Posted by: Dave on October 24, 2006 at 5:01 pm

ColdWarKidsRobbersWhen I review a new release, I also give the album a score based on the quality of each individual track and the cohesiveness of the album as a whole. The following albums have scored highest this year so far. I update these Standings every time a new album breaks into my Top 20.

Update: Cold War Kids’ Robbers & Cowards cracks my Top 20 (so far), while AFI’s Decemberunderground gets bumped off the list.

Here are the Standings as of today:

1. The Coup Pick A Bigger Weapon (Anti-/Epitaph)
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs Show Your Bones (Interscope)
3. TV on the Radio Return to Cookie Mountain (Interscope)
4. Blood Meridian Kick Up the Dust (V2)
5. The Hold Steady Boys and Girls In America (Vagrant)
6. The Decemberists The Crane Wife (Capitol)
7. Matisyahu Youth (Epic/JDub)
8. Roisin Murphy Ruby Blue (Echo)
9. Cursive Happy Hollow (Saddle Creek)
10. Neko Case Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (Anti-)
11. Regina Spektor Begin to Hope (Sire)
12. Elbow Leaders of the Free World (V2)
13. Man Man Six Demon Bag (Ace Fu)
14. The Rapture Pieces of the People We Love (Universal Motown)
15. Favourite Sons Down Beside Your Beauty (Vice)
16. Cold War Kids Robbers & Cowards (Downtown)
17. Hot Chip The Warning (DFA/Astralwerks)
18. Hard-Fi Stars of CCTV (Necessary/Atlantic)
19. Arctic Monkeys Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (Domino)
20. Rise Against The Sufferer & The Witness (Geffen)

7 Responses to “Top 20 Albums of 2006 (as of 10/24/06)”

  1. Ben Says:

    I saw the Rapture at 930 on Thursday. They sucked. The Presets are the better band as of now. Lowlights included when they played the killer electronic riff on “Sister Savior” with the saxophone.

    If you’re looking for a music critic-like symbol of their decline, here is it: the crowd failed to pop when dude started banging his cowbell to open “House of Jealous Lovers.” The kids didn’t get into it until the singer leaned way out from the stage for a cheap response and kicked in the opening riff on his guitar. When I saw them at Coachella in 2004, the place was flipping as soon as the bell was brandished, let along played.

    Speaking of DFA records, where are you on James Murphy’s Nike mix on iTunes? I think it’s pretty fun in a Giorgio Moroder sort of way, but ultimately not all that significant. I expect indie rock types who bought into his album to be nonplussed because, ya know, he’s actually acting like a DJ again. And if there’s one thing indie kids can’t get into, it’s a one-track mix. It doesn’t hit enough of their social cues for “art.”

  2. Dave Says:

    That is a shocking lack of response for an instant, seminal classic. Can the audience be blamed at all?

    What was the response for “Get Myself Into It?” I can’t get enough of it.

    I bought into some of the LCD Soundsystem album, particularly “Disco Infiltrator” and “Never As Tired When I’m Waking Up.” And of course “Daft Punk…” was fun.

    As for the Nike song, you’ve got me pegged. One 45-minute track is not something I can wrap my head around. I don’t know what to do it with it. It’s fun and all. I need stuff broken up into a few tracks, though. But that’s just me.

  3. Ben Says:

    I don’t know DC crowds that well, but it seemed like a predominately hipsterish crowd. Not much buzzing over the band other than the 12 or 15 packed in front and center. The Rapture, thanks in part to their continued critical support, have become one of those bands indie rock types feel obligated to support, but, based their reactions to the music itself, don’t see all that thrilled out (ex. Arcade Fire, D. Barnhardt, Sufjan, Fiery Furnances, etc.). It was the type of crowd I see all too often that seems like they’re there out piety to the indie scene than actual enjoyment of the music.

    But then maybe I don’t know how to gauge whether people are digging the tunes. Maybe standing around with a bored look on your face doesn’t mean you’re bored.

    My pet theory, which I shoehorn into any occassion and generally distort reality to support, is that the larger problem is that most young music fans are walking around with a decayed set of expecations. Most fans still believe that guitar/bass/drums arranged arbitrarily into 50 minute collection of 4 to 5 minute songs is the only way pop music can work. Sadly for them, it’s the only way pop music hasn’t worked in the past 10 years. So they have to stumble from one disappointing and overhyped rock savior to the next (Remember The Microphones? Or how about The Libertines? Good god, what a pathetic excuse for pop stars. At least Jon Bon can sell it!).

    But, the real disappointment is that The Rapture aren’t as reactionary as a lot of the mediocre rockers of the past few years (ex. Jack White). That first album had a great single and four or five other solid songs. But, like Ghostface or Missy Elliot or Joey Ramone or Mike Skinner or Motown or anything else, it seems like the NYC electro noise has rarely been enjoyed on its own terms and instead has to first be converted into the classic rock/indie language of authenticity, surrogate literature, preening virtuosity, “concept albums” and “genius” talents.

    In my opinion, what we’ve seen with their all-too-long-in-coming second album, and what I saw in their lukewarm performance the other night, is a band that — like most bands really ever, including some great ones — might not have much more to say. It’s not all that surprising. In fact its quite natural. My frustration is that I think that the encouragement they’ve received from the retrograde indie crowd is luring them into branching off down a deadend instead of setting down roots in more fertile terrain. If anything suggests they’ve gone that way, it’s that they hardly used any electronic sonics in their performance.

    Alright. Wildeyed rant over. Have you heard the metal cover album of Beatles songs? Lemmy is totally on it.

  4. Dave Says:

    Well, I definitely agree with you that Sufjan Stevens is highly overrated. And Fiery Furnaces had a great first album, but their bizarro experimentation has been borderline insufferable ever since…and doesn’t translate to the stage so well.

    I’ve not heard the metal cover album of Beatles songs…but I’m most certainly interested. What do we call it?

  5. Ben Says:

    What? You mean you’re not ready to denounce people based on my scant evidence and overheated personal prejudice? 😉

    But, despite my rantings, the people I direct my ire at are a shrinking portion of the population, doomed to further marginalization by the triumph of digital technology and the continued flowering of electronic music. By and large, the kids are alright. Magnet magazine means nothing to them.

    As my friend Erick has long proclaimed, the best Fiery Furnance song isn’t on the debut, it’s the single version of “Tropical Ice-Land.” Otherwise, largely insufferable. Like most indie bands, they typically sound like they need to hit sharply with a rolled up newspaper.

  6. Jenn Says:

    Are you going to review the new Pernice Brothers album, Live A Little?! It’s great! (enjoying your new web site, BTW.)

  7. Dave Says:

    I’m definitely liking the new Pernice Brothers album. I’m thinking it might be the best thing they’ve ever done…for my taste, at least. I plan to review it soon. Most likely next week (glad you’re enjoying the new site…thanks).

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