I'm sure you all gasped, awed, yelled and screamed for joy while reading my top-2o CDs of 2006 story in Friday's Weekend. It's my favorite article to write, and judging by the amount of e-mail I get about it, I think it's your favorite to read.
Anyway, I promised a list of the other 12 discs that I really loved this year; the ones that I really beat myself up over not including. Here we go:
21. Call It Arson — "Animal Strings"
An amazing record by this New Haven-based band (which plays at Cafe Nine Friday), one that was a huge jump forward from its debut disc. I still can't stop listening to it. If I had to place a bet on any local band getting huge (record deals, etc.) in 2007, my cash would be on Call It Arson.
22. Bob Dylan — "Modern Times"
Let's face it, almost all Dylan records are amazing. "Modern Times" sounds great, but just lacks that something that the last two Dylan discs have.
23. Flaming Lips — "At War With The Mystics"
It took me a month or so to really get into this disc. It's always more difficult to judge one of your favorite bands objectively. At first, I thought "At War With The Mystics" was good, but hardly one of the Lips' best records. With repeated listens, the album's beauty came out. It ain't "The Soft Bulletin," but what is?
24. The Pernice Brothers — "Live A Little"
Producer Michael Deming returns to the fold for The Pernice Brothers' "Live A Little," and it really helps. This disc is pure pop perfection. "Somerville" is one of my favorite tunes of the year, easily.
25. Yo La Tengo — "I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass"
The reason this album didn't make the top 20 is because of its length, which is just way too long. It runs almost 80 minutes, about 35 minutes more than it needs. If YLT cut the fat, the band would have made the best record of its storied career.
26. The Elected — "Sun, Sun, Sun"
This Rilo Kiley side project's debut disc found guitarist Blake Sennett creating electro-country, but on "Sun, Sun, Sun," the songwriter and his merry bunch of musicians turn into a true California band, one in the same vein as The Eagles, Jackson Browne and Poco.
27. My Chemical Romance — "The Black Parade"
I might never listen to this record again, but My Chemical Romance actually made a great disc. Think Meat Loaf on steroids. This should have been "Bat Out Of Hell III."
28. Pearl Jam — "Pearl Jam"
A fine return to form from a band that's been making very good, but not cohesive discs for the last decade. This one torches from beginning to end.
29. Belle & Sebastian — "The Life Pursuit"
No longer making traditional chamber pop, Scotland's Belle & Sebastian is now a full-blown pop band. "The Life Pursuit" is a timeless collection of "Walk Away Renee"-like bubblegum.
30. Drive-by Truckers — A Blessing And A Curse
The band's first economical record in a few years, the Drive-by Truckers continues making great records, one after another. And while I usually love shorter discs, this 45-minute CD lacks something that the band's previous, longer albums boast: a cohesive theme. It's still damn good, though.
31. Ray Davies — "Other People's Lives"
The constantly under-appreciated Kinks leader makes a fine return on this disc. There's a little Kinks here, a little country there, but mostly "Other People's Lives" should just be classified as good music.
32. Neil Young — "Living With War"
Recorded and written in only a few days, Neil Young has created a rocking snapshot of 2006's political climate. This is his most immediate set of tunes in a long while.