Top 25 Album of 2006 1 to 10

December 18, 2006 by · 4 Comments
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Here it is, the top ten of our countdown. Sure to inspire comments like “What, top 25 and no Dylan ?” or “Hey, where’s Beck and TV On The Radio” to which I’d have to respond “Those are all great, maybe even classic, but they weren’t the one’s I spent time listening to and enjoying the most.”
At the bottom, after the number one choice, I’ve listed a bunch of runners up, which, who knows, on a different day may have made the cut. It’s all good, rock on.

Clicking a link on an artists’s name will take you to more music by them at The Hype Machine

10 The Slip Eisenhower
A masterful blend of beatlesque pop songs and indie rock psychedelia, think Death Cab for Cutie meets Pink Floyd and you’ll start to get the idea.

MP3: The Slip – Children of December
The Slip – If One of Us Should Fall

9 The Decemberists The Crane Wife
Never expected to like this at all, especially after the intense prerelease buzz that had me pretty skeptical of whether it would even be any good at all. Other than the one low point that is Shankill Butcher this one’s near perfect. Plus it’s fun to play spot the influences – O Valencia is pure REM, while When The War Comes sounds like the sequel to Led Zeppelin’s No Quarter

MP3: The Decemberists – Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)
The Decemberists – When The War Came

8 Tom Waits Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards
54 songs, 30 of which are brand new,all great, this one release has more songs than most of the artists on this top 25 have in their entire catalog. The man has affirmed himself as one of the truly great songwriters of our time. An instant classic. One disc of the noisy blues romps, one disc of ballads, and one disc of the experimental songs, it’s all there.

MP3: Tom Waits – Lowdown ( Brawler )
MP3: Tom Waits – Never Let Go ( Bawler )
MP3: Tom Waits – First Kiss ( Bastard)

7 Dixie Chicks Taking The Long Way
The Dixie Chicks confronted controversy head on, shook off just a bit of their country edge and made an incredible and lasting pop disc.

MP3: Dixie Chicks – The Long Way Around
Dixie Chicks – Lullaby

6 Johnny Cash American v: A Hundred Highways
The soundtrack of a man confronting death and reconciling the impending end of his life in song. As pure and emotional sounding of an album as I’ve ever heard.

MP3: Johnny Cash – Gods Gonna Cut You Down
Johnny Cash – Like the 309

5 The Roots Game Theory
The best hip hop / rap disc of the year, and the most consistent disc The Roots have ever done. Musical, political and engaging it is music that confronts you to listen in the best possible way.

MP3: The Roots False Media
The Roots – Don’t Feel Right

4 Yo La Tengo I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
I’ve been waiting 20 years to say this but Yo La Tengo has finally made their masterpiece. Their live show has always been stellar, but for me at least, they’ve never delivered on album. Well now they have, the best of everything they do, from swirling guitar workouts to short 60’s style pop songs woven together perfectly on one disc.

MP3: Yo La Tengo – Pass The Hatchet I’m Goodkind
Yo La Tengo – Song For Mahila

3 The Hold Steady Boys and Girls in America
The Hold Steady are making big guitar rock music with storytelling lyrics matter again. If this disc doesn’t convince you, go seem them live. They reminded me why I like live music so much in the first place pure exhilaration.

MP3: The Hold Steady – Same Kooks
The Hold Steady – First Night

2 Snow Patrol Eyes Open
Don’t disregard this disc just because you don’t like the overplayed single Chasing Cars, it’s easily the worst song on the album. This album spent more time in my cd player than just about any other cd that came out this year. Lyrically it may be a bit simplistic but its one damn good album to just to kick back and listen to. Almost made my number one spot.

MP3: Snow Patrol – You’re All I Have
MP3: Snow Patrol – Set The Fire To The Third Bar

1 The Format Dog Problems
Dog Problems is an amazing album full of smart,incredibly catchy pop songs. I’ve turned more people on to this disc with just one quick listen than any other disc this year. It’s instantly memorable hooks stick in your head for weeks leaving you hopelessly addicted. Chiming guitars,snappy drumming,soaring harmony vocal parts, with just the right keyboard and horn flourishes to top it all off, pop perfection.

MP3: The Format – Time Bomb
The Format – Dog Problems

The Runners Up (in alphabetical order)
Albert Hammond Jr Yours To Keep
Beck The Information
Bob Dylan Modern Times
Cat Power The Greatest
Cheap Trick Rockford
DeJesus From The Subconscious
Drive By Truckers A Blessing And A Curse
Gnarls Barkley St. Elsewhere
Grizzly Bear Yellow House
Guster Ganging Up on the Sun
James Hunter People Gonna Talk
Jay Z Kingdom Come
Joan Osborne Pretty Little Stranger
Joanna Newsom Ys
M Ward Post War
Mastodon Blood Mountain
Prince 3121
Ray Davies Other Peoples Lives
Roseanne Cash Black Cadillac
Sonic Youth Rather Ripped
Matthew Sweet & Susannah Hoffs Under The Covers Volume 1
The Killers Sam’s Town
The Lemonheads The Lemonheads
The Who Endless Wire
Tom Petty Highway Companion
Tv On The Radio Return To Cookie Mountain

Top 25 Albums of 2006 11 to 25

December 18, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
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Well it’s finally here, after much debating and changing and rearranging my top 25 albums of 2006. Most likely it should be called favorite 25 as it’s all subjective anyway, and if I did it again next week it would most likely change. I’m sure everyone will find something to agree or disgree with here, but these are the ones that spent the most time in my cd player.iPod,etc. They are the ones I enjoyed listening to the most. All in all it was a pretty good year for music. So, kick back and enjoy, add a comment if you feel moved and stay tuned for the top 10 tomorrow.

Clicking a link on an artists’s name will take you to more music by them at The Hype Machine

25 Jerry Lee Lewis Last Man standing
The original “Killer” both confirms and reaffirms his legacy here. Twenty one duets with everyone ranging from from Little Richard to Keith Richards to Kid Rock, his contempararies as well as those he influenced, all lend a hand. Strongly showcasing both Jerry Lee’s rock and country side, with lots of star power thrown in, it’s a classic Jerry Lee Lewis disc.
MP3: Jerry Lee Lewis – Lost Highway (w/Delaney_Bramlett)

24 Lloyd Cole Antidepressant
Lloyd Cole releases his first new album in 3 years and one of his strongest. He’s outgrown the youthful longing of his Rattlesnakes era work for a disc full of mature and insightful songs without losing his poetic sting. Bonus points for name checking Scarlett Johanssen.

MP3: Lloyd Cole – New York City Sunshine

23 Lindsey Buckingham Under the Skin
A quiet subtle disc that puts his Fleetwood Mac days behind him, fans of people like M.Ward,Ray Lamontagne,Elliot Smith,etc should be all over this Alas, it will most likely pass into music history largely unnoticed as just one more footnote in Lindsey’s long career.

MP3: Lindsey Buckingham – Show You How

22 Nellie McKay Pretty Little Head
Nellie McKay has a Tin Pan Alley flair for songwriting and her new one Pretty Little Head is no exception. Literate, funny and sharp her 2nd release and her 2nd double disc collection she’s also highly prolific. Guest turns by none other than K.D Lang and Cyndi Lauper. Initially bounced by her record label for being too long at 23 songs, she held to her principles and got it released on her terms.
MP3: Nellie McKay – Mama and Me

21 The Pernice Brothers Live A Little
Joe Pernice is a master of pop songcraft and this new one is no exception. The production is a little more stripped down this time allowing the songs to really shine.

MP3: The Pernice Brothers – Lightheaded

20 Cold War Kids Robbers & Cowards
A dark quirky sound that finds the middle ground between the surrealism of TV On the Radio and raw rootsy sound of The White Stripes.

MP3: Cold War Kids – We Used To Vacation

19 Golden Smog Another Fine Day
Golden Smog takes a more rock based approach this time around and comes up with record that sounds less like the side project supergroup that it is and more like a full time band with something to prove.

MP3: Golden Smog – 5-22-02

18 Soul Asylum The Silver Lining
Bassist Karl Mueller’s swan song disc due to his untimely death from cancer sets out to prove that Soul Asylum is still a vital musical force. Their most focused effort since Grave Dancer’s Union is filled with huge sounding guitars and classic Soul Asylum hooks.

MP3: Soul Asylum – Crazy Mixed Up World

17 The Shrinking Islands In The Black Carpet
The Shrinking Isalnds prove tht you don’t need noises and gimmicks to make a great record much like the bands that launched college radio back in the eighties. Great songs and pristine prodcution values make up a brilliant pop record that takes their influences and molds them into their own distinct sound.
MP3: The Shrinking Islands – State Fair

16 The Blow Paper Televison
A New Wave snyth pop meets 60’s Girls groups vision of boys and girls in America. A completely different approach to this group of insanely catchy, danceable relationship songs.

MP3: The Blow – Parentheses

15 Clipse Hell Hath No Fury
Street level rap at it’s finest, full of the stacatto beats and raw grit that get back to the roots of the music.

MP3: Clipse – Mr Me Too

14 Pearl Jam Pearl Jam
Easily their best and most accessible disc since VS. They also reaffirmed their place this year as one of the best live bands going.

MP3: Pearl Jam – Army Reserve

13 Wolfmother Wolfmother
The best of 70’s style guitar rock excess dragged screaming right into the 00’s. This disc never claims to be anything more than it is and succeeds grandly. Three guys making a glorius racket.

MP3: Wolfmother – Woman

12 Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium
Almost too much of a good thing and sure maybe some of it sounded a bit familiar, but its the Chili Peppers at their funk rock best and there really is a genuinely bad song in the bunch.

MP3: Red Hot Chili Peppers – C’mon Girl

11 Primal Scream Riot City Blues
Stonesy sounding country blues rock guitar crunch.

MP3: Primal Scream – Dolls

50 Great Singles of 2006 Part 5 of 5

December 8, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
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Today is the big finale to or weeklong celebration of the great singles or should’ve been singles from 2006. We counted down 50 great song starting rom the shortest, Nellie McKay’s 59 second pop gem, “Pounce”, to the longest, “Road to Peace” clocking in at just over 7 minutes from Tom Waits. A little over three hours of music in all to rock your week, so kick back and enjoy. And remember, if you heard something you liked please support the artists by buying cds and going to their shows. It’s what keep sthe great music coming.

10: Lucero – I Can Get Us Out Of Here Tonight 4:14
Why, why why are these guys still rolling along in relative obscurity. Someone needs
to send this to Brandon Flowers of The Killers so he can learn about the proper usage of a Springsteen influence.

9: TV on the Radio – I Was a Lover 4:21
Captivating in its own surreal way.

8: The Black Keys – Strange Desire 4:21
The best White Stripes song this year. Maybe they should be called the Jack Keys.

7: Elton John – Tinderbox 4:26
Elton rediscovers whatever it was he was tapping into during his classic seventies era and comes up with a song that easily holds up against his back catalog.

6: Wolfmother – Joker & The Thief 4:40
Just raw, sometimes overblown guitar rock. Three guys making an awesome racket, so simple you gotta love it.

5: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California 4:43
You forgot these guys put out a great double album earlier this year, didn’t you ?

4: Grizzly Bear – On a Neck, On a Spit 5:46
Ethereal and majestic, like a soundtrack to a movie you haven’t seen. Grizzly Bear picked up a little bit of excessive hype this year, but they’re damn good in their own low key way.

3: Dixie Chicks – Voice Inside My Head 5:52
My favorite song from the sometimes controversial Taking The Long Way home disc.

2: Bob Dylan – Thunder On The Mountain 5:55
Bob Dylan. Like the energizer bunny on a tear, he just keeps them coming.

1: Tom Waits – Road To Peace 7:17
How do you narrow an album of 56 great songs down to just one pick ? Easily one of the most politically charged songs he’s ever done.

50 Great Singles of 2006 Part 4 of 5

December 7, 2006 by · 1 Comment
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Welcome to part 4 of our series counting down 50 great songs/singles of 2006. It’s been a fun ride for me and I hope for you as well. Leave a comment let me know what you liked or what you think I missed, but most all of enjoy the music.

20: The Decemberists – O Valencia 3:47
I have to admit, I was not a Decemberists fan before this record. This is a great song, part REM, part Brit Pop, and the rest of The Crane Wife disc is just as good if not better and I’m more than happy to jump on the bandwagon.

19: Golden Smog – Corvette 3:51
A total rocker from the “supergroup” that is really starting to sound like more than the sum of its parts.

18: Clipse – Chinese New Year 3:56
It was a long time coming, but this record makes the return of Jay-Z and Snoop Dog this year seem irrelevant.

17: Prince – Fury 4:02
The incendiary performance of this song on Saturday Night Live kicked off a year which saw Prince opt to open his own Las Vegas club “3121” instead of touring. Make the pilgrimage.

16: Primal Scream – Country Girl 4:02
Primal Scream out Stones-ed the Rolling Stones on this country blues romp.

15: Justin Timberlake – SexyBack 4:03
Better than you think it would be, give it a shot, I did, I like it, enough said.

14: The Hold Steady – Stuck Between Stations 4:05
Forget about the fifth horse in the sixth race named chips ahoy for a bit, the lead off track on what may be the best rock disc of the year kicks it just as hard.

13: Yo La Tengo – Mr. Tough 4:05
It took 20 years but Yo La Tengo finally made their masterpiece, check out this nice little faux-motown style number.

12: Ray Davies – All She Wrote 4:10
My favorite song on a disc full of the classic Ray Davies songs we all know from his glory days fronting The Kinks.

11: The Roots – Here I Come 4:11
Powerful,intelligent, and engaging, a fierce song from the best rap/hiphop disc of the year.

If you like what you’ve been hearing, please support the artists.
Go to the shows and buy the cds.

50 Great Singles of 2006 Part 3 of 5

December 6, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
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We’re up to part three, numbers 21 to 30, and over the halfway mark in our countdown of singles from 2006. Counting them down from shortest to longest giving you even more music to enjoy with each day. I hope you’re all enjoying it and stayed tuned because there’s 20 more great tracks still to come.

30: The Slip – Mothwing Bite 3:29
Organ flourishes,strummy acoustic guitar,catchy vocal hooks, what more do you need.

29: The Format – The Compromise 3:29
The first single from THE power pop disc of the year and the ultimate FU to the record company that dropped them. Twice.

28: Robert Randolph & the Family Band – Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That 3:32
This song is flat out smoking hot guitar playing, you may recognize it as the background music from the barrage of fall show promo spots on NBC

27: The Raconteurs – Steady, As She Goes 3:35
Jack White somehow managed to avoid the backlash that usually comes from overexposure and cranked out a bunch of catchy garage rock songs with this side project

26: Fergie – London Bridge 3:35
So what if it sounds just like all the hits from the Black Eyed Peas, like they used to say on American Bandstand “It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it”

25: Pernice Brothers – Somerville 3:35
The Pernice Brothers strip it back down for this album and make another classic, Somerville is just one of the highlights, got to love that guitar hook.

24: The Killers – When You Were Young 3:38
The song that spawned a million Springsteen comparisons. It may not be their Born To Run but it holds its own as one of the truly great singles of the year

23: Soul Asylum – Fearless Leader 3:40
The silver lining inside The Silver Lining is this hidden track from new Soul Asylum disc. A fantastic Dave Pirner acoustic number.

22: The Rapture – Whoo! Alright Yeah…Uh Huh 3:40
The best of 80’s alternative dance rock recycled for the indie hipsters of today

21: Rosanne Cash – World Without Sound 3:42
Cash was defnitely a name to be reckoned with 2006, and Johnny wasn’t the only one, like father, like daughter.

50 Great Singles of 2006 Part 2 of 5

December 5, 2006 by · 1 Comment
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Ten more for your listening enjoyment including the year’s HUGE smash “Crazy” and the surprisingly good return of The Who.

40: Damien Rice – The Rat Within the Grain 2:54
The best song on a disc that is essentially “O” part 2.

39: Gnarls Barkley – Crazy 2:58
Mashup goes mainstream for hands down the biggest single song of the year, really, who didn’t cover this one this year ?

38: The Who – We Got A Hit (Extended Version) 3:03
With only 2 original members a potential disaster in the making turned out to not be a half bad record after all.

37: James Hunter – No Smoke Without Fire 3:05
Smoking soul, this song can start its own fire.

36: Pearl Jam – Unemployable 3:06
The least typical song and my favorite from Pearl Jam’s best disc since VS.

35: Tom Petty – Flirting With Time 3:15
Petty goes back to the roots aand regains himself after the flop of a disc that was the Last DJ

34: Drive By Truckers – Aftermath USA 3:16
A classic trailer park white trash anthem.

33: Willie Nile – Best Friends Money Can Buy 3:17
One of many great songs from a disc that is so below the radar most people don’t know it was even released, Willie Nile is one of the great underrated songwriters around today.

32: New York Dolls – Gimme Luv And Turn On The Lights 3:19
Despite losing multiple members over the past year or so, the Dolls proved they can
still bring the rock.

31: Outkast – Idlewild Blue (Don’tchu Worry About Me) 3:24
One of the couple gems on this year’s stinker of a film and album from Oukast

50 Great Singles of 2006 Part 1 of 5

December 4, 2006 by · 1 Comment
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Well it’s that time of year again, make a list, check it twice, find out who… oh you know the rest. While I continue pondering over my choices for the best albums of 2006 I’d thought I’d give you some of my picks for the best singles, or should’ve been singles of the year.
To avoid the typical ranked from worst to first I’ve sorted them by length from shortest to longest, because isn’t a single really about the making the biggest impact in the least amount of time.
So without further ado here’s the first 10 songs for your listening enjoyment.

50: Nellie McKay – Pounce :59
Sure it’s simple and it’s short, but it’s catchy as hell. 59 seconds of pure bouncy pop.

49: The Blow – Pile of Gold 2:12
Like a new wave version of Hey Ya, this one really sticks with you, try not to sing along “all the girls are sitting on a pile of gold and the boys they want it, want it”

48: Jerry Lee Lewis with Jimmy Page – Rock And Roll 2:14
Rock and Roll kind of says it all. Everything you’d imagine this pairing can deliver.

47: Chelsea Taube – Save My Soul From The Devil 2:15
A gem from a star in the making.

46: Nada Surf – I Like What You Say 2:33
The only thing new from Nada Surf this year is brilliant, but you could only hear it on myspace

45: The Shrinking Islands – Swallowed In Grace 2:38
A great song from a great record that needs to be heard. The latest release from Sort Of Records out of Pittsburgh, a new label with good things happening.

44: Lloyd Cole – Antidepressant 2:39
Lloyd Cole pours the experience of his years into song and makes a fine new disc, this is the title track.

43: Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs – The Kids Are Alright 2:48
A Sweet and a sweetheart making sweet harmonies on this, one of the best tracks from their covers disc.

42: Pete Yorn – The Good Advice 2:50
This is from the Westerns EP which was only available at Pete’s shows. Better than just about anything on the full length Nightcrawlers disc.

41: KT Tunstall – Black Horse & The Cherry Tree 2:52
Potentially a one hit wonder in the making, nothing else on her record is near this good. Time will tell.