Sweet Juniper's favorite albums of 2006

Posted by jdg | Sunday, December 31, 2006 |

Wood and I got together and agreed upon our favorite ten albums that were released this past year. That means we each had others that we liked individually (I loved Destroyer's Rubies and some louder, angrier stuff; she liked some album by some guy who used to be in IN*SYNC) but these were the ones we agreed on. I have included some mp3 downloads, with the usual caveats (for sampling purposes only, will be removed after a week) and if any copyright owners want us to remove them, please let us know.

Jolie Holland- Springtime Can Kill You Crush in the Ghetto (Mp3), the first song on the album, is probably our favorite song on any album we heard this year. It is such an exuberant and sexy song about that feeling of being newly in love; she takes the phrase, "look what you've done to me," which has so much negative potential and turns into an expression of pure joy. Plus I love the idea of depicting a place where so many people can only see only ugliness with a casual sense of its true beauty.

Calexico- Garden Ruin I haven't liked too much of this band's output---on past albums there has been to much -exico and not enough Cal- for me, but I really, really loved this one. Listen: Cruel (mp3).

The Essex Green- Cannibal Sea Wood's absolute favorite from 2006. We've probably listened to it more than 100 times. Our favorite song was included on her summer mix, but we also really like Rue de Lis (mp3).

Sparklehorse- Dreamt For Light Years In the Belly of a Mountain Am I only one who realized a new Sparklehorse album came out this year? Am I the only one who thought it was really good? Listen: Please Don't take my sunshine away (mp3)

Nina Nastasia- On Leaving Wood used to listen to a lot of girly music like this before she realized that most girly music like this is really, really bad. This album, however, is really, really good. Listen: Our Day Trip (Mp3).

Midlake- The Trials of Van Occupanther This one is on everyone's list. Because it's that good. Roscoe (Mp3) is the first song, and a great introduction to the feeling of the whole album.

Guillemots- Through The Windowpane These songs are so catchy. Made-up Love Song #43 (mp3) was on our autumn mix, but here it is again because it's just so good.

Belle and Sebastian- The Life Pursuit I was hanging out with some friends from college last night and one of them put this album on and I realized I had been listening to the songs all year on shuffle, but had never sat and listened to the entire album as a whole. We really loved Dear Catastrophe Waitress and this album is almost just as good. Another Sunny Day (Mp3) is the most traditional "Belle and Sebastian" song on an album where the band breaks from a lot of their own traditions. But that's not a bad thing.

Bishop Allen- The EPs
This is really cheating. I started to like this Brooklyn band last summer, but they didn't put out a single album in 2006. Instead, they ambitiously tried to release an EP every month for $5, and they made it to October. All the EPs are good, and the May one is really kid-friendly too (ukuleles! songs about the Chinatown bus!). September's EP had the excellent song Fireflies (mp3).

The Terrible Twos: If You Ever See an Owl This one would be Juniper's choice. It's some former emo kid turned alt.country guy turned kid's musician; the music ranks pretty high on the tolerability scale as far as kid's music goes. The band is the same as the New Amsterdams, and the songs are clever and not condescending. Juniper loves it. Her favorite song is Smickey (Mp3), which is about being polite after burping and farting. She just likes the "baby" who talks during the song. I always play it when I need to stop all the goddamn hollering.

Enjoy, and if you're in the mood, share with us some of your favorites from the last year in the comments. Happy New Year.