So without further delay here are my top albums of the year. I can't really decide how to rank them but my criteria for selection is pretty simple. What albums did I play most? and what albums did I just not get sick of? Not too technical or really scientific, more qualitative than quantitative, but that's how I do things.
Check it out and tell me what I forgot, how stupid I am for missing your favorite album and how I just don't know what the hell I am talking about. I'll toss up some honorable mentions for good measure!
Ali Farka Toure - Savane
*Like Dilla Toure's final record is one of his best. A fantastic album to remember a legend by.
The Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
*For a reason I still can't figure out the Neptunes gave Pusha and Mal all their good beats and saved none of them for themselves. Maybe a selfless act or just a realization that Pusha and Mal have a delivery and song writing ability paralleled by few in hip hop today. No idea why Pharrell's album was so bad and production on the Clipse' album is so good. Pusha and Mal's haunting message about crack dealing paired with off-beat production makes for one of the best hip hop albums in recent memory.
Joanne Newsom - Ys
*I pretty much hate folk music. But, this album was something different. Its one of the few indie folk albums I actually enjoy listening to. Its unique and the level of intricacy of the sounds used is great. Alot of the tracks kind of remind me of some type of classical suite with an indie twist.
Jay Dee - Donuts
* If there had to be one album for the year this would be it. Instrumental hip hop has always been my favorite genre of music and Jay Dee aka J-Dilla was one of the best at his craft. Like Toure his final album just might have been his crowning achievement. Made in a home studio and on his hospital bed off of vinyl you will not find a better hip hop instrumental album outside of Entroducing than Dilla's Donuts. RIP.
The Roots - Game Theory
* Hip hop royalty and one of the best of all time. As usual the Roots have made a fantastic album. Its their best since The Next Movement and with tracks like "Don't feel right" and "Long Time" they remain firmly planted on top of the game. Two of the best tracks of the year...period.
Junior Boys - In The Morning
* Two insanely good electronic albums in the past two years. "Double Shadow" was one of my favorite tracks this year and between this and Last Exit few do indie electronic like these guys. I can't find a track on this album or the last that I hit "next" on. Guys are freakin fantastic.
Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
*Another hip hop classic released in 2006. Ghost was all over the place in 2006 but saved his best stuff for his album. He returns to Supreme Clientele and Ironman form with this shoe in hip hop classic. "The Champ" just might be my favorite Ghost track with the exception of "Nutmeg."
Murs and 9th Wonder - Murray's Revenge
*Its difficult to make a great record that is only 10 tracks that doesn't leave the listener asking for more but this finely crafted underground gem does exactly that. Murs on the mic and 9th making the beats is a match made in heaven.
Herbert - Scale
*Synth-pop, electro-pop, tec-house whatever you want to call it Herbert made one of the best house records to come out in awhile. Using off the wall sounds like coffins closing and fuel pumps never sounded so good.
Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
* While some might argue that this was a down year for indie music you have to be happy with this album along with TVOTR's album. Both great records showing off just how great experimental rock has become. The production is fantastic.With few songs under 5 minutes the depth of these tracks make it stand up to repeated listens instead of your typical 2-3 minute indie ramble.
TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
*Probably the most hyped release of the year, TV on the Radio didn't disappoint with their 2006 release. "I was a lover" with its hip hop beat base is one of my favorite tracks of the year and a real standout among indie songs of the past several years. They're sound distinct from their indie counterparts thanks largely to David Sitek's production which is truly fantastic. Awesome album and something I just can't seem to get tired of listening to.
Honor Roll (again in no type of order)
*Band of Horses - Everything All the Time
*Phoenix - It's Never Been Like That
*Lily Allen - Alright, Still
*Cat Power - The Greatest
*Hot Chip - The Warning
*Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds
*Fujiya & Miyagi - Transparent Things
*Lupe Fiasco - Food & Liquor
*Oh No - Exodus Into Unheard Rhythms
*DJ Mehdi - Lucky Boy
*Cadence Weapon - Breaking Kayfabe
Songs and Remixes of the Year are to follow. There will actually be downloadable Mp3s associated with these.