The Fourth Annual Trebblie Awards

Treble staff
Fourth Annual Trebblie Awards

It’s the beginning of a new year—time to look forward to a year’s worth of great music. But before we can get to the new, we must revisit last year’s most noteworthy releases one more time. And what better way to do so than with a batch of trivial awards we give out each year. So sit back and enjoy as we present this year’s honorees.

The envelopes please…

The Best Album We Didn’t Review Trebblie

Nominees:
Eagles of Death Metal- Death By Sexy.
Ghostface – Fishscale

Winner: Tie.
Perhaps because Death by Sexy‘s name is a little more Lambgoat and a little less Treble. Perhaps because Josh Homme doesn’t need another ego stroke. More likely though it was because they didn’t send us a promo that this 13 song run of insatiable gutter glam flew under our radars. Lust driven and leather bound, Death By Sexy does for the backseat biker set what JT did for everyone else, only it’s with a sneer instead of a smile. And somehow we missed Fishscale as well. But then again, does Treble review hip-hop records? Not nearly as many as we should. We need a b-boy, stat! – Kevin Falahee

The “Kids Are Alright” Trebblie for rocking before the drinking age:

Nominees:
Smoosh
The Lonely H
Be Your Own Pet
The Like

Winner: Be Your Own Pet
I don’t know what’s been in the water here in the Pacific Northwest, but I keep drinking it with no mutated musical ability side effects. Even with the one-two punch of the Washingtonian bands, Be Your Own Pet knock this one out of the park with angst filled tense rock about asthma and bicycles. – Terrance Terich

The “You Make Lovin’ Fun” Trebblie for best Yacht Rock song

Nominees:
Midlake “Roscoe”
Decemberists “The Perfect Crime #2”
Lindsey Buckingham – anything from his new album

Winner: Midlake
Maybe it’s because it sounds so much like the song we named this award for, or maybe it’s because it was our number 8 song of the year, but Midlake nailed this one. The Decemberists song might be a bit too funky, and you have to be at least 40 to own a Buckingham solo album so there you go. – Jeff Terich

The “I sorta wish I didn’t like them so much” Trebblie

Nominees:
The Raconteurs – Broken Boy Soldiers
Justin Timberlake – FutureSex/Love Sounds
Persephone’s Bees – Notes from the Underworld
Mates of State – Bring it Back
Lily Allen – Alright, Still

Winner: The Raconteurs – Broken Boy Soldiers

Broken Boy Soldiers was not exactly groundbreaking, but it is a solid, good album, for all intents and purposes. I am honestly not embarrassed to say that I truly like the album (which will not make me any friends in the world of bloggers and Pitchforkers). I am, however, slightly embarrassed to admit just how infatuated I’ve become with the band itself since their 2006 debut. From the moment the Nashville “supergroup” came out on stage in San Francisco for their July concert that I attended sort of randomly, I fell right back into that teenage fangirl state of mind that I successfully managed to grow out of after high school. Something about Brendan Benson’s adorable scruffiness and Jack White’s tight plaid pants made me squeal and gaze adoringly like any sensible 24-year-old woman shouldn’t do. And it didn’t help that they rocked the house harder than any other band I saw in concert this year. Since then, I’ve done my fair share of more squealing: for example, when I was given a 2-disc live set of their Liverpool concert, which includes an awe-worthy, Benson-led cover of Ron Davies’ “It Ain’t Easy” (ay me, is it hot in here?), and when I fervently searched Google images for shots of the band (ay again, Benson shirtless? Somebody hose me down!). Oh gosh golly, I’ve said too much. Like I said, I sorta wish I didn’t like them so much. Because I’m getting too old for this. I’m going to go make an “I Heart BB and JW” collage now. Just kidding. Sorta. – Anna Gazdowicz

The “Manta Ray” Trebblie for Best B-side of the Year

Nominees:
Hold Steady “Girls Like Status”
Voxtrot “Trouble”
Of Montreal “Noir Blues”
Arctic Monkeys “Bigger Boys and Stolen Sweethearts”

Winner: the Hold Steady
For those who preferred the blazing bark assault of Separation Sunday as opposed to the diversity of Boys and Girls in America, this B-side offers a taste of the former with a three chord crunch and poetic jabs about the predilections that divide the genders. To put it simply; “guys go for looks, girls go for status.” – Kevin Falahee

The “My Sludge is Sludgier than your Sludge” Trebblie:

Nominees:
Serena-Maneesh
The Black Angels
Boris

Winner: Boris
All three of these bands are filled with sludgy goodness, but Japanese band Boris bests the two newcomers handily with their groundbreaking and stunningly mind-expanding album, Pink. – Terrance Terich

The Top Best Female Artist Overlooked in 2006

Nominees:
Emm Gryner
Miwa Gemini
Shelly Bhushan
Fiona Joy Hawkins
Marisa Yeaman
Mary Lee Kortes of Mary Lee’s Corvette
Theresa Miele
La Petite Jacqueline (Jacqueline Francis)
Robin Aigner of Royal Pine Music
Mandy Ventrice

Winner: All
All of these female singer-songwriters put out brilliant albums in 2006 but little attention was given to them other then the traffic they garnered on their myspace sites. With a team of family and friends, they booked their own tours and sold their CD’s out of a suitcase in the back of the clubs they played. They worked their hearts out to make enough money for gas, food, laundry, maps, and phone calls to club owners to book their next show. It is the life of a nomad and yet these women would not trade in that caravan lifestyle. They do it so they can share their songs with audiences and make an impact on peoples lives like the way people have inspired songs in them. – Susan Frances

The official Samsonite “Time to Pack It In” Trebblie for bands past their creative apex, yet somehow mysteriously seem to hang onto their careers:

Nominees:
The Cardigans
Snow Patrol
Pete Yorn

Winner: Pete Yorn
This one was made easier by the fact that Pete declared Nightcrawler the last album of a `trilogy.’ Do us a favor, Pete, don’t pull a George Lucas and go for another one. In fact, take Gary Lightbody with you, and drop Nina Persson at my place. – Terrance Terich

The official Geritol “Still Going Strong” Trebblie for the best artist still making it work:

Nominees:
Depeche Mode
Sonic Youth
Robert Pollard
Scott Walker

Winner: Scott Walker
Although DM seems to have found new life (pun intended) in their advanced years as a trio, and Sonic Youth and Robert Pollard seem better than ever, there’s no denying that Scott Walker dominated this category after his latest eleven year absence. Look out 2017! – Terrance Terich

The somewhat related “Nolan Ryan” Trebblie

Sonic Youth- Rather Ripped

Rock ‘n roll is a lot like baseball; the older you get the less you tend to mean. Once great hitters slide into a controversial, American league DH role and dominant pitchers throw themselves onto the DL more often than onto the mound. At the age of 44, Nolan Ryan pitched a record 7th no hitter in his 25th season in the majors, defying baseball and more importantly, time. And while some acts will always garner critical praise based on the fact they released something at all as opposed to the quality of the product, Sonic Youth continues to produce memorable records that hopscotch sounds and piledrive boundaries, all in their 25th year in the bigs. – Kevin Falahee

The “No, I haven’t” Trebblie for albums and artists that were surprisingly unknown in 2006

Nominees:

Adam Arcuragi – Adam Arcuragi
Bedroom Walls – All Dreamers Pass This Way
Casey Dienel – Wind-Up Canary
Clark – Body Riddle
Eberg – Voff Voff
Elanors – Movements
Mahogany – Connectivity!
Max Richter – Songs From Before
Polyphonic the Verbose – Abstract Data Ark

Winner:

The whole lot of `em.

“No, I haven’t” would be the invariable reply from my audio-geek friends when I would ask if they’d heard these musicians. Following the moniker of the award, I was pretty surprised at this, not being one to underestimate the territory of contemporary music that a couple of my friends have conquered and traversed many times over to know like the back of their hands, back of hands also being one of their obsessions. These were artists I was either assigned to review or I had stumbled upon myself at a random show or browse on iTunes and was floored by their music. After my mother or whoever else was around sweeped me off the floor and snapped me out of it, I was anxious to see what my friends thought of these guys, and how long they had been keeping them secret. When I came to the knowledge that I was the only person I knew who’d heard these people, I realized these were my secrets, treasures. I certainly cherished them, but I felt sad that they were confined to my possesion, only to be polished by the laser of my stereo and not by anyone else’s foggy breath and t-shirt wipe. Granted, most of these albums are the artists’ first or second release with the exception of Electronica veteran Chris Clark, going by his last name Clark, and minimalist composer Max Richter, both being their third LP releases, so it can be a little understandable that these artists are still in a field of anonymity, but each of these musicians’ sound would suggest otherwise. At least every one of them gets this Trebblie award since we don’t have to worry about ordering trophies. – Paul Bozzo

The “last one in locks the door” Trebblie for best newcomers:

Nominees:
Earl Greyhound
Beirut
Various

Winner: Earl Greyhound
Why? They’re all deserving, but Earl Greyhound simply kicks ass and hasn’t gotten the recognition yet. Move over Wolfmother and every other lupine themed band, rock has gone to the dogs. – Terrance Terich

The emotionally tender dance jam of the year Trebblie

Nominees:
The Blow “Parentheses”
The Knife “We Share Our Mother’s Health”
Hot Chip “And I Was a Boy From School”
Junior Boys “In the Morning”

Winner: Tie – Hot Chip/Junior Boys
Alright, so maybe that Knife track is really just kinda bizarre, albeit awesome. And The Blow track is quirkily lovable. But Hot Chip and Junior Boys both matched their beats with their doe-eyed sentiments. So, it appears, dance music with a heart is much more appealing than dance music with little more than an extended acid trip. – Jeff Terich

The “Congratulations, you make music AND you’re really hot” Trebblie

Nominees:
Neko Case
Justin Timberlake
Brendan Benson/Jack White
Jason Collett
Feist
Emily Haines

Winner: Justin Timberlake
The ex-*N Sync teenager used to sing songs called “Tearin’ Up My Heart” with a head of hair that looked like a pile of Ramen noodles. Oh me oh my JT, how you’re grown. Not only was FutureSex/LoveSounds a legitimately good album, but the former boy bander has become one sexy, hot, sexy man. There may yet be hope for Nick Carter. Probably not. – Anna Gazdowicz

The “DNR” Trebblie

The Killers
Do I really have to go into this? Do I really have to say that the Killers did for the ’80s what the Black Crowes did for the ’70s? Do I really have to say the Killers sound is equitable to Rio-era Duran Duran being raped by any era Franz Ferdinand? Do I really have to focus on how the Killers switched from new wave, disco trash to classic rock schlock on this new album that not even Rob Sheffield liked? I don’t…do I? – Kevin Falahee

*DNR= do not resuscitate

The “Frankie Teardrop” Trebblie for creepiest release of the year

Nominees:
Liars – Drum’s Not Dead
The Knife – Silent Shout
Scott Walker – The Drift
Under Byen – Samme Stof Som Stof

Winner: Scott Walker
Who would have thought that a British former pop hitmaker could have evolved into the avant garde visionary he is today? And who could have predicted his music would become so utterly terrifying? The Drift caused a fair amount of heebie-jeebies here at Treble, and had some of us given it a little more time to listen to, it would have scared its way into our top 50 of the year. The other three nominees aren’t to be discounted however, as they all provided a good eerie chill of their own. But unlike The Knife and Liars who took breaks for ethereal interludes or catchy singles, Walker never let up, allowing his creepy ambience to engulf the room and sink deep within the listener. – Jeff Terich

The Rip Van Winkle “I could have sworn these came out the year before” Trebblie for best stateside delayed album:

Nominees:
Art Brut- “Bang Bang Rock and Roll”
Editors- “The Back Room”
Graham Coxon- “Love Travels at Illegal Speeds”
Mew- “And the Glass Handed Kites”

Winner: 4 way tie.
If you were really aware of your indie music, you’d know that the hype on these bands, as well as the actual music, began in 2005. Somehow, inexplicably, these albums weren’t properly released in the U.S. until 2006. And, unfortunately, that late response doesn’t result in double the attention. It just means that most ardent fans are bilked by an import price. Luckily, all four of these albums were worth the trouble. – Terrance Terich

The “Metal Machine Music” Trebblie for artistic nadir

Winner: The Strokes- First Impressions of Earth

Room on Fire found the Strokes being praised for not deviating from what they did on their debut. But as time progressed and the Strokes never got their call to play the Bait Shop, paranoia and pressure led to a sober frontman and an extreme makeover. Thus, First Impressions of Earth is an identity crisis that finds four almost talented hipsters presenting fake IDs to a critical, pencil pushing bouncer. Look no further than the laughable first single “Juicebox” to see what sobriety can do to rock n roll. Devo on 133rpm mixed with Julian Casablancas’ micro machines man vocals are beyond reproach. And with Albert Hammond releasing a solo album either the Strokes need to order an eight ball and a 24 pack or hang up their youth medium t-shirts and call it a day. – Kevin Falahee

The annual “NME overhype!” Trebblie for the least deserving band that NME drooled over this year:

Nominees:
Forward Russia
Babyshambles

Winner: Forward Russia
Pete Doherty went from actual punk cred by working with Mick Jones to what is essentially the male version of Paris Hilton within a few months. At this point, Doherty is famous for pretty much doing nothing except get in trouble. And while he’s overhyped, he still doesn’t beat out Forward Russia, the most blatantly `engineered’ band out of England since the Spice Girls. The creation of the band, their image, logo, etc. was so formulaic and processed, it was as if they came in a package marked, “Angular political British indie band, just add water!” If there’s any justice, Forward Russia will basically forward all proceeds of the sale of their music to Bloc Party and Kasabian, who will then funnel all of that money to Gang of Four and Oasis. Eventually, all money gets funneled to Paul McCartney’s divorce proceedings, so it doesn’t really matter in the long run. – Terrance Terich

The “I Wish I’d Thought of That” Trebblie

Nominees:
Beirut – Gulag Orkestar
The Knife – Silent Shout
Swan Lake – Beast Moans
The Pipettes – We Are the Pipettes
Man Man – Six Demon Bag
Gnarls Barkley – St. Elsewhere

Winner: The Pipettes
If asked to dream up a concept project in which to build a group of musicians around, I probably would have spent hours scratching my head only to come up with some sort of cheap Blue Man Group knock-off. Therefore, the success of the polka-dotted throwback to the girl group that is the Pipettes makes me extremely jealous. If only I’d thought of that, ya know? I’d be responsible for the adorableness that is Gwenno, Becki and Rosay, which sounds pretty damn good to me. – Anna Gazdowicz

The I Haven’t Released a Great Album In Over Two Decades But Critics Are Content To Call Whatever I Release “Classic” Award

Sole nominee and thus winner: Bob Dylan

(No comment necessary). – Kevin Falahee

The “Brightest Hope for 2007” Trebblie for best year end preview

Nominees:
The Shins “Phantom Limb”
Menomena “Wet & Rusting”
Deerhoof “+81”

Winner: Menomena
Damn, we miss these guys. But when they finally gave us some new material, not in the form of artistic experiment a la Under an Hour, it was a refreshing return for the quirky Portlanders. “Wet and Rusting” rocks pretty hard, if you haven’t heard it, so go seek it out right now. As for the other two, yeah, they’re both good, and we’re most likely going to be gushing over them in a few weeks. But for the time being, this one’s the most exciting. – Jeff Terich

The Kevin Drew honorary “I better get my ass in gear” Trebblie for best BSS alum album:

Nominees:
Jason Collett- “Idols of Exile”
Amy Millan- “Honey from the Tombs”
Emily Haines- “Knives Don’t Have Your Back”

Winner: Jason Collett
Drew, one of the central guiding figures for Broken Social Scene, must feel like 2006 simply left him behind. No other BSS alum must have been a real downer as much as Collett, the monogrammed Christ-like savior of country rock. – Terrance Terich

The “Best Collaborator” Trebblie

Winner: Spencer Krug
Not only does the Krugmeister have the brilliant credentials of Wolf Parade under his belt, but he also managed to lend a hand to successful 2006 projects via Sunset Rubdown (really good) and Swan Lake (really, really good) in between touring with both the Parade of Wolves and Frog Eyes. Basically, everything this mustached man touches turns to gold, and he does it quietly and humbly, making his creative talent and success all the more respectable. – Anna Gazdowicz

Most Welcome Rehashing of 2006 Trebblie

Nominees:
Metal
Leggings
Yacht rock

Winner: Metal
From Torche to the Sword to Seemless to Witch to Mastodon, it may have all been done before but it’s great to see it again. The soul of Sabbath may no longer be confined to terrible metal-core outfits and watered down major label monkeys a la System of a Down. And it’s all stoney and adorable. – Kevin Falahee

The “close, but no cigar” Trebblie for the artist that psyched us out with two “semi”-new releases:

Nominee and Winner: Sufjan Stevens
Although the versions of “Chicago” on The Avalanche were good, and the Christmas songs cheered us all up during the winter holidays, none of us bought into the obfuscation of delaying the next state album. Dammit, Sufjan, don’t you realize the sorry state of education in this country? We need you! – Terrance Terich

The “Taking it to the Next Level” Trebblie

Nominees:
Joanna Newsom
Liars
Hot Chip
Mastodon
Grizzly Bear

Winner: Hot Chip
As anyone who has read these awards in the past should know, we like to finish it off with one award for the artist that has taken the greatest stride toward greatness. Rather than merely an award for the best artist, it’s one that reflects a sort of dynamic transformation, a great leap and a sign of growth. This year, there was a large pool to choose from in that area, and narrowing it down to just five, alone, was pretty hard. Mastodon added more “prog” to their crushing metal, getting a little more showy and arty, while Joanna Newsom turned her harp-laden folk into a full-blown symphony. Grizzly Bear took the greatest leap in terms of personnel, doubling the size of the band and thus opening up their sound in the process, and Liars simply stunned with their triumphant third album, Drum’s Not Dead. Yet Hot Chip wins this one. In the beginning, their oddball dance pop was fun, but a little bit on the silly side. Yet the group that once sang of “Crap Kraft Dinners” and being “tired of motherfuckers who say they’re down with Prince” made one hell of a follow up in The Warning, a disc that yielded a handful of amazing singles, no shortage of spectacular melodies, and an even more finely tuned lyrical craft. Yet they stayed danceable, retained their winning sense of humor and remained focused. After seeing them perform a handful of new songs live in November, I can’t wait to hear album number three! – Jeff Terich

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