:: Wednesday, December 27, 2006 ::
The music year in review: the fun, the ugly, the cleverly titled

The latest installment of my year-end music project, with podcast.

bloggedy blog's most fun album

Musicians have their serious side, to be sure. But sometimes I need a break from all that earnestness. That's when I long for fun stuff -- the campiness of the B-52s, absurd humor of Ramones, even some foot-tapping surf music a la Dick Dale or the Beach Boys. This past year brought us enough depressing news. Didn't we deserve to laugh a little? These performers must have thought so.

The winner in the category of "most fun album of 2006" is:

Bang Bang Rock & RollArt Brut, Bang Bang Rock and Roll
From the opening chops of track 1, "Formed a Band," to the final track's assurance that "everything's gonna be alright," Art Brut -- the name comes from a critic's definition of "outsider art" -- pokes fun at all the things the artsy fartsy take so seriously: the music business, pop culture, rock and roll, love lives, modern art. Art Brut's wry, cynical glance at the absurdity of life comes through loud and clear. Art Brut is the B-52s with a British accent and a good does of Dada absurdity and Monty Python toss in.

Now, before one of you astute readers points out that this album is technically a 2005 release, let me point out that even though you're technically correct, the album didn't make it to the USA until 2006. So that's why it makes it into this year's list.

Runners up:

We Are The PipettesThe Pipettes: We Are the Pipettes
A charming girl group, this trio of perkies is a throwback to an earlier, simpler time -- a time of Phil Spector's wall of sound, the Shirelles, the Supremes, and mod London, baby. Their smooth sound and '60s style bring a smile to my face.

The Loon
Tapes 'n Tapes: The Loon
Tapes 'n Tapes' CD wasn't laugh out loud funny or even ha-ha funny. But the varied, layered musical style of songs like "Crazy Eights" and "Jakovis Suite" make this a fun album to listen to over and over.

The year in review: ugliest album art

Cover art just ain't what it used to be. Will there ever again be anything as beautiful as Electric Ladyland or even Sgt. Peppers? Probably not. At least this year's offerings weren't too hideous. The ugliest among them, though, was pretty darn ugly:

Look Your Best
Pinky Tuscadero: Look Your Best
Lovely hands, no? My mechanic has prettier hands. Fortunately for Pinky, the music on this five-song release is better than the cover art -- if only slightly.

Runners up:

Let's Get Out of This Country

Camera Obscura: Let's Get Out of This Country
Camera Obscura lead singer Tracyanne Campbell adorns the cover of this fine album, and her lilting vocals are pleasant enough throughout. But a cover girl, she is not. Not that she's bad looking. This photo is just weirdly unflattering.

Paul Simon: Surprise
Listen, I like cute babies just as much as the next guy. But don't you think this is a bit much?

Best album title
This one's a no-brainer:

I Am  Not Afraid Of  You And I Will Beat Your Ass
Yo La Tengo: I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass
No further explanation required.

Runner up:

Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
A twist on Eminem.

OK, so there weren't a lot of great album titles this year.

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:: Andrew 15:54 + ::

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What I've been listening to lately. Click album cover or hyperlink to hear track samples and learn more.

Sermon on Exposition Boulevard Rickie Lee Jones, Sermon on Exposition Boulevard

Children Running Through Patty Griffin, Children Running Through

Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? Of Montreal, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

Tones of Town Field Music, Tones of Town

The Girl Collection De Bossen, The Girl Collection

Robbers & Cowards Cold War Kids, Robbers & Cowards

Carinvore Simon Dawes, Carnivore

Until Death Comes Frida Hyvonen, Until Death Comes

Tratore Basics 2: New Brazilian Rock Tratore Basics Vol. 2, Novo Rock Brazil

Modern Times Yusuf: An Other Cup

Modern Times The Beatles: Love

Two Thousand The French Kicks: Two Thousand

Paper Television The Blow: Paper Television

Freedom Haters Unite! A Bloodshot Records Sampler, Vol. 1 Freedom Haters Unite! A Bloodshot Records Sampler

Beast Moans Swan Lake: Beast Moans

Prototypes Prototypes: Prototypes

Violence Is Golden Scanners: Violence Is Golden

Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives Voxtrot: Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives

Your Biggest Fan Voxtrot: Your Biggest Fan

Translate Macon Greyson: Translate

Get Evens The Evens: Get Evens

Veruca Salt IV Veruca Salt: Veruca Salt IV

Modern Times Bob Dylan: Modern Times

Look Your Best Pink Tuscadero: Look Your Best

Blue On Blue Leigh Nash: Blue on Blue

I Am  Not Afraid Of  You And I Will Beat Your Ass Yo La Tengo: I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass

Boys and Girls in America The Hold Steady: Boys and Girls in America

The Longest Meow Bobby Bare Jr.: The Longest Meow"

Hello Love The Be Good Tanyas: Hello Love

The Lemonheads The Lemonheads: The Lemonheads

Ben Kweller Ben Kweller: Ben Kweller

We Are The Pipettes The Pipettes: We Are the Pipettes

Surprise Paul Simon: Surprise

Sev7en Exene Cervenka and the Original Sinners: Sev7en

A Hundred Highways Johnny Cash: American V: A Hundred Highways

For the Best of Us The John Doe Thing: For the Best of Us

Runaway Bombshell The Fondas: Runaway Bombshell

Flat-Pack Philosophy Buzzcocks: Flat Pack Philosophy

Citrus Asobi Seksu: Citrus

The Loon Tapes 'n Tapes: The Loon

2006 Pitchfork Music Festival Sampler Various Artists: 2006 Pitchfork Music Festival Sampler (24 free tracks)

News and Tributes The Futureheads: News and Tributes

Zoysia The Bottle Rockets: Zoysia

Let's Get Out of This Country Camera Obscura: Let's Get Out of This Country

Bang Bang Rock & Roll Art Brut: Bang Bang Rock & Roll

A Blessing and a Curse Drive By Truckers: A Blessing and a Curse

Broken Boy Soldiers The Raconteurs: Broken Boy Soldiers

The Life Pursuit Belle and Sebastian: The Life Pursuit

The Greatest Cat Power: The Greatest

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