Kind of a slow year for my own taste. But, still reaped a few good things. Just a few of the things that caught my ear and I actually listen to released in '06.
Probably my favorite recording of '06. Muse continues to grow and define their own creative voice. Early on they were plagued by Radiohead comparisons. But they have thoroughly avoided that as they develop. I hear more Rachmaninoff and Queen than Radiohead by far. Creative, original, melodramatic, heavy, bloated and way too self important, but you gotta love their passion and musicianship. I saw these guys when they cqame to Kansas City this last year and that sold me on what a great band they are.
Switchfoot - Oh! Gravity
Just snuck inn under the wire for '06. Great record from a great band. This is probably their heaviest and most musically adventureous record. Think the energy of Foo Fighters meets old Switchfoot. As always, Jon Foreman is a soul searcher who is willing to ask the questions of himself and American culture without having the answers. I really like this recording.
Such a soulful and well written, painfully honest collection of songs. Gotta love India. Easily one of the best of the year.
Mutemath - Mutemath
Great live band and a creative force I hope wil be around for a long time. Love these guys. Although not as strong as their EP, this is still a terrific listen when you are craving a different "flava."
Thom Yorke - The Eraser
An aquired taste. Very vibey, cool and original.
Only Beck can get away with mixing so many genres and have it come out like music was always "meant to bethat way." I love the genre busting disrespect for accepted pop form and his willing ness to explore other art forms.
Honorable Mention -
John Mayer - Continuum - Starting to sound a little too self
important to my ears. But I love how he is digging into old Stevie Ray
Vaughan, Clapton and George Harrison and bringing those influences to a
modern pop audience. I still like the John Mayer Trio live album better.
Leeland - Sound of Melodies - Great new worship album.
Mindy Smith - Long Island Shores - Hauntingly beautiful singer.
Cat Power - The Greatest - A truly original voice.
Joseph Arthur - Nuclear Daydream - Just because he's Joseph Arthur and he's awesome!
Charlotte Martin - Stromata - Another terrific singer songwriter.
Brazilian Girls - Talk to La Bomb - Talk about genre bending! Yikes.
The Crystal Method - Drive: Nike+ Original Run - A 45 minute continuous recording meant to mimic the workout curve of a good run. Surprisingly easy and fun to listen to. Probably the best voice in electronic music today.