In the lead-up to my always-much-anticipated (by me) 10 Best Songs of the Year list, here are my 5 favorite albums of 2006. As always, the comments are a good place to tell me how right I am. You should purchase, download, or otherwise acquire all of these - you won't be disappointed.
1) Cold War Kids - Robbers & Cowards
This was 2006's blog-hyped underground release, and the anti-hype backlash (led by Pitchfork) was pretty much simultaneous. OleNelson e-mailed to say I would like it, and I think my response was something along the lines of, "I feel like I should be sooo over this album already, but the truth is that I haven't even heard it yet." This is what rock & roll should be like, teenagers - are you paying attention?
2) Tapes & Tapes - The Loon
This was self-released and sold at concerts in 2005, but got a label and a wider release in 2006, so I'm declaring it eligible. I'm glad I can include it, because it's some of the catchiest, best rock ever recorded on a 4-track in somebody's mom's basement.
3) TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
This album is fantastic, after you get past the impression that you're going to be listening to a podcast of a Sesame Street episode. Seriously, great album, but numero uno on my list of silliest album titles.
4) Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
Karen O has been unscreechifying her vocals album by album, and this one is the ideal mix of barely-restrained passion and flat-out good singing. I remember listening to this in the spring and wondering how I would be able to pick just one song for my end of the year list.
5) Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Blood
If Neko Case doesn't make you cry when she sings, then you just stop reading my blog, you robot with your rusty metal heart.