Monday, December 18, 2006

The 10 Best Albums of 2006

10) Thom YorkeThe Eraser

It seemed like a no brainer for one of the greatest songwriters of our time to release a solo effort. Skeptics worried that his attachment to his relatively new found love for the sonic versatilities of the electronic tic and tac would throw his effort into the sea of obscurity. Yet repeated listens have proven that Yorke can travel the road alone, combating the agitations of the modern world with his somber falsetto and hard punching rhythms.

The Eraser review

[mp3] Thom YorkeThe Eraser


9) A Hawk And A HacksawThe Way The Wind Blows

In many ways, 2006 became the year of gypsy music. With Beirut leading the way, Jeremy Barnes followed up with the most foreign sounding releases of the year. A lot of that had to do with the geography of the recording taking place along the border of the Ukraine with one of the most world-renowned Balkan brass bands. Zach Condon’s trumpet didn’t hurt our infatuation either.

A Hawk And A Hacksaw - a story of impression

[mp3] A Hawk And A Hacksaw - In The River


8) Grizzly Bear - Yellow House

Grizzly Bear didn't grab my attention until I saw them in concert. My first listen to Yellow House had been a ten song blur. There was a distinct melancholy running through the album, but I had not yet penetrated the surface. Live, the subtle inflections in the album, quickly revealed themselves. Yellow House is meant to be played at high volumes, while wearing headphones.

Yellow House review

Grizzly Bear - Colorado


7) TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain

Whenever I feel like going to New York, I listen to TV on the Radio. Return To Cookie Mountain is a captivating sophomore LP that requires the listener to nestle into the thick sheet of fuzz. Each song on the album is heavily layered, yet the production remains crisp and textured. Plus, "Wolf Like Me" is one of my favorite song of the year.

Return to Cookie Mountain review

[mp3] TV on the Radio - Wolf Like Me


6) BeirutGulag Orkestar

Beirut emerged like a call from the wild, bursting out sounds that seemed to have been buried for more than a century in a world that the west had forgotten. The trumpets seemed to awake everyone in indie music to a world outside the dancehall beats that seemed to be the standard of the last few years. On Gulag Orkestar, Zach Condon’s voice reeks of life long experience in gypsy stomping grounds and coupled with the percussion arrangements of Jeremy Barnes, there seemed hope for the reincarnation of Neutral Milk Hotel.

Photos: Beirut live at the Troubadour

[mp3] BeirutPostcards From Italy


5) Man Man - Six Demon Bag

Man Man devote 100% of their energy towards art. This fact is clear in the ferociousness of Six Demon Bag's recording, and astonishingly apparent while watching them live. I'm not going to compare Man Man to Tom Waits, at the circus on acid, or whatever other analogies people have made up. I will however say that Man Man possess a force that the indie music scene desperately needs.

RC predicts Man Man playing Spaceland

[mp3] Man Man - Feathers


4) Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I'm Dreaming

Spencer Krug might be the songwriter of my generation. Since his career has basically just begun, I understand the odds are still a little long; however, judging from complexity and beauty of every song on Shut Up I'm Dreaming, I'm feeling pretty confident about my bet.

Sunset Rubdown at The Echo

[mp3] Sunset Rubdown - Stadiums and Shines II


3) The Hold SteadyBoys and Girls in America

Based around the social commentary that coincides with the Kerouac excerpt “boys and girls in America, they are having such a sad time together,” the Hold Steady successfully developed their bar house, guitar muscles while effectively paying homage to Springsteen and his all-American portrayal of the all-American. The guitars are heavy enough for a child to carry comfortably and light enough to tip the nostalgia scale for all those cubicle parents wishing for the days with the Boss.

Review of Boys and Girls in America

[mp3] The Hold SteadyStuck In Between Stations


2) Liars - Drums Not Dead

Drums Not Dead is the most cohesive and haunting release of the year. Although the album is abstract at times, it is careful to never alienate. As Liars venture into other worlds, they are kind enough to bring the listener with them. Drums evokes primitive desires for rhythm and percussion, similar to Feels... and you know how much we loved that album.

Liars at the Troubadour

[mp3] Liars - It Fit When I Was a Kid


1) Joanna NewsomYs

Ys is a mountain of visionary achievement. It is understandable how many have had trouble with the ascent up Newsom’s peak but those that have taken the challenge have gotten lost in its crevices and valleys with their secret chambers of story and treasure. Ys is a masterful collection of montages of story telling adventure wrapped together with the playful tickle of Newsom’s tongue and lyric and the imaginative orchestrations of Van Dyke Parks. It’s unfortunate for the listeners who turned their noses up at Ys with their premonitions of having to sit through lengthy numbers. Those unfortunate souls have truly missed out on a timeless masterpiece that is sure to be looked at as the crowning achievement of Newsom’s career.

Review of Ys

[mp3] Joanna NewsomEmily (Live)


Anonymous crazyrabbits said...

"Emily" is a really good song.

2:43 PM  

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