Friday, December 29, 2006

Coming Back

So my films of 2006 list probably won't be published until I see more films from 2006. It has been a pretty week year. However, I did just see one of the best films I have seen in a long time (probably since Brick.) This film will also give Brick a run for its money as best film of 2006. From Pedro Almodovar comes Volver, his new comedy about life, death, ghosts and women. With an amazing cast of women and a quirky story, the idea of small town life, death, insanity and family is studied with a really funny and dark eye.

The thing about Almodovar that makes his work so good is the flow of his stories. They are quirky just like Jean Pierre Juenet, but obviously with a Spanish flair. The opening scene where all these women are cleaning the grave stones of their dead husbands and relatives is flat out hilarious. The whole movie, every character is another version of that character. Most of the women are, or become, widows, were abused by their fathers or by other men, have many questions about their own identity but all are powerful role models who are close to each other and their families. The cast spans three generations of one family and they have a beautiful relationship.
This film also proves that Penelope Cruz can actually act. She is astonishing in this. She may be a gorgeous face, but thanks to this movie, I now know she is more than just that. She isn't very good in English speaking roles, so Penelope, stick to Spanish roles. This one should land her an Oscar nod at the very least if not an actual award (unless Helen Mirren takes it for The Queen), but at least Penelope is playing a unique and original character. I'm still half and half on actors playing other people and winning the awards for it. Some original characters need to get noticed!
This film will probably be up for screenplay and foriegn film as well. Should win both as Almodovar one for Talk to Her a few years back. This movie might be better than that one.
So as of now, before I see anymore films, these are the hopefuls for my top films of the year in no order:
Neil Young: Heart of Gold
Thank You For Smoking
Inside Man
The Departed
Movies I still need to see that I bet will make the cut:
Pan's Labrinth
Children of Men
Letters From Iwa Jima
The Prestige
The Good Shephard
Any other suggestions of movies I should see before I do this? It's gonna be a while till I see all of these esp. since The Prestige is probably gone from all theaters.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


For my next list, I will share the one thing that I will one day spend good money on: Travel.

There is nothing better than a well planned trip to another country/state/city that you have never seen. I plan on continuing my world travels throughout my life. So far, I have accomplished two of my top places to see and recently saw the need to rehab my "Must See" list of places. I have already been to Italy, Greece, Austria and Switzerland with the first two being major must sees that are now complete. Needless to say, I plan on re-visiting all of these places with Italy being a return trip in June of 2007. Can't wait. Now on to the ones I need to see.

10. Glacier National Park- Montana isn't exactly a state I would want to live in, but Glacier National Park looks so amazingly gorgeous that I have to see it for myself. I haven't been many places in the states and the latter half of this list will probably consist mostly of those places (because I like foreign countries more), but something about Glacier really intrigues me. It's beautiful and when I was a youngster, I used to want to do environmental studies and geological stuff so I definitely have a weird obsession with that kind of stuff. The USA has some amazing places to see and I think this is one of the ones you never hear about.

9. Arches National Park- I guess I'm a big fan of this park due to good ol' John Ford westerns, but the monuments and arches of Utah boggle my mind. They seem almost not of this planet yet they are right here in the USA. The arches are so memorable from film that westerns became cliched because of the unique structures and backdrops that the arches became due to those movies. Being a film lover, it's almost like visiting the set of a film, yet it's nature too. Double edged sword of yes.

8. Paris, France- Kind of a new one to the list (as is number 5) but something about the city of light wants me to visit it. Maybe I'm a moth and I don't know it. But Paris is a gorgeous city from what I've heard and being a fan of anything European, I definitely want to see it sometime. And maybe sometime soon. I wish I could just travel all the time. Maybe I need a job that allows me to do that. From the Eifell Tower to the Boulevard St. Germaine... I want to see it. Also, the Louvre, which I believe is in Paris, if not I will still go to it, is one of my must sees and actually high up there with the next few monuments and other such places. Art has been a big changing factor in my interests as of late and what better place to see art then The Louvre. Anyone want to come with me? I don't know... the French are assholes.

7. Giza, Egypt- This one may never be accomplished thanks to US/Middle East tensions, but the Pyramids in Giza are something I need to see in person. Pictures of things like this and my #5 are awesome, but garunteed to be totally breathtaking when you actually see it. Just like the David statue or the Sistine Chapel's frescos, you have to witness it first hand. Any man made structure from days of yore is something to see. The Acropolis was sweet ass and I'm sure Giza will trump that. Plus I want to see if it will be some weird other wordly experience since Aliens created them years ago and such. Maybe I'll find the Stargate... It may just be a pile of sand and rocks, but it's still something that I bet is much more awesome in person than in pictures.

6. Tokyo, Japan- For a while, I didn't really want to go to Japan because, well, it's a whole different world and culture unlike anyhtring European and so I wasn't interested. But now, after movies and such about that very topic, I feel as if maybe I need a strange place to visit to see just how complex the human species really is. As a whole, Europe and the USA are the same thing (except that Europe has a much more interesting history and is cleaner.) I've never been anywhere that wasn't Western. So maybe an Eastern country will give me a better world view. Japan from what I hear is awesome. A ton of things to do, very nice people and safe and clean. The major thing that makes me not want to go their sooner is the language barrier. With European counries, I feel more people peak english and I can understand some Italian/Spanish if I try or can leanr common phrases in German or other Euro languages much easier than, say, Mandarin or Japanese. That is pretty tough to learn for travelling, but it won't stop me for wanting to go.

5. Machu Picchu, Peru- In the vein of the Pyramids except much more green. Machu Pichu supposedly takes a few hours to drive to, but the payoff would be breathtaking. Here is the way I would do it:
"Another option is to hike the Inca Trail, on either a four-day or two-day version, both of which are controlled by the government. They require travelers to be reasonably fit. The trip takes a few days, and involves sleeping in tents."
This would probably be the best way to experience the trip. Get a group of likely candidates to trek it up to the ruins. I love hiking and the four day journey would be something of a sweet retreat. Any takers?

4. London, England- I was originally going to lump the British Isles together, but I want to give these two proper justice. Lowest on the list, yet still top five material is London. I hear nothing but great things about London. I really want to visit all the British Rock and Roll history, like famous clubs where The Who and The Stones have played and whatnot. Also, London is high up because BAM! no language barrier. I have traveled to countries where lanquage got in the way of a 100% awesome time. People in other European countries do speak English, but I feel very narrow minded not knowing their language. So London would probably be a lot more comfortable even though they have different words for things. But that would easy be able to get over. Muller was there last year and my parents went and said nothing but good stuff so it gets its own seperate trip.

3. Prague, Czech Republic- I love medieval cities. Medieval architecture is probably my favorite this side of the classic Greek white washed villages. The cities of Europe that date back to the middle ages are gorgeous. Prague is probably the most beautiful one I've seen pictures of. The city is showcased in tons of movies for its windy streets and gorgeous bridges and buildings. It's something of a site to see. Also, they had recent crazy flooding that threatened some of the structures just a few years ago so I believe it is a big priority I see Prague before it can get destroyed. Hopefully it won't, but to be safe, I'm going to check it out sooner than later. Also, any city that is famous for having hundreds of Gargoyles is a place I want to czech out.

2. Ireland- So no set exact city in Ireland. I want to see all of it. Maybe even Belfast, but before you judge me for wanting to see those traitors from the north...

Ireland is the other half of my heritage. Don't let the Greek name confuse you. I'm 50% McIrish. I can hold my whiskey as well as my ouzo. I love my potatoe's just as much as my spanikopita. So SHUT IT! Anyway, the Emerald Isle is the other half of the kind of Europe I love. Sweeping green grass. Greece is pretty dry and not too many plants and trees. Ireland is gorgeous from what all my buddies who have been to have said. Lou posted amazing pictures from his trip on his blog earlier this year and it made me want to go even more. It seems most of the people I am really close with have been there and thats the one thing they have one-up on me in travels around the world. I'd like to boast my several times in Europe, but I haven't even been to an English speaking country yet! What's my problem? I'm thinking 2010 will be when I can feesibly go. I'm going back to Italy with the family in 2007 and 2009 is my possible year abroad in Greece staying mostly in my dad's home town. So I need to get the ball rolling on Ireland. Maybe when I purchase my ticket back home I will plan some time in Ireland in 2009. Maybe I'll split my adventure year between these two places. Who knows. Regardless, I need to see the motherland as I have seen the fatherland.

1. Australian Outback- I don't even care about the cities of Australia as much as I want to see the Outback. I know its pretty much like a desert, but ya know what, I have a reason to want to see Australia. It's called nostalgia. I have never been there but ever since I was five years old, I have been obsessed with Australia, namely Uluru. What is Uluru you might ask? It's more popularly known as Aeyers Rock, but it is a rock formation that is sacred to some of the aboriginal tribes that live in the Outback. In a relatively flat area of land, there is a giant rock stucture. For some reason, this seems amazing and is something I have always wanted to see in the flesh. Not to mention just to travel in a totally different area of the world and still be able to speak English again makes it more desirable to see. And although I stress the outback, I heard amazing stories of Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef from Jack when he went there a few years ago. It's a rugged culture that I relate to for some reason. There is a side of me that just loves nature and the natural world beyond my love of music and film that seems to over power that. But as you can see in this list, both culture and nature are two things that drive the passion in my life.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ten Proper Nouns

10 Proper Nouns that impacted my life in 2006:

10)Mononucleosis- Should be number one, but this goddamn virus almost ruined my life, but gave me a presepective on death, illness, sicknesss unto death, getting down with the sickness and having a liscense to ill. For that reason it makes the list, but I ain't giving it #1. However much it sucked that I was laid up for a month and then some, it gave me a time of solitude that definitely was enriching in a somewhat depressing way. And a quick not to whoever gave me this: FUCK YOU AND I HOPE YOU DIE IN DARFUR! I think things would have been much different if I didn't get mono, but for some strange reason, I'm sort of thankful for that shitty experience.

9) Fighting Cock, Rolling Rock and Citra- Nothing like cheap liquor, beer and wine. The flavor revolution has begun. And I can save money! Fighting Cock was 103 proof and like 15 bucks for a bottle, Rolling Rock is tasty and usually costs 2 bucks at the bar or $5.99 for a twelve pack of longnecks and Citra is a tasty 2005 red wine that is $3.79 cents at Total Wine. I have a job, but cheap drunk nights are always welcomed especially when it comes to things that are good and cheap. Many a night in Kevner's basement, out to dinner with the rents or down teh shore have been enhanced by these tasty brews. The only problems here is the fact that 1)Fighting Cock can't be found anywhere in Jersey anymore.. that was a one time deal. 2) Rolling Rock is moving from Latrobe and 3)Citra was bastardized by someone who recommended it and turned out to be a phony.

Fuck that! They are cheap and tasty! They rule!

8) The Met- So this was the best (and possibly one of three) date(s) that I went on during the year of 2006 and I love museums. But this one, out of all of the museums I have been to in the USA is the best. When you get to get close-up to a Dali painting, or a Piccaso and study the brush strokes, you just get some strange invigorating feeling. The Asian art section was super cool. It was set-up like you were in a Tea House or something in China. My personal favorite was the special exhibit they had on Robert Rauschenberg. His stuff was mixed media which included stuffed birds, cars, tires, paint and anything else really. Some of it was haunting, some of it was really just neato. For a long time, I really didn't dig all that kind of modern art, but this hit me. And I thank the Met for the great presentation that it was.

7) Snakes on a Plane- What would 2006 have been like if it weren't for Samuel L. doing his finest role this side of Deep Blue Sea? I don't really know. Regardless, Snakes on a Plane was not only the biggest summer event (more fun than my birthday) but it became a cult film before it was even released. I hadn't seen a single screen shot or clip for this movie and already planned on going to opening night bombed out of my skull. It was also the catalyst for copius amounts of awesome fake trailers, clips, posters and "spin-off" films like Sharks on a Rollercoaster or Snakes on Billy Zane. It was surreal. And then when it came out and I was drinking rum in the theater and chanting "SNAKE VISION!" and enjoying the balls out of it, it was even more rewarding then I could have ever imagined. Kudos, Sam Jax. I can't wait till Jan. 2 when the DVD comes out. I'm gonna buy it and let the drinking games commence!

6) BroG!- SO without this man's retardedly awesome American Media class, I would not have been able to accomplish the following things: making a final project based on the Y2K tape, filming a scavenger hunt short film that won me 2nd place in the Charlie's and a cool $75 bucks (soon to be on youtube... it's coming), run around the classroom singing CSNY's "Ohio" whilst reinacting the brutal shootings at Kent State with paperballs and army fatigues, galavanting around New York and leaving a student behind (fuck you, Bush), seeing him flip out over a Little Nicky clip in a shitty presentation care of Megaclef and many other joyous moments. I was glad to have him for class because, well, it was quite the spectical. My class was stacked with awesome people that I wouldn't have met and enjoyed times with without said class. Also, going to the bars with Brog was quite the great times.

5) Electric Six- So I pretty much have seen this band four times, but only three times (so far... one more time before the end of the year, biatches) in 2006. As far as entertainers go, E6 has proven to be one of the best. Besides their albums which are great, they have a live show that is one of the greatest times I have ever had. They constantly play (as seeing them 4 times in one year warrants) and they are always cheap tickets. 14 bucks to get into an awesome disco punk dance party sounds pretty excellent to me. The newest album Switzerland wasn't brilliant, but it still rocks and is so much fun. It made my albums list because, well, the songs are fun and they sound amazing live. They opened with "There's Something Very Wrong With Us So Let's Go Out Tonight" into "Dance Epidemic" in DC and it was amazing. Dick Valentine knows how to work a crowd and the rest of the band brings their brand of music with a kick.

4) Maximum Carnage!!- Although originated in 2005, Carnage was the slogan on 2006. It led me through terrible courses in college like my Mass Comm Seminar. It was the embodiment of my Senior Year. It led to the official film of Max Carnage (A History of Violence), the official band of Max Carnage (Gwar), the Official Soda of Max Carnage (Surge), the official youtube video (originally the Nintendo 64 video, but dethroned by this masterpiece) and to other things be claimed worthy of the highest level of carnage. Our Mass Comm Seminar group was about violence, so naturally we named ourselves Team Maximum Carnage. In our final boring survey project, I donned a wolf mask and hosted a show entitled Maximum Carnage Theater. It was a silly absurd phrase, but everyone enjoyed screaming it. So next time you feel so inclined, smash someones face in Viggo style after downing a 2-Liter of Surge.

3) Richard Russo's Straight Man- This was one of the only things that kept me going while #10 ravaged my body earlier this year. Reading in general has helped me a lot this year. I read some amazing books, but none so flat out hilarious as this one. Straight Man is about a professor going through a mid-life crisis. He has fantasies about a student, is worried about losing his job (even though he's tenured) and threatens to kill a duck a day unless he is given the budget he wants for the English department... all while wearing the fake nose and glasses gag. He gets on the local news, gets his co-workers pissed and hilarity ensues. Even the opening epilogue which has a pet dog dying is hilarious. It's definitely the book of the year for me even though its not from this year. I need someone to make this a movie. Like, now.

2) Chez Geek & Apples to Apples- Thanks to Danno and Ryan (respectively to those games), the slacker revolution has been re-ignited with such epic party games. First, Chez Geek is just what it sounds like. It's a card game. You get a job, you buy weed, booze, food, cigs and other stuff, you sleep, watch TV and go bar hopping and you can get live in significant others, and other friendly guests to your apartment OR you can invite shitty people over to runi you roomates day. The entire idea of the game is based on slacking off more than someone else (one job card is a Slacker!) What more could you want! It's pretty nerdaliscious, but hey... I yam what I yam and it's fun to play a game that reflects my reality. We play it at bars, in attics and basements and get drunk whilst doing it. No harm in a little fun. Another game that made this year hilarious was Apples to Apples. This game permutated into a monster of a game. Originally, the only point is to pick words that match up well with adjectives, which is fun when someone submits the word AIDS for the adjective funny. Then we tweaked it and made custom rounds where we made up Beck lyrics, did this is the new this and Snakes on a Plane sequels that would blow your mind. It was a social revolution. And a very good one at that.

1) Hink on the Guero- A few years ago, it was the Viper, this year, it's the Hink face. In all it's glory and all it's absurdity, the Hink face has been the embodiment of this year. I mean, whats better than sneaking behind someone and giving them the hink? It's so great. The Trout wishes it was the hink, and comes close to being as awesome, but The Hink Face has spread to random groups and random people. Warren Minnix LOVES the Hink. Sarah Deal LOVES the hink. I can't wait to teach my 4 year old cousins this face on the day after christmas. It's going ot be mind numbing. So, why is the Hink #1? It's probably the one universal thing that can make someone laugh and all my friends from several social circles have embraced it. It led to great Paint jobs like the one to the right. it's led to people flying into barstools or other furniture, it's led to many a story of Buks and Manatees. It's the solidifying gesture of 2006.

Here's hopin' 2007 can top this! Although all these things rule, it was a pretty harsh year. Onward and Upward!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's called you can take it with you

So Wednesday was the Lemonheads concert at the North Star. God I love that venue. Anyway, the night started with some Yards and yet another random encounter with a girl I know dated one of my friends and ended in an awkward big bang of sorts. Good thing I had long hair then and am pretty much invisible now to random people I met whence the locks were in place. Anyway, the first band to play was called Hymns. It was kind of a lame name for a band. But I'm glad they played as they did a mean cover of Neil Young's "Don't Cry No Tears" from Zuma which was the highlight of their longer-then-it-needed-to-be set. The other reason why I was glad Hymns played was because the next band on the line-up was simply named Vietnam. Hmns and Vietnam. Doesn't get much better than that.

So it was this...
Then this...

Then this...

Anyway, the guys in Vietnam take the stage. They looked like they were going to rollick with some insanely loud, obnoxious punk. However, that was not the case. Vietnam was a classicly rock sounding jammy band that had some amazing hooks and awesome stage presence. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a guy wandering to and fro drinking Stella and I immediately ID him as none other than Evan Dando of the nights headlining act, The Lemonheads (duh.) He kept chugging away and wandering the crowd pretty much incognito. Anyway at one point he walks in front of me and stands next to Kevner right on the edge of the stage. He stumbles back into me and apologizes. THen turns around and goes "Isn't this band awesome?" Of course I agreed because, well, they were. Anyway, it was just fun to see Evan Dando wandering around.

So the Lemonheads crew is setting up and the guy plops down a huge 2-pager set-list filled with amazing song selections including and not limited to "Hannah and Gabi", "Rudderless", The Turnpike Down", "The Great Big No" and new tracks like "Pittsburgh" and "Let's Just Laugh." He gets on stage, stumbles over his words ridiculously and Kevner, Ryan and myself know that its gonna be good. He kicks it off with "Confetti" which if you saw the set-list was the second song to be played. The rest of the night was a train-wreck of jumping all over the place and such to rock out songs. He played songs so out of the order that was on the set-list that it was a free for all. It was glorious. At one point when he was really drunk, he fell over and demanded the roadie hold his mic up to him for the next song. He started to replay a song he already did. Halfway through the song "Tenderfoot", he stops playing and is like, "wait a second... we did this one!" Overall the show was a delightful riotous train wreck of sorts. The tour has 2 more dates so it was nice to see artists just having fun and getting blackout and playing songs they dont really want to play. He even did "Mrs. Robinson" with some douche fag from the audience "doing the vocals" even though he didn't know the lyrics. What an ass. It sucked too because the girl he was psuedo with (we still aren't too sure about that as she looked both displeased to be associated with him and was ignoring this kid in a Cobra shirt [I bet that was the only draw]) was amazingly gorgeous and sweet. Plus when Ryan screamed "Play some Toadies", she turned and was like "that was my first concert! Are they even still touring?" What an awesome lady. Anyway, they closed with "Rudderless" than attempted to plug a casio into his guitar amp, a hollow bodied into the bass amp and Sir Dando started playing a lefty bass but put it on like it was a right handed bass so the strings were facing his chest. We left about 3 minutes into the riot that was happening on stage as it was kinda hard to watch and we assumed it was done since it was like 1:20am.

In other news, new animal added to the extinction list. That kinda rules because it was a freshwater dolphin... and you know what dolphins can do.

Last night was Kildare's in the Yunk this time for Alicia of Psy D @ La Salle university fame. That ruled. I didn't want to leave as the attractive lady quotient was through the roof. Dancing was done, the sandwich sucked, but the Guiness was as always tasty.

Today is yet another work Christmas party. That should rule. Dinner at the Bistro. No money, no honey. All expenses paid.

It's going to be a good weekend. Saturday, work and then probably the Arbor Records Christmas show. Sunday is work then Back to Back to Back to the Future at Mullers. Monday is work, but I have off Tuesday so that means I need to get blackout monday night.

Christmas is right around the corner too. Jesus. I can't even belize it.

Until next time.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Top Albums of 2006

Year in Review 2006! The best albums!

Honorable Mention 1- The Decemberists "The Island/Come And See/Landlord's Daughter/You'll Not Feel The Drowning" off of The Crane Wife.- I like the Decemberists and the album as a whole is good, but this song definitely marks the peak of the band's career. Redefining indie folk with it's complex lyrics, it's ornate structure and haunting ending. It might be bad news from here on out for these guys as it overshadows almost everything I heard them record. It seems with this much power behind one 11 minute song, the rest of the album can easily be forgotten. Well, minus "The Perfect Crime 2." But this sounds like a Talking Heads rip-off.

Honorable Mention 2- The Who's Endless Wire- So I love the Who and this album is really great. It's a new Who feel, but there are other albums that need to be noted before this one just because I am a die hard fan. The songs fit in well with the old classics live, but it's a new Who that I'm not 100% attuned to yet. It will happen soon enough as more and more of the tracks on the disc are in my LOVE LOVE LOVE list, but it's still something missing.

11. Lemonheads- So usually when one says that an artist's new album has changed much, that seems like a bad thing. Well, when that artist is the Lemonheads and they finally release an album after a few years of nothing (Car Button Cloth was in '97), it's a welcome return to form. Lemonheads, aptly named as their comeback to what they are, is a time warp to the mid 90's alt rock that they defined (for the most part.) With touches of punk rock, basic production, greatly down to earth and personal lyrics and not missing a beat throught the album as you get socked in the face with some J. Masics guitar craftsmanship and Evan Dando's backyard lyrics, gah... it's just great. I can't stress how much I love these guys.

Standout Tracks- "Become the Enemy", "Pittsburgh", "Rule of Three"

10. Muse- Black Holes and Revelations - Muse writes epics. That's that. They don't relaly stray far from the last few albums and thankfully they didn't. It's between powerhouse guitar hooks, bone-crushing drum beats and ear popping bass thumps that will get you grooving. The main thing they do different here is try a few different genre touches to their already post-apocalyptic rock feel. Songs infused with Prince qualities and straight up social commentary acoustic songs are spruced within the usual Muse framework of the album that make this one a special treat.
Standout Tracks- "Supermassive Black Hole", "Starlight" "Soldoer's Poem"

9. Electric Six- Switzerland/Senor Smoke- I include both here because I didn't include Senor last year since we ahd to import it and steal it from the interweb. Senor Smoke released finally to the USA in the spring and Switzerland given to us in the fall. Yes. 2006 for me was the year of E6. I will see them 4 times in 2006 alone with 5 concerts under my belt in a span of one year and two and a half months. The only thing that we can safely say about E6 is that they are pure fun and that's that. They don't really bring substance to their songs (which isn't exactly true... some social commentary, but it's mostly tongue in cheek politicism.) They only bring the party. Switzerland can lag at some points, but it's still a solid album.
Standout Tracks:
Senor Smoke- " Devil Nights", "Dance Epidemic", "Future is in the Future"
Switzerland- "Slices of You", "I Buy the Drugs", "Night Vision"

8. Secret Machines- Ten Silver Drops - Usually a band will slump in their sophmoric release. Secret Machines decided to say s*ck it to the phrase sophmore slump and deliver yet another amazingly spacey and tasty album. Ten Silver Drops has an isolated darkness to it that the first album did not have. THe songs are about loss, heartbreak and distance from the ones you love. This was generated throught their last tour for their debut. The music is still grandiose and beautifully produced and played. Filled with melodies and harmonies that melt your ear drums, their ain't a single wrong thing with this album.
Standout Tracks- "Faded Lines" "Daddy's in the Doldrums" "Lightining Blue Eyes"

7. Paul Simon- Surprise - When Mr. Simon teams up with Mr. Eno, you get the goods. This album is as far away from any other Paul Simon I have ever heard, yet it still has that touch of Simon's clever lyrics and subdued guitar playing. It also has a spacey ambient element thanks to the production of Brian Eno. With social commentary, love songs and songs of sheer joy at the birth of his new child, the songs still have the meaning and strength that we love from Paul Simon. It's just a reinvention of an amazing sound that came out of left field. I feel as if this album has gone virtually unheard of by anyone and heard nothing of it when it came out earlier this summer, but I feel the need to tell you to get it.
Standout Tracks- "Everything About It Is A Love Song", "Another Galaxy"

6. Cursive- Happy Hollow- Shit. How did I forget this!! Anyway, a late edition making this a top "these go to" eleven list of albums. Cursive was introduced to me via the Ugly Organ, Kev Ketners all time favorite album. It was so awesome that I had to get more of this bands material. Their b-sides and rare stuff disc was ok, but I was yearning for that pseudo-rock opera feel that The Ugly Organ had. Well, Happy Hollow delivered the money, and I really love this album. Like, a lot. I listened to it non-stop for about 3 weeks when I got it from Giles. It's themes of suburban demons and blatant problems with the catholic church definitely were a delightful backdrop to tell the story of the small titular fictional town. The songs rock, the added horn section fits in well and lead singers lyrics and vocals were at a blistering all time rock factor that I really got behind. So sorry you were forgotten at first, but thanks to a random thought I remembered that you needed to be on this list.

Standout Tracks- "Dorothy at Forty", "Bad Sects", "So-So Giggolo"

5. Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton- Knives Don't Have Your Back- The woman behind Metric and a member of the prolific Broken Social Scene goes psuedo-solo on this album and revels on the death of her father. The songs are dripping with melancholy much in the way Beck's Sea Change. Ms. Haines drops the keyboards and picks up the piano and the rest is history. This dark horse top 10 candidate is definitely an amazing peice of music. I can;'t express enough my love for Emily Haines. It really is a triumph to be able to go from
Standout Track- "Doctor Blind", "Our Hell", "The Maid Needs a Maid"

4. Sonic Youth- Rather Ripped - Sonic Youth has created a newish sound for themselves in the latter half of their career. Dropping most of the ridiculous distortion and anger and picking up more a sense of ambience is a great move for them. They still are edgy, but they have a more accessible and awesome sound. Rather Ripped is a step better than Sonic Nurse from a few years back. It just has better songs overall. Their live concert this year was pretty amazing. The new records might have a subdued atmosphere, but they still can pack a punch when they want to. A band that has been around for 25 years can still put out amazing stuff.
Standout Track- "Incinerate", "Do You Believe In Rapture", "Pink Steam"

3. Built to Spill- You in Reverse- Why isn't this bad more popular? Beats the hell out of me. Built to Spill is the reason rock and roll is not dead. With the feel of Neil Young and other great rockers of the 70's but with an updated jammier feel, You in Reverse has a modern rock and roll feel that is so awesome. Not a single bad song on this album. The guitar work is some of the best around and the lyricism is poetic and gorgeous. For some reason, I feel like Built to Spill will get recognition later in their life, even though they are already more than 10 years deep in that said career. This music is timeless.
Standout Track- "Goin' Against Your Mind", "Traces", "Conventional Wisdom"

2. The Flaming Lips, At War With the Mystics - I don't know why this album seemed to not get as much praise when it came out from fans of the Lips and others, but At War With The Mystics is pretty damn great. Although the first two tranks are jaunty and strange, they still rule with their world view and politically charged nature. The rest of the album flows just as beautifully as any other Lips album and this one is lacking that rock opera feel that the last two Lips albums had. Each song has its own identity, yet they work together. I feel like I will never get old of these songs. I won't hate their hilarious moments and their heartbreaking moments ever. It's silly, psychedelic and touching all in one package.

Standout Tracks- "It Overtakes Me...", "My Cosmic Autumn Rebellion", "Vein of Stars"

1. Yo La Tengo- I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass- Again, a terrible album name, but don't let that fool you. The songs contained on this disc are all amazing. An album of schizophrenic genre changing, it might be a little harsh for the first listen. The first song is a ten minute guitar jam that abruptly ends and goes into a jaunty piano riff with goofy lyrics and lyric delivery. It has 60's Brit invasion tunes, ambient piano ballads, songs with ridiculous horn sections and avante garde shoegazing. For any Tengo fan, this is a true gem among their albums (if not their best?) For a musical adventuerer, this is a workout that you will appreciate. For someone who knows neither of those feelings, stay away. It's pretty intense at times with how much of a 180 the songs will take. It's a welcome thing, in my opinion, but for most it wouldn't be. Go out and get it! I swear, it's awesome and it tops my 2006 list.

Standout Tracks- "Mr. Tough", "Black Flowers", The Room Got Heavy",

As you may have noticed, several amazing albums did not make the cut. Beck's The Information, Thom Yorke's The Eraser and RHCP's Stadium Arcadium are not on this list. I love those three albums, but Beck lost steam for my listening surprisingly fast, The Eraser is too moody for me to love it all the time and Stadium Arcadium is better song based than album based... with 28 awesome tracks. Needless to say, they deserve mention, but they don't make the list. Sorry guys.