and my favourite music of 2006

I’ve been on for just over 10 months now, and have listened to 20,000 tracks in that time. 2000 tracks a month,
67 tracks or approx 4.5 hours of music per day – this is the kind of pointless musogeeky number-crunching that positively encourages. Well, it’s a good New Year thing to do!

It turns out that my top 10 bands of 2006 are quite a mixed bag:

10. The Futureheads

Only found out about these when I returned to England in August, and I’d missed their first album with its rather odd Kate Bush cover. Much prefer the second album, which reminds me a lot of the Jam, if they had come from Sunderland. Great rock that could only have come the UK.

9. The Beatles

What needs to be said… I didn’t listen to them for a few years, but sometime in spring dusted off the old collections and remembered why they are still the best.

8. Simon & Garfunkel

Listened to a lot of folk in 2006, and S&G are perfect for those lazy sunny summer afternoons.

7. The Libertines

Was a fan as soon as I heard them, and was gutted when they split. Due to the pecularities of my music tagging Babyshambles and Pete Doherty are all labelled as Libertines, hence the high rating. It’s a shame that Pete’s notoriety for Kate and drugs overshadows what a good songwriter he is.

6. The Go! Team

If you haven’t heard them yet, go and listen. It’s fantastic music, at least for my generation who grew up with 70s kids theme tunes (which was the best era for theme tunes, naturally). Cheerleader pop infectious melodic madness that feels happily nostalgic and yet completely contemporary at the same time.

5. Green Day

All down to American Idiot, which I’ve been listening to fairly constantly since it was released. Aside from rescuing the concept album from the prog-rock mockers (yes – I’m a fan of Tommy, Quadrophenia, The Snow Goose, Hamburger Concerto, Thick as a Brick etc. etc.) it is damn catchy, brilliant wakeup-and-get-going music, and with a ‘serious’ political message too. What more can you ask?

4. The Pentangle

Noone I know listens to Pentangle anymore, if they ever did, which is a shame. They were hugely influential in British folk music, and their music is beautiful… conjurs up that (perhaps mythical) ‘more innocent age’. Another of the reasons I listen to them so much is Danny Thompson’s (double) bass playing, which is simply genious… he crops up on several other groups/artists I listen too like Nick Drake and John & Beverley Martyn, but it’s here that you really get to hear his virtuosity.

3. Lush

Rediscovered in 2006 after about 10 years… shoe-gazer indie pop, which was what I and most of my peers were listening to age 15-17, before dance music took us over. Amazingly good music to work to, I’ve found. And I still fancy Miki Berenyi.

2. Yann Tiersen

A friend in Montreal turned me on to Yann last year, and I was instantly smitten. He is probably best known for composing the music to the film Amelie, so the fact that his music reminds me of the lovely Audrey Tautou may be one of the reasons I listen to it so much. But it is also quite unlike anything else I’ve heard recently – some songs could easily be mistaken for 1930s originals, others are those beautiful ballads that French musicians do so well. He’s probably the only person who could write an accordion song that I wouldn’t have to be paid to listen to.

1. Zero 7

Despite the frequency with which their songs appear in episodes of CSI, I love Zero 7. Gorgeous songs, with lush instrumentation and wonderful vocals. Their new album ‘The Garden’ came out last year, which is why they ended up at the top of the list… I’ve obviously been listening to it a lot.

Strangely though, my most listened track of the year by quite some way was The Hives ‘No Pun Intended‘, which is Buzzcocks-era punk pop at it’s best. One of those tracks that is brilliant in the morning, when walking around, or anytime you want to jump up and down manically.