THE BEST CD's OF 2006
December 21, 2006
It’s that time of year again, when all the critics and music fanatics share their picks for the best new albums released during the year. This was one of the hardest years for me yet. I usually have a pretty good sense of my 10 favorite albums of the year, but this year it seems there were only 5 or 6 sure things and about 15 other really great records that I found hard to rank. It was a great year, but too many really good albums yet not as many that jumped out of the pack.
Another huge problem for me was the fact that the best album released this year (in my humble opinion) is not even eligible for my year-end list. I’m talking about The Beatles Love album. That was far and away my favorite release of the year. But because it’s not technically new material I don’t feel it meets the Top Ten list criteria. Frank Zappa’s Trance-Fusion is another record that came out this year that would have made it, but it’s all live recordings and it was recorded years ago, so that’s out. There is yet a third album that probably would have at least made my top twenty and that’s the new Weird Al Yankovic album called Straight Outta Lynwood. No matter what your opinion of comedy or novelty records, if you’re a fan of music and you have a sense of humor, you have to love Weird Al and this is one of his best. I just wanted to mention those 3 albums because they are exceptional and I recommend them highly but for one reason or another they don't meet the Best Of list rules.
On to my year-end lists…
Dr. Shore’s Top Ten CD’s of 2006
1. The Feeling – Twelve Stops and Home (UME/Interscope)
Pure-pop brilliance. Heavily influenced by 10cc and pop of the 70’s. Hooky and fun. It doesn’t get better than this.
2. The Slip – Eisenhower (Bar/None)
A sleeper that snuck up on me! I picked it up on a whim late in the year and it’s been hard to stop listening. Hard to describe…quirky indie-rock with guitar, piano, keys and great melodies! You’ve got to hear this one!
3. Pivitplex – The King in a Rookery (Hawley)
This is alternative power-pop done right. Beatle-esque with Brian Wilson style vocal arrangements mixed into great alternative rock with beautiful melodies and infectious hooks. This is exactly the kind of music I love.
4. Lost Dogs – The Lost Cabin and the Mystery Trees (independent)
Songs... It’s all about great songwriting and melodies. Those of you that know me know my love for Terry Taylor and his many bands (Daniel Amos, Swirling Eddies, etc.) but on this one he gets help from Derri and Steve of The Choir who contribute heavily this time around.
5. Mew – And the Glass Handed Kites (Sony)
If you like Pink Floyd, Muse, Yes or early Radiohead you must get this album. It sounds exactly like none of those, but fans of those bands will appreciate the artistry and originality.
6. Fair – The Best Worst-Case Scenario (Tooth and Nail)
Aaron Sprinkle should be a household name. His production and songwriting are fantastic. This is his first outing with a band in awhile after putting out 3 great solo albums. Alternative Rock with a great pop sensibility and the songwriting will blow your mind.
7. David Mead – Tangerine (Tallulah)
Another Power-pop gem…highly recommended to fans of Crowded House. It’s beautiful, hooky and fun.
8. Jars of Clay – Good Monsters (Essential)
Forget anything you’ve ever heard from or about this band. This album is fantastic and should probably be higher on this list. This is easily their best. Stylistically it covers the orchestral alternative pop and rock genre and again, the best thing about this one are the great hooks and melodies.
9. Keane – Under the Iron Sea (Interscope)
I love Keane. Beautiful keyboard pop…Nuff said.
10. Mute Math – Mute Math (Teleprompt/Warner Bros)
The final commercial release of this album didn’t do the original indie version justice. But either way it’s a great album with all sorts of early Depeche Mode influence mixed into U2 style rock with some weird prog and pop sprinkled throughout.
The rest of my top twenty…
11. Woven Hand - Mosaic
12. Roger Joseph Manning Jr. – The Land of Pure Imagination
13. Cheap Trick – Rockford
14. Persephone’s Bees – Notes From the Underworld
15. Beck – The Information
16. Starflyer 59 – My Island
17. Wisely – Parador
18. Badly Drawn Boy – Born in the U.K.
19. Grandaddy – Just Like the Fambly Cat
20. Belle and Sebastian – The Life Pursuit
where's midlake? i have a list too. only midlake should be on yours. :) happy christmas doctor!
Posted by: lori Lenz | December 21, 2006 at 11:37 AM
Nice to finally see some believers in your year-end list, Dr. Shore! (haha)
The Beatles record was dissapointing to me - not enough messin' around!
Cheap Trick?! Ugh, I couldn't get past track 3. AMG.com said it was their best in decades. What a waste of ten bucks.
What about Derek Webb's "Mockingird?!" One of the cheaper (made) records this year, an amazing late breaking on-line marketing plan that put it in the hands of another 100,000 new fans, and such lyrical depth and honesty.
But I'm with ya on Jars and Mute Math.
Posted by: Chris Hauser | December 21, 2006 at 11:42 AM
Great list Dr. T., though I'm surprised Johnny Cash's AMERICAN V: A HUNDRED HIGHWAYS didn't make an appearance.
Posted by: Jay Swartzendruber | December 21, 2006 at 12:02 PM
Nice list. I'll have to check out a couple of those bands I hadn't heard of. IMHO, Jeremy Enigk's "World Waits" is the CD of the year though.
Posted by: Dave | December 21, 2006 at 12:45 PM
I definitely should have made room for Jeremy Enigk and L.E.O...I love both of those and they could have easily gone into my top twenty. I was also tempted to include the new Sloan which I feel is their best, but I JUST got it and it doesn't come out here in the US until next year so I'll wait. Kind of like Mew, which I got last year.
Posted by: dr. tony shore | December 21, 2006 at 01:25 PM
2006: Keane's Under The Iron Sea is the only ranking CD for me this year. Others worth mentioning: Lost Dogs, Starflyer 59 (love the package design!), Jars of Clay, The Feeling, Tim Finn, Persephone's Bees, Starlight Mints (another nice package, and "Rhino Stomp" is a favorite), David Mead, and the Little Miss Sunshine soundtrack. Gnarls Barkley and The Pinkertones had a few good songs. Mew has potential. Fair was another excellent package design. Sparks gave us some decent tunes; nice to know they're still at it after all these years, but they need to drop some of their misogynistic grudges!
Posted by: Dave Danglis | December 21, 2006 at 09:51 PM
Mew made my list last year as an import & Fair would have made my list, but I exclude all Tooth & Nail artists to be PC.
Here's mine - alphabetical as always:
2006 Top 10 (non-T&N/BEC) - Alphabetical:
Band of Horses - Everything All The Time (Sub Pop)
Decemberists - Crane's Wife (Capitol)
Jeremy Enigk - World Waits (Lewis Hollow)
The Feeling - Twelve Stops and Home (Universal import)
Mat Kearney - Nothing Left To Lose (Aware/Columbia)
Little Ones - Sing Song EP (Astralwerks)
Lost Dogs - The Lost Cabin & The Mystery Trees (FOTW)
MuteMath - MuteMath (Teleprompt/WB)
Sleeping At Last - Keep No Score (Indie)
Snow Patrol - Eyes Open (Interscope)
Don't miss The Little Ones EP which could very well have been number one for the year - Jim W
Posted by: Jim Worthen | December 22, 2006 at 12:39 PM
Jars of Clay - Good Monsters
Starflyer 59 - My Island
Switchfoot - Oh! Gravity
Johnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways
P.O.D. - Testify
Woven Hand - Mosaic
The Violet Burning - Drop-dead
Bob Dylan - Modern Times
Delirious? - The Mission Bell
The Alarm MMVI - Under Attack
Bruce Springsteen - We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
Lost Dogs - The Lost Cabin and the Mystery Trees
2006 NiCe but not ToP Twelve...
Tom Petty - Highway Companion
Proto~Kaw - The Wait Of Glory
Mutemath - Mutemath
Skillet - Comatose
Def Leppard - Yeah!
Foo Fighters - Skin And Bones
mewithoutYou - Brother, Sister
Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris - All The Roadrunning
Los Lonely Boys - Sacred
The Beatles - Love
Edison Glass - A Burn or a Shiver
Newsboys - Go
Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Howl Sessions EP
David Crowder Band - B Collision EP
P.O.D. - Warriors Vol. 2 EP
Switchfoot - Oh! Switchfoot EP
Jars of Clay - Mini Monsters EP
Mute Math - Live At The .El Rey EP
The White - Stripes Walking With A Ghost EP
the ^ above post was stolen from the DAmb...
Posted by: DaLe | December 28, 2006 at 02:23 PM
Hey Dale...Thanks for posting your list! I like it...but Def Leppard's Yeah?! There's not enough money or hard liquor in Los Angeles to get me to like that album.
Posted by: dr. tony shore | December 28, 2006 at 02:37 PM
Good stuff as always Dr Shore. Looks like there are some things I need to check out. Nice pick on the Fair record though, I just got that this week and like it a ton... but where's the shout out to Mike Roe for his contribution to the Dogs? Dr Love will not be pleased. My list is as follows - sorry you didn't dig the Thom Yorke record, maybe you have to be a Christian to like it, I don't know:
Mindy Smith - LONG ISLAND SHORES (Vanguard)
Thom Yorke - THE ERASER (XL Recordings)
José González - STAY IN THE SHADE (Hidden Agenda)
Mute Math - MUTE MATH (Teleprompt/Warner Bros.)
Josh Rouse - SUBTITULO (Nettwerk)
Ben Watt - BUZZIN' FLY Volume 3 (Buzzin' Fly)
Milosh - MEME (Plug Research)
Juana Molina - SON (Domino)
Posted by: Andy Peterson | January 02, 2007 at 08:28 PM