Monday, December 11, 2006

And we're back...

So now that all but one final is over with, I can blog again. Sorry about that. To make up for it, I'll be listing my favorite albums of the year, in order, on a semi-day-to-day basis.

First, the runners up. The following albums made valiant efforts to get into my top ten list, but ended up falling short for one reason or another. To their credit, there are some absolute gems on here that deserve recognition.

Califone- Roots & Crowns
This is the most definitive, complete statements from one of the best "experimental folk" bands around. While weaving trippy electronics and cacophonous noise into plaintive folk songs is certainly not a new bag, very few bands do it as tastefully or effectively as Califone.

Califone- The Orchids from Roots & Crowns

Jason Molina- Let Me Go, Let Me Go, Let Me Go
Molina, without his rootsy backing band, at his dark, desperate and mournful best.

Bob Dylan- Modern Times
A collection of paint-by-the-numbers blues and folk rambles that remind us just how good this guy is.

Bonnie “Prince” Billy- The Letting Go
This really should have made my list. Will Oldham perfectly balances the creepy with the precious and makes the BPB album both you and your parents can enjoy.

The Walkmen- A Hundred Miles Off
After my honeymoon period with this album wore off, it didn't hold up as well as the band's previous work. But "All Hands and the Cook" ranks with the band's best, and the fact that a pretty solid effort from these guys didn't live up to people's expectations is more evidence that Bows & Arrows was one of the best albums released this decade.

The Walkmen- All Hands and the Cook from A Hundred Miles Off

Shearwater- Palo Santo
This one never got its fair share of attention. Majestic folk-rock and Jeff Buckley vocals from a band that includes Okkervil River's Will Sheff.

Shearwater- Red Sea Black Sea from Palo Santo

Beach House- Beach House
Reverby vocals and hypnotic organ like a one of those well-executed dream sequences from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Heartless Bastards- All This Time
Awesome, anthemic, female-led roots-garage rock.

Howe Gelb- Sno' Angel Like You
World-weary folk music and angelic choirs need to be mixed more often.

Sunset Rubdown- Shut Up I Am Dreaming
Wolf Parade co-leader Spencer Krug's side project further cements his place as one of the more promising indie rock songwriters around.

Brightblack Morning Light- Brightblack Morning Light
A "freak-folk" take on groovy rootsy R&B. One of the more unique records to come out this year.

Loose Fur- Born Again In The USA
Who gets together, throws together some classic rock tunes and makes an album this good? Jeff Tweedy, Glen Kotche and Jim O'Rourke, that's who. "Hey Chicken" could have been a Let It Bleed-era Rolling Stones tune.

Loose Fur- Hey Chicken from Born Again in the USA

Human Television- Look At Who You’re Talking To
Jangly guitars and echoy vocals recalls mid-1980s R.E.M.

Peter Bjorn & John- Writer's Block
Endlessly catchy Swedish pop with a Broken Social Scene vibe.

Peter Bjorn & John- Amsterdam from Writer's Block

The main list will appear one by one in the coming days.


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