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Biting the bullet

Alright, I never had the time to devote to the souped up Best Of 2006 so I am just going to get this out there in whatever format I deem possible. I'd like to blame this on the fact that this was the biggest year in history for me in terms of listening -- I listened to well over 50 releases in 2006 which is one a week. So, sorry I couldn't turn in the usual effort! I'm no longer living in a... well, I'll spare you the excuses. Tonight you get the top albums with limited commentary. I realize that this is backwards compared to most countdowns but I respect you all too much to make you wait for it! I'll save my most cutting commentary for those albums that simply didn't cut it so be sure to check back:

1.Built To Spill -- You In Reverse
If It's Gotta be One:Goin' Against Your Mind
Lollapalooza marked my first extended experience with Built To Spill. It wasn't long before a friend tuned me in to You in Reverse. Slowly this release creeped up my playcharts until it dominated.

Much will be made of Doug Martsch's only-in-an-indie-band voice by critics in their year-end lists so I won't dwell on it here. Instead I will point out the excursions in each track where his guitar expertise is highlighted. There are some serious indie guitar gods -- Ted Leo, Malkmus, etc -- but Martsch drives a groove that caters a bit more to the Dead-friendly side of my brain. There is so much potential in the outro of "Gone", for instance, which lends itself perfectly for extended exploration and rolling crescendos. I can vouch for the live renditions of these songs but the studio recorded versions are excellent as-is.

2.Bob Dylan -- Modern Times
If It's Gotta be One:Nettie Moore
I've already said alot about this release. It is amazing how Bobby continues to turn in efforts that delight me. This is a fine album.

3.Belle and Sebastian -- The Life Pursuit
If It's Gotta be One:Funny Little Frog
Here's one that surprised me. I was expecting to like this one a little but I liked it a lot. The one pick is a bit ridiculous, there's plenty on this album to choose from, but it always makes me laugh. From start to finish there's a lot of pop goodness here.

4.Mates of State -- Bring it Back
If It's Gotta be One:For The Actor
Bring it Back indeed! This duo came off like another list-member as some sort of retro outfit. But they dug in and keep delivering listen after listen. I wish I could spell out exactly why they have such a spell on me.

5.The Decemberists -- The Crane Wife
If It's Gotta be One:The Crane Wife 3
This is the album in the top 5 that may prove to have the most staying power. There's a lot to like about this release and Colin and the rest of the crew keeps creative anachronists happy the world over. I was chatting with my Dad about some selections that I loaded on to his iPod (a birthday present). He had told me that he finally stumbled upon the Decemberists and had to keep rewinding asking himself "Wait, what are they singing about?!?" This reaction was primarily from Picaresque and I give them some serious props for getting out of medieval times with The Crane Wife.