The Best of 2006
It’s been a long time coming, but finally I am ready to detail my very own personal favourites of 2006. I think it was a great year and I’ve actually managed to compile a list of around 40 albums to discuss. I’ve never been one to easily rank my preferences – I just find it so bloody hard – so I’ll go into a little bit of detail on my favourite five of last year, and then I’ll just list the basic details of the remaining. Either way you should know that every album deserves to be mentioned as one of the best of last year, and hence is very much worth checking out. So if you find yourself reading this list and you stumble across something you previously chose to ignore, or you’ve just never heard of it… please, spare some time to check it out, that’s one of the reasons this blog even exists!
Joanna Newsom – Ys (Drag City)
What an album! It took me two full listens to truly start appreciating it, but Joanna Newsom’s Ys is an orchestral alternative-folk album, highlighting once more her incredible talents as a ‘harper’, singer, and writer. Each time I listen it just grows on me more and more. I even find myself at times craving to hear it. Keep an open mind, hit play, and just take it all in.
Daedelus – Denies The Day’s Demise (Ninja Tune)
Previously I had heard Daedelus’ last album, that was a bit of an alternative electronica/hip-hop effort featuring MF DOOM on a few tracks, it was pretty good. Randomly I spotted this album in a shop and took a listen – I knew straight away it was something special. Just like Joanna Newsom, this one wont take everyone’s fancy, it’s a bit out-there, but absolutely beautiful in a bizarre electronica kind of a way. This album just sweeps me up and takes me away every time.
J Dilla – Donuts (Stones Throw)
If you hear someone saying that Donuts is crap cos “all the tracks are really short, it’s stupid”, ignore them, they’ve clearly missed the point… also feel free to smack them in the face. This is pure genius from the late Mr Yancey (RIP) – as much as there was beauty in Newsom’s 5 track masterpiece, Ys, there was as much in Dilla’s 31 track banger, Donuts. Listen deeply and closely to these tracks, the production is so adventurous and intricate, not many people can pull off stuff quite like this. The album is also laced with cryptic messages to his friends and family – Dilla is already sorely missed, Donuts is a harsh reminder as to why.
Dr Rubberfunk – My Life at 33 (GPS Recordings)
I’ve pretty much run out of superlatives to use on the Doc. I wrote a detailed review of this album back in December, so it’s worth reading that to get the full picture. With this album, Simon Ward managed to create something organic that paid homage to the roots of funk, whilst invigorating that same sound with a fresh approach. The music was upbeat, rich, and inspiring. If you even so much as remotely enjoy upbeat and funky sounds, you’ll be sure to love My Life at 33.
TM Juke – Forward (Tru Thoughts)
If you’re a fan of Tru Thoughts, then TM Juke surely needs no introduction, but it always surprises me how quite a few people I speak to have never heard of him, that is a crime y’all. The Juke was responsible for producing Alice Russell’s second album, My Favourite Letters. If you are still lost, you have some catching up to do. Forward was TM Juke’s second album, a soulful record expressed through electronic experience and classical execution – this album was nothing but original, vibrant, and highly addictive.
- Nightmares on Wax – In A Space Outta Sound (Warp)
- Ammoncontact – With Voices (Ninja Tune)
- Loka – Fire Shepherds (Ninja Tune)
- Cut Chemist – The Audience’s Listening (Warner Bros.)
- Bonobo – Days To Come (Ninja Tune)
- Quantic – An Announcement To Answer (Tru Thoughts)
- Darondo – Let My People Go (Luv N’ Haight)
- Count Bass D – Act Your Waist Size (Fat Beats)
- Madlib The Beat Konducta – Movie Scenes Vol. 1 + 2 (Stones Throw)
- Gotye – Like Drawing Blood (Independent)
- Ty – Closer (Big Dada)
- Amy Winehouse – Back To Black (Universal Island Records)
- Atmosphere – You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
- Ghostface Killah – Fishscale (Def Jam)
- The Broken Keys – Gravity (Tru Thoughts)
- J Dilla – The Shining (BBE)
- Murs & 9th Wonder – Murray’s Revenge (Record Collection)
- The Bamboos – Step It Up (Tru Thoughts)
- Dr Who Dat? – Beat Journey (Lex Records)
- The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble – The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble (Planet Mu)
- Youngblood Brass Band – Is That A Riot? (Layered)
- Aim – Flight 602 (Atic Records)
- All Good Funk Alliance – Social Comment (Funk Weapons)
- Surreal & DJ Balance – Future Classic (Hiphop Is Music)
- The Coup – Pick A Bigger Weapon (Epitaph)
- The Procussions – 5 Sparrows For 2 Cents (Rawkus)
- Tanya Morgan – Moonlighting (Loud Minority Music)
- Eulorhythmics – Extended Play (All Natural Inc.)
- Muzykoterapia – Muzykoterapia (Asfalt Records)
- Oh No – Exodus Into Unheard Rhythms (Stones Throw)
- Ugly Duckling – Bang For The Buck (Fat Beats)
- Regina Spektor – Begin To Hope (Sire Records)
- Spank Rock – YoYoYoYoYo (Big Dada)
- The Roots – Game Theory (Def Jam)
- Georgia Anne Muldrow – Olesi Fragments Of An Earth (Stones Throw)
- Cadence – Creative Commerce (Domination Recordings)
Want to quickly mention a few excellent EPs that came out in 2006; Sirka Ragnar – I Am, You Are, He/She/It Is, The Q4 – Sound Surrounding EP, Grudle Bay Riots – DJ In Korea EP, Foreign Beggars – Slow Broiled Ilk EP. As far as labels went, Ninja Tune and Tru Thoughts really came through for me last year, plus I made a few new discoveries, like Melting Pot Music out of Germany – they’re releasing hot and funky vinyl all the time, and now a lot of it is available on CD too. There was also a good few remix albums out in 2006, like; Alice Russell – Under The Munka Moon II, Jamie Lidell – Multiply Additions, Quantic – One Offs Remixes & B Sides, DJ Krush – Stepping Stones – The Self-Remixed Best (Soundscapes), and DangerDoom – Occult Hymn. 2006 also saw the release of DJ Format’s FabricLive 27 CD, one of the best (if not THE best) FabricLive CDs I have heard, and also Foreign Beggars’ brilliant Bukkake Ski Trip mix CD – UK hip-hop at its modern finest.
If 2007 turns out to be half as good as 2006, then I’ll be happy. Onwards and upwards though – In the words of Hird, “always moving on”. I’m discovering new music every day, and a lot of it ends up in the relatively new Just Like Music podcast – speaking of which, volume 6 went up yesterday, this is the track listing…
1. Ty – Closer feat. Maceo
2. 4hero – Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You) feat. Terry D
3. All Good Funk Alliance – Major C
4. Nightmares on Wax – Deepdown
5. Eulorhythmics – Sociology
6. Quantic – Ticket To Know Where Featuring Ohmega Watts
7. Nostalgia 77 Octet – One For Man
8. Surreal & DJ Balance – Speak Facts
9. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles – The Tracks of My Tears (Quarterbar Redo)
I’m not really one for new year’s resolutions, but I will sincerely try to update this blog at least once a week now – still, at least the podcast is pretty regular!