December 20, 2006

What We Need Are More Lists

Fun times: Pitchfork has published their list of the top 50 albums of 2006. Honestly, I was mostly underwhelmed by all the new music offerings this year, at least compared to the year before. A lot of indie-rock staples—Will Oldham, Built to Spill, Belle and Sebastian, Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo—put out new albums that were pleasant enough, but not much more. And, probably because I'm crotchety and can't help it, I never got into the hot bands of the year, such as Tapes 'n' Tapes, the Thermals, the Hold Steady, or Grizzly Bear. My hunch is that few people will still be listening to most of those albums a year from now, although I'm abysmal about predicting such things. Maybe The Loon really is a timeless classic in disguise. Who knows?

But enough with the carping, on with the drum roll! Here are my ten favorite albums of the year, in no particular order—since paring down a list is simple, but ranking is tricky and time-consuming:
Califone, Roots and Crowns
Paul Flaherty and Chris Corsano, The Beloved Music
Joanna Newsom, Ys
John Cale, Paris 1919
Function, The Secret Miracle Fountain
Danielson, Ships
Christine Fellows, Paper Anniversary
Ghostface Killah, Fishscale
Clipse, Hell Hath No Fury
Karen Dalton, In My Own Time
Hopefully I didn't leave anything off. Of note: Two hip-hop albums made the list, which surprised me, at least, since I'm not exactly an ardent hip-hop fan. Christine Fellows' album was technically released in Canada in 2005, but it only emerged south of the border this year, so in it goes. John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats is a big fan (it fits, apparently, alongside his affinity for Swedish death metal). Karen Dalton and John Cale are singers from the 1970s with cult followings, and their albums aren't exactly "new," but they were re-released this year, so I'll include them too. Some reviewer somewhere called the Flaherty and Corsano album a "post-hardcore take on improvised jazz," and I don't know what that means, but it's wonderful all the same.

So there. Three of my "Top ten of 2006" aren't even from 2006. I thought about including Pavement's reissue of Wowee Zowee but that seemed unduly churlish. Oh well. I also swore off reading music blogs this year, so maybe that's why I have no idea whence all the hot new music comes. Incidentally, a few months back I strongly considered turning this here blog into a full-time music/mp3 blog, but that idea seems so improbable right now that I may as well spill the beans and chuckle. Har har.
-- Brad Plumer 1:33 PM || ||