Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Hello all. Surgery went well this morning, I should be able to walk around again in a few days. In the meantime I am holed up at home with nothing but Dances with Wolves on TV. So I will now begin my countdown of the best music of the year. I will start today talking about some albums that didn't quite make the top 20. Here we go....

The old guys made a really strong showing this year. Not only are there several in the Top 20, many more released very good albums.
1. Tom Petty - Highway Companion
This is his best since Wildflowers, possibly since Full Moon Fever. His music lends itself well to reflection, and as he gets older his songs have become more subdued but remained just as insightful and honest. I'm sure he's got more great stuff to come.
2. Willie Nelson - Songbird
Great songwriter given new life by Ryan Adams' production. He's on a hot streak right now, and I hope he rides it out. The world could use more albums like this.
3. Bruce Hornsby - Intersections
Box sets are usually so full of the studio hits that the rabid fan has no interest or so full of b-sides and rarities that casual fans don't get a good sense of the artist. This box set is one of the most complete pictures of an artist I've ever heard. All the hits are here, but in awesome new versions from live shows and alternate studio sessions. It's worth your while no matter who you are.
4. Los Lobos - The Town and the City
Their most sophisticated record since Kiko. They continue to be one of the most underrated bands in the country. This album provides some wonderful, humanistic insight into the immigrant's dilemma in America.

It was a magnificent year for indie music, with many acts releasing career-best albums. In no particular order...
1. Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
They haven't beeen this good since The Boy With the Arab Strap. They have finally discovered the sunnier side of twee and seem to be having a blast. I feel certain that it will eventually end up being my favorite of their albums.
2. Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
Who would have thought this album possible from Yo La Tengo? They finally got some energy and diversified. Which is great, but it's the slow moments on the album that are really divine. "I Feel Like Going Home" is one of the best songs of the year.
3. Jenny Lewis - Rabbit Fur Coat
I didn't like this album that much at first, but it grew on me like a fungus. There's no denying that Ms. Lewis can write a catchy hook, but the songs here deal with pretty heavy stuff; yet they manage to be playful without being flippant. She's quite a talent.
4. Cat Power - The Greatest
It's about time she started acting her age.

Love me some alt country!
1. Pete Yorn - Nightcrawler
Pete just missed my Top 20. This album marks a new phase in his musical evolution. He has grown leaps and bounds in terms of his ability to craft a melody. It's a nice recovery from Day I Forgot, which was decent but didn't live up to the standards.
2. Old Crow Medicine Show - Big Iron World
It's on the whole better than their debut. It doesn't have highs that are as high as "Wagon Wheel", but it's consistent, damn good bluegrass.

So that's that! We will commence next post with the first few of the Top 20. Until then, value your feet!


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