twelve months are going to be absolutely brilliant.