Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Top 29 Non-Hip-Hop New Albums of 2006 (Which I Know Of, Or Had Time To Give A Proper Listen)

Here are my favorite non-rap albums released this year from the past year. Since I already made the Top 15 Hip-Hop Albums list, i excluded Hip-Hop from this list. A lot of those albums would go on this list, but then I would have to boot off some of these and that is too confusing and stupid. Anyway, I would highly recommend all of these Jammzzz, so if you don't know them check them out. If you do know them and don't like them, you are hugely wrong but its okay too.

Aside from The Knife, which for me was clearly the best album of the year, all of the albums in the Top 15 are pretty interchangable. The same goes for the 16-29 which are all great together, but not as good as the Top 15. Since there are 29 albums I won't comment on all of them just on a few at random.

1. The Knife - Silent Shout (Rabid) - This for me was by far the best album of the year. I love this album and every moment on this album. I love every song individually and I love them together as a whole. This album is a huge masterpiece of electronic/undancible dance music, but the thing that really excites me is that it doesn't feel like The Knife has reached any kind of pinnacle at all. This doesn't seem like the end or the final record before a break up. It's not some Kid A plateaux, which bands reach and then slowly drift out of existence. It's just a solid cohesion of The Knife's ideas and aesthetic coming together and ripping all the skin off your face. It's darn good. If you like electronic music even in the least you need to enjoy this. And even if you don't you should give it a try.

2. Girl Talk - Night Ripper (Illegal Art) - This was definetly the most fun album of the year. Girl Talk (despite being around a while) isn't the first person to do these kinda mash-ups, they have been around for years. But Girl Talk has made them fun as hell and really, easily listenable. I'm all for obscure, impossible-to-listen-to, messed up, damaged music, but most people aren't and so Mash-ups have mostly stayed in the shadows (that and they are usually filled to the teeth with illegally used samples). But Girl Talk has (sort of) brought it out more into the open. I don't know if next year or a few years later this will be in some kind of pantheon of awe-inspiring records, but I could care less if it has "staying power." It is a huge party in bag and its fun as all get out. It also accomplished two feats that make it remarkable: First, it actually makes me not just like, but love Sexy club rap, which I most definetly kinda hate. But this makes me love it! And there are some reallly seriously moving and transcendant moments of music during which the words being said are hilarious, disgusting, and innappropriate. Second, it makes me like guitars + rapping, another thing I most definetly do not ever like, ever.

3. Danielson - Ships (Sounds Familyre) - Danielson make their best album ever and finally get some recognition. People still can't get past his voice, which is too bad, because that voice is filled with so much Joy. Seeing them live is probably and important event for your life.

4. Junior Boys - So This is Goodbye (Domino)

5. Nathan Fake - Drowning in a Sea of Love (Border Community)

6. DAT Politics - Wow Twist (Chicks on Speed)
- When this first came out it destroyed my mind as all of thier albums do. It's still amazing. Like the Danielson of childish, messed up, electronic music. This one actually gets a little bit poppy, at least in comparison to thier music in the past. As a reference point, I used one of thier older songs in that Davis hall Bikes and Spears thing I did.

7. Xiu Xiu - The Airforce (5 Rue Christine) - For a long time I stayed away from Xiu Xiu, only kinda listening to them and then writing them off. But then this year (before the release of this album) I suddenly gave them a real listening to. And man!!! Seriously. They are incredible. Yeah, there is the creepy pedophilish lyrics thing, and the is it real or all a melodramatic act thing. But forget all that (or don't). Jamie Stewart is a serious pop genius. And Xiu Xiu continue to make some of the best anti-pop pop music around. The Airforce is no exception, and actually a bit of an improvement over thier mildly disappointing (for me) last album.

8. Subtle - Wishingbone (Lex) - This isn't a proper album, I guess it is more of an extended remix album but it is really good. Subtle came out with another album this year that was hailed as them finally getting a coherent voice and making actual songs, with better production. But the lo-fi incoherence of thier earlier releases are what I love about them. And this album is thier best in that catergory.

9. Bonnie "Prince" Billy - The Letting Go (Domino/Drag City) - Initially I didn't dig this. Not that I hated it or something, I mean it's Will Oldham. But I wasn't getting into it. But recently I have been loving it. Another solid release.

10. Tim Hecker - Harmony in Ultraviolent (Kranky) - The song, "Chimeras" rules.

11. Peter Bjorn and John - Writer's Block (Wichita)

12. Uusitalo - Tulenkantaja (Huume) - Finland Rulz! I have discovered the amazing music of Finland this year! I hope to make a list of my Fav. Finnish bands soon. Nice minimal house music. Good for night time.

13. Liars - The Other Side of Mt. Heart Attack (Mute) - I wasn't buying the hype until a few weeks ago. Then it suddenly struck me and I love this album. It may or may not be some kind of concept/story album but I hope it is and the last track is beautiful and nice.

14. Howe Gelb - 'Sno Angel Like You (Thrill Jockey)

15. Mountains - Sewn (Apetaartje)

16. Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass is Always Greener (Monika Enterprise)

17. Keith Fullerton Whitman - Lisbon (Kranky) - Not as good as Playthroughs but awesome and seemingly overlooked.

18. Matmos - The Rose has Teeth in the Mouth of the Beast (Matador) - Maybe I should move this one higher. It's good.

19. Hot Chip - The Warning (Astralwerks/DFA)

20. Matthew Herbert - Scale (Studio !K7) - One of the best producers ever. Sometimes his style keeps me from loving him completely, but I can't deny his skillz. This album is very nice though.

21. Joanna Newsom - Ys (Drag City)
- Come on just like it. It's good. Don't be dumb

22. Chihei Hatakeyama - Minima Moralia (Kranky)

23. Vapnet - Jag vet hur man väntar (Hybris)

24. Booka Shade - Movements (Get Physical Music)

25. The Whitest Boy Alive - Dreams (Smalltown Supersound)
- Erlend Oye rules!!! What a guy, what a voice, what a life.

26. Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies (Merge)

27. Cat Power - The Greatest (Matador)
- Lived in Bars is the best song she has ever written.

28. Ellen Allien & Apparat - Orchestra of Bubbles (BPitch Control)

29. Band of Horses - Everything All the Time (Sub Pop) - Actually I only really listened to the songs, The Funeral, and St. Augustine. But that's all you need.

That's a rap (but not hip-hop). There are some more albums from 2006 that I haven't had enough time to listen to yet, that might be on there. Also there are of course some that I don't have or won't discover until later. Alright, post your counter-list or your rebuttal or your insults or questions!


At 12/27/2006 4:35 PM, Anonymous scott said...

I think you meant to say non hip-hop, metal and punk right?

At 12/27/2006 4:42 PM, Blogger jonny said...

oh man, i would absolutely crap my pants if joanna newsom fronted a metal band! or if will oldham had his own punk trio! dreams come true!!

At 12/27/2006 4:44 PM, Blogger jonny said...

maybe my list will be an imaginary one...

At 12/27/2006 9:35 PM, Blogger Jeff BBz said...

well, the liars could maybe be considered a punk or metal band of some sort, kinda. And if you mean punk as the attitude or lifestyle then there would be a few more that fit that. However, no i just meant non hip-hop because i didn't like any metal or punk albums enough to put them on the list. Of course i didn't listen to that many but i did hear a few and that disclaimer is also in the title. oh well.

At 12/27/2006 9:39 PM, Blogger Jeff BBz said...

you guys can post your lists too! come on! Jean-Luc Godard said the best film criticism was to make another film. So following that, the best list criticism is to make another list! List it up!

and jonny, Will Oldham was probably in a punk band a long time ago, I'm sure it was dreams come true. The Joanna newsome metal album could be decent though. If it didn't end up sounding like cradle of filth or something. Which it might.

At 12/27/2006 9:39 PM, Blogger Jeff BBz said...

i meant i'm sure it wasn't dreams come true.

At 12/27/2006 11:53 PM, Anonymous Ryan L. said...

Speaking of Godard, he should have a metal band. Here's my top six for the year because I am totally intimidated by a 29 point music list.

1. Bring it Back by Mates of State (Barsuk). God help me I LOVE MOS. I saw them in early August and the show was so phenomenal. It only doubled my pleasure. I especially love Nature and the Wreck, but everything's great. Perhaps not their best album, but I don't care at all.

2. Notes and the Like by Ms. John Soda (Morr Music). When I started listening to MJS a couple years ago, I thought No P. or D. was the best I could get. Then Notes and the Like came out. The album as a whole literally breaks my heart every time I listen to it. I have actually cried a few times, usually at No. One (upholding my moniker Cryin' Ryan). Beatiful.

3. Ships by Danielson (Sounds Familyre). I ditto everything Paco said about Ships.

4. Return to the Sea by The Islands (Equator). I mourn the glaring lack of abundance of Unicorns albums. If you count the Unicorns 2014, which you shouldn't because it's pretty much a single, that leaves us with two albums, but really one. One album that a love bad and hard and all night long. Thus, when Nick Diamond and J'aime Tambeur got some more tunes flowing, I knew it would be texas tea. And it was and is. Lots of love.

5. We Died They Remixed by Architecture in Helsinki and Mixing Friends (Inertia). Over the past year I greatly increased my appreciation for remix albums of good bands. It started with Versus (Kings of Convenience and friends) and came full circle with my extremely recent discovery of We Died they remixed. Plus it includes Dat Politics, Hot Chip, and other sweet super-friends.

6. The Crane Wife by The Decemberists (Capitol). This is actually my least favoriate Decemberists albums, but I feel it necessary to include (similar to how Idlewild made the Hip-Hop list). This was actually a bad year for me and the Decemberists. This album was a bummer and they only played for 20 minutes when I went to my annual see-the-Decemberists-at-the-Paramount event because Colin Meloy had a cold. Having said all this, they still made my top 6. Enough said.

I recognize this list is much less diverse as Paco's. I guess that shows what a ninny I am by comparison. I also owe Paco a debt of gratitude for originally introducing me to Ms. John Soda. Amen.

At 12/28/2006 7:17 AM, Blogger Jeff BBz said...

Don't feel intimidated! I'm actually a poseur! And I spend too much time on the internet. And that Ms. John Soda was good and maybe should have been on my list.

Following Ryan's top books list here is my top book list.

1. Korean Grammar for International Learners, 8th Ed. - Oh man the charts are incredible, and look at this index of easily searchable verb forms and word endings. yeah!

2. Korean Grammar for International Learners, Workbook 8th Ed. - Look at all these exercises! I can't wait to put my pen metal to the paper pedal!

Honorable Mention: Anabaptists Meeting Muslims (Ed. James Kraybill and David Shenk and Linford Stutzman) and I'm sure that Hauerwas Commentary if I could ever get my greasy lil mits on it.

At 12/28/2006 10:49 AM, Anonymous scott said...

I was just kidding paco, lol. A list may be coming...


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