Top 10 of 2006

2006 may not be nothing more than a fond memory but the music is still playing. PlugInMusic.com asked a group of musicians for their top ten album picks of 2006. We've collected their picks so see what their favorites were this year.

- Corinne

posted January 4, 2007

Evie Evil of Evil BeaverEvie Evil of Evil Beaver
1. "Blood Money" by Mobb Deep
2. "A Matter of Life and Death" by Iron Maiden
3. "Impeach My Bush" by Peaches
4. "Black Rainbow" by 400 Blows
5. "A Pound of Round Wound" by Members of The Press
6. "Sinner" by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
7. "Love" by The Beatles
8. "Rockford" by Cheap Trick
9. "American V: A Hundred Highways" by Johnny Cash
10. "Face The Promise" by Bob Seger


Joe Castro of The SituationJoe Castro of The Situation
1. "Writer's Block" - Peter, Bjorn & John
My favorite find of the year, I stumbled upon "Object of My Affection" in an Enjoi skate film and was instantly smitten. The album's chock full of great hooks, heartfelt lyrics and has a refreshingly varied sound - everyone I play this for instantly falls in love with it.

2. "Hip Hop Is Dead" - Nas
Part state of the union and part love letter to hip hop's glory days, Nas proves once again that he's still top shelf. Like all great fighters, he's at his best when challenged and on this release, he let's loose on the various vampires currently sucking the life out of modern music. Favorite tracks include "Not Going Back," "Black Republican" and "Can't Forget About You".

3. "Clouds of People" - The Sky Drops
I once described them as a shoegazing version of The Everly Brothers and I mean that in the best way possible. A return to form for former Smashing Orange frontman Rob Montejo, the addition of Bullette's vocal harmonies really adds a nice emotional depth to his songwriting. "Hang On" is a strong contender for my favorite song of the year.

4. Whatever People Say That I Am, That's What I'm Not - Arctic Monkeys
Honestly, at first I was totally turned off by the insane amount of British hype surrounding these kids, but once I took the time to really listen to the record, I realized they're worthy of the praise. High energy with excellent lyrics. "A Certain Romance" is my favorite track.

5. Fishscale - Ghostface Killah
Another solid release from the Wu-Tang's shining star. I love the guy's intensity on tracks like "Shakey Dog." Just a solid record from top to bottom.

6. Orphans - Tom Waits
Most triple albums (and double for that matter) tend to drag when the killer turns to filler but Orphans has a way of scooping you up in a mood and pulling you in for the ride. Each disc is strong in its own right and is a testament to the depth of Waits' different styles of songwriting and delivery. Second only to Neil Young as the model for growing old gracefully.

7. Show Your Bones - Yeah, Yeah Yeahs
Less raw than their previous releases, this trio switches up the style without losing the power. I think Karen O has a great voice and her singing really shines on this disc. Fav tracks include "Phenomenon and Cheated Hearts"

8. Ringleader of the Tormentors - Morrissey
A slightly flawed masterwork for sure but "Dear God, Please Help Me" and "Life Is A Pigsty" are two of the his all time greatest solo songs. Moz still has a lot to offer and, as always, his lyrics are razor sharp. Oh, Moz, they could never taint you in my eyes.

9. Be Still My Beating - The Way It Is
Darker, stripped down and more honest than his previous releases, I think Mr. Sanchez has finally found a musical style that fits his forlorn vocals. Hard to find but well worth the effort, this guy is one of my favorite vocalists, period.

10. Redux - schroeder
These classic tracks finally get the sonic treatment they deserve courtesy of guitarists Nick DiMaria's remix/remaster job. A cross between Catherine Wheel and the Monkees, hearing this record took me back to the early 90's of my youth. Why this band wasn't more popular is beyond me.


Ming & PingMing & Ping
1. Corinne Bailey Rae - "Corinne Bailey Rae"
2. Keane - "Under the Iron Sea"
3. Imogen Heap - "Speak for Yourself"
4. Pet Shot Boys - "Fundamental"
5. Lily Allen - "Alright, Still"
6. Prince - "3121"
7. James Hunter - "People Gonna Talk"
8. Deftones - "Saturday Night Wrist"
9. John Legend - "Once Again"
10. Peter Bjorn & John - "Writer's Block"


Scott Campbell of BonesScott Campbell of Bones
(in no particular order)
1. Deadboy & the Elephantmen - "We are Night Sky"
2. Dosh - "The Lost Take"
3. Tokyo Police Club - "A Lesson In Crime"
4. Beck - "The Information"
5. Asobi Seksu - "Citrus"
6. Boards of Canada - "Trans Canada Highway"
7. Belong - "October Language"
8. Black Keys - "Magic Potion"
9. Holy Fuck - "Holy Fuck"
10. Make-Up - "Untouchable Sound"


David Mueller of Birds of AvalonDavid Mueller of Birds of Avalon
10. Akron/Family - "Meek Warrior"
Perfect music to freak out to, like the good kind of freak out.

9. Herbert - "Scale"
Irresistibly danceable, with some of the most intricate string and horn arrangements in recent memory.

8. Liars - "Drums Not Dead"
A vast mysterious record, full of ghosts and innovation. At once tamer and weirder than their previous efforts.

7. Junior Boys - "So This is Goodbye"
Who says good club music can't be good pop music? Solid beats, great melodies.

6. Dark Meat - "Universal Indians"
Like Jay Spaceman and Albert Ayler in a bar fight, this 10+ piece Athens GA band rips shit up.

5. The Knife - "Silent Shout"
If you buy one Europhile techno record this year, this should be it. The perfect soundtrack for a nasty drug habit, the part right before things get really ugly.

4. Mew - "And The Glass Handed Kites"
Prog meets shoegaze -- I've been waiting years for someone to make a record like this.

3. Peter Bjorn and John - "Writer's Block"
Infectious pop carried to the next level of sophistication by understated production and expert song craft.

2. Joanna Newsom - "Ys"
A work of astounding scope and singular grace. Mesmerizing string arrangements by Van Dyke Parks serve as the perfect compliment to Newsom's epic fairy tales.

1. Clipse - "Hell Hath No Fury"
Like a quarterback who runs it 50 yards for a touchdown and then, for no reason whatsoever, decks the hell out of the ref; Hell Hath No Fury easily takes the 2006 top spot with equal measures of finesse and scorn. The Neptunes' usual twinkle-toes production style is amped up and blown out, sounding more like 80s Jam Master Jay than any contemporary producers. Mandatory.


The Human ValueThe Human Value
1. Muse - "Black Holes and Revelations"
2. Snowden - "Anti-Anti"
3. Celebration - "Celebration"
4. Yeah Yeah Yeah’s - "Show Your Bones"
5. Grinderman – "Grinderman"
6. PJ Harvey - "Peel Sessions"
7. Cold War Kids - "Robbers & Cowards"
8. Raconteurs - "Raconteurs"
9. Trail of the Dead - "So Divided"
10. Eagles of Death Metal - "Death By Sexy"


Jonathan Lee of Souvenir's Young AmericaJonathan Lee of Souvenir's Young America
1. Battle of Mice - "A Day Of Nights" (Neurot)
2. Jesu - "Silver" (Hydra Head)
3. Grails - "Black Tar Prophecies 1, 2, and 3" (Important)
4. Tom Waits - "Orphans" (Anti)
5. Enslaved - "Ruun" (Candlelight)
6. Cult of Luna - "Somewhere Along the Highway" (Earache)
7. Matmos - "The Rose Has Teeth In The Mouth of the Beast" (Matador)
8. Tragedy - "Nerve Damage" (Tragedy)
9. Mogwai - "Mr Beast" (Matador)
10. (4 way tie) Tim Hecker - "Harmony in Ultraviolet" (Kranky)
Bat for Lashes - "Fur and Gold" (Echo)
Ghostface Killah - "Fishscale" (Def Jam)
Pit Er Pat - "Pyramids" (Thrill Jockey)


Todd Millenacker of AvenpitchTodd Millenacker of Avenpitch
1. The Killers - "Sam's Town"
I never paid much attention to the Killers until I heard Flood and Alan Moulder where producing their second disc. I picked it up on a whim and I haven't been able to take it out of my car since. In some ways, the Killers are overextending themselves as a band, but the overblown production mixed with arena-rock anthems reminds me of everything I like about U2, Bruce Springsteen and the Smashing Pumpkins. Plus, I kind of like Brandon Flowers' arrogance, it makes for a good interview!

2. Ray Davies - "Other People's Lives"
I got into the Kinks a couple years ago and I'm pretty much in love with everything Ray Davies touches. This record is good and there are some really great tracks on here - "After the Fall", "Thanksgiving Day", and "Over My Head" just to name a few. I particularly like the way Ray Davies twists words and melodies around into interesting and unique melodies and perspectives. He's a true songsmith.

3. Prick – "Live Bootleg from the Wreckard Tour (5/23/03)"
Yeah, I know this recording wasn't ever officially released, but this is a soundboard recording that I acquired this past year through a fellow Kevin McMahon fan. Prick's last release The Wreckard (2003) was recorded on a digital four-track in Kevin's apartment without the aid of computers, so I really enjoy hearing how his low-fi recordings translate to the stage in a rock band format. The answer is surprisingly well! I really wish he'd release something else soon.

4. Bruce Springsteen - "We Shall Overcome: The Seeger" Sessions Bruce is one of those rare examples of an artist who actually deserves the praise and attention he receives. "The Seeger Sessions" was recorded in three days on a farm with old school equipment. No overdubs, no studio trickery, nothing more then a group of people making music for the love of it. That's exactly what this disc sounds like.

5. The Cure – "The Top (Deluxe Edition)"
I've always felt that "The Top" was the Cure's most underrated album and I'm happy to see it get reissued in 2006. This is also The Top's first proper release in America. The disc is basically a Robert Smith solo album and comes heavily from Robert's experiments with psychedelic drugs. How else would you explain song titles such as "Bananafishbones", "Piggy in the Mirror" and "Bird Mad Girl"? This album also has "The Empty World" which I think rates among the Cure's best work. The bonus disc of demos and b-sides also makes a welcome edition to the disc.

6. Various Artists – "Twin Cities Electropunk Volume 3"
So is it cheesy to put the compilation series I curate on a yearly "best of" list? Probably, but nevertheless, I can honestly say I've heard this record more than any other local disc in my collection and I still enjoy it quite a bit. I'm impressed by the diversity as well as innovativeness of my fellow Minnesotans. Hopefully, one of these acts will break through and it'll force the music industry to shine a spotlight on what we've got going up here in Minnesota.

7. Black Label Society - "Shot to Hell"
Being how Zakk signed to a bigger label and was assigned Michael Beinhorn as a producer I was expecting a little more from this release. As far as Black Label Society is concerned this is a pretty solid release - the disc reaches it's quota of metal riffing, guitar shredding and monster ballads. However, knowing Zakk's ability (see Pride & Glory or Book of Shadows) I can't help but feel a little let down by "Shot to Hell". Plus, the production sounds like it could be from Ozzy’s No More Tears-era. Luckily, Zakk's guitar playing, voice and songwriting skills still shine through, it just could have been so much better.

8. Paris Hilton - "Paris"
Hell yeah, overproduced and artificial through and through. Paris is an idiot, but she still managed to snag some great collaborators for her debut. And for the record, I think this disc is better than that new Justin Timberlake album people keep raving about.

9. The Knife - "Silent Shout"
I've actually never heard this disc, but my drummer insist that it must be on my top 10 being how I am an "electronica" musician. So yeah, here it is, I will go buy it and force myself to enjoy it now.

10. Guns N' Roses - "Chinese Democracy"
I whole-heartedly believed Axl & Co. would deliver "Chinese Democracy" this year. I guess I was wrong, well at least I've got something for my 2007 "best of" list.