Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Best of 2006: A Retrospective

Perspective is an incredible phenomenon. As we prepare for this year's Best Of List, it seems fitting to look back on THE YEAR THAT WAS 2006. Unlike this year, when I suspect we shall proclaim a unanimous No. 1, 2006 was a tad spotty, maybe even skimpy (in a bad way). Nonetheless, as you'll see from our lists, 2006 proved the year for 60s girl-pop, steaming up the dance floor, and above all, the dense and delicate grower.


10.) El Perro del Mar - El Perro del Mar
9.) The Knife - Silent Shout
8.) TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
7.) Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
6.) Hot Chip - The Warning
5.) Danielson - Ships
4.) Califone - Roots and Crowns
3.) Annuals - Be He Me
2.) Joanna Newsom - Ys
1.) Grizzly Bear - Yellow House

Rounding Out a Top 15: Peter Bjorn & John - Writer's Block, Junior Boys - So This is Goodbye, Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid of You..., Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit, Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped.


10.) Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
9.) TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
8.) Califone - Roots and Crowns
7.) Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
6.) Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
5.) Beirut - Gulag Orkestar
4.) Tapes 'n Tapes - The Loon
3.) Joanna Newsom - Y's
2.) Peter Bjorn & John - Writer's Block

1.) Grizzly Bear - Yellow House

Most of my favorite albums don't hit me right away. OK Computer, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Siamese Dream, and Turn on the Bright Lights all took some time to gestate. Yellow House has settled itself into my brain much the same way, gently making room and cozying up in the corner of my mind over the course of several months. Now a year after its release, Yellow House still sounds like honey to my ears. If you're tired of hearing about Grizzly Bear, I can relate. But if you're tired of listening to Yellow House, well, I suppose you're just not human.


10.) Peter Bjorn & John - Writer’s Block
I listened to this for about two weeks straight. This album is good from start to finish. Despite being fun to listen to, it doesn’t really challenge me – leaving it at the end of my list.

9.) The Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Machine
The most rockin title to make the list. Also on my Top Five Albums to Get Completely Smashed To.

8.) Band of Horses - Everything All the Time
Another solid album. I’m a huge fan of the Seattle radio station KEXP, and they pretty much shoved this down their listeners’ throats throughout most of last year – a good thing.

7.) Junior Boys - So This is Goodbye
These guys sure know how to put on a good show. 2006 was the year of dance music for me. I’m usually not one to shake my groove thing, but last year I just couldn’t help myself.

6.) Tapes ‘n Tapes - The Loon
T&T need to give the Midwest some love. Sadly they are the only band on the list I have yet to see live (well them and PB&J, but I’ll get to see them soon).

5.) TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
This got a lot of hype. I still prefer Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes.

4.) Hot Chip - The Warning
Another dance title. I think Hot Chip has some violent tendencies – “Hot Chip will break your legs/snap off your head.”

3.) Grizzly Bear - Yellow House
You can easily get lost in the harmonies. SonicRyan did a mean cover of “Knife” on my roof.

2.) Califone - Roots and Crowns
A grower. It’s taken me most of 2007 to solidify this at the top of my 2006 list. Seeing them at Pitchfork Music Festival was incredible.

1.) Joanna Newsom - Y's
This album is so good I don’t even want to listen to it – I’m saving it. Five tracks of the most creative and talented music you’ll ever hear. Cryptic lyrics, dense song structures, beautiful orchestration.

Snooze, Booze, or Cruise?
Are these albums good for nothings or good for everythings? Snooze (napping), booze (I think you can figure this one out), or cruise (driving in the car)...
10. Gnarls Barkley -St. Elsewhere
9. Tapes n’ Tapes –The Loon
*snooze and cruise* (preferably not at the same time)
8. TV on the Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain
*booze and cruise*
7. Camera Obscura –Let’s Get Out of This Country
*snooze, booze and cruise*
6. Grizzly Bear – Yellow House
*snooze and cruise*
5. Yo La Tengo –I am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
*snooze, booze and cruise*
4. M. Ward –Post-War
*booze and cruise*
3. Thom Yorke –Eraser
*booze and cruise*
2. Man Man – Six Demon Bag
*booze and cruise*
1. Beirut –Gulag Orkestar
*snooze, booze and cruise*

Beirut- Gulag Orkestar
To be honest the first time I heard this album I didn’t think much of it. The second time I heard this album I thought okay this is starting to grow on me… The third time I heard this album I was resting naked in my old apartment amidst the glowing KC skyline thinking hmm…this may lead to a lasting relationship. The 8th time I heard this album I thought I don't just like this album I like like this album. The 15th time I heard this album I bought it on vinyl to surprise my lover. The 35th time I heard this album I was sitting on the porch drinking rum over ice thinking I believe this is my favorite. The process of realization may be slow but it is definitely worth the wait. Thank you Beirut for the many days/afternoons/evenings of pleasure.

We'll see everyone again at the end of 2007! Will Radiohead secure its coveted No. 1 spot? Who will win the battle between Animal Collective and Of Montreal? Will the Range Life staff witness its first fisticuffs? Stay tuned.


SonicRyan said...

First fisticuffs? I doubt that...

Femme Fatale said...

Well, ya know, just trying to create some drama. Maybe we'll just be spoofing "Boxer," or sparring over where it belongs on the list...

backdrifter said...

Damn! I was talking with Nicole and we realized that The Eraser came out in '06. I should have slipped that one in the middle of my list - sorry for the oversight Thom. I'll make it up to you...I promise.

The Moon said...

Becuz I am just that cool, I made my list go up to eleven…

11.) Girl Talk – Night Ripper
10.) Sonic Youth – Rather Ripped
09.) Tim Hecker – Harmony in Ultraviolet
08.) Peter, Bjorn, & John – Writers Block
07.) Tapes N Tapes – The Loon
06.) Junior Boys – So this is Goodbye
05.) TV on the Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain
04.) Hot Chip – The Warning
03.) Sunset Rubdown – Shut Up, I am Dreaming
02.) Grizzly Bear – Yellow House
01.) Liars – Drums Not Dead

Now, I have to say… my top three for 06 are pretty much rearrange-able in any way… All three bands put out mind numbingly good albums which to me, were not only spectacular in their own right but stretched ea bands individual sounds to new heights. It’s current order can honestly be attributed to a) the recent Liars show in KC and b) my current play count… which can in some ways also be attributed to “a)” sooo… Yeah…

Honorable Mentions go out to: M. Ward, The Pippettes, Herbet, and Boris

Girlfriend said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Girlfriend said...

Poop on you! You guys need to let me know when you're posting these things. I had a list I was working on... POOP.

Girlfriend said...

As you can see I've added to the post. All is well in Candyland tonight. Goodnight.

panopticon said...

I don't think I can even come up with ten albums that I really got into in 2006. Disappointing, in a way - there were a few good songs but in terms of actual full-length albums it was more than a bit thin.

For 2007 though, I don't see anything moving LCD Soundsystem from my #1.

Well, maybe Zeitgeist, depending on which of the five versions you own (ha ha).

Joshwa said...



no charlotte gainsbourg?

no bat for lashes?


Mandy said...

I really liked that Bat for Lashes album and Charlotte Gainsbourg's. I don't think they would make a top ten for me though. Like Erik, I don't know if I can even come up with 10 faves. Sad. Part of my problem is I don't pay close attention to what year something comes out. Ha!

SonicRyan said...

I thought Bat for Lashes was this year? Or perhaps it was just released in the States this year, that seems more likely. I would also like to express my appreciation for Asobi Seksu - Citrus, just because I can.

panopticon said...

Asobi Seksu is a worthwhile listening endeavour. A little too J-poppy at times for me. but mostly good.

RyDDawg said...

This marks the first time that I have contributed something to the beautiful website that is “Range Life Music.”
Upon request of Nicole, below is my top 10 album list of 2006. It was much more difficult to rank them than I anticipated, as my perception of music changes due to my mood and the passing of time. Therefore, the following is listed by the overall lasting appeal that it has had on me from the moment I first listened to them up until now.

10. Hot Chip – The Warning
The off-beat, electronic vibes incorporated with subtle bells and electric guitars pulled me in. I wanted to visit an English dance pub after this one. I intend to do so, someday.

9. The Decemberists – Crane Wife
I saw this band for the first time, last spring. To my surprise, they really know how to engage a crowd. Colin Meloy is an excellent musician, and the band works very well together. This album is another great piece to their consistently well-done discography.

8. I’m From Barcelona – Let Me Introduce My Friends
This album may not be as challenging or musically deep as many of the other records I have on here. However, it never failed to bring me up. This is a feel-good album, and the upbeat, catchy melody drove optimism straight into my soul.

7. My Brightest Diamond – Bring Me the Workhorse
This may surprise some people. I discovered them after learning that they were playing with The Decemberists. I liked her debut record, but after seeing her live…I started to really, really like it. She plays with a lot of passion, and the dark theme of guitars, violins, and bass (accompanied with insightful lyrics) appealed to the ear nicely.

6. Band of Horses – Everything All the Time
Great album! I do not know what else to say. I saw them twice, but I enjoy their studio album more (which is quite rare for me). Nevertheless, it had a major impact on me. I just had to learn how to play “The Funeral” after I heard it.

5. The Rapture – Pieces of the People We Love
Nicole called me up one afternoon to inform me that The Rapture was playing at the Granada that night. I immediately called up a few friends from Wichita, and they drove up here soon after. We all went to the show that night, and it was some of the most fun I ever had at a concert. I definitely got my groove on. As far as the album goes….I like Echoes a bit more, but Pieces of the People We Love is still great. It’s a bit less edgy and raw, but offers more for a dance party!

4. Peter Bjorn & John – Writer’s Block
Ah, Writer’s Block. What’s not to love about Peter Bjorn and John’s breakthrough album? I caught myself whistling to “Young Folks” almost immediately. It’s a great album to initiate the mainstream music listener into indie, as it’s an instant satisfaction record that still holds creativity.

3. TV on the Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain
After my love affair with Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, I eagerly anticipated the release of this album. It’s safe to say that I was not disappointed. I was captivated by the same atmospheric melodies that I previously adored, but now they were kicked up a notch. The tempo has noticeably increased, but was not abused. TV on the Radio is great for night drives. I swear by it.

2. Annuals – Be He Me
Still an up and coming band, Annuals claims the number two spot in my list. To be honest, I can’t really point out exactly why I liked this album so much. Annuals just came across as very creative to me. “Brother” was a great way to open the album. From that point on the whole record is solid. This I know. I listened to this album over and over again, and there has got to be a reason why. I hope to see them later this month.

1. Joanna Newsom – Ys
Where do I even begin? She completely changed the way I listen to music. This young woman has some amazing talent. Ys is a contemporary masterpiece that utilizes instruments that existed centuries ago, and is incredibly deep musically and lyrically. Each track carries its own story, and Miss Newsom drew me into each song gradually with her beautiful narration and instrumentation. I admire singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalists, like Joanna Newsom and Sufjan Stevens, because they have an incredible amount of passion for their music. The composition is profound, has meaning, and still manages to keep me focused and entertained. I still can not believe that I missed her visit to Lawrence.

Honorable Mention
Thom Yorke – The Eraser
Tapes ‘N’ Tapes – The Loon
Sonic Youth – Rather Ripped
Mates of State – Bring it Back
Feist – Open Season
Belle & Sebastian – The Life Pursuit
Regina Spektor – Begin to Hope
Sufjan Stevens – The Avalanche

Ryan Walsh

Nicole said...

I need to check out that I'm From Barcelona album...

SonicRyan said...

It's pretty good. I almost put it on my list too.