Friday, December 29, 2006

Best of 2006

It seems like an obligation that I have to fulfill...the requisite "best of" list for 2006. I enjoy skimming other bloggers' lists to see what folks enjoyed this year, but once beyond the initial skim, they're all fairly predictable. Obviously, if a record made someone's best-of list it's going to receive some praise, usually heaps of it. So I'll try to hold back and limit myself to a couple of sentences per album. After all, you know I like these records...

At the end of the post I'll include links to a mix I made for friends and family of some of my favorite performances of the year. Some of the songs on the mix come from the albums I mention here, and some do not. If you found music on this blog over the course of the year that you liked, chances are you'll enjoy the mix.

Here we go...

(in alphabetical order by artist)

Brandi Carlile - Brandi Carlile

Technically, this one was released in 2005, but I didn't pick up on it until the beginning of this year and it was re-released during 2006. Imagine Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, Radiohead and Jeff Buckley all hanging out making music together and you'll come close to Carlile's sound. The Bends for the singer/songwriter set. Buy it here.

Centro-Matic - Fort Recovery

Listening to this record feels like driving along a dusty road watching a magnificent western sunset in the distance - a great thing. Peaceful & disturbing, tender & rocking, always melodic and soulful, if you like your rock with roots and a taste of Nirvana, Fort Recovery will treat you right. Buy it here.

Chris Cornell - Unplugged In Sweden

That's right, kids, a bootleg is one of my favorite releases of 2006. I don't care if it breaks some kind of blogger "rule" regarding official releases, this live set is so good that it deserves recognition. Cornell never sounded better, and his powerful, soulful vocals take center stage when accompanied only by his acoustic guitar. The fact that the recording quality is outstanding and the set includes covers, Soundgarden songs, Audioslave songs, and Temple Of The Dog songs elevates this boot to "best of" status. Download it here as MP3s or here as a torrent for FLAC files.

Drive-By Truckers -
A Blessing And A Curse

Impossibly honest, intelligent, heartfelt southern rock anthems about love, pain and the triumphant struggle of life forged by the band's three talented singer/guitarists. And what a live show... Buy it here.

Gov't Mule - High And Mighty

I never thought Warren Haynes' outfit could return to form like this, but here they are putting out what might be the best record of their career. It's dense, intense, lyrically potent, and of course dominated by the powerhouse one-two punch of Haynes' guitar riffs and vocals. A modern classic-rock masterpiece. Buy it here.

Muse - Black Holes And Revelations

Muse takes another step forward with this album, albeit not quite the grand leap that was 2004's Absolution. Grandiose, apocalyptic and rocking songs are Muse's trademark, but this record grooves more than their previous efforts. Buy it here.

My Morning Jacket - Okonokos

A phenomenal live album from one of the best live bands around. The songs from 2005's Z feel like they belong on It Still Moves when played in a live setting, which is about the biggest compliment I can pay the band. It's good enough and different enough from their studio albums to almost feel like their next proper record. Buy it here.

Rainer Maria -
Catastrophe Keeps
Us Together

The swan song from these indie-faves is the best record of their 10-year career. It's full of majestic indie-pop anthems, and bassist/singer Caithlin De Marrais's vocals soar over the top of the band in ethereal fashion. Buy it here.

Roddy Woomble - My Secret Is My Silence

Idlewild's singer puts together a stunning record of folk music, infused with Scottish influences and Woomble's trademark poetic lyrics. A musical stroll along the Highlands indeed. Buy it here.

The Black Crowes - The Lost Crowes

Two previously unreleased albums from the Crowes. Need I say more? The Band half of the record could sit comfortably alongside their best studio work, and it's criminal that these songs didn't see an official release until now. Buy it here.

The Twilight Singers - Powder Burns

Dreamy, lusty, dark, seedy, and hopeful all at once, this is Greg Dulli's best work to date. Recorded in New Orleans both before and after Hurricance Katrina hit, this powerful collection will seduce you quickly, put you through an emotional ringer, and spit you out uplifted on the other side. Buy it here.

Thom Yorke - The Eraser

Radiohead's singer takes his music to the next level on his first solo effort. The songs sound like Kid A and Amnesiac but with sparser arrangements and possibly stronger melodies. After hearing Yorke perform "The Clock" on acoustic guitar, one can't help but think that this might've been one of Radiohead's best albums if it'd been recorded by the band in 1998. Buy it here.

Tool - 10,000 Days

How is it possible that Tool continues to be this good? Their latest is a bludgeoning tour de force, full of long songs, thundering drums & bass, awesome guitar riffs, and singer Maynard James Keenan's versatile vocals holding it all together. The individual songs are strong enough to suggest that this album rivals their masterpiece, 1996's Aenima. Buy it here.

Sweet Oblivion's Best of 2006 Mix
(in four parts b/c of Savefile size restrictions)

Volume I: Rock (part 1)
Volume I: Rock (part 2)
Volume II: Roots (part 1)
Volume II: Roots (part 2)


Volume I: Rock

01 Pearl Jam - "World Wide Suicide"
02 The Twilight Singers - "Bonnie Brae"
03 The Lemonheads - "Become The Enemy"
04 Muse - "Starlight"
05 Rainer Maria - "Already Lost"
06 Army Of Anyone - "Disappear"
07 Tool - "The Pot"
08 Thom Yorke - "Analyse"
09 Gomez - "How We Operate"
10 Foo Fighters - "Over And Out (live)"
11 Some Girls - "He's On Drugs Again"
12 Gov't Mule - "Brighter Days"
13 Snow Patrol - "Open Your Eyes"

Volume II: Roots

01 Centro-Matic - "Covered Up In Mines"
02 The Black Crowes - "Thunderstorm 6:54"
03 Brandi Carlile - "What Can I Say (live)"
04 Roddy Woomble - "If I Could Name Any Name"
05 Isobell Campbell & Mark Lanegan - "Revolver"
06 Neko Case - "Hold On, Hold On"
07 Gob Iron - "Death's Black Train"
08 Eddie Vedder - "Here's To The State Of Mississippi (live)"
09 Chris Cornell - "Wide Awake (live)"
10 My Morning Jacket - "Mahgeetah (live)"
11 Drive-By Truckers - "Space City"

If you like checking out "best of" lists, Largehearted Boy has a running tally of blogs that have chipped in their lists for 2006.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey J,

First off, Happy New Year. I love your year end list, and couldn't agree more with your picks. I knew there was a reason I bookmarked your site! When ya get a chance, check out my lists, I'm sure you'll dig em.


December 31, 2006 5:40 AM  
Blogger c said...

i don't know how i missed that chris cornell boot the first time around. really awesome. thanks for that.

great list, too. not the ordinary fare ;)

peace - c

January 04, 2007 11:41 PM  

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