Best Albums 2006

Here it is. And as every year, it was not too easy to narrow down a list. But this year was a bit different. Normally, I vote for one album to be THE album of the year, but I just couldn’t do that this time. Not because there were so many candidates for it… rather because there was no album that completely blew me away. That I kept playing over and over again. Mind you, there are a few great ones, but none of them reaches the impact that for example last years winner Mew had on me.

As always, I don’t go by numbers, but by categories. Whenever possible, I’ve added links to songs or videos that I’ve found on the net. If you’re an artist and want your link to be removed, just let me know, and I’ll do it asap.

Now here we go… enjoy my best albums of 2006:

Best Artwork: The Guggenheim Grotto – Waltzing Alone
For a debut album, this Irish band showed the rest of the world what packaging is all about! And the music’s great as well!
And A Tear Isn’t Such A Bad Thing (MP3)

Best Instrumental Album: Rodrigo Y Gabriela – Rodrigo Y Gabriela
I’m still amazed by the sheer talent of those two Mexicans. See for yourself!
Tamarind Live

Best Rock Album: Amber Smith – RePrint
It’s modern, it’s catchy, and it rocks! Great effort by this Hungarian band.

Best Newcomer Album: Band Of Horses – Everything All The Time and Midlake – The Trials Of Van Occupanther
I just couldn’t decide, so I’ve chosen both. I really enjoy these two albums, and if someone would force me to name THE best album of the year, it would probably be one of them. Or maybe the next one:
Band Of Horses – Wicked (MP3)
Midlake – Young Bride (MP3)

Best ElectRock: 120 Days – 120 Days
This is almost a perfect album. 120 Days set a rather dark mood for the album, and manage to wrap their Shoegaze/Synthie-Rock in a very modern package. There are a few lengthy passages, but overall it is a great experience!
Keep On Smiling (MP3)

Expectations Fulfilled: Muse – Black Holes And Revelations
I’ve expected a great album, and got just that. Their new “disco” approach was something to get used to, but after a while, it really kicked in. Knights Of Cydonia is amongst my favourite tracks of the year, although I still don’t know what to think of that phoney video!
Knights Of Cydonia (Video on YouTube)

Expectations Not Fulfilled: Calexico – Garden Ruins
I rate Calexico‘s Feast Of Wire as one of the best albums ever written, and so it was rather disappointing to hear Garden Ruins. For me, it just lacks the feelings, and there’s hardly any continuity on the album. A few great tracks, but that’s it. Shame!
Cruel (MP3)

Grower Album: Leya – Watch You Don’t Take Off
I’ve bought this album back in June, and over these last few months, it slowly made its way into my head. This is an excellent effort for a debut album, and I hope we will hear lots more in the future from this Irish band!
The Dream The Money Bought (MP3)

Best EP: iLiKETRAiNS – Progress/Reform
There’s no doubt that we will hear more from this guys. As depressing as their music is, you just can’t stop listening to it. Eagerly awaiting the debut album, due in late 2007.
A Rook House For Bobby (MP3)

Best Pop Album: Johan – THX Johan
This is how I like my pop music! Catchy melodies, nice voice, but not shallow or cheap. Why are those charts full of plastic pop when there’s such good music around?
She’s Got A Way With Men (MP3)

Best Soundtrack: Little Miss Sunshine
Not only Best Movie of the year, but also best soundtrack. The music goes perfectly with the movie feeling, and that is mainly thanks to Devotchka. Their songs just catch the mood of this flick and make the experience even more intense.
How It Ends (MP3)

Best Live Album: Crowded House – Farewell To The World
I’ve written enough about this here already, and I still miss the band. At least we now have a great legacy of that fabulous concert…
Now We’re Getting Somewhere (MP3)

Best Solo Effort: James Dean Bradfield – The Great Western
The first debut album of Manic Street Preacher‘s James Dean Bradfield could have been just a copy of the bands songs, but it fortunately turned out as a mature and highly enjoyable work.
Emigre (MP3)

Best Dreampop: Au4 – On:Audio

This is just a wonderful experience from start to end. Canadian band Au4 takes you on a journey through soundscapes, much like the ones you know from Sigur Rós. You can still hear the entire album here, and I urge you to do so! This is too beautiful to miss!!!

Honorable Mentions:

Vib Gyor – Various EPs
Jeff Hanson – Jeff Hanson
Morning Runner – Wilderness Is Paradise Now
Delays – I See Colors
Faunts – High Expectations/Low Results
Pilate – Sell Control For Life’s Speed
The Upper Room – Other People’s Problems
Secret Machines – Ten Silver Drops
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Stadium Arcadium
Hope Of The States – Left
Malory – Not Here Not Now (Re-Release)
Mojave 3 – Puzzles Like You
Moi Caprice – The Art Of Kissing Properly
Nik Kershaw – You’ve Got To Laugh
Veldt – The Cause, The Effect
Gomez – How We Operate
Hotel Lights – Hotel Lights
Mew – A Triumph For Man (Re-Release)
EagleSeagull – EagleSeagull
Under The Influence Of Giants – Under The Influence Of Giants
Late Night Venture – Late Night Venture

There you have it! Comments are welcome, and I intend to release the singles charts tomorrow. Stay tuned!

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