BEST RECORDING Denver 2006 - Self-Propelled Bright Channel
Readers' Choice: Middle Finger Romance, The Symptoms
One-upping Steve Albini ain't easy. The world-famous sound engineer has recorded everyone from the Pixies and Nirvana to his own legendary bands Big Black and Shellac. In 2004, he also recorded Bright Channel's eponymous debut at his Electrical Audio Studios in Chicago. The result, though, wasn't as stellar as it could have been. While the songs and performances were brilliant, there seemed to be too much of a cold distance between the disc and its listener that blunted the impact of its droning, skyward-fixated sound. The trio's sophomore effort, Self-Propelled, is a vast improvement, at once heavier, breathier, more celestial and more intimate than its predecessor. And the kicker? Singer/guitarist Jeff Suthers produced the whole thing in his basement studio, Flight Approved. Let's hear it for do-it-yourself.