adrian is rad

12/13/2006

top dozen albums/ releases of 2006

Filed under: — adrian @ 9:54 pm

I did my top dozen albums of 2006 show last night. My picks and start-with-these tracks:

  1. Fionn Regan The End of the World
    • Be Good or Be Gone
    • Put a Penny in the Slot
  2. Beirut Gulag Orkestar
    • Postcards from Italy
    • Scenic World or Mount Wroclai
  3. the Long Winters Putting the Days to Bed
    • Fire Island, AK
    • Seven
  4. Bishop Allen Month EPs
    • Corazon [from January]
    • Flight 180 [from April]
  5. Sufjan Stevens Avalanche
    • The Mistress Witch From McClure
    • No Man’s Land
  6. Girl Talk Night Ripper
    • Hold Up
    • Too Deep
    • Smash Your Head
  7. Damien Jurado And Now That I’m in Your Shadow
    • Hoquaim
    • Denton, TX
  8. Cat Power The Greatest
    • The Greatest
    • Willie
  9. David Bazan Fewer Moving Parts
    • How I Remember
    • The Devil is Beating his Wife
  10. Eric Bachmann To the Races
    • Home or Genie, Genie
    • Lonesome Warrior
  11. Hold Steady Boys and Girls in America
    • Chips Ahoy!
    • You Can Make him Like You
  12. Elvis Perkins Ash Wednesday
    • While You were Sleeping
    • Good Friday

A little bit about each album after the jump.

First I’ll just say that this list is crap. Any top x list is crap. It’s not always about the music, but the effect of the music and the performance as opposed to expectations (why some possibly worthy albums didn’t make the cut).

  1. Fionn Regan The End of the World
    Indie folk from this Irish guy, released on Bella Union in the UK (and Ireland, I presume) but not in America yet. This album is just fantastic. Consistently interesting and good songs, melodically, lyrically and in orchestration. This is this year’s Veneer (Jose Gonzalez) for me—I’m acosting total strangers on the street and telling them about this ablum, it’s that good. It does have standout songs, but it’s so consistent that the overall effect is greater than the individual songs.
  2. Beirut Gulag Orkestar
    Eastern European folk influenced indie pop. Basically this album has five amazing songs (“Postcards from Italy”, “Mount Wroclai”, “Scenic World”, “Brandenburg” and “After the Curtain”), some mediocre songs and some filler, but the strength of those songs and the fact that this came out of the blue (debut album by band out of a small town, on a small label) helped put it so high on my list. The fact that five songs from one album are among my favorite songs for the year is pretty incredible.
  3. the Long Winters Putting the Days to Bed
    Literary indie pop rock from John Roderick. A number of great, quirky tunes with good instrumentation. When I had to pick my favorites for my KZSU review of this, I picked just about all of the tracks.
  4. Bishop Allen Month EPs
    I realize this is totally cheating; this is not one release but eight (that I have, twelve total). Indie pop out of Brooklyn (but named after a street in Cambridge, MA.) Before they started this project, I’d heard Charm School a couple times. They’ve really upped their level of songwriting from those days (though Charm School is still a good ablum) and put out a lot of good songs through August. I think my favorites are January, April and June.
  5. Sufjan Stevens Avalanche
    Literary indie folk this modern day superhero. Sufjan’s been in my top five for the past three years straight (in my top 2, even, I think) but I was a little disappointed with this album, to be honest. My expectations for Sufjan are very high and I’d heard a number of the best songs on this already, either via mp3 blogs or live at concerts or as bonus tracks for Illinois or alternate versions on compilations, so when I actually got the album, I mentally skipped the songs I already knew and then it didn’t seem all that great. A couple weeks ago, though, I sat down and listened through it again and realized that it is good. It doesn’t hold together well as an album because of the three versions of “Chicago”; it comes across more as a collection of songs.
  6. Girl Talk Night Ripper
    Short attention span mashups out of Pittsburgh. Each “song” has usually over a dozen samples in it’s short span. Many hip hop and top 40 songs, along with indie classics all amazingly mixed together to make new head-bobbing songs. Good for rockin’ out to and good to music geek out to as well.
  7. Damien Jurado And Now That I’m in Your Shadow
    Indie “urban folk”. DJ’s put out about a trillion albums but this is the first from Damien Jurado the Band (as opposed to DJ the Person) and it shows in the consistent sound and feel throughout this album. This is a pretty consistent album without a lot of standout tracks. It’s sort of understated and there rather than hit-you-over-the-head.
  8. Cat Power The Greatest
    Mopey indie soul. Cat Power takes her normal mopey indie rock with fragile vocals and mixes in some Memphis soul (members of Al Green’s backing band) to make slightly groovey mopey indie rock.
  9. David Bazan Fewer Moving Parts
    Depressing indie rock. DB releases his first songs (as an EP) post Pedro the Lion. There are five songs here, with two versions a piece, the fully rock version and then the acoustic demo version. This is a bit inconsistent and the some of the songs work better acoustic or better as rock songs, but overall it’s good with “Backwoods Nation”, “Cold Beer and Cigarettes” and “How I Remember” leading the way.
  10. Eric Bachmann To the Races
    Nylon string guitar and gravely vocals doing indie singer songwriter tunes from the Crooked Fingers (ex-Archers of Loaf) frontman. This is a pretty even album of songs with next to no standout songs, which makes it nice to listen to through but not great for playing over the radio.
  11. Hold Steady Boys and Girls in America
    Drunken bar band rock with literary lyrics. The Hold Steady follows up their great Separation Sunday with an album that loses the Catholic/ Redemption references and beefs up the riffs to new heights. Better musically but not as engaging lyrically as SS.
  12. Elvis Perkins Ash Wednesday
    Folk rock. Elvis Perkins (his actual name, from my understanding) put together a good album of folk music with interesting lyrics. It’s a bit inconsistent, but some great songs and orchestration. I look forward to future albums.

11 Responses to “top dozen albums/ releases of 2006”

  1. libs Says:

    I approve! But, I thought I would point out that there isn’t actually a song on db’s Fewer Moving Parts called “The Devil is Beating his Wife,” I think it is called “Cold Beer and Cigarettes (acoustic)”

  2. adrian Says:

    On the CD version, the packaging actually says the alternate names for the acoustic versions. But, yes, I am referring to the acoustic version of “Cold Beer and Cigarettes.”

  3. libs Says:

    so wierd… the front of the CD says Cold Beer and Cigarettes the back says The Devil is Beating his Wife, the liner notes say both and my iTunes reads it as Cold Beer and Cigarettes (acoustic)… yeah, I’m having a hard time with the strange naming. Sorry. OCD.

  4. Jesse Says:

    Diamond Easter Saturday on Rye

  5. adrian is rad » fionn regan in the US (briefly) Says:

    [...] Fionn Regan topped my list of best albums of ‘06 and for the first time (I believe) he’s touring America. [...]

  6. ipickmynose » fionn is it Says:

    [...] Somehow the music blogs haven’t quite picked up on my favorite album/ artist, Fionn Regan (a xhref=”http://www.myspace.com/fionnregan”>myspace) of 2006—probably because his label hasn’t released his ablum in the U.S. yet—so here I am to trumpet him. [...]

  7. ipickmynose: a San Francisco Bay Area-centric, mostly indie music blog » Fionn Regan signs to Lost Highway, to tour the US Says:

    [...] As reported on Fionn Regan’s homepage, my favorite artist of 2006 (and one of the first things I blogged about here once I started this blog) has signed to Lost Highway, home to, among others, Johnny Cash for his last decade. [...]

  8. ipickmynose: an SF-centric indie music blog » as I mentioned: streaming albums this week, Fionn Regan album finally coming out in america, touring Says:

    [...] Now back to Fionn: I’ve mentioned it before but my favorite artist of 2006 and one of the first things I talked about on this blog is finally getting his debut album released tomorrow on Lost Highway Records. You can order it here. [...]

  9. ipickmynose: an SF-centric indie music blog » 2007 albums? Says:

    [...] getting to that time of year where everyone makes lists. I tend to do this as [...]

  10. ipickmynose: an SF-centric indie music blog » best of 2007: releases (albums, EPs, box sets) Says:

    [...] see my picks for best concerts. I also made “best of” lists for the following years: 2006, 2005, [...]

  11. ipickmynose: an SF-centric indie music blog » “best of” note and additions, mistakes I knew (and didn’t know) I was making Says:

    [...] 2006: [...]

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