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|Jom's Top Ten Albums of 2006|
As requested by mx, here are my Top Ten Album Albums of 2006. To be frank, I am well aware that my taste in music sucks in the eyes of the Jom's Kiss My Ass Club, so no reminders are necessary. Also, I've never made a list before, so if there's a bunch of code, I hope you can deal with it until I can fix it. Cheers.
Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red...
I absolutely agree with the almost-universal assessment that the Red Sparowes provide music that can be construed as somewhat of a gateway for getting both "post-rock fans into metal and metal fans into post-rock." Yes, the band with the longest song titles ever returned in 2006 with an exemplary release in 'Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun.' While the album's themes and allusions pertain to Communist China - simply examine the album opener's first few words in its title ("The Great Leap Forward...", a plan instituted by Chairman Mao Zedong in the 1950s to modernize a struggling China's economy) - but one will notice that these references percolate throughout the album, right down to the slaughter of the sparrows and the rise of the locusts, which destroyed China's crops and triggered a devastating famine, leading to the deaths of approximately 30,000,000 Chinese. All the expected post-rock characteristics are here, from the brilliant crescendos, to the intricate, thickly-layered guitar passages, to the fantastic melody - but these characteristics are intensely vivid, and especially due to the historical storyline that complements the metal-tinged post-rock music that the Red Sparowes have perfected, this album is simply phenomenal and my album of the year for 2006.
When Clouds Align
'When Clouds Align' is Space's nine-song debut, sporting lush soundscapes and atmospheric elements that embody the beauty of progressive music. The album is also a one-man show: from the solo project's inception to post-production, Space nearly single-handedly was the unwavering force behind the album at each stage. To clarify, Space did not solely play guitar - his primary instrument with his past musical endeavors with Memento and Kevin Martin & The Hiwatts - he also was responsible for the vocals, bass, keys, and percussion on the album, as well as playing a substantial role in the programming, recording, mixing, and production of the album. Thus, the album is worth listening to simply to gain an appreciation for all the effort one musician invested into it, starting with the songwriting process, continuing with the arranging and recording aspect, and finalizing it all with the programming and mixing. Meanwhile, the music itself is absolutely stellar. "Brian Loses His Last Battle," "Only to Fly," "Hold On," and the epic title track, which features soft ocean tides rolling in to complement Space's breezy vocals, are imperative listening, especially "Brian..." Fans of Jeff Buckley, Peter Gabriel, and Pink Floyd - three acts Space cites as influences - would do themselves a great service by hearing this independently-released album.
After the release of 'Reroute to Remain' and 'Soundtrack to Your Escape', in which Swedish metal juggernauts In Flames were branded "sell-outs" (amongst other things, most of which cannot be written on the family-friendly confines of Sputnikmusic), the band was at a bit of a crossroads: Anders Frieden and company could go back to their Gothenburg roots that made them one of Sweden's best metal acts of all-time, or they could continue down a more mainstream path and further alienate their diehard fans thirsting for tunes that resembled their earlier material. In one of metal's biggest compromises in 2006, both sets of fans walked away pleased with the band's decision to do both. Album opener "Take This Life" is a relentless, heavy barrage of riffs and pounding percussion, while the title track is one of In Flames's best slower, melodic tracks, and one of the album's many highlights, along with "Crawl Through Knives." 'Come Clarity' also represents the band's first time being played on American radio - a well-deserved, defining moment for the legendary band.
While most of Sputnikmusic's userbase likely were first exposed to Shaimus via the ever-popular Guitar Hero video game series, the Los Angeles-based quintet churns out an outstanding album in 'Paper Sun.' While reminiscent of bands like Phantom Planet, Guster, and Rooney, Shaimus do a masterful job in distancing themselves from other similar artists by consistently writing and arranging captivating and insanely catchy hooks throughout the album. Overall, the album's mellow vibe is near-perfect chill music, but there are a couple bouncy, rockier tracks included for good measure. Filled with attractive piano progressions, fetching guitarlines and superb solos, strong vocals, and a consistently rock-solid rhythm section, Shaimus deliver an incredibly exceptional album. Recommended tracks include "Left to Dry," "Slow Down," and last but certainly not least, "All of This," whose album version has a few subtle nuances that makes it different from the version heard in Guitar Hero, but still includes guitarist Evan Brown's phenomenal rockin' guitar solo.
My excitement for 'Blood Mountain' was a bit timid, but my pessimism was alleviated right from the opening drum solo on album highlight "The Wolf Is Loose," in which drummer Brann Dailor asserts himself as one of metal's best in 2006. Dailor is flawless in his efforts, from his rhythms to his fills, and his bandmates seem to feed off his spot-on energy, as the vocals and guitars have drastically improved as well. Even Josh Homme (of Queens of the Stone Age fame), who is the subject of a tongue-in-cheek hidden track, is featured as a guest artist on the album, where he leads the Grammy-nominated "Colony of Birchmen," one of the album's best cuts. In short, I contest this album being a modern-day [i]Dark Side of the Moon[/i] as a couple users have suggested or proclaimed, but Mastodon's major-label debut is a stunning album in which each member has developed and improved as a musician, and tracks such as "The Wolf is Loose," "Colony of Birchmen," and "Sleeping Giant" represent some of Mastodon's best material to date.
In the Absence of Truth
Isis' majesty and mastery of the genre fires on all cylinders on this album, eclipsing the already-brilliant albums that were 'Oceanic' and 'Panopticon,' making 'In the Absence of Truth' the band's best yet. "Wrist of Kings" burns with a slow fire while the instruments build and take center stage, and then the listener is slammed with such a bold wall of sound that is absolutely stunning, while "Dulcinea" and "Holy Tears" will blow listeners away with their epic, magnificent sound. It did wonders for the band to tour with Tool in 2006 because of the opportunity presented to expose their music to millions, and with each Isis release, the band continues to out-do themselves. Thus, 'In the Absence of Truth' is a near-masterpiece.
Barenaked Ladies Are Me
'Barenaked Ladies Are Me' marks the triumphant return of a BNL studio album, and the Canadian pop-rock giants fail to disappoint. The bookend tracks - "Adrift" and "Wind It Up" - are essential listening, especially the latter track, which features a brilliant guitar solo from legendary Canadian rock 'n roller Kim Mitchell. Plus, the opening riff on "Wind It Up" is absolutely killer, too. The instrumentation, as is to be expected on every BNL release, is top-notch, and both Steven Page and Ed Robertson contribute brilliant vocal performances to match their always-witty lyrics. The album is a bit more laidback and chilled out compared to their previous releases - the somber "Sound of Your Voice," the humorous "Bank Job," and the mellow "Easy" are all beautifully captivating tracks - but it cannot be emphasized enough that "Adrift" and "Wind It Up" are two of the band's best tracks to date.
'St. Elsewhere,' Gnarls Barkley's first LP, is a swift kick in the butt. It's insanely catchy, captivating, and produced extremely well, which should come as no surprise knowing Danger Mouse's past and present musical endeavors. One personal flaw I find in this album is in its song lengths - the longest song clocks in at sub-3:30. This is a slight disappointment because some songs seem to end too prematurely; however, this can clearly be looked past because each song holds listener interest in an aural vicegrip - check out "Crazy," "Gone Daddy Gone," "Transformer," and "Smiley Faces."
Live at the Fillmore
I really don't like live albums. Maybe it's because I have never been to a show in my 20+ years of existence and am waiting to experience one first-hand, but I own very few live albums because the sound is always poor, the crowd is annoying to listen to, and the music is pushed so far down into the mix, that the entire album sounds awful. With 'Live at the Fillmore,' this is not the case with dredg, a severely under-rated act after releasing a couple immensely powerful albums, namely 'El Cielo' and 'Catch Without Arms.' The music is pretty quiet in the mix, but dredg stay true to the studio records - songs like "Bug Eyes" and "Sang Real" are arguably better on the live album. If you haven't heard dredg before, you really should, 'cause their music should be shared amongst friends. dredg create and execute fantastic tunes, and it's impeccable that they can make the transfer to the live setting with such perceived ease.
|10||Yo La Tengo|
I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
Having little desire initially to check out this album since some of the users on Sputnikmusic who recommended it to me have, in the past, recommended material I could hardly stomach, 'I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass' was a surprising listen. Filled with catchy dream-pop hooks but also some harder-hitting tracks for good measure and balance, Yo La Tengo deliver yet another solid release. "Sometimes I Don't Get You" and "I Should Have Known Better," while having personally ironic songtitles for yours truly, are easily the album's highlights. Perhaps this personally-attributed irony - from how I first listened to it to the songs that stick out the most for me - is what makes this album speak to me and thus makes for such a rewarding listen. My thanks goes out to those users who recommended an album I actually liked - I say this in jest, of course.
|Decent list, but I cannot stand Gnarls Barkley. I'll have to check out that dredg one though. |
/fires up Rhapsody
|finally somebody appreciates blood mountain, good call|
|good list, would've put Tool where Gnarls Barkley is though|