Friday, December 29, 2006

Totally Claimin Top Ten of 2006

So here it is kiddies and list lovers alike! After about twenty minutes (ok. maybe fifteen) of serious consideration, here is the Totally Claimin Top 10 of 2006. Let's hope 2007 rocks just as hard.

10. The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
Key Tracks: The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song, Mr. Ambulance Driver, Free Radicals

Although this album is not as overall solidly tasty as Yoshimi, it still packs quite a punch, and warranted inclusion over those on the bubble.

9. The Hold Steady - Boys & Girls In America
Key Tracks: Stuck Between Stations, Chips Ahoy!

I discovered this album kinda late in the year, and was incredibly thankful for it. They kinda have a cool rock- bar band-thingy goin for it, with Springsteen like music and more impressively, Springsteen like imagery with the lyrics. A real fun rock album to play while you drink with the guys you grew up with.

8. Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam
Key Tracks: Life Wasted, World Wide Suicide, Gone

Ahhh, Eddie. What a wonderful return to RAWK. I guess the band said enough of the ballads already and decided to explore it's more punk roots. The result? A nice combination of those trademark sweeping ballads and good hard rockin. Welcome back boys.

7. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
Key Tracks: Gold Lion, Phenomena, Cheated Hearts

What is a good sign of a good album? The songs never get tired. Months later, Gold Lion still gets stuck in my head (and I mean that in a good way).

6. Zero 7 - The Garden
Key Tracks: Future, Throw It All Away, Crosses

Zero 7 up tempos their chill sound by channeling their inner-Fleetwood Mac. This is what Supertramp woulda sounded like had they ever made an electronic album. Guest singers Jose Gonzalez and Sia also add a nice touch.

5. Wolfmother - Wolfmother
Key Tracks: Dimension, Woman, Joker And The Thief

Ok, ok, I get it. They sound like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The White Stripes and AC/DC. And how is that a bad thing? C'mon don't tell me you didn't headbang just a little bit even as you heard Woman for the millionth time.

4. Beck - The Information
Key Tracks: Think I'm In Love, Cellphone's Dead, Strange Apparition, Nausea

Mr. Hanson? Thank you. Returning to a more "Odelay" sound, Beck has handed us another masterpiece. This album made it to #4 based on the first side of it alone. Had side two been as strong, it woulda been #1.

3. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Key Tracks: I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor, Fake Tales Of San Francisco, Mardy Bum, When The Sun Goes Down

Brit rock with a bar band twenty something twist, this album reminds me of something Oasis would have done back in the early nineties minus their damn Beatles infatuation. Fast paced, and lyrical, if The Hold Steady's drink is Pabst Blue Ribbon, the Monkeys would be Guinness. Solid.

2. The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
Key Tracks: Steady As She Goes, Broken Boy Soldier, Together

Ok, so this is what Jack White sounds like with a full band! More please! Broken Boy Soldiers clocks in at just under forty minutes, and with better songs on it than the already familiar Steady As She Goes, it leaves you craving future releases.

1. My Morning Jacket - Okonokos
Key Tracks: The Way That He Sings, Off The Record, Golden, Anytime

Oh my gawd, a live album at number one? What the fuck this guy's claimin? Yes, I'm totally claimin a live album as my number one album of 2006. But this is just not any live album. Okonokos is a document of a truly great live band, and one that within 3 years you won't be able to see in a smallish theater anymore. The album itself contains all of the bands finest songs, and the recording sounds as good as if they were in a studio. It rocks, it rolls it ebbs and flows. Jim James's voice is a rare one that captures all of the emotion of the moment, and you would be a total claimer not give it a listen.

In no particular order, these five 2006 releases deserve some mention even though they did not make the top ten:

The Secret Machines - Ten Silver Drops
Gomez - How We Operate
Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
Snow Patrol - Eyes Open
Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche

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