Its been a great year for music, I know I probably say that every year, but when so much crosses your path, you are bound to really enjoy a handful. I refranied from calling this list, “the best of” since its really only my opinion, and that should equal my favorite albums, with a few biases included, I wont lie. So, here goes, my fave 15 albums of 2006. And the last list of the year, probably…..
#15 Viva Voce – Get Yr Blood Sucked Out – Ive never been a big Viva Voce fan, but this album won me over, its consistent throughout and is the best effort from the husband and wife duo to date. A live show helped push me over the edge also. Standout tracks – “From The Devil Himself”, “Believer”, and “Faster Than A Dead Horse.”
#14 Cat Power – The Greatest – Chan Marshall may have actually outdone herself with this album. And thats saying alot after how stellar I thought You Are Free was. An early in the year release from January that is not to be forgotten. Its noteworthy that there is an extra track on the vinyl version. Standout Tracks – “Empty Shell”, “The Greatest” and “Living Proof”.
#13 Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos – Dust of Retreat – Probably a “rookie of the year” candidate as well, this 8 piece from Indianapolis was a grower for me. Three live viewings didnt hurt either. Cant wait to see whats next for these guys. Richard Edwards is an Elliott Smith in the making. Standout tracks – “Quiet As A Mouse”, “On A Freezing Chicago Street” and “Skeleton Key”.
#12 Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins – Rabbit Fur Coat – Jenny Lewis took a semi-solo route and made us forget who Rilo Kiley is. The beauty of this album makes all RK stuff pale in comparision. Another early year favorite that stayed the course. Standout tracks – “The Big Guns”, “The Charging Sky”, “Rise Up With Fists.”
#11 Heartless Bastards – All This Time – The follow up to Stairs and Elevators was much anticipated and turned out to be a solid maturation for these Cincinnati favorites. And its pretty clear to me that the best is yet to come for this trio on Fat Possum Records. Standout tracks – “Brazen”, “Searching for the Ghost”, “All This Time.”
#10 The Black Angels – Passover – Austin, TX spawned lots of great bands and albums this year, and these guys may be my favorite. The album is dark and brooding with lots of the rock the kids are always talking about. Passover addressed Vietnam issues in a ironically relevant way this year. Standout Tracks – “The First Vietnamese War”, “Black Grease”, “Young Men Dead.”
#9 TV On The Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain – The boys from Brooklyn actually managed to live up to the over-hyped album that is Return to Cookie Mountain. Everything you would expect from TVOTR, but with some icing on top, like Bowies vocals on Province. Standout Tracks – “Province”, “Wolf Like Me”, and “I Was A Lover.”
#8 Aloha – Some Echoes – Its hard for me to imagine a better straight up pop album than this one from 2006. Aloha manges to take all the sugary sweetness you can muster and squeeze it into this record. I still have an addiction to tracks like Brace Your Face. Standout Tracks – “Your Eyes”, “Brace Your Face” and “Ice Storming.”
#7 Annuals – Be He Me – Easily the strongest start to any album on the list. The first three tracks from these kids blow away most of the other debut albums this year alone. This album was probably the biggest surprise for me, and the rest of it has grown on me as well with repeated listens. Standout Tracks – “Brother”, “Complete, or Completing”, and “Dry Clothes.”
#6 The Mountain Goats – Get Lonely – John Darnielle doesnt need to go out of his way to impress me, Im a big fan of his songwriting and music in general. Yet, he manages to make another amazing album full of rich lyrics and heartfelt tunes. The definitive break up album for 2006. Standout Tracks – “Wild Sage”, “Woke Up New”, and “Get Lonely.”
#5 The Decemberists – The Crane Wife – The major label signing by Colin Meloy and his band got major attention and many feared the product would suffer as a result. Well, not only were they wrong, but The Decemberists manages to churn out one of their best records to date. Standout Tracks – “O Valencia”, “The Perfect Crime #2″, and “Yankee Bayonet.”
#4 Joanna Newsome – Ys – Im not in the pack that suddenly love Ms Newsom and couldnt stand the first album, Milk Eyed Mender. I was quite fond of that album and this one is a natural progression for her. But wow, talk about a progression. I think she may have skipped some grade to achieve this gem. Standout Tracks – “Monkey and Bear”, and “Sawdust and Diamonds.”
#3 Silversun Pickups – Carnavas – Silversun Pickups have the type of sound that could easily jump outside the indie fences and into mainstream rock. Carnavas has track after track of catchy, upbeat guitar driven songs that leave you wanting more. If this is any indication of how this band will be proceeding, then I cant hardly wait. Standout Tracks “Lazy Eye”, “Well Thought Out Twinkles”, and “Dream at Tempo 119.”
#2 Band of Horses – Everything All The Time – You have to love it when a band has an anthemic song like The Funeral, which of course was high on my favorite songs of the year list. But you have to love it even more when they can follow it up with such stellar music around it. Band of Horses took all the right cues from My Morning Jacket, although they are no clones. Standout Tracks – “The Funera”, “The Great Salt Lake”, and “Monsters.”
#1 M. Ward – Post War Ive written alot about this album and Matt Ward already this year, but Ill just say this, when a man of his talents decides to knock it out of the park, this is the result. Even though I still rate Transfigurations of Vincent just a tad bit higher, this is head and shoulders above all other releases this year for me.
A couple interesting facts about the top 15…….