I'll kick things off with a few of the albums that have stood out for me:
Yellowcard - Lights and Sounds
I never thought a violin added to a traditional guitar band could sound so good. And just as I thought it peaked, they bring in a full strings section onto a couple of tracks. Wonderful songwriting, heartfelt lyrics and an imperial tonne of enthusiasm add up to a brilliant album which I just adore.
Guillemots - Through the Windowpane
A fascinating soundscape and an album that stands up to repeated listens. The recent Electric Proms performance was mind blowing.
Bertine Zetlitz - My Italian Greyhound
Best pop album of the year. Fact. Zetlitz is to pop kids what Annie is to indie kids. She finally nailed the creepy fairytale motive on this album and through repetition of themes and lyrics it remains incredibly cohesive.
Nelly Furtado - Loose
The most innovative album of the year I'd say, bringing on Timbaland as a producer was one of the best things Nelly/the executives could have ever done. 'Promiscuous' and 'Say it Right' really shine, but top honours go to 'All good things' which is a blast from the Folklore era, produced by Chris Martin (which may not necessarily be a good thing). A beautiful song. There are few letdowns on there though.
TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
Obviously this was always going to be there. Always going to be in the albums lists for the year. Always going to be the album that no one can disagree on. The evolution was nothing but extraordinary, but I have gone through long periods of not listening to it which is never the best sign.
And my best of the year, despite not being what I expected at all:
Joanna Newsom - Ys
I was a big fan of hers after The Milk-Eyed Mender, so the first things that hit me about this were the things that it wasn't. Her first album were short, sweet tracks- pretty throughout, but not all cohesive.
Ys is a different beast entirely, and it's not an easy first listen. The album consists of a handful of long (5 I think?) tracks... her voice, a marmite factor in the first place, is even more prominent throughout. And the focus is less on the harp this time (although still as rich and beautifully complex as ever), instead bringing in a full orchestra and some guest vocalists too.
The songwriting is epic. Everything about how a conventional song should work it seems, were forgotten. She threw in shifts of melody, rhythm and tone all over the place. Her voice - wow. More so than on the first album, she goes from cooing like a seven-year old to bellowing like a banshee to holding a note any classically trained vocalist would be proud of. And I don't understand how, but it works.
More than anything else, it makes me think of Joni Mitchell not because they sound similar, but for boldness,ambition and managing to get away with it. Every time I listen I go through a gamut of emotions, I'll catch myself smiling at the cheery bits, hiding my face at the melancholy ones and wearing an expression of confused wonder when she somehow manages both at the same time. Pure brilliance.
Other notable mentions: Thom Yorke - The Eraser, Pipettes - We are the Pipettes, Muse - Black Holes and Revelations, Mars Volta - Amputechture.
Bob Dylan still gets my vote though.
Edit: Along with The Decemberists
Guillemots - Through the Windowpane
Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat
Thom Yorke - The Eraser
Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope
Definitely want to listen to these 3
Bob Dylan - Modern Times
Camera Obscura - Lets Get Out of This Country
Josh Ritter - The Animal Years
And a mention for best album title of the year
Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
> Beyond that I've bought every single Goo Goo Dolls album and got
> into Celldweller and Skindred. However none of their albums came
> out in 2006.
Actually I have the '06 album but haven't listened to it yet. :P
Um, probably Black Holes and Revalations for me, but that's not to say it was my favourite album I got in the year - it's just probably one of the only ones released in 2006.
Honourable mentions go to Slayer, Mastodon, Dragonforce, Motorhead and probably rather unexpectedly, seeing the other bands mentioned, Muse.
(for me anyway)
> Stadium Arcadium - The Red Hot Chili Peppers
Garbage compared to their older work.
Modern Times by Bob Dylan
Whatever People Say I Am Bla Bla by Arctic Monkeys
Best albums by far.
They still seem to be railing against all the shoddy poppy toss which is great (inc the chav rubbish and re-invented folk music guff that's doing the rounds).
Beyond that I've bought every single Goo Goo Dolls album and got into Celldweller and Skindred. However none of their albums came out in 2006.
I have seen the best of Oasis purchased along with some godawful Muse album and the people responsible have felt my wrath.