Best of 2006 - Jesse's picks (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Best of 2006

Jesse's picks (2006)

staff picks

Jesse Raub is a staff reviewer here at -ed


Hey chumps. Long time no see, eh? Well, the Ought Six was a damn busy year for me, and I didn't really have too much time for writing pointless reviews of shitty bands so sniveling fourteen-year-olds can criticize my writing. You can all eat it. In other news, I got engaged in July, graduated later in July, and in August I packed up and moved my ass down to Bloomington, Indiana so my lovely fiancée could do graduate school for Library Science and I could get a bullshit job working for "The Man."

These factors plus other factors and not to mention bowling league every Wednesday night with greg0rb have caused me to drop off the map of new music. I hunted down what I needed to, and other than that I let Greg pass new albums on to me so I could pass judgment on them and stick out my tongue like the ungrateful twerp I am. The Ought Six was a year of great music, mediocre music, and piss poor music. We saw legends put out monster collections to major critical acclaim, we saw legends fuck up one more time (eat shit Dylan!), and we saw many a band jump to a bigger label than the one they put their previous album out on. For better or for worse, the Ought Six was a brutal year for my music collection, as I could hardly find ten albums in my list that I had pirated off some anonymous jerk on the Internets. Pshaw, whatever, I don't pirate albums. That's stealing. Hear that BMG? Sony? Other major subsidiary corporations? Anyway, I'll make this quick because my future in-laws love me enough to buy me a Wii, and my rampant love for electronics demands that I play it soon.

Top 10 Albums
10. Toys That Kill - Shanked!
Same deal as Off with Their Heads. Simple, upbeat, catchy, sly. These cats (get it?) know how to swing. A tad more "artistic" or whatever that bullshit means. Go get it.
9. Johnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways
The man in black's requiem by himself. No one's going to argue about Johnny Cash being perhaps the most important man in American music, nor about his politics. The man was solid and the most punk rock motherfucker through and through. Perhaps not his best album, it at least was solid, which is way more than we can say about Dylan. Who knows. This thing might grow on me more than I think.
8. Maritime - We, The Vehicles
'Cause I like Davey, that's why.
7. Liars - Drum's Not Dead
Leaps and bounds. Another Liars album. Another new style. Another new concept. Like it or not, this band is branching out into territory that your shitty favorite bands would never even tread. Akimbo is keeping music dangerous, but Liars are keeping music on its toes.
6. Pretty Boy Thorson & the Falling Angels - Ain't it Funny…
Ragged But Right
My bro and his band recorded a full-length by re-recording the EP and adding songs and making it sound actually good. This album is a rip-roarin', rootin'-tootin' sonofabitch. And I ain't just prejudiced. I've had friends in bands whose albums haven't made end-of-the-year lists even though I'm better friends with them than I am with my bro. Nah, just kidding. Anyway, this album's up here because it deserves it. Too much bullshit music out there these days, but PBT and the F'n A's are keeping it real.
5. Mike Gunther and His Restless Souls - Burn It Down for the Nails
Heart of a Champion
The only white dude from Minnesota who can play roots jazz country blues with soul. For you luddites, think Tom Waits or Nick Cave without the warbly voices and better melodies. This guy (and his guys and gals) can burn down my barn for the nails any day. Knuhwhutahmsayin'?
4. Melvins - A Senile Animal
Our favorite riff master and skin-pounder teamed up with the best bass'n drum combo outta Seattle. The Melvins branched out with this album, tossing in melodies, tempo changes, and, oh shit, two drummers and lead bass lines. Add multiple vocals on top of it all and you got one aging band that doesn't disappoint. These guys can still rip shit like Springsteen.
3. The Sword - Age of Winters
Seniority alone kept this band from snagging number one or two since these kids came out of Texas with a perfect metal album. Heavy grooves, the best lyrics about ancient battles and swords and shit, and crazy go nuts drumming. These cats tackle everything Sabbath plus thrash. Magnificent.
2. Akimbo - Forging Steel and Laying Stone
Alternative Tentacles
Akimbo slays. And this album is some of their best work. They're keeping music dangerous, ripping out the biggest riffs and heaviest jams. I've never seen anyone rip this hard live, and for once, their album lives up to their live show.
1. Aloha - Some Echoes
This shit is too good and complete to not be number one. Ya dig? Aloha rips shit out like mad for real. Most badass auxiliary percussion ever. And this album was tight, one-two-three-four tight meaning that I couldn't deny it number one because the damn thing is too good. Song by song, this is the most complete album out there.
2. Pretty Boy Thorson & the Falling Angels - Pretty Boy Thorson & the Falling Angels
The Party‘s Over
Even though Ain't It Funny... is just a re-recording of these songs, PBT and the F'n A's first recordings are just raw enough to be good and rowdy. Recorded with an electric bass and more acoustic guitar, these versions are just a little more honky tonk, and got played way more this year than the full-length, but maybe only because I only got the full-length a week ago.
1. Off with Their Heads - Hospitals
This is the album that everyone should have been listening to instead of shitty bands like the Lawrence Arms. Fast, melodic, bleak, snarky. Go get it, and realize that your taste in music sucks.
  1. Aloha - Mountain
  2. Akimbo - Ground Control to Major Bummer
  3. The Sword - Iron Swan
  4. Melvins - The Mechanical Bride
  5. Mike Gunther and His Restless Souls - Walk All Over It
  1. Pretty Boy Thorson and the Falling Angels - Grandad
  2. Liars - Lets Not Wrestle Mt Heartattack
  3. Maritime - Tearing Up the Oxygen
  4. Off with Their Heads - Die Today
  5. Toys That Kill - Liar's Hook
Stuff I Shoulda Heard

These are some albums that might have had a chance to make it up on the list, but I just haven't heard ‘em yet. Ooops. This list is so people can't say, "But what about (blank)? Why isn't (blank) on your list?" Because I haven't heard it yet, doofus.

TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountian, Ghostface Killah - Fishscale, the Decembrists - Crane Wife, Neko Case - Fox Confessor Brings the Blood, Make Believe - Of Course, Tom Waits - Orphans, Mastodon - Blood Mountain, Owen - At Home with Owen, Bonnie "Prince" Billy - The Letting Go, Young Widows - Settle Down City, Eric Bachman - To the Races

Albums That Were Okay

Black Keys - Magic Potion; This album didn't suck. It wasn't good, but it didn't suck.

Albums That Sucked

These albums sucked. Overplayed hyped singles, rehashed material that wasn't even new when it was played forty years ago, poppy and overly produced, irrelevant compared to an album released twenty years ago, and full of shitty backing vocals. This is my for shame list. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere, the Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America, Belle and Sebastian - The Life Pursuit, Bob Dylan - Modern Times, Slayer - Christ Illusion

Albums I Listened to Instead

These are the albums I rocked all year long while unintentionally avoiding new music. There's so much old music I haven't given a proper spin yet, so why should I bother with new music? I can discover albums from 2006 in 2026. But I feel like Best of… lists are misleading because they give the impression that those albums were all that someone was listening to that year, so here's my list of stuff I listened to instead.

Archers of Loaf - White Trash Heroes (1998); Amazing. Sounds like nothing else out there. Revolutionary, and it's almost ten years old.

Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers (1971)
Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed (1968); The Stones were the ultimate troublemakers. And they rock a backbeat like none other. These albums are shitkickers.

Kinks - Face to Face (1966)
Kinks - Lola vs. Powerman and the Moneygoround (1970); The Kinks are the most underappreciated band of the decade. Ray's `60s riffs laid the blueprint for a lot of hard rock and metal, and then branched into classic British traditional music. The Davies gang slays Sly and the Family Stone's "There's a Riot Going On" (1971).

Sly himself took a year off to get blasted out of his head on cocaine and pissed. The idealism of the `60s was gone, the rampant anger and drug use of the `70s arrived.

Johnny Cash - Live at Folsom Prison (1968)
Johnny Cash - Live at San Quentin (1969); Two amazing performances.

Iron Maiden - Piece of Mind (1983)
Iron Maiden - Powerslave (1984); Maiden's got some riffs.

Slayer - Reign in Blood (1986); Twenty years old and still one of the fastest.

Looking Towards 2007

Well, let's just say I'm not. I've got no plans for new music, as most of what I was waiting for hit in the Ought Six. But I will say that Akimbo's new guitar shredder shreds a lot, and a new album might drop at the end of 2007, so that's to be on the lookout for. Now shut up, for my Wii is calling.