Sunday, December 17, 2006

POP...LIFE!: Tauwan's Top 25 albums of 2006


Christmas is only a week away and December's halfway done. Next thing you know we'll be ringing the alarm and throwing bows as Yeah! or Hung Up blasts gloriously in the background and 2006 becomes nothing more than a distant memory.

But not so fast!

The year ain't over yet and before we bid it aideu, why don't we look back at the discs and their tunes which provided the sweet melodic and rump shaking backdrops for our shennanigans in the year 2006. OR, to put it in less pretentious/clever and cred aspiring words, here they are, my top 25 albums of 2006. Let's DO THIS SON!

25. Wolfmother-Wolfmother

Riddle me this Batman? Why can many an indie band under the sun evoke Pavement, David Byrne/Talking Heads, and/or the Pixies and recieve praise? Oh, the torch is being passed you say. They are reminding you of a certain type of music, place, and time that shan't be forgotten you say? [cause you would totally use the word shant in your defense] Well why all the hullabaloo when a band comes along evoking the energy, riffs, and rocking out with your cock out of say a Led Zepplin, AC/DC, Black Sabbath or Kiss? Huh, oh right, right. You dug on the Andrew W.K., the Darkness [may they rest in peace], and many a Kiss/Cheap Trick leaning by Weezer cause it was like a guilty pleasure. Well let this band from down under be another guilty pleasure. Who knows? You might even become a fan. I've been hooked ever since I heard that soul induced shriek that opens the old school rock and roll leaning Dimension. Solos drag on, voices sing on high, and everything is hard, loud and fast, when it isn't slow, soft, and rhapsodic. What's that you say? The 70's called and they want their sound back? Well 2006 is on line one and they want you to ease the hell up and jump on Wolfmother's Love Train.
KEY TRACKS: Dimension/Apple Tree/White Unicorn

24. The Strokes-First Impressions of Earth

By now it's all pretty familiar. Julian's clenched teeth vocal. The twang, kick, and punch of Albert Hammond Jr.'s guitar. The beat of the kick drum. Etc. Etc. Yadda yadda yadda. Yes, higly familiar, but at the same time, something different. 3 albums in, yes the boys in the band are comfortable and have mastered their signature sound, but they still know how to excite and expand on that signature sound, ripping guitars to shreds [SEE the opening of Ize of the World], unleashing full throated vocals, and locking said vocals and backing instrumentation in near perfect, sing songy harmony. Juicebox riffs it in yo face like no Stroke song has ever done before, while Ask Me Anything sounds like nothing more than the voice of Julian Casablancas' accompained by strings and a metronome, with Julian repeating the hook, 'I got nothing to say, I got nothing to say.' Longer than usual with a hand in the experimental cookie jar, First Impressions prove that such a sentiment is a bold faced lie.
KEY TRACKS: Ask me anything/Vision of division/Juicebox

23. Peaches-Impeach My Bush

I'm sorry. What's that you say? Peaches? You didn't even know she recorded any albums after her loin grabbing, spine tingling debut The Teaches of Peaches? Well, in the words of 50 Cent, Ha! Ha! Daaaamn homie! Forget Fatherfucker [though I think you and everybody else did] and come back to the raunchy, raunchy darkside. Tight, wonderfully arranged, and just as provocative, Peaches turns down the blips, scratches, and static present on her much celebrated debut [we already decided to not discuss Fatherfucker right?], focusing on the age old format of verse-hook-verse-bridge, crafting slick and more accessible [Do Ya? was in a Gap Ad for chrissakes!]boy girl electro workouts. [and in the case of Two Guys [For Every Girl], guy guy]. Don't get it twisted, the game ain't changed, the tents still rise and the boys wanna be her, and Peaches wouldn't have it any other way.
KEY TRACKS: Tent in your pants/Boys wanna be her/Rock the shocker

22. The Flaming Lips-At War with the Mystics

Following both the Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is not an easy task. Both were critically acclaimed sonic masterpieces, hevily layered and rich in texture. And At no different. The pyschedelia is still turned up to the nine's, but the lyrics and at certain points, the delivery, [a yelp here, a sneer and a relaxed vocal there]set the Lips in the present day, tackling uncertainties [The Sound of Failure/It's Dark...Is it always this dark?], questioning authority [The W.A.N.D.], and telling it like it is. [Free Radicals]. With every boom, clap, and pound on the keys, At War with the Mystics presents itself as an album searching for clarity and reassurance that everything's gonna be alright, when it all seems to be going terribly wrong.
KEY TRACKS: Yeah Yeah Yeah Song/It Overtakes Me, The Stars are so big, I am so small...Do I stand a chance?/Mr Ambulance Driver

21. Beck-The Information

Early in the fall two friends and I were on the highway heading back to Los Angeles after spending a few days in Northern California. On a whim I decided to give this album a spin. I had recently bought it, and though I was excited by the create your own album art incentive, the music on the other hand hadn't grabbed me yet and took a backseat to whatever was in constant rotation at the time. And then, on those long winding stretches of highway something strange happened: The Information clicked. As the wheels turned left, so did the tunes. Step by step, second by second, track by track. Ruminations on love and death oozed in and out of Beck's mouth. B-Boy threats crashed into choruses [Cellphone's Dead]. Mr. Hansen's voice moved and shaked, harmonized and flowed with the beat acting more like an instrument [New Round]. And when singing took a back seat to riding the beat [also known as rapping. See We Dance Alone], all one could do was sit back and just coast, realizing that ten years after Odelay, Beck's palette is comfortably eclectic and 'fly like a bird, just like Nelly Furtado...'
KEY TRACKS: Think I'm in love/Motorcade/Cellphone's Dead

20. Hot Chip-The Warning

Hot Chip's debut Coming on strong was pure fire baby. Tounge in cheek complete with rhythm and blues inspired b-boy stances dipped in sexual chocolate. But where that album was all shy South Londoner with mack daddy ways, The Warning is cut from a different breed, standing up straight, speaking up, talking out of turn, and demanding to be heard. The grooves push beyond the walls of slow 808 and synths. Boys from school coasts along like disco lite while Arrest Yourself flocks like a seagull bringing to mind Human League and Depeche Mode. These South London boys know how to pull some strings and get a party going, and nowhere is this more evident than on the one-two punch of tracks 4 and 5, Over and Over AND (Just Like We)Breakdown. Stop and go. Breathe and Stop. With each repeated lyric and hit of the synth or clap of the hands, these two songs perfectly showcase what the boys of Hot Chip came to do [aside from make them panties drop]and that's to rock the party, and get em on the floor! Get, get em on the floor!
KEY TRACKS: Over and over/(Just like we)Breakdown/Arrest Yourself

To be continued...

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