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Making Music Has Changed, Finding Music Is Changing

Best Albums of 2006

by Mark Tatum

This is the best time of year to discover good music. What better way to find good CDs than browsing the avalanche of "best-of" lists released by hundreds of reviewers this time each year? Music reviewers listen to hundreds of albums each year, and their lists often contain great CDs you never would disover otherwise.

Below you will find lists of the best albums of 2006 as defined by some of the most prominent blogs and music web sites.

There are two ways to use these lists:

  • Browse them for albums you already are familiar with and like. Then check out other albums on that list for titles you are not familiar with.
  • Find music reviewers and sites that have similar tastes to yours. Bookmark their sites and follow them through the coming year to get an inside track on next years best albums as they are released.

    Caution: music reviewers are jaded creatures. Because they listen to so many CDs each year their ears pay particular attention to music that is new and different. If the music isn't ground-breaking or unique, they are usually bored by it, even if a less-jaded person would like it. Many of these lists include some albums that only similarly jaded listeners would consider "good" music.

    So once you find albums to consider, try these steps to listen to them before deciding to buy them:

  • Go to the artist's myspace site to listen to tracks there. (usually www.myspace.com/artistname)
  • Check out the artist web site (googling an artist name usually brings up their site) where often you can listen to a stream of an entire album.
  • Go to amazon.com to listen to song samples and read reviews by other fans.

    When you are ready to buy, try to find used CDs to get the best deal. Used CDs are cheaper than downloads and last longer too. The best places to find used CDs are Amazon.com and eBay. You might be surprised by how many of these albums are available for only $5.00 used on Amazon.

    CDs are nice to have, but I also have a subscription to eMusic that allows me to download lots of albums each month for significantly less than they would cost me in a store. On eMusic you will find many of the albums on these "best-of" lists as they have a great catalog of independent labels.

    Here are the lists!

    Digg!

    Large-Hearted Boy

  • Asobi Seksu - Citrus
  • Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of this Country
  • Casey Dienel - Wind-Up Canary
  • Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies
  • Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
  • Joanna Newsom - Ys
  • Josh Ritter - The Animal Years
  • The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
  • Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope
  • Serena-Maneesh - Serena-Maneesh
  • Shearwater - Palo Santo

    Pitchfork

    1. The Knife - Silent Shout
    2. TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
    3. Joanna Newsom - Ys
    4. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
    5. The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls In America
    6. Liars - Drum's Not Dead
    7. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
    8. Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
    9. Boris - Pink
    10. Scott Walker - The Drift

    Amazon Editors

    1. Neko Case - Fox Confessior Brings the Flood
    2. Bob Dylan - Modern Times
    3. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
    4. KT Tunstall - Eye to the Telescope
    5. Bnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
    6. John Mayer - Continuum
    7. Silversun Pickups - Carnavas
    8. Los Amigos Invisibles - Superpop Venezuela
    9. Sparklehorse - Dreamt for Light Years int he Belly of a Mountain
    10. Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit

    NPR Listeners

    1. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
    2. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
    3. Bob Dylan - Modern Times
    4. M. Ward - Post War
    5. TV On the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
    6. Joanna Newsom - Ys
    7. Cat Power - The Greatest
    8. Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat
    9. Tom Waits - Orphans
    10. Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope

    NME

  • Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
  • Muse - Black Holes & Revelations
  • Hot Chip - The Warning
  • CSS - Cansei De Ser Sexy
  • Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
  • The Long Blondes - Someone To Drive You Home
  • The Strokes - First Impressions Of Earth
  • Kasabian - Empire
  • My Chemical Romance - Welcome To The Black Parade

    Billboard

    1. Bob Dylan - Modern Times
    2. Bruce Springsteen - We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
    3. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
    4. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
    5. TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
    6. Tom Waits - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
    7. The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls In America
    8. (tie) Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium
      (tie) The Dixie Chicks - Taking The Long Way
    9. (tie) Tool - 10,000 Days
      (tie) The Beatles - Love
    10. Corinne Bailey Rae - Corinne Bailey Rae

    The Onion AV Club

    1. The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls In America
    2. TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
    3. Midlake - The Trials Of Van Occupanther
    4. Jenny Lewis With The Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat
    5. Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
    6. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
    7. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
    8. The Coup - Pick A Bigger Weapon
    9. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
    10. Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
    11. Rhymefest - Blue Collar
    12. The Thermals - The Body The Blood The Machine
    13. Mew - And The Glass Handed Kites
    14. Make Believe - Of Course
    15. The Dears - Gang Of Losers
    16. Lupe Fiasco - Food and Liquor
    17. Phoenix, It's Never Been Like That
    18. Ricardo Villalobos - Fizheuer Zieheuer
    19. Cold War Kids - Robbers & Cowards
    20. Scott Walker - The Drift
    21. LCD Soundsystem - 45:33: Nike+ Original Run
    22. Califone - Roots & Crowns
    23. Pernice Brothers - Live A Little
    24. The Black Keys - Magic Potion
    25. Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies

    Pop Matters

    1. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
    2. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
    3. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
    4. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
    5. The Ark - State of the Ark
    6. Mastodon - Blood Mountain
    7. Ali Farka Toure - Savane
    8. Joanna Newsom - Ys
    9. TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
    10. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band - What's going On

    Tiny Mix Tapes

    1. Joanna Newsom - Ys
    2. Liars - Drum's Not Dead
    3. TV on the Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
    4. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
    5. Juana Molina - Son
    6. Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
    7. Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
    8. Scott Walker - The Drift
    9. Califone - Roots & Crowns
    10. Josephine Foster - A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
    11. Magik Markers - A Panegyric To The Things I Do Not Understand
    12. Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
    13. Keith Fullerton Whitman - Lisbon
    14. Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
    15. Herbert - Scale
    16. Tim Hecker - Harmony in Ultraviolet
    17. J Dilla - Donuts
    18. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
    19. OOIOO - Taiga
    20. Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
    21. Cat Power - The Greatest
    22. Boris - Pink
    23. Comets on Fire - Avatar
    24. Spank Rock - YoYoYoYoYo
    25. Beirut - Gulag Orkestar

    Stylus

    1. My My - Songs For The Gentle
    2. Booka Shade - Movements
    3. Ellen Allien & Apparat Orchestra of Bubbles
    4. The Knife - Silent Shout [Rabid]
    5. Hot Chip - The Warning
    6. Lindstrom - It's a Feedelity Affair
    7. Crowdpleaser & St. Plomb - 2006
    8. Donnacha Costello - 6x6=36
    9. Claude Vonstroke - Beware of the Bird
    10. Fujiya and Miyagi - Transparent Things

    cokemachineglow

    1. Subtle - For Hero: For Fool
    2. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
    3. Califone - Roots & Crowns
    4. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
    5. Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming
    6. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
    7. Boris - Pink
    8. Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies
    9. Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
    10. 10. Keith Fullerton Whitman - Lisbon

    Drowned in Sound

    1. Muse - Black Holes & Revelations
    2. Cat Power - The Greatest
    3. Howling Bells - Howling Bells
    4. Panic! At The Disco - I Write Sins Not Tradegies
    5. Beirut - Gulag Orkestar
    6. Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene
    7. The Long Blondes - Someone To Drive You Home
    8. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
    9. Joanna Newsom - Ys
    10. Blood Brothers - Young Machetes

    In House Radio

    1. Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
    2. Josh Ritter - The Animal Years
    3. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
    4. Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
    5. Kelley Stoltz - Below the Branches

    The Guardian - Observer Music Monthly

    1. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say...
    2. Ali Farka Toure - Savane
    3. Tom Waits - Orphans
    4. Lambchop - Damaged
    5. Amy Winehouse - Back to Back
    6. Bob Dylan - Modern Times
    7. Joanna Newsom - Ys
    8. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
    9. Jarvis - Jarvis Cocker
    10. Lily Allen - Alright Still
    11. The Killers - Sam's town
    12. K'naan - The Dusty Foot Philosopher
    13. Mastodon - Blood Mountain
    14. Bellowhead - Burlesque
    15. Michael Wollny - [Em] II
    16. Cat Power - the Greatest
    17. The Feeling - Twelve Stops and Home
    18. Burial - Burial
    19. the Young Knives - Voices of Animals and Young Men
    20. Bruce Springsteen - We Shall Overcome

    Eardrums

    1. Final Fantasy - He poos clouds
    2. Audrey - visible forms
    3. [Ingenting] - mycket vsen fr ingenting
    4. My latest novel - wolves
    5. Page france - Hello, dear wind
    6. Someone still loves you boris yeltsin - broom
    7. Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther
    8. VETO - There's A Beat In All Machines
    9. Bonnie "Prince" Billy - the letting go
    10. Headlights - kill them with kindness
    11. The Curtains - Calamity
    12. Shiny toy guns - we are pilots
    13. My brightest diamond - Bring Me The Workhorse
    14. Junior boys - so this is goodbye
    15. Drowsy - snow on moss on stone
    16. Joanna Newsom - ys
    17. Anathello - floating world
    18. Ron Sexsmith - time being
    19. Sonic Youth - Rather ripped
    20. Math and Physics club - s/t

    Marathon Packs

    1. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
    2. Belle & Sebastian - the Life Pursuit
    3. Destroyer - Destroyer's Rubies
    4. The Knife - Silent Shout
    5. Danielson - Ships
    6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
    7. Birdman & Lil' Wayne - Like Father Like Son
    8. Centro-Matic - Fort Recovery
    9. Cansei de Ser Sexy - Cansei de Ser Sexy (Brazilian Version)
    10. OOIOO - Taiga
    11. The Roots - Game Theory
    12. Stereolab - Fab Four Suture
    13. Asobi Seksu - Citrus
    14. Howe Gelb - 'Sno Angel Like You
    15. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
    16. Justin Timberlake - Future Sex/Love Sounds
    17. The Ms - Future Women
    18. Absentee - Schmotime
    19. Joanna Newsom - Ys