As a rule I've never been much for writing year-end top 10 lists—and confining Portland's massive onslaught of great local releases to such a small number is a crime worthy of some heavy punishment. Thus, I'm going to say eff it to the top 10 format and cram as many favorites as I can into these next few paragraphs. Ready? Go!
Laura Gibson's If You Come to Greet Me was a nice, calm respite before winter hit. Same with Alela Diane's The Pirate's Gospel. Bark, Hide and Horn's EP is still stuck in my head months after it came out. (Especially "This Abdomen Has Flown.") I spent many hours submerged in White Rainbow's Box. The Artistery's live CD reminded me how lucky we are to live in Portland—and how talented Adrian Orange is.
On again/off again Portlander Eva Saelens from Inca Ore (see Up and Comings, pg. 25.) wasn't living in Portland when her The Birds in the Bushes came out, but I'm still claiming her for us on the weird power of her experimental collages alone. (If Wolves in the Throne Room lived just a few miles south I'd add their Diadem of 12 Stars under the Inca Ore clause.) Valet droned me into outer space with Blood is Clean. The Kingdom's K1 was the best pop record of 2006.
Argumentix (see Up and Comings pg. 25) dropped some nasty beauty on us, especially on the Bird Costumes collaboration, Armageddon... Maybe Later. Dragging an Ox Through Water gave us the spooky Rebukes! with the sexiest song I've heard in forever, Aces. (Then he fucking split for New York.) Ghost to Falco did experimental plus pop on Like this Forever. Plants dropped a record for every season, my favorite of which, Double Infinity, was the fall album. Horse Feathers' Words are Dead defined Portland folk music. Yellow Swans' Psychic Secession and the Drift EP did the same for Portland noise. Silentist's House on the Hill brought "the pain." The Better to See You With's self-titled record brought it too, but added "the punk." TheRabbits/Under Mountains split 12" was total rolling thunder. 31 Knots' Polemics EP was a great welcome back to a great group. Talkdemonic's Beat Romantic was the sound of a band coming into its own—which is always a good sound. What else? Who else? I know I'm missing something, and I know somebody's going to feel left out, but goddamn this was a packed year. I'm sure 2007 will be just as hot.