Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Top Ten Records From 2006

01. Tom Waits / Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards

I know, I know. Number one. Surprise, surprise. But who would have thought that a three CD box set with a quarter previously released b-sides and extras, a quarter material that's never seen the light of day, and half newly recorded songs would garner Old Tom the best album of 2006? Of his career? On Orphans, all three sides of Waits is divided up into its own disc: Brawlers (the bluesy), Bawlers (the ballads) and Bastards (the banging on a trashcan lid, as Lisa would call it). This is actually better than I anticipated. It came out in early November and I'm just now to the point where I'm not sleeping with it at night.

02. Neko Case / Fox Confessor Brings The Flood

Most people only know Neko from New Pornographers fame. Fair enough. But these same people, often times, don't appreciate her day job as a country crooner. This is a near perfect disc. As a matter of fact, there were only a couple of songs that I took points off for, and it was because they were too short.

03. The Hold Steady / Boys & Girls In America

While the rest of the world was busy harolding the Killers as the Second Coming of Springsteen, The Hold Steady waited til the end of the year to release a collection of songs that really does follow the Born To Run formula.

04. Camera Obscura / Let's Get Out Of This Country

Another near perfect pop album. Listening to this makes me feel like I'm drinking an extra large Orange Julius at the mall.

05. Belle & Sebastian / The Life Pursuit

If the gang from B&S had taken time off after the re-release of Tigermilk, waited several years, and then put out this gem, they'd have a perfect track record. 2003's Dear Catastrophe Waitress was a step in the right direction, but I only had a hankering to listen to it a handful of times. On Pursuit, Stuart Murdoch returns to his notebook, where he rightfully belongs.

06. Ghostface Killah / Fishscale

This is Ghost's strongest release since Supreme Clientele, despite placing a skit as every third or fourth track (this would have actually earned a higher score if not for that. Thank God for CD technology and that "skip" button). Usually, a rotation of producers is the first sign of a creative decline, but in this case, it's what makes Fishscale the record that it is. Look for appearances by various members of the Wu Tang Clan, including the ghost of Ol' Dirty Bastard.

07. Sparklehorse / Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain

In a recent interview in Stop Smiling magazine (the only print rag I read, cover-to-cover), Mark Linklous mentions how, during the duration of this five-years-in-the-making recording, he suffered depression, almost overdosed on drugs, and was constantly paranoid about getting dropped from his record label. He never got dropped, but he did almost die. Stop smiling, indeed.

08. Gnarls Barkley / St. Elsewhere

I'm not a Cee-Lo fan, so I never intended on picking this up, despite Danger Mouse's association with it. I'm glad I did because what resulted was one of the more delightful surprises this year. Listen to me when I say that "Crazy" (which I'm good and sick of, no thanks to radio) is not the only song here. I played it all summer and, at one point, Lisa poked her head into the office and asked me who had remixed Al Green.

09. Islands / Return To The Sea

Islands rose from the ashes of the fallen Unicorns and, in turn, knocked Johnny Cash's first posthumous release out of my top ten. It reminds me of the nineties, when Elephant 6 ruled the world.

10. Cat Power / The Greatest

Chan Marshall returns with, not a greatest hits package, but a collection of country-influenced songs. Perfect for a Sunday morning, nursing a headache from the night before. And she's hot.


Anonymous kin-corn-karn from nintendo's pro wrestling said...

Wonderful, excellent.

I haven't done my top 10 albums yet, but your taste is impeccable as usual. Close to half of these would probably sniff my list.

Thanks for the preview.

18 January, 2007  
Anonymous 'sawblade said...

That Hold Steady record is my numero uno of the year. Just not a bad track on it (well, yeah there is - track 10 - the duet between the guy and girl - it kinda sucks, but I really admire the effort to do such a weird song).

I really disliked that Islands disc. Or I should say, I was really disappointed in it.

I still don't have the new Neko, but have heard it and quite liked it.

Can't wait for our best of '06 comp night!

19 January, 2007  
Blogger mwt. said...

Jeff: I could see why you're disappointed. When I first heard them, I was trying to figure out what the big deal was. But there were a couple of songs that I really dug, which kept me going back to it. The whole thing ended up growing on me.

Ramsey: I am forever grateful for your approval. I still consider your taste in music to be quite similiar to mine. Sometimes frighteningly so. The 10th of February will be extraordinary! mwt.

19 January, 2007  

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