My top 18 albums of 2006

This is a list of albums that were new to me in 2006. They may very well have been released earlier. Most of them are available on eMusic. Reviewing the list, I’m surprised to note there’s no hip-hop. Seems I’ve been favoring the indy end of the pool this year. If you like nerdy art-core, and like yourself some volume, you may find something you like below:

Aloha – Some Echoes
I found this via an ad on Pitchfork Media (see! advertising! works!). I think this might go onto the desert island top ten. It’s groovy and mellow and they have a guy who plays the vibes! I love the vibes.

Beck – The Information
Have all his other recent albums been as good as this? Holy crap. Funky good. So good it almost feels like a guilty pleasure.

Danielson – Ships
I bought into the pitchfork hype, and bought it from emusic. Did not disappoint at all. Very weird, yet very listenable.

Herbert – Scale
The only dance oriented on my list this year. The Movers and the Shakers was my song of the summer.

Final Fantasy – He Poos Clouds
For sheer audacity and burning creativity alone this album should be included in every “serious” indy annual list. It was a VERY longshot to win Canada’s new “for the art of it” Polaris Music Prize, which it won. There was no shortage of controversy over that, but frankly I think it deserves it. This album is so strange: think Antony from Antony and the Johnsons but with a violin and a bunch of electronic effects. Yet it is not overly challenging to listen to. How he manages to hold it all together is the magic of the art.

Iron & Wine – iTunes Exclusive
This is Sam with his sister singing harmony. They do a cover of one of my all time favorite New Order songs, Love Vigilantes. How could a folk music rock SO hard?

Marvin Gaye – Live in Montreux 1980
Wow, what a talent. If you haven’t heard Marvin Gaye in a while, go check him out. He poured so much soul and love into his music, it just reeks of it.

Muse – Black Holes and Revelations
Theatrical, rocking, emotive, cool synths, and a voice reminiscent of Thom Yorke.

The Deadly Snakes – Porcella
There’s something so poignantly sad about this album. It’s The Deadly Snakes last album. A fact I can’t keep out of my head when I listen to this (something I do a lot). The songs themselves seem to pluck directly at my emotions. The lyrics are smart and relevant, and are delivered with a gravelly, loose sincerity. There’s a old western feel to the songs, lots of twang and sauce. I’ve recently become the singer in a garage band. This is how I want to sing. Listen to Gore Veil at the link above. You’ll thank me.

The Dears – Gang of Losers
This was a toss up. I could have included any of The Dears albums. They’re all top 10 worthy, but that would cheapen the rest of the list. Gang of Losers was released this year, so it got the nod. Oh, also because I can play There Goes My Outfit solo on my acoustic, and it sounds awesome.

The English Beat – Beat This! The Best of…
I bought this in one of those “thank god for downloads” moments. For some reason I <strong>had</strong> to hear Mirror in the Bathroom. I was a HUGE Beat fan back in the 80s. Twenty years later it’s amazing how well these songs hold up. This has become the Girls (ages 5.75 and 3) favorite cd. We blast it in the house, and it’s been in the car stereo for months now.

The Kooks – Inside In Inside Out
If I were a teenage girl, I’d have posters of these guys all over my walls. The song Seaside motivated me to pick up my guitar again (and hey! now I’m the singer in a band). Super amazing power pop with nice crunchy (easy to play) guitar driven rock songs.

The National – Alligator
Not technically from 06, I didn’t discover it till all of last year’s best-of lists.

Thom Yorke – The Eraser
My playcount on this album is embarrassingly high.

Tom Waits – Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
There are 3cds full of music and spoken word stuff here. And not one bad track. True, you’ve got to be a Waits fan. This album won’t convert you. But you need not be a hard core fan. This is a work of genius.

Tool – 10000 Days
A tiny bit disappointing. I mean, it was a long wait. I was expecting a reinvention. What I got was Lateralus 2. Which is fine.

TV on the Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain
I’ve seen this on a bunch of best-of lists already, and deservedly so. Weird and so good. This is another “why does it work so well?” album, like He Poos Clouds, only with a chance of radio airplay.

Yo La Tengo – I Am  Not Afraid Of  You And I Will Beat Your Ass
Deserves to be on everyone’s list for the title alone. This sprawling album goes EVERYWHERE. We’re talking 15 tracks, two of which are over 10 minutes long. The musicianship is amazing, the songs are inventive and catchy.

4 thoughts on “My top 18 albums of 2006”

  1. What a great list Peter. This past month has been about discovering new music for me and your list has added some bands to the mix, especially Muse and TV on the Radio. Thanks for sharing your top albums.

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