A lot of these year-end lists lay claim that these are the 'best' albums of 2006. I am just going to list my favorites, since everyone hates what I listen to most of the time anyway, especially my parents. (post-rock is the new rock n roll or rap! As in, parents just don't understand!) (Listening to A silver Mt. Zion... "it just sounds like noise! how could you listen to this?!"-my mom)
I am trying to keep my comments to my gut reactions to the albums. And the general reasons I made these my favorites is because they were in the rotation the most or they are just solid albums innovators or I have a tough time skipping tracks.
These are probably not in a good order. But I'll start with Number 10!
10. TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
Andddd they're back! With what I think is their best work. The first time I heard that dissonant beginning of "I Was a Lover," I knew that album was gong to be a great one. The layers of sound, the combinations of unlikely sonic forays, the amorphous vocals=the record doesn't so much touch me in the way that great albums should do. It just entertains me, like American Beauty. It's not gut-wrenching and epic--it just exists, it just is, it's life, it's living, it's an organism that wants to make me happy like a good, obedient dog and I love it for that.
9. Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
The album kicks off with this wonderful piano in an old western movie sound and then proceeds to politely dance around with banjos and quiet drum and then when the lyrics kick in I'm transported to Magical Mystery Tour or All Things Must Pass when George was having his way with atmospheric melodies from the heart. My favorite song on this album is "Plans." It sums up what I like about the whole thing. It's plodding and almost a little bit scary. And that whistling! You can't get it out of your head! The sound is organic and flowing and grandiose and simple in one bite. Sometimes, you can't really understand anything at all of what I'm saying unless you are currently listening to these songs. In fact, I would say, most times you will have no idea what I'm talking about unless you've heard the album.
8. Todosantos - Aeropuerto
Okay, so it may have been released in 2005 in Venezuela. And it may not ever be released in the US. But purchased my copy in June 2006 so it's going to be lumped on the 2006 list. How can I sum up my gut reactions to Todosantos? With one word: FUN! And schizophrenic in a really good way. "1999" screams 1999 to me, "Epica" sounds like my brain talking, "Ian Curtis" says more about Ian Curtis than any simple written word could say, "Atrapado en los 80" is hilarious and AWESOME. It is so cheesy and thus, SO EIGHTIES. Every time he says 'en los ochenta!!!!' in that terribly cheesy voice, I die. I wonder if this album is more exciting to me because I can understand it (it's in Spanish)., or if it truly is good. There's a certain amount of anything that's in a foreign language that's lost in translation, but I feel like I absorb the general attitude of the album and it's exciting mostly because I feel like this band has so much potential.
7. Cansei De Ser Sexy - Cansei De Ser Sexy
I don't care WHAT YOU SAY! This album is so awesome it's unstoppable. I am really glad that they included 'CSS Suxx' on the US version of the album because at the show, that was one of the most fun songs. This album stands alone. You could try to lump it in with indie pop. You could try to lump it in with girlie pop crap. You could also try to say it's terribly mediocre pop-rock from Brazil. The truth is that it's all of the above. But where is it written that it could not be equal parts FUN and NOTHING SPECIAL!?? In my opinion, "Alala" is one of the year's most perfect songs. It's a sonic assault from the start, sounding like someone dropped the mike and then picked it up and put it too close to the amp. Then the danceable little rhythm starts and there goes that catchy little chorus, it's tight, every sound is perfect and could never have been left out down to those ridiculous sounds in between verses. I can't tell you how any times I would just say out loud 'AM NOT STUPID!' even though I'm not sure whether she says "I'm not stupid 'or 'am not stupid.' But I would really like it better if she said 'am.' And thi s is before I can even mention what a perfect little gem 'Let's Make Love Listen to Death from Above' is. The only song that truly annoys me is 'Alcohol' because I think it's trying to capture a certain 'American-ness' surrounding booze and bar music and partying, but it just doesn't do it well enough, doesn't capture it, comes off sounding cheesy.
6. Joan as Police Woman - Real Life
If Antony and the Johnsons were to just become a woman group and be better than Antony and the Johnsons--it would be Joan as Police Woman. With good reason, considering the two are affiliated. Antony even shows up on one of the songs. The unlikely piano melodies, that meander in directions you couldn't predict and the lofty, beautiful vocals make this album completely velvet. I see this one being in my top rotation for many many years. It's like Cat Power, only---- it's actually good! Chan Marshall eat your freakin' heart out.
5. Lindstrom - It's a Feedelity Affair
I could try to put Lindstrom in the same category as Caribou/Manitoba, but he really just isn't. I say that because it's touching instrumentalist music, but on a different level. Plus, Caribou/Manitoba was using 987654 more sonic landscapes. But the picture Lindstrom paints here on this album is one of 'dance party on the moon' but not in a cheesy cliche way. It's more of a 'this is the future, get into it, or maybe not, if you like to eat your steak with potatoes this one is perhaps more for the ice cream for breakfast type crowd.' This album is unlike anything I've ever heard before and it is going to theme my outerspace party that i will throw in 2023. (When I'm 40?)
4. Peter Bjorn & John - Writer's Block
Just try to not love this album.
From the lyrics, to the wall of guitars, to the U2 meets the Velvet Teen (RIP LOGAN WHITEHURST) military drums, to the Pulp meets Human League vocals!!!!!!!!! So unbelievably stellar. I can't even put it into words how much I love this album. Obviously. Hence my sentence fragments. Eff it who needs proper sentences anyway!These words are comin' straight from that fist-sized organ buried somewhere in my thoracic body cavity.
3. Cold War Kids - Robbers and Cowards
So they're from Los Angeles, which is fishy, because who's from Los Angeles? And their music is remarkably simple. But it's punchy, and the man has an unbearably catchy traditionally awesome singing voice. Try not to get hooked on it when he belts out 'now hang me up to dry! You wrang me out TOO TOO TOO many times." Their live show hammered this home with me. They have a remarkably spare stage setup, but manage to churn out a sound that just punches you in the face. "Red Wine Success" is another highlight on the album. Among others.
2. Sunset Rubdown - Shutup I am Dreaming
My favorite if only for the last song and it's 78 different genres that it samples throughout it's seven minutes and 28 seconds. So, throw in the rest of the great album and we've got a winner!
1. Matthew Friedberger - Winter Women & Holy Ghost Language School
Obviously, my comments are getting more and more lazy as the numbers go lower, the greatness gets more difficult to describe, and I get bored of writing this list. But. There is too much going on in Matthew Friedberger's head for this not to be the year's best.
Pennsylvania rock oil company! I love the way he says that.
The Blow - Paper Television
Shearwater - Palo Santo
Anna Ternheim - Seperation Road
Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
Sparklehorse - For Light Years In the Belly of a Mountain
Rick Ross - Port of Miami (only because it's so summery and cheesy)(same goes for:)
T.I. - King
Pete Rock Underground Classics (old songs, but the compilation released this year...... it's so solid, I don't know how anyone can not love it.)
Beirut - Gulag Orkestar
Cut Chemist - The Audience's Listening
The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
Ray LaMontagne - Til the Sun Turns Black ("Within You" breaks my little stupid heart...ahh Josephine.)
Monster Movie - All Lost
Sway - This is My Demo (I really loathe this album and love it at the same time)
Joanna Newsom - YS (Bill Callahan and her are like ... going to have genius musical babies, I think. Why doesn't she do more on Smog's next album??? I think she's only ever played the cello or something like that on one of Bill's songs on like Red Apple Falls, I think. I could be making that up)
Final Fantasy - He Poos Clouds
Matmos - The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast
Mogwai - Mr. Beast
Damien Rice - 9
The Knife - Silent Shout
J Dilla - The Shining (rip jay dee)
Lily Allen - Alright Still (I don't care what anyone says, these songs are awesome! She is a little bit of a scumbag, though, you gotta hand it to her.)
I'm sure I'm missing some. This year started out so uneventful, and now it's looking like there were 100 great albums. Although, I really wasn't blow away by too much this year. I feel like next year will be the year. Next year I'm going to be floored by something in the way I haven't been floored since Sigur Ros - Ageits Bryjun (I just butchered that spelling) or Gy!be's 'yanqui uxo" so. We Shall see.
And this concludes our broadcast day.
Stay Velvet, my readership, aka Tom and future Lauren.