2006 is just slightly more than half over, and it has already been an exceptional year for new music. Out of sheer curiousity, I asked some of my favorite musicians/bloggers/people to name their favorite albums of 2006 so far. Of course, most of them pretended they didn't hear me, but a few were nice enough to answer, and here are the results: (I included my choice at the end of the post, hopefully the above photo doesn't give it away)
Matt from You Ain't No Picasso:
- Starlight Mints--Drowaton
"When I first heard the Starlight Mints' new album, Drowaton, back in February, I proclaimed to my friends that I had just heard the best album of 2006; I'm still waiting to be proven wrong. With Drowaton, the Mints have again shown themselves to be not only fantastic songwriters, but also composers. The string compositions on "Seventeen Devils" alone are enough to warrant Allan Vest's inclusion into the Independent Music Hall Of Fame. You know, when they eventually get around to starting one."
Starlight Mints Inside of Me mp3
Aziz Ansari (comedian, all-around badass):
- Destroyer--Destroyer's Rubies
Destroyer European Oils mp3
John Vanderslice (songwriter, superfan, genius):
- Thom Yorke--The Eraser
"i am a superfan of everything that comes out of the radiohead camp (save for the last few EPs). in the past few years, jonny greenwood's bodysong has had a huge impact on me, as well as hail to the thief.
the eraser is FILLED with rhythmic and harmonic ideas. we have referenced it many times in the studio while starting the new jv record."
Annie Clark of St. Vincent & The Polyphonic Spree:
- Gnarls Barkley--St. Elsewhere
"It's the illest."
Josh Grier, frontman of Tapes 'n Tapes:
- Destroyer--Destroyer's Rubies
"so far i think i'm going to have to go with rubies by destroyer. there are a couple of other records that i need to listen to more, though (danielson and the liars). rubies is just so fucking good (melodies and lyrics...the double threat)."
Matthew Perpetua of Fluxblog:
- Marit Larsen--Under The Surface
"Picking a favorite song on Under The Surface is virtually impossible for me, though I could probably single out my least favorite. But even that track is pretty fantastic, all told. Talking about "exquisite songcraft" is usually a great way to convince someone that an album is dull and drab, but it's really an accurate description of this music, which overflows with potent emotion while sounding like it was made with a Pop Machine with its dials all set to PERFECTION. There are sweeping fairy tale ballads, ABBA-ish singalongs, Scandinavian approximations of country and bluegrass. It's just astonishing, and I don't think I'll ever get sick of it."
Ryan from Muzzle of Bees:
- TV On The Radio--Return To Cookie Mountain
"The title of this record is just about the only thing that I don't love about it. While it hasn't been officially released it's been far and away the record I've turned to the most thus far in 2006. There have been some amazing albums this year, with a bunch more on the way, but I can say confidently that TV of the Radio went ahead and made a record that I can't live without. Now if I could just get them to make a tour stop in Madison."
Bill Baird, bassist/sparkplug for Sound Team:
- Brian Eno & David Byrne--My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
"my fave of the year thus far would have to be the reissue of brian eno and david byrne's "my life in the bush of ghosts." i know that's kind of a cop-out, since the album came out in '81, but a big to-do was made about this album's re-release (new mixes, additional tracks, etc), so it feels like it could possibly qualify. it was probably one of my favorites before it got re-released."
- "new new" album: TV on the Radio--Return to Cookie Mountain
"they've been performing lately with antibalas, which sounds like a mind-blowing, hair-drying combo. a genuinely new type of music, solidly grounded in well-established american music traditions. these guys are making about the most original stuff out there."
- Local Release: Peter & the Wolf--Experiments in Junk
David Gutowski of Largehearted Boy:
- Casey Dienel--Wind-Up Canary
"This is the year's most refreshing album to me."
Casey Dienel Doctor Monroe mp3
Lovefoxxx, singer for Cansei De Ser Sexy:
- The Gossip--Standing in the Way of Control
"This is easy for me! It is so tight and HUGE! Beth sounds like a Diva and the guitar/bass are souding just the way I love...Sometimes I feel that all the songs are like a remix by MSTRKRFT, which is, of course, a great thing. I like that sometimes Beth screams so much it feels like there's blood coming out of her throat, which is, of course, a great thing."
Download The Gossip's cover of "Are You That Somebody" at MOKB
DJ Never Forget of NYC's Finger on the Pulse
- Forward Russia!--Give Me A Wall
"With all the buzz dance rock bands, FR! adds a darker element that totally slays, plus doing it all DIY makes it that much more awesome."
Garrison of Indie Interviews.com:
- The Long Winters--Putting the Days To Bed
"John Roderick has again mixed painfully catchy melodies with emotionally-articulate lyrics. The end product is a beautiful, heart-confusing record that merits many listens."
The Long Winters Pushover mp3
Dodge from My Old Kentucky Blog:
- Girl Talk--Night Ripper
"We'll keep things light because I'm not going to commit to any one album as the greatest so far this year. I really haven't done the true mental analysis to determine that. It has been a great half-year for music so far, so I'm just excited about that. The one CD that hasn't left my car stereo/work computer/home stereo/laptop is Girl Talk's 'Night Ripper'. It's a mashup CD, so it could be argued that it's not even a full-on original work, but the amount of samples Greg Gillis used and how deftly he combined them is unparalleled in my opinion. It's like "Name That Tune" and the best party you've ever been to rolled up into a little CD for you to take wherever you go.
Last week, a friend got in the car with me while it was playing and they just stopped mid-sentence and listened, "What the hell is this?! It's awesome." I smile knowingly. It is awesome."
Girl Talk Bounce That mp3
Kevin from So Much Silence:
- Band of Horses--Everything All the Time
"I'm sure this will seem like the trendy pick, but oh well...Somehow, Everything manages to be pretty epic and concise all in one fell swoop. The music is broad (as is Ben Bridwell's voice) but never trails off into jam-band-esque or meandering nonsense."
Band of Horses The Great Salt Lake mp3
Jared Van Fleet of Voxtrot & Sparrow House:
- Vetiver--To Find Me Gone & TVOTR--Return to Cookie Mountain (tie)
"Vetiver was a surprise. I have to say, though, there are a lot of things I haven't heard yet that I expect to be good. Movie Monster is also up there."
Jax aka the Rock Insider:
- Neko Case--The Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
"I want to marry her...her ethereal voice, poignant lyrics, and undeniable talent made me fall in love with her."
Last, and certainly least, gorilla vs. bear's choice:
- Midlake--The Trials of Van Occupanther
Yeah, I know this one isn't "out yet", but I have a sneaking suspicion most of you have at least heard the bulk of it (pirates!) Anyway, this album is not only my favorite of the year, but one of my favorites of the past few years. I know this record may be a little too "safe" for some indie-types (especially around the nerdier-than-thou blogosphere), but I am convinced that if this was released in 1977, it would have spawned no fewer than 5 radio hits (in an era where that actually meant something.) It has such a timeless feel, and it's inspired me to keep my old Fleetwood Mac, CSN&Y, and Joni Mitchell records on blast over the last couple of months.
Midlake Roscoe mp3