Well, the end of the year is near and that means one thing, it's time for all those silly best of 2006 lists. So I thought if everyone else is doing it, then why don't I? Because I am a huge music fan, I thought I would list my favorite albums of the year. I admit I haven't exactly listened to every album that has come out, but I have bought anywhere from 40 to 50 2006 issue cds. I know, it's a sad case, but nonetheless I thought if anything, perhaps I could turn someone on to a band they may have never heard of before.
Before I get into what I call my Dirty Dozen of 2006 I thought I would give you a few honorable mentions that just barely missed the cut. While they are not in my top 12, they are very worthy of checking out. I must tell you that I am not a music critic per se, but I know what I like and these are the albums I listened to or enjoyed the most this year. Let us begin.
The first that just missed the cut was a band called Damone with Out Here All Night. This cd was one of those I bought because I heard a cool song on the radio. Damone's cool song was Out Here All Night. When I listened to the whole album it gave off a Rick Springfield mixed with Judas Priest vibe. Sounds weird but it works. The songs are pretty heavy without going over board, with hard driving rhythms and nice solos. To top everything off the lead singer is a very capable female named Noelle. If you are into retro rock you should look into this. Also check out the cool acoustic cover of the Iron Maiden classic Wasted Years, it is unbelievable.
Next we have Bratch's favorite album of 2006, The Killers with Sam's Town. I like this cd but it almost seems too over the top. I also am getting tired of the band's silly mustaches. With that being said it is still a great album. It takes the elements of their first album Hot Fuss and adds better writing and more...well more everything. Sometimes the words get in the way of the songs, which may be the reason it isn't in my top 12. Even though it sounds like am only halfheartedly recommending this cd, I really do think it is something you should pick up, especially if you liked Hot Fuss.
Next is a band called Priestess with Hello Master. I can almost bet you have never heard of this band. I read about them in Spin or Rolling Stone and decided to try them out. I was not disappointed. This is a flat out rock cd, mixing Thin Lizzy with Judas Priest and throwing in a little Steve Miller Band for flavoring. All the songs are intense, with some dual guitar solos, and a lead singer who can sing/scream without being annoying. There is even a healthy dose of cowbell. Priestess is a band you need to know about.
Next is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs with Show Your Bones. This is a supposed alternative/art band but this cd is full of great pop songs. Gold Lion and Phenomena are two of the best songs I have heard this year. This band is a three piece with a drummer, a guitarist, and a Karen O. She really controls this album with her singing, shrieking and some of thee best rock screaming since Roger Daltry in Won't Get Fooled Again. The band may not want to hear this, but I thought this was perhaps the best rock/pop album of the year.
Now we move on to the heaviest cd so far, The Sword's Age of Winters. This group is super heavy. They have a Sabbath-y groove but also have some heavy thrash elements ala early Metallica. This band will literally try to bludgeon you to death when listening to their cd. The grooves are heavy and sludgy, just the way I like it. If you have played a little game I like to call Guitar Hero 2 you already have heard one song by The Sword. Their song Freya is in the game and is the song that bogged down my progress for a time. If you are a fan of old school metal with heavy riffs and lyrics about warriors and wizards then this is the cd for you.
That's it for my honorable mentions, but I would also like to recommend a couple of reissues, if you will. The new Beatles cd Love is excellent and very much worth checking out. You have heard all the songs before, but you haven' heard them in these arrangements. While there are 26 tracks on this cd, I had read that over 100 songs were used to arrange these 26 tracks. It is definitely cool to listen to the demo version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps with a brand new string arrangement behind it. This cd will give you chills.
Also I have to tell you I have been very into David Bowie this year, especially the cd Hunky Dory. This is a pure pop cd that is mostly piano driven and includes my favorite song right now, Life on Mars. If you were like me at one time and thought Bowie was too weird to really get into, take a chance and pick this cd up. You won't regret it. I'll be back with the bottom half of my Dirty Dozen.