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I couldn't let Dan have the last word on the songs of 2006, could I? No, of course not. So here's a CD's-worth of what I was listening to in 2006. A couple of tracks date from 2005 -- a couple are even 2007 songs, technically -- but most of it's music from the last twelve months. Enjoy.

01. Cavalry -- Delays

Delays' second album took a while to grow on me (and to be honest, if I want to listen to a cheery Delays track I still default to "Long Time Coming"), but eventually it got under my skin, odd rhythms and synthesisers and all. This is the album's opening track, with characteristically gymnastic vocals.

02. Hunting For Witches -- Bloc Party

Last year was the year Bloc Party clicked for me, and that's largely because I listened to their second album, A Weekend in the City. Silent Alarm (with a couple of exceptions, notably "This Modern Love") always felt a bit smooth to me, a bit passionless, as though they didn't really mean it. You can't say that about "Hunting For Witches".

03. Panic Attack -- The Sunshine Underground

I know next to nothing about this band, and I can't remember how I encountered them. I rather like them, though, in an indie-rock-dance way.

04. All The Pretty Faces -- The Killers

Why is it that bonus tracks always seem to eclipse what's actually on the album? Sam's Town has, admittedly, grown on me since I first listened to it, but it's still very much a mixed bag ("My List"? "Why Do I Keep Counting"? Oh dear.). This track from the Japanese release, all fuzz and a great thumping riff, is easily my favourite Killers track from 2006.

05. Skip To The End -- The Futureheads

I can thank Truck for introducing me to The Futureheads properly, by booking them as headline act this year. I immediately went out and got hold of both albums. It has to be said that they have a tendency to value noise over melody that means they're unlikely to ever be a favourite of mine, but at their spiky, poppy best -- as here -- you can't get their tunes out of your head.

06. Surrendered -- The Bluetones

The Bluetones' self-titled album is not their finest hour: it sounds too self-conscious, too much like an attempt to sound like themselves. But there are a couple of jangly gems, and this is one of them.

07. Paper Shoes -- Incubus

Much like The Futureheads, there are parts of Incubus' repertoire that are always going to leave me cold. But they have a wider range than you might suspect. This track, which sounds to me not unlike Radiohead meeting Interpol by way of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, is a highlight of their 2006 album Light Grenades.

08. Intervention -- The Arcade Fire

The Arcade Fire: they're bonkers, aren't they? But brilliant.

09. Braille -- Ed Harcourt

Dan's right to say that 2006 was a year of numerous disappointing albums, and that The Beautiful Lie was one of them; but it's still far from being a bad record, and this great bruised ballad is one of the reasons why. It reminds me more than a little of the rich alt-country of Beck's Sea Change, which is no bad thing.

10. Safe In Your Arms -- Beth Orton

You can file Comfort of Strangers under 'disappointing', while you're at it. But keep the album's closing track -- and keep this one, too.

11. Black Swan -- Thom Yorke

On the other hand, there's nothing disappointing about The Eraser, at least not once you've let its skittering bleakness get under your skin. At the very least it's the most coherent album Thom Yorke's been involved in since, ooh, OK Computer, probably; and it's hard to imagine a more perfect soundtrack choice for A Scanner Darkly.

12. The Storm -- Seth Lakeman

Another Truck find, one I liked so much that I went to see him play again a few months later. But I find myself listening to his 2004 (Mercury-nominated) album Kitty Jay more than last year's offering, Freedom Fields; the sound is slightly less polished, the tunes slightly more memorable.

13. It Was Love -- The Elected

Even I balk a little at the tweeness of parts of Sun, Sun, Sun. But the first half-dozen or so tracks, including this one, are pretty much perfect.

14. Eyes -- Rogue Wave

Ah, the obligatory found-via-TV track of the year. Last year, of course, it was the Veronica Mars theme ("We Used to be Friends", Dandy Warhols). This year it's this acoustic gem, brought to you by Heroes.

15. Hoppipolla -- Sigur Ros

More pre-2006 music, but this was the year I was introduced to Sigur Ros. And this track was used in the trailer for Children of Men, so it's staying.

16. Together We Will Live Forever -- Clint Mansell

The Fountain isn't even out over here yet, but already I've fallen in love with the soundtrack, which I think I like even more than Mansell's work on Requiem for a Dream. This piano melody is the album's closing track.
 
 
 
 
 
 
The link for the Sigur Ros song appears to be broken.

Otherwise, interesting music. :)
Whoops! Although not broken so much as incomplete, I think. Anyway, fixed now, thanks.
Nice selection Niall - enjoying these tracks. I think 'All the Pretty Faces' could be my anthem right about now. ;-)
Frankly, I like them all ... a nice taste of something different from what I normally listen to. The tracks of your list I particularly liked are:

Cavalry - Delays ... wow, I think I may need to get this CD.
The Storm - Seth Lakeman
All the Pretty Faces - The Killers
The Sunshine Underground - Panic Attack
Paper Shoes - Incubus ... I agree with your assessment completely! Very Radiohead/Interpol/RHCP! ... the song feels slightly incomplete though/ending too soon.
Black Swan - Thom Yorke ... you remind me to go find A Scanner Darkly on DVD.

What I liked slightly less:

Together We Will Live Forever - Clint Mansell ... a nice addition to other piano leads I've enjoyed, from Philip Glass to Yoko Kanno.

Safe In Your Arms - Beth Orton ... reminded me a bit of Madredeus

Intervention - The Arcade Fire ... yes, mad, and for that grandeur of sound mixed with small-voice singing, I might prefer George Clinton. :-)

Hunting For Witches - Bloc Party ... I like that I can't easily peg this song.

Braille - Ed Harcourt ... it amuses me to no end to see country's influence creeping into the fusing chords and melodies. On the whole, I'd probably listen to Radiohead or the Twin Peaks soundtrack for this sound, more regularly.

Otherwise, I'd probably get bored rather quickly with:

Surrendered - The Bluetones ... too TV show/shopping centre muzak background for me.

Skip to the End - The Futureheads ... for their sound, I might as well 'skip to the end' and tune into an early 80s music channel. ;-)

It Was Love - The Elected ... what starts as an Irish pub song, slows down too much for my taste.

Hoppipolla - Sigur Ros ... kindda reminds me of Yoko Kanno, with a more Brit-pop approach. The sound drowns out the singing too easily. What language is he singing in then? Or is it tounges?

Eyes - Rogue Wave ... nice simple sound, but then I might as well listen to Simon and Garfunkle.


What language is he singing in then?

Icelandic. They're an Icelandic band.

Although one of their albums, '()', is in a constructed language called vonlenska (http://www.langmaker.com/db/Hopelandic) - also used for three of the tracks on 'Takk' (http://sigur-ros.co.uk/band/faq.php#07), the album that 'Hoppipolla' is from. Science fact.

See also under Simlish (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simlish).

-- tom
one of their albums, '()', is in a constructed language called vonlenska (http://www.langmaker.com/db/Hopelandic)

Huh. I did not know that.
Hoppipolla also that great 'next ep' trailer at the end of every ep of Planet Earth. 'Hopeland' was the putative of my (delayed) mainstream book. Aegatis Byrjum (s?) is the one to get.
I agree with your assessment completely! Very Radiohead/Interpol/RHCP! ...

On reflection, I might retract the Interpol part of that comparison, if only because I can sense brassyn preparing to thwap me upside the head for my impudence/stupidity. :) But the chord changes, in particular, are very Radiohead.

And I didn't expect Delays to be such a big hit!
I'm getting permission denied errors trying to click on them...
Me too...
Ditto...
See here.
Huh. Worked fine for me without that stuff.
Hopefully that's because you downloaded them before about 6pm.
Yeah, it was during and after the football, I think.
Ah, thank you.
See here.
I really like the Delays one, especially the start of it.
Good!
Which version of Freedom Fields do you have? When he signed to Relentless they re-recorded and re-released the album and the tracks from the new version that I've heard have been noticably smoother and less gritty.
I almost certainly have the re-release -- I didn't know there were two versions. He's certainly been much more interesting live.
Wow, you are my new music god.

My new playlist for the next three weeks:
01. Cavalry -- Delays (I am in love)
05. Skip To The End -- The Futureheads
06. Surrendered -- The Bluetones (This one kind of rambles along and then suddenly just hits me)
08. Intervention -- The Arcade Fire
09. Braille -- Ed Harcourt
13. It Was Love -- The Elected
14. Eyes -- Rogue Wave
15. Hoppipolla -- Sigur Ros (I used to listen to Sigur Ros all the time, but I'd kind of lost track of it recently... thank you for reminding why I loved this stuff)
We aim to please!
I downloaded all of these, more out of curiosity than expectation because, you know, you and me - chalk and cheese, but I have to say that I was taken with each and every one. Thank you. I'll have to start paying more attention to your musical recommendations in future. One thing: I believe the title of the Delays track is not "Cavalry" but "You and Me."
Goodness. Will wonders never cease? :)

One thing: I believe the title of the Delays track is not "Cavalry" but "You and Me."

Yeah, Tim pointed this out, as well. But "Cavalry" is the version I have. (The version I have differs from the tracklisting on Amazon at a couple of other points, as well.)
I checked it against the lyrics downloaded from the band's website. I don't think it's an Amazon thing.
Fair enough. I think "Cavalry" is the better title, though. :)
I am going to investigate the ones I don't know tonight/tomorrow night so expected belated replies at some point.
I love that you are getting into Bloc Party right at the moment where they're beginning to irk me :)

Also, Arcade Fire tickets go on sale Friday and I want to go but it's going to one of those sells-out-in-a-second things I reckon. Woe.
Hello!

I also need to download your tracks this evening. :)

I didn't even realise Arcade Fire were touring. Man, I need to keep better track of that stuff.
hello!

I can't get seth. I am denied seth!

I'm not done listening (gotta work up to The Bluetones) but i have to say that i love that Clint Mansell track, in an omgflaily type way. It's stunning and it's made me all emotional.
Hmm. I do not know what the problem is with Seth.

It's stunning and it's made me all emotional.

The whole soundtrack kinda has that effect on me. :)
Hey! I've just noticed that 'A Weekend In The City' came out in 2007. INELEGIBLE. Thus making my own soon-to-be-finished best of 2006 list that bit harder.

-- tom
It was on the internets in 2006. :p

Also, I'm pretty sure the Arcade Fire on is technically 2007, too.