Thursday, December 07, 2006

HCYB Top Ten Albums of 2006

Do I really care that 2005 was a better music year than 2006? Hell no. The state of rock and roll has not been this good in a long time.

Honorable Mentions:
The Whigs - Give 'Em All a Big Fat Lip
These Georgia Bulldogs blew the roof off the Black Cat this fall. Their album is rock solid too.

Band of Horses - Everything All the Time
I do not want to like this album, but I can't help it. Benhamin Bridwell's voice is an ear massage.

Jose Gonzalez - Veneer
An Argentinian Swede that writes songs in English and plays guitar like Nick Drake? I'll take it any day.

Golden Smog - Another Fine Day
Jeff Tweedy puts the "super" in this supergroup, but it's the Jayhawks' Gary Lourdis that brings the heat. If the Eagles didn't suck, they'd sound like this.

Widespread Panic - Earth to America
Although this album is mostly milquetoast, "From the Cradle" and "Ribs and Whiskey" are fantastic. Really, I'm just glad my favorite band of all time is still playing.

And now, The List:
10. Ray LaMontagne - Till the Sun Turns Black
Ray is a hermit from Maine with the beard of a Mastadon and a voice that drips with soul. The title of this album is an apt summary of his gloomy worldview, but songs about inner demons and social ills don't muddy this crystal music. Best Song: "Empty"

9. The Coup - Pick a Bigger Weapon
"I'm here to laugh, love, fuck, and drink liquor and help the revolution come a little quicker." At least this militant hip hop group serves humor with its hypocrisy. Best Songs: "My Favorite Mutiny" and "Sho Yo Ass"

8. Yo La Tengo - I'm Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
These indie rock veterans drop a discordant album where jangly pop, ambient fuzz, and post-alt.indie coalesce like plaid on stripes. You say inconsistent, I say eclectic. Whatever - this album beats your ass. Best Song: "Mr. Tough"

7. Cold War Kids - Robbers and Cowards
Lead singer Nathan Whillet is a former English teacher who invents song characters as if he were a novelist. Sounds a little like Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, right? I guess, except Whillet doesn't lead a band of yanni face geek boys. Combine that non-lameness with hipster blues and LA swagger, and you get a band that's wicked deck. Best Songs: "St.John" and "Hospital Beds"

6. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
This chanteuse - yeah, I said it - has one of the best voices of the past 10 years. There's not a bad song on this album. Neko joins Jim James at the top of my list of singers I want to hear in a 70,000 person arena. Best Song: "John Saw That Number"

5. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat
As is the case with Neko, Gillian Welch, and (blush) Norah Jones, I have a crush on Jenny Lewis' voice. Jenny's personal lyrics about God and post-adolescent angst reek of Conor Oberst, but that's what makes her so damn endearing. Best Song: "The Charging Sky"

4. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
This Shaolin Master of the Wu Tang proves that 30 year olds can still rock the party. The beats are incredible - even for a hip hop neophyte like myself - and Ghostface's lyrics are as incendiary as they are hilarious. In the same stanza of "Be Easy," he spits "Y'all be nice to tha crackheads" and "I just shot one of my bitches." Some MCs just won't grow up. Best Song: "Be Easy"

3. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
Lead singer Craig Finn's melodic spoken-word vocals are truly unique. The band plays straight up rawk songs and wears its Bruce Springsteen idolatry as a badge of honor. Believe the hype y'all - this band is the truth.

2. Built to Spill - You in Reverse
This album continues to blow me away. The opening track lights my fire, even after the thousandth listen. In blending righteous guitar solos, melodic vocals, and introspective lyrics, this album bridges the gap between pretentious indie rockers and undisciplined jam bands. There is more Grateful Dead influence on this album than all of Built to Spill's New Wave/Punk forebears combined. In an indie-rock world dominated by hipsters, that's impressive. Best Song and Song of the Year: "Goin' Against Your Mind."

1. Bob Dylan - Modern Times
Despite my obsession with You in Reverse, I cringe at the insinuation that Bob Dylan is anything less than Number One. When I look back at this list 50 years from now (come on, you know I will), I don't want to feel the shame of having placed a group of mountain hippie grommet fucks ahead of the single greatest songwriter in American history. Plus, Modern Times is an incredible album. With haunting vocals and the straight up blues, Dylan covers Muddy Waters, ruminates on the spiritual, laments the struggles of the proletariat, and rhymes "sons of bitches" with "orphanages." Best Songs: "Thunder on the Mountain" and "Ain't Talkin'". Thanks, Bob. Can't wait for the next one.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have got to see this. Obama playing on XBox. Funniest video ever.

1:49 AM  

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