The 22 Best Records of 2006 (According to Me), Part 1
I figured if I was gonna be part of the herd and release a year-end countdown of quality, I might as well at least chuck round numbers out of the window. Round numbers are for the metric system and Rob Sheffield. Anyway, today I'll give you the bottom 11, and tomorrow I'll finish it off. Dig? Dug.
22. This Is My Fist - History of Rats: What can I say? I love the bands that love Discount. It's fiece, ballsy, and Annie is my new punk rock crush. The Best band out of the Bay Area since Jeff Ott and Aaron Cometbus went nuts and lost it.
21. DragonForce - Inhuman Rampage: Jonathan said it best - "It's like McDonald's; it's bad for you, but it's still so fucking awesome!" Yeah, it's bombastic power metal. Yeah, there are a million finger-tap solos. But does it rock so hard that it makes your chest start to hurt? Oh yes. PS - the "Operation Ground and Pound" video was the best one I saw all year.
20. Hank Williams III - Straight to Hell: If you missed it, my interview with Hank Williams III (http://www.racketmag.com/interview_hank3.html) was one of the most wildly entertaining things I've ever done. He's a loudmouth outlaw country singer, and God knows we need more of them. Straight to Hell is solid from front to back, and almost as funny and cockeyed as the man himself.
19. Mastodon - Blood Mountain: Who'd'a thunk I'd be down for a prog-metal headphones record? Hometown boys Mastodon well and truly slay. Shit, they even got nominated for a Grammy! If you ever wanna freak out, take the brown acid and pop this in your stereo. When they find you, you'll be a twichy, drooling mass curled up on the floor.
18. The Bronx - The Bronx II: These dudes are like a jackhammer on your brain. Bullshit-free monster riffs pulverize you, and it's so packed with rockage that it's leaking. The Bronx are one of those rare groups where one listen is all it takes to convert. One Bronx song is all it takes to convince your little brother to stop being such a faggot, cut his bangs, buy a shirt in an adult size, and wash the shoe polish out of his hair. Imagine a metal version of Rocket From the Crypt, and you'll be on the right track.
17. The Roots - Game Theory: Whenever the Roots come out with a new record, it's pretty much a given that'll blow away pretty much any other rap album that comes out that year, and 2006 was no exception. ?uestlove is one of the coolest human beings on the planet, no doubt. Elia told me they played her college this year; a drum solo capped off their set, which was confusing to most of the crowd there, I guess because they just thought people only made music on computers. If there were more hip-hop bands, then maybe we could get away from what most Top 40 rap has been reduced to - dudes chanting over what sounds like ringtones.
16. Defiance, Ohio - The Great Depression: Defiance, Ohio made the best folk-punk album since Reinventing Axl Rose. What else do you need to know? What's really killer is that they are a folk group who play American folk music like they're the fiercest punks on the planet. Most DIY punks are annoying idiots, but D, OH makes me want to learn acoustic guitar and go on a basement tour with Aaron "Beanerschnitzel" Hale.
15. Cat Power - The Greatest: Aside from being the hottest chick in indie rock (well, other than maybe Neko Case), Chan Marshall made the chillout record of the year, maybe the decade. When I had a porch, I'd get home at 2 or 3 in the morning and sit out there, smoking a joint, looking at the moon, thinking about one girl in particular, and listening to this record on headphones. It always seem to flush the ecstasy rush from my system so I could fall asleep and function in class the next day.
14. Lupe Fiasco - Food and Liquor: I guess because I don't follow the mixtape scene, it seems like this guy came out of nowhere. He's soulful, smart, and willing to rap about introspective issues and not have to put up a thug front. I'm glad Common's Be was such a hit, if for no other reason than because it made records like this economically viable. It elevates hip-hop to an art form instead of just background dance music, and I could listen to it all day.
13. The Futureheads - News and Tributes: So many people dumped on this record, but I thought it was fucking great. Light years away from the speedy spazzouts of the Renewed Wave that was their first record, News and Tributes is a dense forest that still manages to be catchier than most pop records. How many bands can say they avoid the sophmore slump? Even the Jam made a terible second record.
12. Dead to Me - Cuban Ballerina: I'm fairly certain the only four people in the world who liked this are me, Anna Wilkie, Boombox, and Mike Burkett. When they opened for Leftover Crack at the Black Cat, they were actively booed by an audience who despises overt melodies. But it kills! Which is surprising, because it's a post-rehab record, and those usually suck a cheetah's dick. But it's so catchy and heartfelt that it won me over pretty quickly. I guess having a substance abuse "problem" of my own, I can sort of relate. PS - Does anyone know what the FUCK a Cuban ballerina is? I'm guessing it's drug slang or something.
Alright, all for now. Check back tomorrow (maybe Saturday, I got a show to cover) for the rest!