I have finally gotten around to organizing my ideas and opinions of music in 2006. To get right to the point, the year seemed to be in limbo between 2005 and 2007. Many great bands/records came out and will come out in those years. Thus, 2006 served as a year writing those records and touring on them.
For example, 2005 saw new releases from Against Me!, My Morning Jacket, Broken Social Scene and Sleater Kinney. 2007 will see releases from Wilco, Modest Mouse and Arcade Fire. Big bands that came out with new material last year included Mastodon, Built to Spill, Sonic Youth and Belle & Sebastian. Are these bands of the same caliber? Yes, but their efforts did not seem to be as strong. MMJ's 2005 record, "Z," was one of their best releases in their history. Sonic Youth's 2006 record, "Rather Ripped," though good, was rather just like their last two records. Sleater Kinney's 2005 record, "The Woods," again, found itself amongst their top three records of all time. Belle & Sebastian's 2006, "The Life Pursuit," was a dissapointment, especially when placed next to their 2005 compilation, "Push Barman to Open Old Wounds."
2007, so far, holds much promise. Arcade Fire's "Neon Bible," is absolutely amazing. Already my candidate, in February!, for album of the year. The Good, the Bad & the Queen put out a stellar eponymous debut. Released tracks from upcoming records by Jesu and Wilco show considerable promise.
2006 did have a lot of nice surprises, however. With hesitation, here is my list for "top records of 2006." There are 11 here because I heard 11 records that deserved it. Not enough to warrant a dwindling down to 10. Sad.
11. Tragedy - Nerve Damage
10. Mission of Burma - The Obliterati
9. Isis - In the Absence of Truth
8. Boris - Pink
7. Converge - No Heroes
6. Built to Spill - You in Reverse
5. Mastodon - Blood Mountain
4. Planes Mistaken For Stars - Mercy
3. Thom Yorke - The Eraser
2. Tom Waits - Orphans
1. TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
There were too many dissapointments on the year. Flaming Lips "At War with the Mystics" worked too hard to accomplish its goal of "Yoshimi Part II." Pretty Girls Make Graves "Elan Vital" had three decent tracks on it, namely "The Nocturnal House." And what is it with all the critics blowing "The Hold Steady?" Those dudes are empty.
Musically, 2006 was best remembered by me for getting into new bands/obsessing over old ones even more. It was the year I picked up the Trojan Records Box Set of Dub. The year I obsessed over Elvis Costello, Isis and Dylan even more. The year I picked up The Velvet's "White Light/White Heat." It was also the year I got into Nick Cave. Those are much more memorable than my list.
So, here's to 2007!