As 2006 draws to a close, we should reflect on the albums that have defined this year.
It’s been a funny old year for music, We’ve had the rise of the Arctic Monkeys and Kooks whilst Primal Scream made a welcome return with their latest album, Riot City Blues. Lily Allen proved she’s got the biggest gob, yet her album was full of lush pop songs.
I’ve compiled my own top ten albums of the year, these may not be the most significant chart busting releases but they are, however, the albums i’ve found myself listening to the most.
1) Gogol Bordello
Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike
This album, has to be the most exciting for me this year, it proved a welcome alternative, I must admit, I went to see the band before I heard the album and from that moment I was hooked. lyricist /vocalist & main driving force behind the band is Eugene Hutz, his lyrics differentiate between, beautiful, insightful, funny & most of all intelligent.
Personal Highlight: It’s Not A Crime
2) The Pinker Tones
Million Colour Revolution
I was so glad when one of our reviewers, Francisco, told me about this band. Million Colour Revolution is an album full of brilliant electro pop tunes. The Spanish duo, Mr.Furia & Professor Manso, offer us an album full of rich synth tones, traditional Spanish melodies, choice cuts and deep beats. This is a true party album, it’s just a shame that not more people heard it!
Personal Highlight: Karma Hunters
3) Howling Bells
Bella Union are one of my favourite indie record labels, they are so bloody consistent it’s scary! The Howling Bells self-titled debut album is packed full of beautifully constructed songs & it does Bella Unions name proud!
Personal Highlight: Blessed Night
4) Ed Harcourt
The Beautiful Lie
Our reviewer summed up Ed Harcourt perfectly when he wrote ‘The word "prolific" really doesn't do justice to a talent such as Ed Harcourt.’ The Beautiful Lie is laced with so many heartfelt melodies it’s impossible not to enjoy it.
Personal Highlight - Shadowboxing
5) Lupe Fiasco
Food and Liquor
Lupe Fiasco has proved Hip Hop is well and truly alive with his debut album, Food & Liquor. The young MC from Chicago has created an album that is essentially, fills a void that’s been growing in the quality of generic hop hop that’s been coming out of the states.
Personal Highlight - Kick, Push
6) Joanna Newsom
When Joanna Newsoms debut album, The Milk-Eyed Mender was released back in 2004, it passed relatively unnoticed, purely because she hadn’t had the publicity deserved. Who says good things don’t come from having your songs on TV adverts?! Thanks to a little support from Jo Whiley, Joanna Newsom finally is getting some recognition.
Personal Highlight - Sawdust And Diamonds
7) The Rapture
Pieces Of The People We Love
I couldn’t wait for this album, already a fan of the band with their first release ‘Echos’ ‘Pieces Of The People We Love’ is the perfect continuation of what they started. Those nasty second albums are usually cringe worthy, The Rapture have proved a quality to their music and song writing ability, Lets hope things get better and better for a band with such exciting prospects.
Personal Highlight – Don Gon Do It
8) Hot Chip
It’s been the year of the chip! Dominating club sound systems, the single ‘Over & Over’ is one of the strongest singles of the year. This album is packed full electro beats, hip hop samples and a true indie pop heart.
Personal Highlight - Over & Over
9) Built To Spill
You In Reverse
This was one of the first albums I really got in to this year, Built To Spill write pure quality pop songs. You’ve got a mixed bag of track on You In Reverse, all veer on being wistful & dreamy, yet, not at all tiring, like a lot of other contemporaries who try and copy Built To Spills style.
Personal Highlight – Saturday
When I first heard this album, Beirut didn’t have a UK record deal, 4AD soon caught on to the genius that is Zach Gordon. Veering toward an almost klezmer style of writing. This is a truly interesting album and a worthy addition to my collection!
Personal Highlight – Postcards From Italy
Selecting only ten albums out of such a plethora of talent is always hard. a few other albums I really enjoyed this year, The Sunshine Underground ‘Raise the Alarm’, The Roots latest album ‘Game Theory’, The Black Keys ‘Magic Potion’ & Graham Coxons ‘Love Travels At Illegal Speeds’. If you haven’t had the chance to check any of these albums out, I urge you to have a listen.