Thursday, December 14, 2006

Scott Harrison - Top 10 Albums 2006

10. Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah! – Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah!

Released in the US last year but didn't get a UK release till the end of Jan this year & I'm still listening to it regularly. It had to make the list. Key track: ‘In This Home On Ice’.

9. Bag of Toys - Nooner

Again, another January release that I'm still playing regularly. Acoustic surf rock that doesn't suck. Think Jack Johnson or G Love with the wit of Sublime but so much more. Unsigned but soon to be seen on the ad for Microsoft's new attempt to dislodge the iPod from the top of the ‘ace’ list. Key track: ‘This Stuff’.

8. The Fratellis - Costello Music

OK, so it's a pop record but I fucking love it. Not a dud track in sight. Great fun. Key Track: ‘Chelsea Dagger’.

7. Goo Goo Dolls - Let Love In

OK, so they've gone a bit Bon Jovi (especially with the live show), but they still have a knack for writing quality tunes. Can get a little samey-samey by the end, but worth a place on the list for the first half of the album alone. Key track: ‘Better Days’.

6. The Spinto Band - Nice and Nicely Done

Didn't find these guys until T in the Park, but they were just about the highlight of the whole weekend. This is what indie should sound like. The brevity of the 10 tracks on here just leaves you gasping for more. Key track: ‘Oh Mandy’.

5. My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade

They did a Green Day. They're probably sick of people comparing this to American Idiot. As my album of the year for 2004, I just couldn't ignore this. It's big, it's brash, it's emo, it's screamo, it's a fucking great record. It's not quite as good as American Idiot, though. Key track: ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’.

4. Joshua Radin - We Were Here

Ever heard The Shins ‘New Slang’? Well, this is a whole album that is that beautiful. If you’re a Scrubs fan, you may recognise some of the songs on here. Terribly difficult to get hold of in the UK, but worth all the effort, it is immediate but stands up to repeated listens. Key track: ‘These Photographs’.

3. Matt Nathanson - At The Point (Live)

A live album? At number 3? Yep, this is a fantastic showcase of the true talent of this lad. Great songs, a superb sense of humour and a rapport with a crowd that I'm yet to hear anyone better. You just don't get sick of this album. Key track: ‘Lost Myself in Search of You’ (including the banter before the song).

2. Brand New - The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me

This was a late entry to the list - almost made album of the year too. People say it's not as good as their previous effort and I'm inclined to agree with them - a little. It's still better than most things released this year. It has everything. The loud/quiet we associate with the Pixies or Nirvana, the sound of early REM, the lo-fi beauty of Elliott Smith or Guided By Voices and the harmonies of the Byrds. Oh yeah, and it'll rock your fucking socks off. Key track: ‘Archers’.

1. Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther

This took some getting into. There was no doubt that ‘Roscoe’ is a fabulous track, but the album seemed to wane a little after track three. Fear not, repeated listens have revealed the true genius of this record. Every single song on here has the power to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. A true five star, ten out of ten album. Key track: ‘Roscoe’.

Honourable Mention

The Shins’ new album would have been ahead of this if it had been released in 2006. Instead it won't hit shops till January next year. Arse.

Top 10 Songs of the Year

Not in any order with the exception of number 1

Midlake - Roscoe

Dresden Dolls - Backstabber

Sunshine Underground - Commercial Breakdown

My Chemical Romance - Welcome to the Black Parade

The Lemonheads - Poughkeepsie

Longcut - A Tried and Tested Method

The Automatic - Monster

Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine

Mumm-Ra - Out of The Question

1. Fell City Girl - February Snow

Some debate as to whether this would top the list or not. I've listened to this countless times since its release in October, I've seen it performed live five times (including once in their studio) and I still can't get enough of it. A fabulously uplifting song that deserves to be heard by everyone. Watch out for FCG in 2007.

Top 10 Gigs of the Year
(same rules as songs)

Fell City Girl @ The Zodiac (May)

The Decemberists @ The Zodiac (May)

Jason Mraz @ Shepherds Bush Empire (Feb)

Dave Matthews @ Carling Academy Birmingham (May)

Fell City Girl @ The Zodiac (October)

Rodrigo Y Gabriella @ The Zodiac (May)

Death Cab For Cutie @ Brookes (March)

Mumm-Ra (supporting Fields) @ The Zodiac (April)

Belarus @ The Water Rats (September)

1. Pearl Jam @ Reading

Pure fucking magic. No other words for it.