Here's to the past that we choose

I've been too busy with exams and vacationing in sunny, 80-degree weather to post lately. I've also debated whether or not to do a "Best of '06"--primarily because I've probably only listened to the same 5-6 new albums the whole year. I decided to do one anyway as an artifact of this year, this crazy, busy, tumultuous, exciting, scary, sad, lovely, incredible year. As such, I ranked these albums based on their personal significance to me. Think of it as a soundtrack of the last (nearly) 365 years, or a travel diary of sorts.

I did a Top 15, but there are a couple of albums I want to mention first. Most of these are very good; I just haven't listened to them enough to really count them as personally significant (or to decide how much I like them compared to the others):

-Ghost Mice: Europe. Chris and Hannah took a trip through Europe (not a tour) and wrote songs for most of the countries they visited. Conceptually, it's a really well executed album, and, as usual, it's a lot of fun to listen to.
-The Jeff Lewis Band: City and Eastern Songs. I wrote about this album a couple of months ago. It has some hilariously tongue-in-cheek commentary about a lot of things, including Will Oldham (!!!).
-Greg Graffin: Cold as the Clay. A folk album by one of the most historically significant American punk rockers. Also well-executed, but kind of slow for my taste.
-Gothic Archies: The Tragic Treasury. A compilation of Stephin Merritt's work on Lemony Snicket's audiobooks. I guess, technically, not all of these songs were released this year but the album just came out. I haven't listened to it enough to form an opinion, but its just as amazing as everything Stephin has ever touched.
-Strike Anywhere: Dead FM. I'd kind of been waiting for this album for a long time. Last year's To live in discontent was totally awesome, and Change is a Sound is probably my favorite Strike Anywhere album ever. Most people have no idea what I am talking about when I say that hardcore can be melodic, but this band sounds so awesome. Dead FM isn't their best, but I think I need to give it a few more listens before I really decide.
-Cursive: Happy Hollow, on Saddle Creek this year. The album has this sullen darkness about it, Tim Kasher has this Omaha-ness about him, and it's all pretty beautiful. There are some new sounds, like horns, that I'd never expect to find on a Cursive album. You can remix one of the songs, "Bad Sects," at http://www.badsects.com.
-Bright Eyes: Noise Floor (rarities). A collection of songs from '98-'05. Some previously recorded, many not. Listen to I Will Be Grateful and Amy in a White Coat.
-Cat Power: The Greatest. I've reviewed it already. It's...alright. But not bad. I just couldn't get into it.
-Sol.Illaquists of Sound: Explorations of Sol.Illitude. I haven't gotten to listen to the whole thing, but "Ur Turn" is probably in my top 20 songs or so this year.

I'll put the actual top 15 in a separate post.


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