Best Albums of 2006 (So Far)

What? A Best of 2006 already…? That's right we, like everyone else, like to finish first once in a while. So here it is, we've put together a list of what we would like to think are the 25 best albums of 2006 so far. Take a look and let us know what you think of our list, but don't take too long the month of May is sure to change everything.

1.Witch - Witch
Bringing together the stylistic efforts of Feathers' Kyle Thomas and Asa Irons with the rock genius that is J Mascis, Witch brews a searing, heavy,
throwback salute to the pioneers of metal. Classic hard rock progressions and acerbic guitar solos, with a seamless functionality as an album that is so alive and raucous it just might jump off the turntable and bite you.

2.Psychic Ills - Dins
A profusion of dynamic sounds, Dins flows without pause, leading you on a psychedelic fun parade of guitar illusion and rolling drum laughter and applause. Stoner jams and shoegaze anthems unite under falling drops of electrofuzz and hushed clatterracket (I made that word up, but I like it).

3.Tapes 'N Tapes - ST
Why is this album topping all the indie charts? Where did all the success and hype come from? Well, what I can say is that this is simply a great indie rock album. Influences abound, from The Feelies to Sonic Youth to The Flaming Lips, but only listening to it will you hear Tapes ‘N Tapes come into their own. This is not just an ephemeral hipster favorite, it has worth well beyond its market and I guess that’s reason enough.

4.Peter & The Wolf - ST
Hushed folk seeping with melancholy from Austin singer/ songwriter Red Hunter. The album is virtually seamless, each song flows into the next with perfect precision creating an true
listening experience. Red's an artisan using tension, harmony and ennui like brushes.

5.Feathers - ST
Pastoral psych-folk masterpiece from this 8 piece collective finally made readily available from the crew over at Gnomonsong. The songs alternate between sweetly sung harmonies and sinister minor key affairs. Both are laced over intricately fingerpicked guitar, washes of flute, propulsive drumming and a myriad of other instruments. Perfect late night music.

6.Built To Spill - You In Reverse
If only we all age so gracefully. Martsch gets back on track with this one and records an album on par (sorry sports reference) with 'Perfect From Now On.' Calvin Johnston eat your heart out. [The last sentence of this review does not represent the viewpoint of RSTB merely the uneducated viewpoint of this naïve reviewer.]

7.Liars - Drum's Not Dead
The Liars return with a bolt from the blue. Their innovation and dedication create an album packed with some of the most beautiful, callous and thoughtfully crafted sounds and rhythms I’ve heard in awhile. This album will not be for everyone but it will be a challenge and a triumph for those who are willing to open up their ears and sleep inside a song.

8.Work Clothes - These Are The Shoes We Wear
This album is lush and honest in so many ways.
Chamber pop melodies and sweet lullaby sing-a-longs are what
comprise this husband and wife duo's first album. There are hints of country-psych and a few spaced out instrumentals, but everything weaves right back into its warm home in the heart of the woods where the rain only falls when you want it to and the sun shines brightly through the trees.

9.Nobody & The Mystic Chords of Memory - Tree Colored See
On paper this sounds ludicrous. It shouldn't work; but it does, and incredibly well. Dusty hip-hop beats furnished by Nobody parlay perfectly into sunshine sweet harmonies laid down by Chis Gunst and Jen Cohen from Mystic Chords. I can't stop listening to this album. Its perfectly suited to bright sunny moments and rain drizzled Sunday's, not an easy feat to pull off.

10.Spank Rock - YoYoYoYoYo
Every once in a while an album comes by that you can't ignore. You don't really relate to it stylistically, but you simply can't dismiss it on that account. Spank Rock's 'YoYoYoYoYo' is definitely that album. Its irresistible hooks and hip hop grooves are infectious. Even after hearing its dirty talk, you'll be back for more.

11.Miguel Mendez - My Girlfriend Is Melting
Spaced out, drunk, heartbroken, and sun drenched. This album has the laidback and disquieting feel of Skip Spense and the hard earned rock
nature of Neil Young. Plus he wrote one of the best songs on the Self titled Dios album, and you can hear the orignal here. Not to be missed.

12.Essex Green - The Cannibal Sea
The trio tone down the the whimsy and overt longing for the 60's present on their previous releases and allow themselves to completely rely on their incredible ability to write perfect pop songs. Catchy, but not cloying or sugary. Cannibal Sea evokes a feeling of driving aimlessly around a small town on a sunny day with your feet out the window. Instantly familiar and comfortable.

13.Kahoots - Fouteen Ghosts
You’ll hear comparisons to The Clean, The Bats, The Feelies, so on and so on, but these guys have been around for awhile crafting their own brand of addictive, hook laden pop tunes. After a few listens I myself hear a huge similarity to Elevator to Hell, one of my all time favorite bands, and perhaps one of the best jangle-psych bands of our time. There are so many highlights to the album that it truly stands on it's own, and that seems rare of a record put out these days.

14.El Perro Del Mar - ST
Sometimes an album is so subtle and catchy that it slips under your skin and makes a home in your bones. El Perro Del Mar’s first official stateside release is a collection of songs from EPs and 7”s gathered together for our daydreaming pleasure.

15.Loose Fur - Born Again In The USA
The follow up to the threesome's debut outing is a much less off-the-cuff sounding record. The band that began as a Wilco side project comes into its own with a full album of winning country rock songs. The album sways a bit to the lighter ballad-oriented fair but definitely has its share of catchy as hell pop songs mixed in. As always Tweedy and O'Rourke prove an amiable combination.

16.Elf Power - Back to the Web
The band's strongest record since Creature splits their influences nicely. An even temper between their harder fuzzed out rockers and their earlier folk obsessions. Back to the Web is fraught with tension and a looming sense of darkness on the horizon.

17.Those Transatlantics - Knocked Out
Full of catchy hooks and jangly pop songs, Knocked Out proves it was worth its year in the making. Those Transatlantics combine an incredible ability to craft pop melodies with the naturally sweet croon of singer Kate Bracken. Songs bounce from touches of country to the harder edges of rock and back without ever losing step.

18.Eagles of Deathmetal - Death By Sexy
Dare I say that Queens of the Stone Age's little step-sister is out shinning the Queen. Do I smell a Disney moment coming on? Apparently whenever Homme is around big catchy riffs spread like the flu and 'Death by Sexy' is no exception.

19.Mogwai - Mr. Beast
'Mr. Beast' is anything but beastly. It's more like the sensitive younger brother in a family filled with linebackers (sorry sports reference). In many ways 'Mr. Beast' has more depth than many of its predecessors and that's saying a lot.

20.Citay - ST
Usually when bands mention having Zeppelin as an influence this translates into hedonistic rockers soaked in bravado. Citay draw on a different side of Zeppelin, the quiet acoustic moments of Black Mountainside or What Is And What Should Never Be. Marrying the laid back strums to flashes of electric guitar straight out of the Brian May songbook. Derivations aside the combination is well worth checking out and comes across as something completely deserving of the ideas it incorporates.

21.AFX - Chosen Lords
Easy "Best of the 2006 so far…", Richard D James has whittled down the original 41 track, vinyl-only Analord series into one amazing AFX mixtape. 'Chosen Lords' is loaded with hyper dance beats…dance music for those who don't dance.

22.Goldfrapp - Supernature
Another solid album from Allison Goldfrapp and company. Having long since made peace with the fact that Goldfrapp would never make another 'Felt Mountain' embracing her second exploration into her imaginative disco dance world was easy. Superb from start to finish.

23.Violins - Pink Water
A great pop album for those of us that think pop may be dying. Leonard Cohen’s lyrical whimsy matched with an optimism and croon that could make a home in the most blackened of hearts.
Great melodies and unique instrumentation without being suffocated by overproduction. Already one of the best pop albums of the year!

24.The Appleseed Cast - Peregrine
What else do these guys have to prove? They've single-handedly pioneered their own emo-rock-instrumental genre and pushed it to perfection. But wait, just when it seems they had achieved this perfection with 'Two Conversations,' now comes 'Peregrine'. Nobody is making music like this; I don't care what you say.

25.Young People - All At Once
Sparse and darkly dramatic, All At Once is a very deliberate record. Katie Eastburn’s haunting vocals ring in your ears over bare bones vignettes of loss. Hints of noir jazz bubble underneath some of the more upbeat tracks but always with a heavy sense of searching for something just out of reach; a unique voice among today’s overcrowded indie scene.

Best EPs of 2006 So Far

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posted by pitchblack at 10:28:00 PM 1 comments


Bodies of Water

Bodies of Water are one great band. I came across their album not knowing anything about them and was floored with new sounds from all sides. They are, simply, friends making pop music, vibrant and swelling with unique vocal arrangements and throwback sounds; Sometimes epic, a little punk, some country folk here and there, a little distorted but mostly organic and absolutely no posturing. Four songs simply aren’t enough.
I Guess I'll Forget the Sound.mp3
Red Lines Grey Lines.mp3
Buy their fantastic EP from Insound
Check them out at Myspace or at their Homepage.
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posted by pitchblack at 3:59:00 PM 0 comments


The Harbour Lights

Philadelphia threesome The Harbour Lights create melancholy folk songs with enough of a pop sensibility to keep it interesting. They've opened for the likes of Viking Moses, Thanksgiving and Jason Anderson. The band is currently putting together a proper album for the label Woodland Family Songbook. In the meantime check the band out at myspace or download this track from their limited tour only EP - The Beasts of Burden.

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posted by dissensous at 6:56:00 PM 0 comments


The Saffron Sect

Canadian psych-folk quartet The Saffron Sect have garnered some attention in their native Montreal, opening for bands such as The Gris Gris. Their forthcoming album entitled Phosphorous Flash will be out soon on small canadian start up Fig Records. The band's sound is centered around Piper at the Gates of Dawn era Pink Floyd with touches of sitar, dulcimer and flute. Self described as "Twilight parlour music for imaginary friends of the future." I'm interested to hear how the full album will sound. You can check out a few tracks at the band's myspace page and keep posted to Fig Records to be able to purchase the CD.
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posted by dissensous at 4:22:00 PM 0 comments


Frank Lenz

Frank Lenz has posted a couple new tracks to be downloaded. In case you need background information on Lenz he has played with Pedro the Lion, Ester Drang, Starflyer 59, The Lassie Foundation and is a member of Heaphones with David Bazan. Frank has also produced albums for Ester Drang and Richard Swift. That's the short version there are many more bands I'm sure.

MP3Hanging On By a Thread
MP3Just Cause
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posted by looseleaf at 10:23:00 AM 0 comments


Great Combination

Indie-Electronic artist Nobody teams up with Mystic Chords of Memory for a full length out on Mush Records. Beachwood Sparks expatriate Chris Gunst and partner Jen Cohen turned in a guest appearance on Nobody's previous album and the group decided to make a full length project out of it. Great sunshine-pop melodies with unlikely hip-hop production. Definitely not to be missed. Check out The Seed and The Coyote's Song from their record Tree Colored See.
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posted by dissensous at 6:33:00 PM 0 comments

In Kahoots

Kahoots is releasing there new album Fourteen Ghosts pretty soon and it's going to be great. I've heard alot of comparisons to The Clean, The Bats, The Feelies, so on and so on, but these guys have been around for awhile crafting their own brand of addictive, hook laden pop tunes. After a few listens I myself hear a huge similarity to Elevator to Hell, one of my all time favorite bands, and perhaps one of the best jangle-psych bands of our time. There are so many highlights to the album that it truly stands on it's own, and that seems rare of a record put out these days. Check them out at I & Ear Records.

Listen to some of their songs at Myspace
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posted by pitchblack at 11:09:00 AM 0 comments

I Win... Again!

Starflyer 59 is one of my all-time favorite bands so this is an obvious post for me. You can check out a new demo track from their upcoming release on Tooth and Nail on their Myspace page. The track is titled 'I Win' and was recorded by Jason Martin and Josh Dooley with drum tracks.
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posted by looseleaf at 8:50:00 AM 0 comments


Home Sweet Home

Home returns after nearly ten years with a brilliant concept album about having sex. Nineteen tracks spanning the stylistic differences of each musician and every dirty thought, perfect romance or questionable position you could ever think of. The album will be available May 9 from the Oneida guys at Brah Records. (Jagjaguwar)
Teasin' And Pleasin'
Juicy Ass
Deep Inside
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posted by pitchblack at 4:03:00 PM 0 comments


The Black Angels

Droning psych rock from Austin, Texas. The Black Angels are making some of the best revival music out there. Don't get me wrong, their sound isn't so derivative that it's pointless to listen to, but track after track influences like The Velvet Underground, Black Sabbath, The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, and even a little Grace Slick and the Great Society become more and more palpable. They are definately one of the best under the radar rock bands out there. Let's enjoy them before it's too late.
Bloodhounds On My Trail
Black Grease
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posted by pitchblack at 1:46:00 PM 0 comments