Neile's Favourite Music of 1996


1996's Beyond the Best

Tori Amos -- Boys for Pele

A mysterious, powerful, confusing, remarkable, fun and occasionally frightening journey into the mind and spirit of a daring artist. Amazing. Her greatest work yet.

Veda Hille -- Spine

Veda Hille's third album is a total knockout. With a wide range of emotion, totally individual tunes and lyrics, this album is creative and fresh. Don't miss it.

1996's Best

Dalbello -- Whore

A powerhouse of an album. All the angry women in rock should listen and weep.

ani difranco -- Dilate

I obsessed with this album the entire six weeks I was in a writing workshop this summer. Every time I listened I heard something new. The album may be a step away from ani's previously more acoustic sound but it really works for me.

Juned -- Every Night For You

Just when this group came out with a breakthrough album they broke up. This album is wonderful--melodic, strange, individual, ethereal and alternative.

Kerri Simpson + Veve -- Speak

Kerri Simpson just gets better and better. Her albums take a little time to grow on me, but they do and they stay favourites. This new album is as gutsy and powerful as The Arousing but seems another notch higher emotionally without becoming hystrionic. Don't miss this one.

Sixteen Horsepower -- Sackcloth 'n' Ashes

Gothic folk/rock? Male singers? I would never have thought I'd like this kind of band so much, but this album really works for me. This is much better than their e.p. "Black Soul Choir" is a wonderful song.

Other Great Stuff

Eleftheria Arvanitaki-- The Bodies and the Knives

A lovely, folky Greek pop concoction. Stunning voice. Delightful.

Bellatrix -- stranger tales

A re-recording in English of their original Icelandic album Kynjasogurunder the band name Kolrassa Krokridandi. Wild, strange, as off the wall as Bjork in her wilder moments.

Emily Bezar-- Moon in Grenadine

A powerful album, wide-ranging in style, a touch more song- oriented than Grandmother's Tea Leaves but still innovative and complex.

Mari Boine -- Radiant Warmth

This is a compilation of work off previous albums, but I love her combination of the music from her Sami heritage with contemporary forces.

Sheila Chandra -- A BoneCroneDrone

Sheila Chandra is amazing.

Laurie Freelove -- Songs From The Nineline

I'm so delighted that Laurie Freelove is recording again. This is a lovely collection of her live versions of older and new songs. She's a great songwriter and has a lovely, unusual voice. I can hardly wait for the new studio album--it's a knockout.

Garmarna -- God's Musicians

Knockout contemporary traditional music. The musicians are excellent, and the lead singer, while she has no stage presence has a strong evocative voice.

Lisa Germano -- excerpts from a Love Circus

A little less depressed but just as geeky. Creative stuff.

Goya Dress -- Rooms

Alternapop with touches of the bigger stuff. Lively and haunting both.

Veda Hille-- Women in (E)motion Festival

Veda live is brilliant.

Penelope Houston-- Cut You

Too bad this compilation of re-recordings of earlier music seemed not very cohesive and disappeared. It deserves better than that. I love Penelope Houston's style and voice and songwriting.

Mary Jane Lamond -- Bho Thir Nan Croabh (From the Land of the Trees)

Excellent traditional folk--lovely, lovely voice (you may have heard her on Ashley MacIsaac's album)

Rainbirds -- Making Memory

A strong followup to their brilliant In A Different Light

Rasputina -- Thanks for the Ether

What a delight this strange album is! An album I truly just enjoy.

Smith, Patti -- Gone Again

Patti Smith proves that she can be every bit as as much of a knockout now as she was years ago. Blows Dream of Life right out of the water.

Stereolab -- Emperor Tomato Ketchup

It's not Peng! or Transient Random Noisebursts but it's nice to like them again after Mars Audiac Quintet.

Throwing Muses -- Limbo

This hasn't grabbed me as much as university did, but Kristin Hersh is still the goddess of alternative rock in my book.

Velvet Belly -- the landing

Great ethereal band from Norway (thanks for talking about them Yngve).

Other Stuff of Note

Cindy Lee Berryhill -- stright outta marysville

Original, quirky and good, but not quite as wonderful as Garage Orchestra.

Cranes -- Sartre's La Tragedie d'Oreste et Electre

This is a strange disc--not even strange like the Cranes usual stuff. No singing really, but some spoken word and some incredible music.

Annette Ducharme -- Bloom

I got this free from a local used disc shop after I bought some other stuff and it's the best freebie I've picked up like that. Great, quirky rock. Don't like her earlier stuff, though.

Elysian Fields -- Bleed Your Cedar

I didn't like their ep much, but this is fine music.

Her Majesty The Baby -- Mary

I really like this, but need to listen more to get a better handle on it.

Robin Holcomb -- Little Three/Jazz

This would be higher on my list but she only does 3 songs, and damn i love her songs.

Husikesque -- Green Blue Fire

Lida Husik in her ambient mode.

Kittywinder -- Livre des Monstres

Interesting alternative music. Rather like Juned, but to my ear not quite as good.

Caroline Lavelle -- Spirit

It surprised me how much I really enjoy this--very synthesized but still warm music.

Lois -- Infinity Plus

More great folkish indie rock from Lois.

Long Fin Killie -- Valentino

Not quite as stunning as Houdini but I still love it. The lead singer/songwriter has a strange and wonderfully warped view of the world.

Low -- The Curtain Hits The Cast

I still like them but they're slower than ever and have never quite produced anything as catchy to my ear as "Sarah's Lazy" on their first album.

Kate & Anna McGarrigle -- Matapedia

So happy they have a new album. Not quite as wonderful as some of their earlier stuff (my favourite is still Dancer With Bruised Knees) but it may grow on me more as all of their other albums have.

Marta Sebestyen -- Kismet

I love this woman's voice and singing style.

June Tabor, Savourna Stevenson, Danny Thompson -- Singing the Storm

Great voices and wonderful harp music (Greg take note)

Lal Waterson & Oliver Knight -- once in a blue moon

Sad and strong at once.

Zoe -- hammer

Diverse pop--this surprised me how much I like it. Hard to pin the style down because it changes so much in this album.

Great Debuts

Fiona Apple -- Tidal

This seems a strong, mature beginning. This may be bluesy soul much it's got a good touch.

Broadcast -- The Book Lovers e.p.

A band on Stereolab's Duophonic label, they share some of Stereolab's delight in '60s instrumentation but with a contemporary update. A little Pram-ish, too. Definitely for those interested in something very different. I'm really looking forward to seeing what they do in 1997.

Eliza Carthy -- Heat Light & Sound

Eliza Carthy is quickly becoming as wonderful a traditional folk artist as her parents, Norma Waterson and Martin Carthy. Great, lively fiddle and songs. This is her first solo album, though she did one (two?) with Nancy Kerr and one with her parents.

Holly McNarland -- Sour Pie E.P.

Tough lyrics mixed with a sweet voice. A really interesting combination and I look forward to hearing what she does next.

Nerdy Girl -- Twist Her

Baby-voiced truly fun alternapop.

Mary Lydia Ryan-- Mary Lydia Ryan

Piano-based songstress who rather stupidly invites comparisons with Tori Amos in her ad in Details. Still, promising singing and songwriting. She's local, so I'm going to try to catch her live soon.

Supernova [Cecilie and Pipaluk]-- Leave a Message

Intriguing pop-rock duo from Denmark.

Great Reissues

Sheila Chandra -- Nada Brahma
Sheila Chandra -- Out On My Own

Sheila Chandra is a goddess and I'm grateful that these are again available.

Malicorne -- Balancoire en Feu
Malicorne -- Le Bestiare
Malicorne -- En Public
Malicorne -- L'extraordinaire Tour de France d'Adelard Rousseau
Malicorne -- Vox

Malicorne is one of my favourite bands and for years I've suffered along with only tape dubs of these albums. They are a fascinating combinations of electric French folk and in their later albums, contemporary experimental rock. Dynamite.

Scott Merritt -- Gravity is Mutual
Scott Merritt -- Serious Interference

Scott Merritt is kind like Bruce Cockburn, but something about his songs have worn longer on me. These are reissues from the 80s. Gravity is Mutual approaches the brilliance of his last album, Violet and Black. It's strange--it starts off sounding quite derivative of other artists, but there's something haunting about it and soon you realize only Scott Merritt could have produced this music.

Linda Thompson -- Dreams Fly Away: A history of Linda Thompson

I was delighted to see that this was more than just a cd reissue of One Clear Moment, but this means I'm still waiting for that one. Linda Thompson has a stunning voice and used it well. What a loss that she's no longer performing!

Velvet Belly -- colours
Velvet Belly -- Little Lies
Velvet Belly -- Window Tree

I really like this ethereal (mostly) band.

1995's favourite discs § 1996's favourite discs § 1997's favourite discs § 1998's favourite discs § 1999's favourite discs§ 2001's favourite discs

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