December 28, 2006

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2006 in music
20 CDs not to be missed: an angry young man passes judgment
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com

This year the music world tagged along with Neil Young’s cane-hobbling attempt at reviving the ’60s, but the ’00s are doomed to be the next ’80s, because for a while there bands literally had to throw a Bush Is a Rotten Meanie song on their new albums per corporate policy. Even worse, Mars Volta made another album.

There were a precious few good records, though — 20 by my count. In no particular order, they were:

• Neil Young, Living With War Vote the sons-a-guns out, by cracky! At least someone did something.

• Belle and Sebastian, The Life Pursuit I could beat up this entire band with two hands tied behind my back, so maybe it’s a mother-hen thing.

• Wired All Wrong, Break Out the Battle Tapes Mindless Self who? Industrial-brat-punk goes Aerosmith in an instant classic.

• Paul Oakenfold, A Lively Mind Not a very lively mind, but Oakenfold rules the trance genre.

• Zero 7, The Garden This was a constant in the car all summer. Yard sales, the Cape, barbecue every weekend – don’t you miss it like hell already?

• Art Brut, Bang Bang Rock & Roll I saw my new girlfriend NAKED! TWICE! and a star is born.

• Archie Bronson Outfit, Derdang Derdang Alt-rock reviewers, Domino Records’ PR list is the new holy grail. Great stuff all year from them, and January’s Clinic album is (smug grin) in my car right now.

• KT Tunstall, Eye to the Telescope You can get this at Wal-Mart, but don’t let that keep you from this goddess.

• Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not Ticks you off that this made the list, huh hipsters? Mission accomplished.

• Peter Bradley Adams, Gather Up Americana record of the year, hands down.

• Die Form, Exhuman Hey, Metropolis Records: stop making me love you by plying me with android sex. Someone take these handcuffs off pronto please.

• Delerium, Nuages du Monde Another world-class techno album from Bill Leeb, who is actually God.

• Ministry, Rio Grande Blood During the politico-rock wave, Al Jourgensen brought a grenade launcher to Neil Young’s Nerfball fight.

• Euphoria, Precious Time Guitar-tronica to die for — sweeter’n molasses. Almost makes the thought of Texas tolerable.

• Front Line Assembly, Artificial Soldier Makeout music for vampires and the goths who want to be them. I did mention that Bill Leeb is God, right?

• Juggaknots, Use Your Confusion This in spite of the just-plain-doltish copy-protection on the press copies. There’s hope for hip-hop, however small.

• Teddybears, Soft Machine Every cool TV-commercial song you heard this year came from this album – the Pentium Core commercial, the Cadillac commercial, all of ‘em. Pop record of the decade thus far.

• Gary Numan, JaggedAny goth who doesn’t own this is an idiot.

• The Horrors, We Are the Horrors EP Doubtful they’ll live long enough to pull off a full-length, but hope springs.

• Megaherz, 5 If Laibach were musically adept they’d be this. Rammstein should be forced to listen to this for a month straight in order to rediscover their mojo.