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Best of 2006  Preview
2 January 08 from Steve G 11
I'm posting this here because it goes with the music I mentioned here, but it does follow up a comment I made in the "Best of 2007" subject area.  

But first, I'm embarrassed to note that I said "Nineteeneighties" was by Grant-Lee Buffalo rather than Grant-Lee Phillips, though I did write his name correctly in my commentary below.  

Speaking of GLP, I first ran into GLB in 1994, which makes him/them the only exception in 2006 or 2007 of top ten (for me) bands which I first listened to during the hollow decade of the '90s. (I'm not a big fan of the Nirvana-esque, as you might guess.)  

Here's the list of 2006's top ten, arranged in the order in which I first listened to them (or their precursor).  

1984-Richard Butler (via The Psychedelic Furs)
1986-The Loud Family & Anton Barbeau (via Game Theory)
1986-The Beautiful South (via The Housemartins)
1988-Boo Hewerdine (via The Bible)
1989-Jim Cuddy (via Blue Rodeo)  

1994-Grant-Lee Phillips (via Grant Lee Buffalo)  

2003-Peter Bradley Adams (via Eastmountainsouth)
2005-Julieta Venegas
2006-The Decemberists
2006-Black Rebel Motorcycle Club  

A very similar pattern to the one from 2007, aside from Grant-Lee.
18 January 07 from Michael 10
My own mix:  

"Skeleton Key" Margot & The Nuclear So And So's
"True Affection" The Blow
"Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken" Camera Obscura
"Ballad Of Big Nothing" Thermals
"When You Were Young" Killers
"Thursday" Asobi Seksu
"Selling Advertising" David Bazan
"We're From Barcelona" I'm From Barcelona
"Red Sea Black Sea" Shearwater
"Let's Get Out Of This Country" Camera Obscura
"Postcards from Italy" Beirut
"Crazy Times" (Gnarls Barkley v. Prince) team9
"Vampyre" Pete Yorn
"PCH One" Pernice Brothers
"Somethin' Stupid" DeVotchKa
"Mavis Of Maybelline Towers" Loud Family And Anton Barbeau
"Things The Grandchildren Should Know" Eels
"O, Valencia!" Decemberists
14 January 07 from jer 9
I didn't make a list this year, not because I didn't like any music in 2006, but rather because very little of what I liked this year seemed to come in the form of full albums. There were a few exceptions (Scissor Sisters, Subtle) but for the most part it was a big "singles" year for me. Therefore, the track listing of my annual year end mix:  

1. Now It's Overhead, "Let the Sirens Rest" (
2. Jenny Lewis + The Watson Twins, "The Big Guns"
3. Electric President, "Insomnia"
4. Belle + Sebastian, "Another Sunny Day"
5. Dirty on Purpose, "Light Pollution"
6. Two Gallants, "Long Summer Day"
7. Stellastarr, "She's Gone"
8. Razorlight, "America"
9. Final Fantasy, "Song Song Song"
10. The Loud Family, "Mavis of Maybelline Towers"
11. Ms. John Soda, "Sometimes Stop, Sometimes Go"
12. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Cheated Hearts"
13. Mission of Burma, "Careening with Conviction"
14. Gnarls Barkley, "Just a Thought"
15. Phoenix, "Consolation Prizes"
16. Emm Gryner, "Queen of the Boys"
17. Bocce, "Again Again Again Again"
18. Subtle, "Return of the Vein"
19. Scissor Sisters, "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'"
14 January 07 from glenn mcdonald 2
Oh, and I should note that I only discovered the Delays when Aaron Mandel mentioned them.
14 January 07 from glenn mcdonald 2
Yes, I pretty quickly filled in my Mono back-catalog after discovering You Are There, and mail-ordered the collaboration album as soon as I realized it existed. It doesn't sweep me away as completely as You Are There, but yeah, it's really beautiful.
14 January 07 from Ian Mathers 8
So glad to see Delays in glenn's list, that really is a fabulous album (although I got into it too late to vote for it). What I'd like to know is if you've heard the record Mono did with world's end girlfriend, called Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain. Not as intense as the title makes it sound (it's mostly strings), but utterly gorgeous.
14 January 07 from glenn mcdonald 2
Here's mine.
11 January 07 from Michael 7
I don't have any overlaps with glenn's list on Jackin' Pop except for one song - oddly, a band that neither of us has previously praised, I believe - the Killers' "When You Were Young."
9 January 07 from glenn mcdonald 2
Troubled, no. Inspired to investigate, possibly. After all, now you've heard of them...
9 January 07 from orfeo 6
Should I be troubled by the fact that almost everything in the lists in this thread is by artists I've never heard, and in fact the great majority are by artists I've never even heard OF?
8 January 07 from glenn mcdonald 2
I suspect that Richard Buckner album would have made my list if it had been the first thing of his I heard, and I'm not sure it's right that my familiarity with it kept it off. Very good album, either way.
7 January 07 from whalemusic 5
1. Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
2. Final Fantasy - He Poos Clouds
3. Matmos - The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast
4. Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies
5. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
6. The Diableros - You Can't Break the Strings in Our Olympic Hearts
7. The Dears - Gang of Losers
8. Pet Shop Boys - Fundamental
9. Richard Buckner - Meadow
10. The Tragically Hip - World Container  

cheers..
7 January 07 from glenn mcdonald 2
Everything I read about Junior Boys makes them sound like my new favorite band, but something about them just doesn't mesh with my actual listening tastes when I hear them. With the notable and enthusiastic exception of "In the Morning", though, which just missed my best-of list!  

A sneak-preview of my album list, and half of my singles list, is available in the form of my ballot in the Idolator Jackin' Pop Critics Poll 2006...
7 January 07 from Bertson 4
I didn't listen to much this year, and I wasn't really passionate about the stuff I did listen to, but here's my list nonetheless:  

1 Junior Boys- So This Is Goodbye
2 Islands- Return To The Sea
3 Sunset Rubdown- Shut Up I Am Dreaming
4 Final Fantasy- He Poos Clouds
5 Band Of Horses- Everything All The Time
6 Destroyer- Rubies
7 Yo La Tengo- I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
8 Rapture- Pieces Of The People We Love
9 Neko Case- Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
10 Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Show Your Bones
7 January 07 from orfeo 3
The big problem with end of year best ofs is that most of the time I haven't actually listened to many albums from the year in question, yet. Come back in 2011 and I'll have a fair idea of what my favourite albums from 2006 are...  

I will say, though, that the album that most rewarded my impatience in getting it was 'Desert Lights' by Something For Kate. Music like this makes me proud to be Australian. The total absence of SFK from the nominations for this year's ARIA awards makes me ashamed to be an Australian.
2 January 07 from glenn mcdonald 2
I'll get my list up before long, but I won't reveal very much by saying that its only overlap with yours is that one of my songs is from one of your albums. But this is more an artifact of making such short lists than a measure of wildly different tastes! In particular, I also really enjoyed Richard Butler's elegant and surprising solo album.  

On the subjects of Julieta and Juanes, I came back from Puerto Rico with a bit of a Latin crush, too, which won't be very evident from my 2006 lists as I'm just starting to investigate, but I'll post some temptations when I get organized.
30 December 06 from Steve G 1
My list follows, with commentary below.  

1. Harmonograph by Boo Hewerdine
2. The Crane Wife by The Decemberists
3. Richard Butler by Richard Butler
4. Howl Sessions EP by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
5. What If It Works? by The Loud Family & Anton Barbeau
6. Superbi by The Beautiful South
7. Limón y Sal by Julieta Venegas
8. The Light That Guides You Home by Jim Cuddy
9. Nineteeneighties by Grant-Lee Buffalo
10. Gather Up by Peter Bradley Adams  

Singles of the year:
“In the Sun” by Michael Stipe and Chris Martin
“El Burrito de Belén” by Juanes  

Harmonograph? Yes, I may be the only “critic” to put this on the top of my list. This is easily Boo’s best collection of heartfelt tunes, varying from mellow to almost-not-mellow. From a distance this is not the album that jumps out at me first, but when I actually listen to it I always find myself in a heightened state of emotion, and the last song almost always brings a tear or two. Good stuff.  

The Crane Wife. Another step forward for a great young band. Nice variation without loss of cohesion. And if you don’t have the iTunes bonus track “After the Bombs”, find a way to get it. It’s a lovely wrap up to a strong album.  

Richard Butler. Where did this come from, and why has he been hiding it? While not as surprising as a hip-hop album would have been, this is nonetheless a big stride away from the Psychedelic Furs. Oh, the falsetto!  

Howl Sessions. I’m not 100% sure this came out in 2006, but that’s what it says on iTunes (not the most trustworthy source in that regard), and Howl itself was from 2005, so it fits well enough anyway. A fantastic set of tracks, many of which could easily have replaced some of the lower points on the album. (“Mercy”? “Feel It Now”? Please! These are brilliant!) The best set of “leftovers” since Prefab Sprout’s Andromeda Heights b-sides.  

What If It Works? I can only thank Anton Barbeau for bringing Scott back out again, but I have to admit that the Barbeau tracks don’t hold up to Scott’s, on the whole. Scott’s are pretty well up to Loud Family standards though, earning this album a lot of points on their own. Favorites? “Rocks Off”, “Total Mass Destruction” and "Don't Bother Me While I'm Living Forever".  

Superbi. Whatever the title means, this is one of the stronger outings from the Beautiful South. I find that they, more than any other band perhaps, will have an album made up half of songs I love and half of songs I don’t need to hear again. Superbi is an exception, their best since Painting It Red.  

Limón y Sal. Better than her previous, Latin chart-smashing breakthrough album, due to greater diversity. That said, the hip-hop crossover stuff is perhaps the worst part of the album. But the other songs, if not exactly all over the map, are at least different shades of the same colors, and the ballad "Ultima Vez" is a beautiful addition to her palette. I don’t know if the following is true, but I like to think that the closing track, “Sin Documentos” is covered here for political reasons, concerning the hullabaloo over the past year or so regarding (particularly Mexican) immigration to the States.  

The Light That Guides You Home. Nothing fancy here, just soulful pseudo-country rock songs in the same mold as Cuddy’s songs with Blue Rodeo. His partner from BR, Greg Keelor, can hit true brilliance at times, but is less consistent. That’s the trade-off, I guess.  

Nineteeneighties. It’s official: Grant-Lee Phillips has been raiding my record collection. Of the eleven tracks on this covers album, I own seven of them (and my wife owns two others). I don’t think I’ve ever seen a covers album even hit 50% of songs I love, and this one hit almost two-thirds. And really, Nick Cave is the only artist here that I don’t have much appreciation for. So why is it only in ninth place? Well, I find it a touch monochromatic. His last album, Virginia Creeper, had a similar tone but more variation, in my view. It may also be true that I can’t fall in love with seven songs for a second time in the way that I did the first time. Frankly, that a covers album made my top ten at all is a tremendous feat.  

Gather Up. The weakest (obviously, at #10) album on the list. A pleasantly mellow album in the Eastmountainsouth mold (obviously, with one of its two singers, and every song having a guest female vocalist), though without as much spark as that one. If you took the best 2 or 3 tracks off of Eastmountainsouth, these albums would be interchangeable; but how many albums can survive having their best 3 songs removed? If I want to experience emotion, I’ll listen to Harmonograph. If I want to fall asleep peacefully, it’s time for Gather Up.  

“In the Sun” is a wonderful track with the lead singers of R.E.M. (smooth and deep) and Coldplay (just barely holding back, like a levee?) singing to help the victims of the Hurricane Katrina/Bush disaster.  

“El Burrito de Belén” is a Christmas song, remade here by Juanes in his usual style, perhaps a bit more like Un Día Normal than his recent number-one-everywhere-but-the-States, Mi Sangre. It’s only been out (on iTunes at least) for about a month, but it’s already a big holiday favorite in my house. Catchy, fun stuff.
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