Every Friday night at 1:30am, when my show “Nite Life” is over and the CDs and vinyl are all put away I write a letter to over 1000 people. As you can imagine, after 4 hours of extreme multi-tasking (some people call it DJing) I tend to be a touch loopy. But this has not deterred me from musing on lifeâ€™s philosophical issues.
Nor will it deter me now. Life is short. Too short for bad music. The grim reaper may show up any time. You ready? The following is a list of my favorite albums (that sound good all the way through) and singles from the very short year 2006. Carpe Diem!
TOP 10 2006
1. Lily Allen â€“ Alright Still (Regal) â€“ A weird and wonderful mix of pop, rock, reggae, hip hop, calypso, dub and more. A force field against bad energy. Her sense of humor (or should I say “humour”) reminds me of Liz Phairâ€™s in Exile In Guyville, sheâ€™s tough but really funny.
2. Goldfrapp â€“ Supernature (Mute) - Danceable, sexy, otherworldly. This album will drop you right on the dancefloor. The best live show this year was the tour for this release. The show was like time travel. Alison Goldfrapp is an undeniable (and somewhat strange) icon. Feminine with a capitol “F”. Sexy, fearless and sophisticated.
3. The Gossip â€“ Standing In The Way of Control (Kill Rock Stars) â€“ Excellent live band from Portland, they played one of the top shows this year. Vital and soulful. Theyâ€™re a trio who make a lot of noise. Real noise. Good noise. Beth Ditto can really sing and she has something to say. This album mixes blues and rock and dance and punk. This record just got voted #1 in the UK by big Brit rock mag NME.
4. The Roots â€“ Game Theory (Def Jam) â€“ Deep, deep hip hop. Political, smart, lots of soul sampling, layers and layers of details to discover. I love the dance joint “Donâ€™t Feel Right.” The whole thing ends with a tribute to J.Dilla (AKA Jay Dee, RIP) that is thoughtful, psychedelic and moving.
5. Tom Waits â€“ Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards (Anti) â€“ A new 3 disc set from Tom. Mmmm Tom. This has some of the obscure soundtrack cuts that Iâ€™ve been playing on the radio for years like “A Little Drop of Poison”, “Walk Away.” And guttural bulls-eyes like “2:19″ and “Puttin On The Dog.” There is nothing better (okay, almost nothing better) than Tom growlinâ€™ it up to make a rainy day feel just right.
6. Darc Mind â€“ Symptomatic of A Greater Ill (Anticon) â€“ This understated yet excellent hip hop album has a Zen quality. Theyâ€™re a duo from Long Island. MC Kevrocâ€™s voice is very soothing, yet smart and his words come through with surprises and enterprises. There is space in the mix to breathe and interjections of melodies that seem infinitely familiar. Webb Dâ€™s beats can be touched with the classical, the jazzy, the trippy but they are always simple and solid. Subdued but intense. I love this.
7. Rinocerose â€“ Rinocerose (V2) - I cleaned my whole damn house listening to this. It should be in the supermarket aisles next to the floorwax and stuff. They are French, and that gives them license to be raucous rockers, then dip into disco, and then end with these loopy flute pieces. Itâ€™s like a movie. One of those records that reminds you that music is supposed to be fun! This, along with Princeâ€™s 3121 album and Lily Allen are the funniest records of the year.
8. Glue â€“ Catch As Catch Can â€“ (Fat Beats) â€“ This talented hip hop trio are from Cincinatti, Chicago and Auroura, Illinois. They are young like the Blue Scholars and politically conscious and smart like them too. Their sound is densely layered tho, with jazzy infusions, samples and lots of talk about pop culture. KEXP does not have this record yet, it was given to me by Leslie here at the station. Gotta get it on the airwaves.
9. Wax Tailor â€“ Tales of The Forgotten Melodies (Mole Listening Pearls) - Wax Tailor plays cinematic hip hop packed full of pop culture samples from: Alfred Hitchcock films, classic hip hop songs, and jazz singers like Nina Simone. New from Paris! A magnetic, hypnotic mind movie. (Que Sera - MP3)
10. Halou â€“ Wholeness and Separation (Vertabrae) - Gorgeous, lush, cinematic. Rebecca Coseboom’s voice is filled with reverence and wisdom and sadness. Their best album yet. Best listened to on a grey day while watching rain drip over green leaves. Poetic, emotional, stunning. Blatantly honest. Dark as a storm.
Top 10 Singles 2006
1. Ray Lamontagne â€“ Crazy (available as download only) (MP3)
2. The Strokes â€“ Juicebox
3. Sia â€“ Breathe Me (Four Tet Remix)
4. Muse â€“ Supermassive Black Hole
5. Rinocerose â€“ Cubicle
6. Ghostland Observatory â€“ Sad Sad City
7. Prince â€“ Black Sweat
8. The Black Angels â€“ Black Grease
9. The Roots â€“ Donâ€™t Feel Right
10. Goldfrapp â€“ Beautiful