List freak action. We recently posted the Top 10 Most Popular Downloads over at Destination: Out
. But for those curious about our (mostly) non-jazz tastes, here's our take on the year in pop music for 2006.FAVORITE ALBUMS:
1. JUNIOR BOYS So This Is Goodbye
1980s New Wave distilled down to its sublime essence and injected with impossible yearning.
2. ART BRUT Bang Bang Rock & Roll
Released last year in the UK, it was still the most fun rock record of the year in this country.
3. THE LIARS Drum's Not Dead
Early PiL as seance, rising the dead, making the zombies twitch and moan in rhythm.
4. GHOSTFACE KILLAH Fishscale
Earns his sample of the Rocky
5. ORNETTE COLEMAN Sound Grammar
A late career blooming that encapsulates the maestro's interests in classical, world, funk, and right, jazz.
6. DESTROYER Destroyer's Rubies
"Why can't you see, a life in art and a life of mimicry - it's the same thing?!"
7. OOIOO Taiga
Joyful chants, crazy rhythms, dadaist pop, folk-jazz hybrids - enough to make you forget about the Boredoms (for a while).
8. BURIAL Burial
Mapping the abandoned city block by desolate block, using only a rumbling echo and a high hat.
9. MOUNTAIN GOATS Get Lonely
Sometimes the tunes feel too simple, but the aching sense of despair eventually seeps into your marrow and starts to almost feel comforting.
10. JOANNA NEWSOM Ys
11. BEACH HOUSE Beach House
Sweet and mournful drone songs that avoiud self-pity and drift into timeless melancholy.
12. SONIC YOUTH Rather Ripped
Trying to make their Parallel Lines
and mostly succeeding.
13. THE KNIFE Silent Shout
Eurotrash synth-pop that's tougher than leather.
14. BORIS Pink
Released on import last year, this Japanese metal trio detonated my stereo this year by fusing the sludgy and the fast, both at once.
15. HOT CHIP The Warning
Squelchy combo of Aphex Twin and Paul McCartney, futuristic electro-soul you can hum in the shower.
16. SCRITTI POLITTI White Bread Black Beer
That voice, stirring as ever; the music, a surprising mix of elastic grooves, sixties pop hooks, and slowed-down hip hop beats.
17. MATMOS The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of the Beast (
Brilliant miniature audio portraits of everyone from disco deejay Larry Levan to German philospher Ludwig Wittgenstein to the Germs' Darby Crash - cig burns, hair droppings, and rat cages included.
18. TOUMANI DIABATE'S SYMMETRIC ORCHESTRA Boulevard de L'Independence
Block-rocking Cubano beats meet sinuous kora grooves, writ large for the dancefloor.
19. ARCTIC MONKEYS Whatever You Say I Am That's What I'm Not
After the hype and backlash, what remain are the songs, the swagger, the heedless forward momentum, the tongue-tied desire to chronicle the right now.
20. YO LA TENGO I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
Some soggy parts, but the best tracks hold their own with anything in their catalog.
Lastly... SCOTT WALKER The Drift
Either a work of godlike genius or a howlingly pretentious bauble. Scorched earth opera for the 23rd Century. My friend Mike: "Objective terms like good doesn't even seem to apply here..."Bubbling under:
Bob Dylan; Final Fantasy; Thom Yorke; Cat Power; Dave Burrell; Mission of Burma; Odyssey the Band; Asobi Seksu.Haven't got yet or still listening:
Clipse; The Roots; Andrew Hill; Wolf Eyes; Bonnie Prince Billy; Kode9 and the Spaceape; Vijay Iyer; The Coup; Grizzly Bear; Abrams/Lewis/Mitchell; Lupe Fiasco; Om.FAVORITE SONGS:
GNARLS BARKLEY "Crazy"
PRINCE "Black Sweat"
BOB DYLAN "Ain't Talkin"
YEAH YEAH YEAHS "Cheated Hearts"
RACONTEURS "Steady, As It Goes"
GRAHAM COXON "Tell It Like It Is"
TV ON THE RADIO "Wolf Like Me"
LUPE FIASCO "Kick, Push"
THOM YORKE "Black Swan"
REGINA SPEKTOR "Fidelity"FAVORITE REISSUES:
1. JEAN CLAUDE-VANNIER L'Enfant Assassin Des Mouches
The arranger of Serge Gainsbourg's Histoire de Melody Nelson
steps out with this insane mix of lush orchestrations, funk grooves, jazz textures, rock guitar, and music concrete. Essential weirdness.
2. MOONDOG The Viking of Sixth Avenue
Perfect primer of the music of this homeless, Viking-helmet-wearing composer whose fans include Stravinsky, Charlie Parker, and Tom Waits. His tunes triangulate between them.
3. DELTA 5 Singles
(Kill Rock Stars)
Hailing from Leeds and friends with the Gang of Four, this male-female combo artfully chart "the distance between us."
4. JOSEF K Entomology
Dapper and jagged. Franz Fernidand with the smirk wiped off their faces.
5. KHAN JAMAL Drumdance to the Motherland
Dubbed-out, Afro-vibe free jazz smoldering from a basement in Philly.
6. THE WRENS Silver
The frantic, power-pop flipsides of The Meadowlands
7. BRIAN ENO AND DAVID BYRNE My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
8. OHM+ The Early Gurus of Electronic Music
Alvin Curran, Alvin Curran, ALVIN CURRAN!
9. CLUSTER Soweisoso
Lovely pastoral electronica from the early 1970s.
10. Wayfaring Strangers: Ladies from the Canyon
The orphaned daughters of Joni Mitchell finally find a context - and a moment.