2006 So Far in Indie/Alt Rock

The year is half over. So far I haven’t listened to a ton of 2006 releases, but I’ve heard enough to make the decision of what to leave off of my “top five so far” list a difficult one.

Here it is:

Destoyer—Destroyer’s Rubies (here’s Supergenius’s review; here’s my show review)
Neko Case—Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (here’s my kind-of review)
Band of Horses—Everything All the Time (here’s Greg’s review)
The Twilight Singers—Powder Burns
Built to Spill—You In Reverse

The last three are not very safe in their spots. Here are some albums that could work their way into my top five or that at least might contend for a year-end top ten spot:

Sonic Youth—Rather Ripped
Belle & Sebastian—The Life Pursuit
Calexico—Garden Ruin (here’s Susan M’s show review and interview)
Loose Fur—Born Again in the U.S.A. (here’s my review)

I haven’t heard enough 2006 releases to make any definitive pronouncements as to how well the year in indie/alternative rock is going, but so far Destroyer’s Rubies is the only album I’m super enthusiastic about. That’s probably just because I haven’t done enough exploring to find the Black Sheep Boys and The Great Destroyers of 2006.

There is some exciting stuff on the horizon. Thom Yorke’s solo album is out next week. I’m also jazzed for upcoming releases from Magnolia Electric Co., Akron/Family, Golden Smog, the Mars Volta, Mountain Goats, the Black Keys, Sparklehorse, and the Decemberists.

What recent releases have you liked?

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21 thoughts on “2006 So Far in Indie/Alt Rock

  1. Not a top five list, just releases this year so far that I’ve loved (that aren’t on your list):

    Jesu – S/T EP
    Deadboy & the Elephantmen – We Are Night Sky
    The Brought Low – Right on Time
    The Spores – Imagine the Future
    Ladyhawk – S/T
    Mogwai – Mr. Beast
    Flaming Lips – At War With the Mystics

  2. I just haven’t heard their album. That’s one that I’ve been meaning to check out. Is it one of your favorites?

    Some albums that I have listened to that I didn’t mention because I didn’t like them a lot are At War With the Mystics by the Flaming Lips, The Greatest by Cat Power, Pearl Jam’s self titled, Rabbit Fur Coat by Jenny Lewis, The Gun Album by the Minus 5. I didn’t dislike many of these albums, I just wasn’t all that impressed.

    Like I said, I haven’t listened to a ton of 2006 releases. I’m interested to know what gems I’ve missed.

  3. As for genre classifications, I don’t know that all of these fit the indie/alt rock label. That’s just my shorthand for the kind of music that I usually listen to.

  4. I haven’t heard it yet either, just the single. I’ve been thinking about picking it up, though, and I’ve heard good things.

  5. i too really liked mogwai’s mr. beast.

    i haven’t liked you in reverse as much as built to spill’s older albums, but after seeing them perform several of their new songs live last week i’m willing to give the album another spin.

    i also like the eagles of death metal’s death by sexy, it’s really a fun record if you just want to rock out.

  6. I second the You In Reverse vote. Seeing them live gave new life to an already good album – Other things I’d reccomend:

    The Walkmen – A Hundred Miles Off
    Thom Yorke – Eraser (I guarantee you can find an advance copy)

  7. You know, in all honesty, I just have not been wowed yet this year. Sure, there are some decent albums, but none that would definitely make last year’s top ten list.

    Some I like, though:

    Destroyer
    Eagles of Death Metal
    Twilight Singers
    Raconteurs

  8. I’ve listened to Mogwai’s Mr. Beast a couple of times as well. I don’t know why, but I have a hard time paying attention to Mogwai’s music. I always find my mind wandering and realize that I’ve totally missed the last three songs. So, basically, I have no opinion of Mogwai. All I can say is that they don’t capture my attention.

  9. On a more positive note, I’ve been listening to the new T.V. on the Radio album, and it is very intriguing.

  10. The albums that have really wowed me are the first three on my list. Serious wows. I’m still taking in Daxx Rigg’s complete catalogue (guy from Deadboy). So happy to discover someone like this–with a big back catalogue to catch up on. Just wish I’d known about him earlier.

  11. One you should listen to and add is Beirut “Gulag Orkestar.” It’s great indie, but brings all these Eastern European melodies so it seems more innovative than other 2006 indie fare.

  12. Thanks, esposito, I’ll check it out.

    Jared C., I listened to the Walkmen and I’m not sure what to think. I like the sound. I like several songs. But I don’t know if I can get past the Bob Dylan thing. I can’t exactly articulate why I object to a singer sounding exactly like Bob Dylan (or like David Byrne, in the case of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah). If it sounds good, why does it matter? Is originality in vocals so important? I don’t know. I’m going to have to do some serious reflection and write a post at my own little blog about it. These are serious matters.

    I’m pleased with The Eraser.

  13. Maybe it has to do with whether or not you like the original vocalist. Cuz I don’t mind people who sound like Neil Young, but I can’t handle much of Neil himself. But that chick from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs who sings like Missing Persons (who I love) drives me crazy.

  14. It’s been a disappointing year all around. But the new David Bazan EP just came out, and I’m very happy with it. I’m sort of a sucker for that guy though, so maybe I’m not a good judge.

    (none of you know me, I don’t think, but I really like this site. see you more in the future.)

  15. Welcome, Jeremy. I know the phenomenon—being a sucker for an artist and, therefore, not having confidence in my ability to judge objectively. Both Wilco and Radiohead can do no wrong in my eyes. I’m also a sucker for weird, off-kilter guitar solos. If a song has it, I’ll probably like it.

  16. I haven’t been that wowed this year either. However, there are a couple albums I’ve enjoyed that I don’t think have been mentioned:
    Island’s – Return to the Sea I didn’t like it as much as the Unicorns, but it was entertaining none the less.
    Evangelicals – So Gone. Wayne Coyne seems to get a bit annoyed when other quirky Oklahoma based bands are always compared to the Flaming Lips. I can understand being annoyed, as the comparisons seem to be constant. But I think here he must be annoyed that So Gone is better than anything the Lips have done since Yoshimi.

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