Thursday, December 7, 2006

Paul Bost's Top 20 Albums

Okay. All introductory comments are escaping me at this moment, so I'm limited to saying: (1) all of these albums came out originally in 2006 (read: no re-releases) except one that came out in November, 2005, (2) as always, there are still a number of albums that I haven't yet heard that I'm sure will blow me away when their time comes, and (3) have you done the math? If Pitchfork reviews 5 albums a day 250 times a year (give or take), that's 1250 new records a year falling into their expansive, but still limited, coverage. How are we supposed to keep up? It's all too frustrating, but the following albums logged an abnormal number of spins in my car and on my computer.

20) Fun at the Gymkhana Club - Spektrum (like Basement Jaxx on a Kill Rock Stars budget)
19) Standing in the Way of Control - The Gossip (the first thing they've released that I've really latched on to; straight out of Searcy, Arkansas)
18) Frenetiko - Edu K (featuring my favorite song of the past year, "Popozuda Rock and Roll")
17) I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass - Yo La Tengo (long title, long album [but some fine hits and 10-minute drones])
16) Fabriclive 29 - Cut Copy (outstanding mix only rivaled by the work of T.A. McMahon and Adam Willy, or, as I like to call them, Fire & Ice)
15) Outgoing Behavior - Crystal Skulls (I'd call them a Northwest Steely Dan if I was in the business of saying ridiculous shit)
14) Future Women - The M's (it didn't have legs, but for one month this album ruled the roost)
13) So Gone - The Evangelicals (only this band from Norman, OK can name themselves "The Evangelicals" and not look like pompous pricks)
12) Celebration - Celebration (Katrina Ford is one of the most captivating vocalists I've heard this year; this is the album I wanted the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to release)
11) Yoyoyoyoyo - Spank Rock ("ass-shaking competition champ")
10) Hey, Sugar - Bossanova (confirming Teen Beat as a nearly flawless label)
9) Tree Colored See - Nobody and Mystic Chords of Memory (Thom and I saw Mystic Chords of Memory's first show and it was like an unmemorable dream; this time, the dream is faintly memorable, if only for the talking animals and laughing birkenstocks)
8) The Life Pursuit - Belle & Sebastian (I was glad to hear that B&S didn't abandon the slick production after "Dear Catastrophe Waitress;" too bad the album had a couple tracks that never clicked w/ me)
7) Pieces of the People We Love - The Rapture (this album ends a bit slowly, but the first 6 tracks are dancefloor classics; if there was any justice in the world, they'd be playing the Super Bowl halftime show)
6) Rather Ripped - Sonic Youth (best guitar album of the year; I'm still amazed that a band of their age could pull off such a genuinely rocking record)
5) Everything All the Time - Band of Horses (this came out of left field and floored me; sublime)
4) Young Machetes - The Blood Brothers (on record and on the stage, they make a strong case for best band in America; "Set Fire to the Face on Fire" is my favorite album opener of the year)
3) A Hundred Miles Off - The Walkmen (this album is confounding and rebellious and gorgeous; aside from the Bad Brains tribute, I think the Walkmen live in a vacuum where the world ended in 1969)
2) Rabbit Fur Coat - Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins (reason #2 this is the year of the chanteuse; in interest of full disclosure, I couple this w/ some great weeks in April and May of this year)
1) Fox Confessor Brings the Flood - Neko Case (reason #1 this is the year of the chanteuse)

More lists to come later. Boy, am I glad I got all that off of my chest.


Best-Of Friends said...

I really like "Lion's Jaw" by Neko Case. Interesting her album from eMusic...

Sarah L said...

Someone told me that commenting on a person's blog post is the equivalent of "nice work," "well-said," or "doughnuts are bomb." Maybe that last quote was from an earlier conversation. Anyway, you get the point - "comment."

P. Bost said...

Well, you could tell everyone how much you've learned about music from me. Or how my list represents 2006 as it truly was: a year of successes and failures, disillusion and stoic optimism.

Donuts are bomb, by the way. And who spells donut with a "dough?"

R.P. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R.P. said...

Yeah, the JT track "Futuresex / Lovesound" is awesome. It's weird in that it's produced by Timbaland but it has a Prince/George Michael 80s "sexy" vibe...even Nate H. was digging it.

P.S. - I posted the "Lion's Jaw" comment. Peace, amigo!

R.P. said...

P.S. - that "put 'em on the glass" comment is hilarious.

Mr. T. McMahon said...

I was certainly looking forward to that list, my friend. Michelle looked at it before me, and I actually asked her not to tell me what's in it. Your top two caught me by surprise, especially J. Lew. I would like to debate the quality of the new Rapture album with you sometime. Elsewhere on the list, there are quite a few albums I gotta check out, such as that Mystics and Nobody jamboree.

P. Bost said...

Yeah, the Rapture album is this year's Picaresque. It's so divisive. This list was a pain in the ass to do. I mean, I still haven't heard the Junior Boys record or the Hot Chip records in their entireties, to name a few. And I just bought some albums that could make it w/ some listens, such as Young and Sexy. It just kills me.

Michelle M said...

I am so happy to see Jenny Lewis on your list, and in second place. I love that album. I might have listened to it more than any other album this year. I definitely listened to it more than any Cardigans album, to give you an idea of how much I like it.

Also, I love apple fritter doughnuts/donuts. Regardless of how you spell the word, they are delicious.

Kathryn J said...

i actually can't believe the j.lewis album made #2...i thought it was pretty boring and disappointing, but we are all entitled to our own opinion. band of horses is GREAT. i'm glad you discovered it as well. it would definitely be on my top 10 list of the year. lastly, i may have to finally check out that neko case album since it made your #1.

P. Bost said...

Of course, I don't find the Jenny Lewis album boring at all, but I do think that it's more than the sum of its parts. I think it's just a nice, humble slice of country pop and probably doesn't have the heft that many album of the year contenders have (i.e. TV on the Radio, The Hold Steady [neither of which I really get, by the way]). Similarly, the Neko Case album is also relatively brief and straight forward, musically-speaking. Lyrically, she's almost the opposite of Jenny Lewis. Where Jenny addresses love, sex, and religion/spirituality with utter honesty, Neko's lyrics kind of remind me of Michael Stipe's - just sort of metaphorical turns of phrases that totally confound me.

Back to my original point: I can see how someone could find the Jenny Lewis album "meh," but I find it really comforting and restrained.

The Neko Case record is actually one of the few albums in recent memory that I wish was substantially longer. Some 2 1/2 minute songs could really use another verse.

And, yeah: Band of Horses is great. The only problem is that their name sounded the death knell for animal-related band names, a trend I truly enjoyed.

Anonymous said...

i don't get neko case. glad to see celebration on here, most underrated band EVER!!!

did you hear "gulag orkestar" or "yellow house" both top my list

P. Bost said...

Yeah, Celebration is great. I would've loved to see them and the Blood Bros. on tour this fall.

I've only heard parts of the Beirut and Grizzly Bear records. The former was a bit too precious but the latter was pretty intriguing. I'd like to hear more.

Why don't you post your list, anonymous?

Cary said...

Paul, I'm always really interested in your taste, because it's close enough to mine, broadly speaking, that we probably hear a lot of the same records, yet gravitate to completely different ones, and there are always a few that you point to with which I have no familiarity, for which I thank you. For example, I think there is exactly 1 album that will appear on both our lists (and I bet you can guess what it is). Incidentally, did you see that your post got picked up by Largehearted Boy? Added to their Best-of-Lists List.

Now, some commentary. I loved the first 2 Walkmen records, but you're the first person I've heard from that really clicked with this year's album. With the exception of "Brandy Alexander" I found these sounds lackluster and bogged down by some of the most surprisingly bad production I heard this year, which is definitely a change for them.

Man, do I ever not get the Band of Horses thing.

I would have expected you to be a big Gnarls Barkley fan. Where do you weigh in on that?

Likewise, have you heard Peter, Bjorn & John's album "Writer's Block"? I just got wind of it and it's making me reconsider my list a bit. I'd think it would be up your alley as well.

I saw Celebration open for TV on the Radio. I think they've got a lot of potential. Right now, I think they have a great "sound" but not the songs to match it.

Glad to see Portland represented on your list in the form of The Gossip!

I was very encouraged by Yo La Tengo's leaked singled for this record, and consequently had big hopes that it would turn around the downward trend begun with Summer Sun. Alas, for me, this record is very forgettable. Also, I don't know, but I have a weird suspicion that producer Roger Moutenot recorded did more digital work on this record that he has in the past. It sounds to "clean" somehow, in spite of the distortion and such.

I'll have to do some listening and get acquainted with a bunch of these. I like what I've heard of Crystal Skulls, but need to hear more.

P. Bost said...

Glad you commented, Cary. I always look forward to your list and year-end thoughts. I actually dug what I heard of Gnarls Barkley and, of course, "Crazy" floored me the first time I heard it. Still I haven't heard the entire album. That goes for a number of other artists. This was also a year where I stand staunchly by my top 10 but the latter 10 could pretty easily be replaced by other records. I've only heard the single off the Peter, Bjorn and John record but it's pretty great.

The Walkmen: the production on the latest really grew on me. I think the album has an interesting mix of bona fide great songs ("Another One Goes By" "Louisiana") and interesting thoughts turned into full length tracks ("Danny's at the Wedding"). It's a totally divisive record, though. Like other singers on my list, Hamilton Leithauser never fails to captivate me and that, admittedly, is part of the appeal.

Yo La Tengo: this album is way too long. I put it on my list b/c there are some songs that I really like, but I have not yet listened to it in one sitting. By the way, I met Roger Moutenot at a grocery store here in Nashville. He was wearing a Sufjan Stevens t-shirt (but I'm saving that story for another list).

I didn't know the Gossip moved to Portland. That's funny: I can't think of a city more different from Searcy (and that's to Portland's credit).

Excited about your list, dude. Oh, and cool news about largehearted boy. I check that blog out at least a couple times a week.

Kathryn J said...

so much for the best band name ever, then: the haunted horse. i do love the name band of horses, though.

*in reference to band of horses killing animal band names

also, have you heard of owen?

Mr. T. McMahon said...

We'll just have to put the Haunted Horse debut album on hold until the animal band name movement starts to pick up steam again.

Paul, I also wish that the Neko Case album was longer. When I'm listening to it and it ends, I feel like I must have tuned out for some of it.

Also, Cary, that Peter Bjorn And John album is excellent. Will definitely be on my albums list.

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