Friday, December 22, 2006

Fifteen Favorites for 2006

I’ve realized that there’s really no way for me to write any sort of authoritative list of the top albums that came out in this last year…

I mean, there've been so many releases that other sites loved that I seem to have missed. One look at my favorite music blogs You Set The Scene and Rock Insider and I realize that I definitely let a few pass me by.

So, I figure I can just list a few of my own favorite albums -- and, y'know, fifteen seems like a nice, round, arbitrary number...

BeirutGulag Orkestar (Bada Bing)
I don't know what's more strange and unlikely, that this album has such a distinctly Eastern European folk music sound or the fact that it's headed by a nineteen-year-old musical prodigy. Either way, it's a stunning, immediately likeable debut…

The Black Pine - With Us (The New Black)
The Black Pine make dark, stormy pop music that's at times reiminiscent of some improbable pairing of The Cranes and The Kinks. How can you not like that?

Division DayBeartrap Island (Mercy Records)
There are so many great songs on this album that I’m still discovering new favorites almost a full year after its release.

El Perro Del MarEl Perro Del Mar (The Control Group)
You have to either be iceberg cool or completely ridiculous in order to pull off singing lines like “shoobie doo wah.” El Perro Del Mar falls in the former category, producing some of the best chamber pop since Jens Lehkman and B & S.

The EttesShake The Dust (Sympathy for the Record Industry)
Garage rock, perfected. If you can hear songs like It Ain’t You or No More Surprises without at least bobbing your head, you’re probably dead.

Film School - Self-titled (Beggars Banquet)
Around the begining of the year, this album of haunty, echoey indie rock was about all I was listening to. It's good and messy and all kinds of dark.

IrvingDeath in the Garden, Blood in the Flowers (Eenie Meanie)
Five enormously talented musicians apparently focused with one goal in mind: heart-breakingly good indie pop.

Let’s Go Sailing - The Chaos in Order (Self-release)
Almost five years in the making, Let's Go Sailing's debut album is precious, perfect pop music that was worth the wait.

the Lights From Here - Self-titled (The New Black)
Few bands do instrumental rock where the listener is drowned in sound as well as TLFH. Ideal music to listen to with the lights out during a thunderstorm or driving in the desert with the top down.

Micah P Hinson - Micah P. Hinson and the Opera Circuit (Jade Tree)
If Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen had a baby and left it to grow up on its own in the middle of Texas, it would probably sound a lot like Micah P Hinson. Somehow sad and uplifting, at once.

Say Hi To Your Mom - Impeccable Blahs (Rebel Group)
Probably the album I listened to the most in this entire year. A volley of incredibly charming, catchy tunes. Eighties music for people who don't like eighties music.

The Silversun Pickups - Carnavas (Dangerbird)
Even though this cd doesn't quite capture just how amazing The Silversun Pickups are live, it's still really goddamn good.

Tapes N Tapes - The Loon (Self-release)
An album of such quality and variety that it's almost like listening to a mix cd of your favorite songs.

Two Sheds - Strange Ammunition (UnderACloud)
Another cd that got near constant rotation around both the RFSL mobile and home offices... each song distinctly different, charming, and strong. It's a sad, happy, sad event with many tracks that get right under your skin.

The Western States Motel - Self-Titled (Firebird Field Recordings)
This album has a lot of the same heart you hear in The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and was written by a guy who -- no shit -- put it all together alone in his basement.

Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass (Matador)
"It’s positively endearing how it goes from the eight-minute, heavy guitar opener Pass the Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind right into the gloriously poppy and upbeat Beanbag Chair, but there are numerous other reasons to love it -- like the jazzy-in-a-good-way Sometimes I Don’t Get You, the 60s film soundtrack-esque I Should Have Known Better, or the perfect song to wake up to in the morning, Black Flowers."

Ha. Okay. That's sixteen...


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