Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Miserable Top-10 of 2006


It was a miserable year for music, but here's my top-10 for 2006...

#10 To the Races by Eric Bachman - Neil Diamond? Bruce Springsteen? A van by the river? Classic. I miss Archers of Loaf but am glad that Eric Bachman keeps making music.

#9 The Avalanche by Sufjan Stevens - The out-takes from 2005's best album is still better than most of this year's releases. Besides, every album should have three versions of "Chicago".

#8 A Hundred Miles Off by The Walkmen - Players switched instruments and the Walkmen got their swagger back...without a remake of "The Rat". I still think that this is what U2 should've done with their lives.

#7 Last Night Becomes this Morning by Swearing at Motorists - Who knew Philly and Berlin could be so depressing? Doughman continues to perfect his craft. $10 can get you pretty far...so can 28 minutes of Swearing at Motorists.

#6 a & b You in Reverse by Built to Spill & I Am Not Afraid of You and I will Beat Your Ass by Yo La Tengo- This record combines all that has made these bands great over the years. Built to Spill's record references all that made their catalogue both catchy and artfully jammy at the same time. Yo La Tengo does the same...yet differently somehow. Sandwiched between to extended jams, YLT pieces together a collection that represents their history better than last year's greatest hits collection.

#5 The Greatest by Cat Power - Maybe it's not the "greatest" of my list but it is a testament to Chan Marshall's voice and soulful lyrics. This album took some big ovaries to make. Not every indie darling can recruit R'n'B legends and maintain her cred while recovering fro alcoholism.

#4 Rather Ripped by Sonic Youth - Dumping Jim O'Rourke and returning to their 'Daydream Nation' roots was the best move Sonic Youth has made in recent years. This album rocks from beginning to end with flourishes of wholesome arthouse jamminess.

#3 Bitter Honey by Eef Barzelay - No one's talking about this record, but I am. I've always admired Clem Snide from afar, but Eef Barzelay's solo debut knocked me on the floor. It's the saddest album I've heard this year and in that lovable, hopeless way.

#2 Everything All the Time by Band of Horses - Hearing "Funeral" on Veronica Mars sold me on this band. Every song is an epic climax to your favorite coming of age indie flick...or at least your favorite coming of age CW detective show. I'm a sucker for epic, climatic rock songs.

#1 Return to Cookie Mountain by TV on the Radio - If there was a way to create a modern version of the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds that is grittier, urban, and blacker, TV on the Radio has done it. I've noticed this is the one constant album on everyone's best of 2006 lists. You can't help but love a group that is comprised of harmonizing art school grads and a white guy who has made the shift from hardcore to electronica. Whenever an act is able to layer rock and anything electronic with a dance beat, they come up with a hit. Ever since Beck's Odelay, music fans and critics have yearned for that crossover hit that appeals to all of our musical senses. Return to Cookie Mountain does that...and it rocks!

Also considered...
When the Going Gets Dark by Quasi - I can't get enough of the organ. I just can't. Quasi has gone darker than I thought they could go. The homage to "Deeper Shade of Pale" in "Invisible Star" saved this album from being forgotten.
Show Your Bones by Yeah Yeah Yeah's - Not as good as the last time out, but I like a good rock record with a strong female voice.
The Crane Wife by The Decemberists - I'm not totally sold on the Decemberists' new direction on the major label, but I liked the ambition. They are are one or two records from Wilco status.
Robbers & Cowards by Cold War Kids - Robert Plant singing over raunchy garage rock with a twist of the Walkmen makes for an interesting listen.
The Loon by Tapes 'n Tapes - If Wolf Parade had grown up in Chicago...

1 comment:

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