Friday, December 22, 2006

Best of 2006 - #10-1


Bound Stems – Appreciation Night – I have never had a CD grow on my like this one. Bought it on a whim cause the single tickled my fancy, if you will. Every single fucking song got stuck in my head. A thoroughly addicting CD of indie-pop fare, this one took me by surprise. But after the initial shock wears off, this one’s still a keeper.


The Knife – Silent Shout – Do I understand The Knife? No, I largely have to idea what the fuck they’re talking about. But did they release an excellent album of chilling electonica that’s far less pop-oreiented than Deep Cuts? Hell yeah. I can’t say I “get” Swedish people, but I “get” good music, and this is that. I just wish I got to see them live. Sad face.


The Long Winters – Putting The Days To Bed – Simply, this is what pop is supposed to be like. If I ran the radio, “Fire Island, AK” would probably lead the airplay this year among pop play. The rest of this album is more or less the same, just incredibly listenable music. No other way to put it. Music should be fun to listen to. The Long Winters know what’s up.


Clipse – Hell Hath No Fury – Another product of the hype machine that somehow managed to live up to all the hype proceeding its release. Clipse managed to prevent leaks prior to its release, and then dropped a massive bomb on us all. The beats are absolutely killer, and the rhymes are all tight. And “Trill” is probably one of the sickest songs I’ve ever heard. This is how hip hop is supposed to be done.


Tapes ‘n Tapes – The Loon – Okay, I’m aware this came out in 2005, but for all intents and purposes, 2006 may has well have been the year of Tapes ‘n Tapes’ debut. Bloggers went nuts, Tapes just had a great time, they put on some fantastic shows, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t spend a ton of time with this album this year. And uhh it was released on XL in ’06, so there. If you really want to debate the year thing, I’ll fight you.


The Hold Steady – Boys and Girls in America – I didn’t want to like this CD, I listened and hated. But it came back to me. First “Citrus” and “First Night,” and then “Party Pit” and “You Can Make Him like You.” And then son of a bitch, I liked the whole damn thing. Finns vocals and lyrics make for stories unlike any other and the music’s not half bad either. If this appears in everyone’s top ten, I won’t be surprised, mad, or anything. It should be there.


Sunset Rubdown – Shut Up I Am Dreaming – I originally had this at like 9, but after some consideration, it needed to be top five. This is probably one of the most beautiful records I’ve ever listened to. It starts with a bang, but by “Us Ones In Between” the tone has shifted to one that has an emotional quality I’m pretty sure only Spencer Krug can provide. The way he sings “I’m afraid of the water; I’m afraid of the sky” is just something else entirely. Moving and moody, this album is a gem quite possibly worthy of surpassing Apologies to the Queen Mary.


TV On The Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain – Okay everyone knew this had to be up there somewhere, and regardless of what you think of its hype, there’s no denying that it’s a fantastic CD. How do you not like drum loops and metaphorical social observations? “Blue From Down Here,” “Playhouses,” “Wolf Like Me,” and “Tonight,” are all killer, among others. Return to Cookie Mountain is also probably the best record name of the year. (And fuck all you bloggers, I bought this on 4AD in Italy moths before it came out on Interscope in the states. Suck it.)


Junior Boys – So This Is Goodbye – While The Warning at least got some recognition, the Junior Boys, who received much praise when this came out, seem to have been left out of almost every year end list I’ve seen so far. But why? Giving Last Exit a run for its money, and in my opinion, quite possibly topping it, this is a damn good CD. Sad sentimentals, blaring synths, sung with the sort of sideways smile I now picture after seeing them live. I don’t really need to say more, listen to it.


Hot Chip – The Warning – Why is this album #1? Ultimately, it’s not revolutionary or even overly jaw-dropping, but going back to what I listened to a lot, still do, and put up against the rest of these, it just comes out on top. Ultimately it wasn’t a big year for defining new acts while the big names dropped the ball (see the last few years), but instead familiar faces outdoing themselves and upping the ante. And Hot Chip prove to be a good example of this, releasing an album that, from the outset with “Careful,” sound immediately familiar, yet fresh. There’s not a bad track on the album, and somehow, they outdo the excellent Coming on Strong in almost every way. Dance-y (“(Just Like We) Breakdown”), yet sad (“I got, I got lost.”), it’s a contradiction in itself. With The Warning, Hot Chip show what a sophomore album about and garnered a lot of attention here and there, but never seemed to snag the top spot (see the Mercury Prize). Well here you go guys, you earned it.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Best of 2006 - #20-11

20) LCD Soundsystem – 45:33
James Murphy lies to Nike, convinces them slow music is better to run to, makes a giant disco track. Comes with the free discovery that no one can actually run for over 20 minutes.

19) The Decemberists – The Crane Wife
The Decemberists have yet to release a bad record. Opt to keep the streak alive in ’06 with more storytelling songs for people who did good on the SATs.

18) Lambchop – Damaged
I accomplished more work listening to this album than I think anything else I’ve ever listened to. I’m not sure what that means.

17) Beach House – Beach House
Duo makes chill shit. Bloggers dig it, I dig it. Yum.

16) Final Fantasy – He Poos Clouds
Guy who does the string arrangements for the Arcade Fire releases an awkwardly titled album of beautiful music based on video games. Go figure. It won the Polaris Prize though. That shit’s legit.

15) Booka Shade – Movements
Comparable to Drowning, and I had a hard time ranking these two, so I put them next to each other. Who needs lyrics when you’re making electronica this good?

14) Nathan Fake – Drowning In A Sea Of Love
Border Community youngster releases a minimalist gem. People gawk at his age. I gawk at import CD prices. (Worth it though.)

13) Grizzly Bear – Yellow House
Little band hits it big with the blogs, releases album of stunning harmonies and just plain beautiful music.

12) Xiu Xiu – The Air Force
Strange, oft-chilling music from a group I’ll probably never understand. Anyway, it’s a damn good CD.

11) Girl Talk – Night Ripper
A guy named Greg who still works a day job rocks clubs by night; becomes mash-up master and concertgoer favorite. Avoids lawsuits, releases one of the best records of the year without actually writing any of the music involved.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Best of 2006 - #30-21

30) The Twilight Singers – Powder Burns
Greg Dulli opts for rock as his anti-drug. Makes a good decision and a good album.

29) Peter Bjorn and John – Writer’s Block
Guys name band after themselves, release fine pop record.

28) Spank Rock – YoYoYoYoYo
Baltimore duo raps about sex, sex, and sex, done with solid rhymes and outstanding production.

27) Gnarls Barkley – St. Elsewhere
Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse take American radio by storm, go on excellent costumed tour. The CDs not bad either.

26) T.I. – King
Rubber band man decides to step up and claim his throne. One of the most triumphant albums I’ve ever heard.

25) Apparat & Ellen Allien – Orchestra of Bubbles
Powers team up to release electronic gem. Vocal tracks prove to be standouts on this excellent collaboration.

24) Lupe Fiasco – Food & Liquor
Hip hop newcomer lacks hooks, still releases one of the best, lyrically smart hip hop CDs of the year.

23) Joanna Newson – Ys
People go head over heals for indie girl who plays the harp. Refuse to believe this, and then discover it’s actually a pretty damn good CD. Not so good for parties though.

22) The Roots – Game Theory
The Roots release another great, politically charged album. Suggest hip hop may not be dead.

21) Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
Old band summarizes their collection with the CD name of the year.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Best of 2006 - #40-31

40) Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
Those crazy British kids go absolutely crazy for band that came more or less from the internet. Hype is more or less justified.

39) AFX/Aphex Twin – Chosen Lords
Richard D. James goes nuts with vinyl, puts his faves on something we can listen to without a turntable.

38) P.O.S. – Audition
Angry Rhymesayer drops sophomore effort, goes undeservingly unnoticed by most.

37) Sound Team – Movie Monster
Band embraced by some, gets kicked in the nuts by Pitchfork. I liked it.

36) Thom Yorke – The Eraser
The Radiohead guy puts out an album on a whim, makes announcement without using the shift key. Pretentious music people spend months debating comparisons to Radiohead; refuse to take it for what it is.

35) Ghostface Killah – Fishscale
Some people went nuts for this CD. I thought it was good. Wu-tang!

34) Figurines – Skeleton
Modest Mouse and Built to Spill collide in Denmark. At least that’s what it sounds like.

33) Beck - The Information
Beck likes stickers, puts out trance inducing record that’s probably better the Guero. I’m not sure how much that says, but it’s a good CD. (And stickers rule.)

32) The Whitest Boy Alive – Dreams
Chill electro-pop from Erlend the Kings of Convenience guy.

31) Subtle – For Hero: For Fool
Subtle shows the rest of Anticon how it’s done with something that could more or less be considered hip-hop.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Best of 2006 - #50-41

So here we go. The best of the year. All of these are unabashedly ranked according to my own personal preference. If you liked my 42 better than my 16, to each his own I suppose. If I "left something off" there's a good chance it's just becauase I didn't have the chance to listen to it fully, or maybe I just didn't like it. I ranked 50 albums here, cut me some slack, I can't listen to music ALL the time. I think thats pretty much the disclaimer. Enjoy.

50) LCD Soundsystem – Introns
Compilation of B-sides, live stuff proves to be an enjoyable listen.

49) Destroyer – Destroyer’s Rubies
It was at this point that I got really tired of writing something for each of these. This is just another good album, okay?

48) Sparklehorse - Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain
Dreamy pop from guy with oddly named band with equally oddly named album.

47) The DFA – The DFA Remixes, Chapter 1
Dance wizards extend, remix nine songs, and somehow make a coherent sounding CD.

46) Built to Spill – You In Reverse
Still putting out good music, eight minute jams after all these years.

45) Cut Chemist – The Audience’s Listening
One-time Jurassic 5 turntablist goes it alone, fares far better without them then they fare without him.

44) The Thermals – The Body, The Blood, The Machine
For when I like to rock out to lyrically well written songs pumped out at an often frantic pace. Like on Thursdays.

43) Basement Jaxx – Crazy Itch Radio
Duo opts not to go quite as all-out as previous efforts, still makes excellent music. And a music video with dancing communist bears.

42) The Fiery Furnaces – Bitter Tea
Year proves bro and sister are better when they work together. That said, I still can’t claim I entirely understand any of the work they do. Reversed vocals trip me out.

41) Men, Women & Children – Men, Women & Children
Disco is not dead, neither are animal costumes. Why the hell not?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Best of 2005

Same deal as before, but different year.
The best of '05, reworked for '06:

(20) Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
(19) Royksopp – The Understanding
(18) Animal Collective – Feels
(17) M83 – Before The Dawn Heals Us
(16) Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better
(15) Maximo Park – A Certain Trigger
(14) Of Montreal – The Sunlandic Twins
(13) Common – Be
(12) My Morning Jacket – Z
(11) Atmosphere – You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having
(10) Sufjan Stevers – Illinoise
(9) Broken Social Scene – Broken Social Scene
(8) Sigur Ros – Takk…
(7) The Decemberists – Picaresque
(6) LCD Soundsystem – LCD Soundsystem
(5) We Are Scientists – With Love And Squalor
(4) Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning / Digital Ash In A Digital Urn
(3) Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary
(2) Spoon – Gimme Fiction
(1) Bloc Party – Silent Alarm

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Best of 2004

Year end lists. Everybody loves them. Not really sure why, but I'll be honest, I get hooked too. But by next March nobody cares, people have stopped listening to 80% of the bands that were on the list. So before putting up my own year end list for '06, I've decided to look back a few years first. Suprisingly enough (or not so suprising I guess), I find these too be much more concrete and to hold much more meaning. These babies held the test of time. Well, more time than the average indie band (over/under: 3.5 months). Are these the best CDs of '04 in terms of critical acclaim? No. But these are the top albums of '04 that I found myself coming back to (or even a few I found for the first time) in '06:

(20) John Legend – Get Lifted
(19) Lola Ray – I Don't Know You
(18) N.E.R.D. – Fly Or Die
(17) The Secret Machines – Now Here Is Nowhere
(16) Franz Fredinand – Franz Ferdinand
(15) Talib Kweli – The Beautiful Struggle
(14) Pinback – Summer In Abbadon
(13) Say Anything - ...Is A Real Boy
(12) P.O.S. – Ipecac Neat
(11) Snow Patrol – Final Straw
(10) Handsome Boy Modeling School – White People
(9) Stars – Set Yourself On Fire
(8) Junior Boys – Last Exit
(7) Death From Above 1979 – You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine
(6) Hot Chip – Coming On Strong
(5) Kanye West – College Dropout
(4) Interpol – Antics
(3) TV On The Radio – Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes
(2) The Arcade Fire – Funeral
(1) Modest Mouse – Good News For People Who Love Bad News


I can blog music too.
How hard could it be?
I was gonna change this layout but I kinda like it.
It's chill.
I intend to do whatever I feel like here, which will probably consist of music oriented things.
Good plan.