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.


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