Monday, January 01, 2007

Best Albums of 2006

As many of you know, I spent a lot of myu free time this past year obsessed with eMusic and music in general. Reading about it, performing it, listening to it... I guess it's is my life. Having aquired all of this music, and observing how often I listen to it (thanks to iTunes), I feel it would go against my indie rock upbringing not to post a list of some sort. So here it goes.

20. Yo La Tengo "I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass"
19. Islands "Return to the Sea"
18. Herbert "Scale"
17. Bob Dylan "Modern Times"
16. Josh Rouse "Subtitulo"
15. Sunset Rubdown "Shut Up I Am Dreaming"
14. The Hold Steady "Boys and Girls in America"
13. Sufjan Stevens "The Avalanche"
12. Neko Case "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood"
11. Beirut "Gulag Orkestar"
10. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins "Rabbit Fur Coat"
This Album was really big with me early in the year. Simple song-writing, country/americana stylings and political and God-questioning lyrics.

9. The Decemberists "Crane Wife"

I was really looking forward to this album's release. In a way, it didn't dissappoint. Despite the indie world's fear that a major-label release would somehow dilute the band's artistic process, Colin Meloy and the gang delivered on great album full of great characters, great songs, and even some old fashioned prog rock!

8. Final Fantasy "He Poos Clouds"
This album, which won the Polaris prize in Canada for best album of the year, was a great find for me. I've always been irritated by the label of "champer pop". It seems, buy the industry writers, "chamber pop" was any music that had any instrumentation added to the traditional electrical instruments. Chamber music is really just music that can be performed in a small space (chamber, or room). I guess I take this to mean music without amplification. Well, Final Fantasy (aka Owen Pallet) is the first true chamber pop that I have ever heard. It's really a very interesting album, he uses strings, percusion and keyboard instruments to paint a lush musical landscape with stange 'fantastic' subjects. It really is a great listen.Oh yea, this is the guy who arranged strings for a bunch of indie artists, most noteably, The Arcade Fire.

7. Califone "Roots & Crowns"
I've always been a big fans of these guys from Chicago. I've heard them described many ways, but my favorite is "freak folk". What doesn that mean? Well, I'm not sure, but their music is wonderful. It's melodic and soothing, haunting and minimalistic, and, most importantly creativly consturcted. I hear more of a blues influence then their past efforts, but it is not, by any means, a blues recorded. Can't help but hear a little Tom Waits influence either (especially "Rain Dogs")

6. TV on the Radio "Return to Cookie Mountain"
This was probably the most-hyped album of the year (next to The Decemberists) and by all accounts, it lived up to the hype. This album took sometime for me. I instantly liked the soul that this album had. But, in addition to that, its innovative, fun, dark and melodic. It really is an album in the purest sense, I prefer to listen to the whole thing from start to finish, rather then select songs in the car an the way to school.

5. Cat Power "The Greatest"
One of the first albums I downloaded on eMusic last year, Cat Power's (aka Chan Marshal) most recent album really impressed me. I always liked her song writing, but was never all that impressed with her arranging skills or performance on her previous records. However, she cleaned herself up and recorded this album with some old Memphis sessions players (who have recorded with artists like Al Green); the result, a great record with some heart-wrenching songs all played by a handful of great musicians.

4. Joanna Newsom "Ys"
What do you get when you have a girl who studied creative writing and composition at Mills College, who always thought that she couldn't sing, and who's main instrument is the harp? Well, a album of interesting songs composed on a harp; with creative, allegorical lyrics, sung in a strange, yet charming, voice. The 5 tracks on this album each run between 7 and 15 minutes and feature Newsom on her harp with orchestral accompianment arrange by Van Dyke Parks. However, the symphonic scope of this album just masks its simplicity. The music is simple, but the result is like candy to the ears.

3. The Format "Dog Problems"
This album just makes me smile. Not all of the lyrics are as happy as the songs, but I still just smile. With cues from 1970s pop (Queen) and a wide vareity of songs styles (including a waltz), this albums is by far the funnest album of the year! What else can I say?

2. M. Ward "Post-War"

Listen to this!

1. Destroyer "Destroyer's Rubies"
Buy this!!

Want to hear songs from some of the Albums? Well, click on the links above, search for them on MySpace, or on


christopher jette said...

i had a dream last night that you were the only friend that I had and that you told me it didn't matter if everyone in the world hated me. Thank you for your continued support. Nice list.

Nathan said...

thanks, I love you too!