Friday, December 22, 2006

Top Ten Non-Rap Albums of 2006

(Have you seen me?)

Is the world really as simple as rap and non-rap?
Of course not.

But I'm not going to call this the Top Ten Indie-Pop, Art-Rock, Electronica and Prog-Metal Albums of 2006.
So y'all are going to have to deal.

There was no consensus album for the hipsters to rally around this year like there was for Kanye's overrated "Late Registration" in 2005 or the pretty great Arcade Fire record from 2004, so you could make your case for placing almost any album at any spot.

I'll go into this more when I combine the rap and non-rap lists for the true Top Ten Albums of 2006.

Close calls go to Beck's "The Information," Regina Spektor's "Begin to Hope," LCD Soundsystem "45:33."

Here we go again,

10. Band of Horses - "Everything All The Time"

This is just big, shimmering, straight-forward rock reminiscent of early My Morning Jacket. A solid debut record from a not so new band. It should be interesting to see where they go from here.

9. Espers - II

This is the type of album music critics dream about. Dark, dense, droning and almost to impossible to listen to outside the context of the album. Let the Espers guide you through your next acid trip.

8. Mastodon - Blood Mountain

Mastodon is single-handedly bringing metal out of the 80's and back into the conversation of today's tight sweater and black-rimmed glasses set.
Incredible production to match the ambitious prog concepts that would make Tolkien proud.
It's worth the neck pain.

7. Cat Power - The Greatest

Chan Marshall is the hottest recovering alcoholic in all of indie-rock. Leaving behind her baggage and typical sound, Ms. Power got some soul and recorded her album in Memphis with Al Green's old backing band while exorcising some old demons.
If she's needs a sponsor, I can help.

6. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls In America

The lead singer has the voice of a bleated goat. If you can get over that, then you'll be able to appreciate lyrics that chronicle the drug-fueled self-destruction of small-town America with the same passion that Bruce Springsteen chronicled hope and small-town escape 30 years ago. Overdosing has never been more fun.

5. Hot Chip - The Warning

Now here's an electronic record that actually deserved the praise it got. Rather than slamming a bunch of keys on their laptop, this band actually made fully structured songs that a human could vibe to, with enough atmosphere and subtle influences to keep you dissecting the album, even after repeated listens.

4. Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped

In a parallel universe, Sonic Youth gets their own iPod instead of U2 and the entire 80 GB hard drive is filled with John Cage's 639 year long piece, "As Slow as Possible."
Shitty modern rock bands would pay tribute to them on MTV Icons, instead of honoring Aerosmith and Metallica, and Kim Gordon would stare down from her throne with bored disdain.

But back here in reality, Sonic Youth is still grinding away in its 3rd decade of existence, doing their best to keep the guitar relevant with their most melody-focused album, in a year when shitty unfocused electronic music won all the accolades.

3. TV on the Radio

A black indie rock band!
Dense, intensely lyrical, rhythmic art-rock by a band that's 80% Negro.
If they could just get on BET somehow, I'd be a happy man.

2. Lily Allen - Alright, Still

You wouldn't be wrong for thinking "pikey/chav" when you hear the name Lily Allen.
She is a white girl who makes songs about getting into fights on the line of night clubs.
Social distnctions aside, anyone who digs this deep into the crates to find the classic reggae, ska, blues and dub samples on display here and then overlays them with pop music this subversive is going to make the list.

1. M. Ward- Post-War

M. Ward's dusty lo-fi record is based on what he claims is an examination of how a society obsessed with and destroyed by war moves on.
Fortunately there isn't one whiny ass protest song on this record to undermine M. Ward's trademark hazy sound or intimate vocals.
Post War takes the slacker aesthetic of Pavement and gives it enough political context to sneak right under the ambivalence of our lazy ass generation.


I have no idea what the readership of this blog is because of my own fractured focus, so I don't know what kind of response to expect from this post. Do any people who read this blog listen to this type of shit?
Let me know what you thought was popping in the "non-rock" category.


  1. No question...I read this blog on the regular and I listen to pretty much all the hip-hop and non hip-hop stuff. I would have included Jedi Mind Tricks and Bronze Nazareth on that top 10 rap list, but your non-rap top 10 was dead on. Lily Allen and Hot Chip STAY in regular rotation. No reason why I can't listen to Fishscale and chase it with TV on the Radio. I love MF Doom and Saigon just as much as the next man, but I think the average rap fan is too "stuck" on just rap and fails to venture into other types of music. So it's good to see sh*t like this from another Black man. peace.

  2. Bronze Nazareth was straight but I always lose interest towards the end.
    The lyrics don't hold me.

    Glad you can vibe on both sides of the fence, so to speak.
    Since rap's downturn, rock and company have been keeping me going.

  3. I slacked this year. I only got on the Mastodon and Lily Allen CDs. I'll be all up on the rest once I "buy" them.

  4. Lily Allen is good music for good people. I'll comb through the others and see what I think.

    I know this will probably get me crucified, but I liked the MCR album.

  5. What is the MCR album?

    Let me know what you think of the others.

  6. Ask for a link to your new blog.

    Don't spam my shit with your rants as anonymous.
    That is some coward shit.

  7. Love Lily Allen and just started listening to TV on the Radio...the jury is still out on them..
    Great blog, btw..!!!! Just found it today and I love it!!!!

  8. Appreciate the good words.

    TV on the Radio takes time.
    Listen to their Young Liars EP to start and then jump back to the new album.