Here’s the first installment of the Top 25 Records of 2006. First and foremost I should say that I have purchased almost 60 records this year, and Inky has also picked up a pretty good amount, so we are dealing with a pretty good sample. We don’t buy a lot of CDs on spec, because that’s a damn waist of money these days. If I have dug a few of an artist’s previous records then I will buy a new on with out doing a whole lot of research. But, if it is a new artist then I hit MySpace or try and find a few separate reviews in zines that I trust. Rolling Stone is no longer worthy of my trust, as they have picked Fergie’s London Bridge as one of their top 100 songs of the year.
#25. Flyleaf – Flyleaf. It’s a brave new world out there in music, and I think the best personification of that is this Christian prog rock outfit. I never thought a god group would appeal to me, but Flyleaf is just a really tight group. Their songs are well crafted and their skills well honed. I found myself thinking about the episode of South Park where Cartman starts a Christian Rock group so he can win a bet with Kyle. He points out that to make a rock song a Christian song all you have to do is replace words like “baby” with “Jesus” eg: Rather than “Oh BABY I love your way” it would be “Oh JESUS I love your way.” Likewise with Flyleaf, if you just pretend that Lacey Mosley is singing about a dude rather then the son of god then all is ok. The track “All Around Me” is a great example, with it’s line “I can feel you all around me thickening the air I’m breathing.”
Favorite Tracks: All Around Me, I’m So Sick, So I Thought.
#24. KT Tunstall – Eye To the Telescope. Marking one of two Scottish acts to make it on to the TGWOOfY 25, KT is more than “Black Horse and a Cherry Tree” which has been flogged to death on mainstream radio. Many of the other tunes on this record have seeped into the collective conscious of primetime TV viewers through their presence in the background of some of the hottest shows on now. Tunstall is one hell of a singer and just as good of a songwriter. Her tunes are catchy enough to be put in high rotation but subtle enough to blend almost unnoticed into the background. When you take a time to listen to her words and her playing you find a very mature writer with an amazing voice. And one spin through the whole record will be all you need to forgive her for the number of time you had to hear the single this year.
Favorite Tracks: Other Side of the World, Suddenly I See, Under The Weather.
#23. Morningwood – Morning Wood. There was a month toward the beginning of 2006 when I was really thinking about stalking Chantal Claret, the voice of Morningwood. Funny, when I was young the voice of morning wood was “Lil Greazy. Get up. You have to pee.” But I digress. This Record just kicks ass back to back till you’re spent. The guitar from Richard Steel (get it Morningwood… Richard Steel, dick of steel) is contagious. After one listen you find that you are still rocking, and you start to shake till you can get more. Even though one of my fav’s, Nth Degree, is being used to sell cars this group is A OK in my book.
Favorite Tracks: Take off Your Clothes, Ride The Lights, Nth Degree, Jetsetter.
#22. Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris – All the Road Running. This is a disc I picked up as much out of respect for the individuals involved as for the curiosity of what they would sound like together. I wasn’t the biggest Dire Straits fan, but I did dig Knopfler’s trade mark voice. And although I don’t own any solo Emmylou, I do have a few tracks of her performing in a ton of duets with some of my favorite female artists. So I took a chance on All the Road Running and was very happy with what I heard. What ever you want to call the traditional music of the American south, be it country, folk, or what have you, I am a fan of it when it is done well. I don’t get on board for Toby Keith and his ilk, because they don’t put their back into it, nor do they take a risk. This record is filled with wonderful old south melodies and Knopfler and Harris’ voices create an amazing amalgam of complement and contrast.
Favorite Tracks: I Dug Up a Diamond, This is Us.
#21. She Wants Revenge – She Wants Revenge. Ok Justin Warfield doesn’t have a whole lot of range in his vocal delivery. Granted. But, there’s just something about this record that grabbed hold of me. In conjunction with the new GoldFrap record I found myself swimming in the beat heavy techno pool in ’06. Warfield said of the record he and Adam Bravin put out: “ We just wanted to make a record that would make girls dance and cry.” Mission accomplished! Inky saw a SWR show earlier this year and they sure do have their hooks in the young party girls. I assure you that you don’t have to be a goth mall dweller torn while trying to decide if Hot Topic is too corporate to like this group. And you don’t have to be in a club either, as it makes great driving-in-traffic music.
Favorite Tracks: Sister, These Things, Tear You Apart.