Jon Kane's Top Ten Albums of 2006
In alphabetical order:
UK Underground hip-hop superstar Akira The Don snuck his debut album of inventive beats, samples and rhythms under our noses for inspection in November. Clever wordplay, infectious choruses and with some excellent music passages serving them, it’s all delivered with panache, befitting one of the UK’s finest new talents. This album deserves a larger and more wide-scale release. ‘When We Were Young’ proves to be more addictive than the finest box of snuff.
Teenage musician Zach Condon and his band of nomads with the making of ‘Gulag Orkestar’, sound like they went on an epic pilgrimage taking in Eastern European folk music while nodding somewhere in the direction of Will Oldham. The album has slumbering mournful ballads sounding like war-time odes for a gentler time using all manner of instruments such as ukuleles, accordions, shuffling mandolins and glockenspiels in the process. The victory ending of ‘After The Curtain’ realises the ambition of the album with its distillation of hope and imagination of the people celebrating peace and the end of a bloodthirsty war. ‘Gulag Orkestar’ is a stunning debut from a refreshing new talent.
There are good albums and then there are classic albums. Canadian super-troupe Broken Social Scene made this classic indie record full of timeless tunes as you would expect coming from a band made of various members of other great bands. The qualities of this album are too much to even list. ‘7/4 (Shoreline)’, ‘Fire Eye’d Boy’ and ‘Superconnected’ were some of the finest songs that I heard in 2006. If you haven’t got this album yet, you need it. They also played a majestic set at Glasgow’s Indian Summer festival where inevitably it rained on the crowd most of the time but for the duration that this band were on we didn’t mind being in the pouring rain.
THE band to see live in 2006. Chaotic mayhem was the general rule of thumb for the Brazilian all female group CSS’s live shows with the singer making for an amazing focal point for the band. They also made one of the albums of the year in ‘Cansei De Ser Sexy’, an electro-barrage to your senses, sweeping you off your feet and lifting you into untold ecstasy with their awesome tunes fit for any party.
‘Transparent Things’ by Fujiya & Miyagi invades your consciousness and sets up shop selling its own brand of part Krautrock, part new wave guitar rock and 90’s electronica to get your brain neurons sparking and knitting together. ‘Transparent Things’ is an essential album to get hooked on.
Excellent title, it just rolls of the tongue. ‘Off My Rocker At The Art School Bop’ is another collection of intelligently delivered songs from one of England’s finest and most prolific songwriters, Luke Haines. Razor sharp lyrics hit their targets with the album having a faux-glam-rock theme to it having retro music elements of that time. The controversial subject matter maybe explains the muted response that this album got but any person who calls one of their b-sides ‘I Am The Best Artist’ has got be lauded. ‘Off My Rocker At The Art School Bop’ makes for one of the top albums of 2006.
French-German art-punk duo Noblesse Oblige, are all about impact. From their punching electro music to their controversial artwork to their amazing theatrical live shows. They’re quite some band by any means. They released ‘Privilege Entails Responsibility’, a debut album that impresses as much as it may offend the listener. Respect goes to their label, Horseglue Records for being the only label brave enough to release this album and the single ‘Bitch/Daddy Don’t Touch Me There’.
Fantastiche? Oh yes.
If ever an album can be deemed intoxicating, then Nouvelle Vague’s follow-up to their self-titled release in 2004 would be it. ‘Band A Parte’ is exceedingly rich in wispy female vocalled bosa nova lounge. Their unique cover versions of New Order, The Buzzcocks, The Cramps and other such luminaries made ‘Bande A Parte’ a peculiar and most welcome oddity in the music climate of 2006.
Once upon a time across the ice-black rainbow in the enchanted forest of Wilsonia there lived a small leprechaun persecuted by the other leprechauns of the forest who were much bigger than him. The little leprechaun had found his lucky charm in the form of Swedish singer Jenny Wilson’s debut ‘Love And Youth’. The album was a tour de force of do-it-yourself craftsmanship. Crystal cold, sharp electro pop songs that sound like they’ve all been made in a cave with the glaciers of time ageing around Jenny Wilson’s gorgeous voice itself reminiscent of Nina Simone. The big leprechauns chased after the little leprechaun as legend has it that ‘Love And Youth’ had magical qualities bestowed onto all those who listened to it. You can see why the little leprechaun wanted to keep it all for himself but in the end he shared it and his thoughts on the album and everyone lived happily ever after in the enchanted forest of Wilsonia.
The rise of women cometh in the music world for the last few years this year continues with You Say Party We Say Die’s ‘Hit The Floor’, a startlingly good debut of insanely catchy Le Tigre influenced shouty rock. For me this was the most fun album of 2006 and if you’re looking for an album full of catchy tunes to jump about to with the curtains closed to stop the neighbours watching then this is it.
GANG – Rat Poison
The best video this year came from GANG, one of the best things to hit Myspace. GANG are something quite special indeed sounding like a female Beastie Boys meets Scissor Sisters hybrid. They also remind me of Be Your Own Pet with the do-it-yourself nature of their video.
The video to 'Rat Poison' is available to view below and I'm sure you'll agree it does sound rather ace.