2006 was like my year off. After 4 years of weekly music reviews gave me the feeling of constantly recycling music review phraseology but applying them to a multitude of artists. Terms like “eclectic,” “intriguing,” “uninteresting” and more music writers’ codewords.
So while the descriptions for these albums were minimal and non-existent and my breath of musical listening might be somewhat smaller than usual, I lay in front of you a list of some musical compositions worth your time and money, well maybe not your money…
Top 20 of 2006 (in somewhat of a particular order)
TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
It seems like I’ve been listening to Cookie Mountain for 10 years already but it is still can’t make its way off my daily playlists.
Man Man - Six Demon Bag
It would have been easy to write off Man Man as a one trick pony, taking the Captian Beefheart template of crazy band member names, off time music and nonsensical lyrics but Six Demon Bag just seems to have its own niche in the space. It helps that they are one of the most interesting.
Tapes ‘n Tapes - The Loon
The Midwestern indie darlings make good with an excellent album filled with impressive, memorable tracks like “Ten Gallon Ascot” and the persistently awesome “Insistor.”
Chad Van Gaalen – Skelliconnection
The first two thirds of this album are the protype for the all encompassing musical fare that makes my ears water.
Oh No! Oh My! – Self Titled
Kooky, fun, and a perfect springtime album. Kind of an obvious observationwith a song called “Walk in the Park.”
Islands - Return to the Sea
A few ex-Unicorns carry on the torch to splendid levels.
Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I am Dreaming
Solo Project of Wolf Parade’s Spencer King that truly differentiates itself from his other work while matching the level of intensity and merit.
Beck – The Information
I miss the old lo-fi Beck but I’m open to the new Nigel Godrich produced Beck. Not his best album but some of his best tracks of late including “Nausea” and “We Dance Alone.”
Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
The great Hoboken Trio brings as per usual.
Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
I'm From Barcelona - Let Me Introduce My Friends
If you’re in the need of instant pep and overwhelming happiness, this Nordic music collective is just the ticket.
Thom Yorke - The Eraser
Love Thom. Love The Eraser. Wore it out early on but have brought it back with a vengeance.
Peter, Bjorn & John - Writer's Block
“Young Folks” made the them but keep looking and you’ll find some worthy tracks like “Amsterdam” and “Paris 2004.”
Malajube - Trompe L'oeil
See I’m From Barcelona and add the words “in French.”
Joseph Arthur - Nuclear Daydream
Aloha - Some Echoes
Sonic Youth – Rather Ripped
For a band that sometimes gets a bit of blind worship of late, Rather Ripped is much deserved of the usual Sonic Youth praise fest.
Beirut – Gulag Orkestar
I’m a sucker for Neutral Milk Hotel sound-a-like while praying daily for its actual reincarnation.
(Fun Neutral Milk Hotel etymology not from an the Wikipedia’s band etymology list : “Jeff Mangum, the front man and singer/songwriter of the group, had an early collaboration with another member of the band and called themselves Milk, after the name "Neutral Milk Hotel," which Jeff had used in school for various purposes. When they found out another band was called Milk, they decided to use the entire name, Neutral Milk Hotel. Jeff also, at the time, came up with the name "Olivia Tremor Control," which wound up being the name of another band on Elephant 6 Recording Company.”)
The Flaming Lips – At War With the Mystics
A bit more fun than Yoshimi but not the same level of ingenuity that brought the band back into the rock spotlight.
Liars – Drum’s Not Dead
Not afraid to test the recesses of the mind with droning brain drain experiments and if you can get through it more thana couple of times, it will become entrenched inside of you.
I Loves Me Some Good Soundtracks:
Little Miss Sunshine Soundtrack
The film was fantastic and the music put it over the top. Read about three books this fall while enjoying this Devotchka-heavy effort with some Sufjan and Devndra mixed in. The music surpassed the books especially Irvine Welsh’s disappoint The Bedroom Secrets of Master Chefs.
Marie Antoinette Soundtrack
Sofia Coppola’s soundtracks seem to be better than her movies. Might have something to
The Fountain Soundtrack
Clint Mansell and the Kronos Quartet has the knack for excellence in ethereal alternate realm creating tunes.
A couple of Boos to:
…Trail of the Dead - So Divided
Disappointing effort from one of the best bands of the late 90’s. C’mon Colin, you can do better than this.
M. Ward - Post War
Average. A substandard follow-up to the The Transfiguration of Vincent and Transistor Radio
Scissor Sisters Still Suck…
AND MUCH RESPECT TO AKA The Honorable Mentions...
The Sleepy Jackson – Personality: One Was a Spider, One Was a Bird
Their debut Lovers had more quality from song to song while One Was a Spider is a bit more exploratory (Meaning: needed some song editing )
Joanna Newson - Ys
Oxford Collapse – Remember the Night Parties
The sad death of the perpetually underrated Mclusky
Polyphonic Spree -Wait EP
The best Nirvana cover I can imagine with “Lithium” plus a few more fun covers.
Tom Waits – Brawlers, Bawlers, and Bastards
It’s not fair to be so great and to have that voicebox.
Band of Horses - Everything All the Time
Cat Power - The Greatest
Sorry, to those I’m sure slipped my mind or missed my radar..... Scissor Sisters Really Suck…