Best Music of 2006

The best albums, singles, artists and gigs of 2006 – all decided by me……

I’ve been very busy recently so haven’t been able to spend any where near as much time as this on I would like. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been listening to music – just not writing about it. So I’ve decided to list what I think has been the best music of the last 12 months or so…

Best Albums

In reverse order…..

7. Spanky Wilson & The Quantic Soul Orchestra – I’m Thankful: A late addition. Will Holland puts the funky backing sounds to the awesome voice of original soul queen Spany Wilson.
6. Barefoot – Barefoot: Lounge jazz covers of house & hip hop tunes. What’s not to like?
5. Ty – Closer: Billed as the new Roots Manuva, I think he’s better. Certainly more tuneful, with excellent lyrics, and guest stars to die for (De La Soul, Speech from Arrested Development).
4. Lily Allen – Alright, Still: Ignore the hype and this was a gem of an album. Ska-lite with Streets style lyrics.
3. Soil & “Pimp” Sessions – Pimp Master: Actually released in Japan in 2005, this finally saw a UK release on Gilles Peterson’s new record label in ’06. Awesomely crazy jazz.
2. Radio Citizen – Berlin Serengeti: Amazing blend of styles – from hip hop to soul to dance floor jazz. Reminds me of Rae & Christian’s iconic debut, Northern Sulphuric Soul.
1. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black: I wondered whether she could beat her debut Frank and she did so resoundingly. A voice a million times that of Miss Allen’s, and music to match.

Best Compilations/Mix Albums

In no particular order..

Gilles Peterson & Patrick Forge – Sunday Afternoon At Dingwalls: Legendary club commerorated on an album mixing everything from A Tribe Called Quest to Mica Paris.
Various Artists – Brownswood Bubblers: Compilation of the best bits that are up & coming on Gilles Peterson’s new label – hasn’t left my stereo in weeks.
Mr Scruff – Big Chill Classics: Does exactly what it says on the tin – classic chill out tunes from Mr Scruff.
Various Artists – The Shape of Things to Come: Similar to the Bubblers CD, except that this download only album showcased some of the amazing music that was (is) coming out of Ubiquity records.

Best Album That Came Out In 2005, But Which I Missed First Time Round…
Ohmega Watts – The Find: Seriously, this album is so good it is a crime that it’s not sold billions. Bitch & bling free hip hop that harks back to the golden age. Like Lupe Fiasco, but even better.

Best Singles

And in reverse-reverse order…

1. Ben Westbeech – So Good Today: Finally came out after an age on vinyl. Was the sound of my Summer, and should have been as big as Lily Allen’s Smile. Like Jamiroquai before he became shit.
2. Iman – Who Was I Trying To Fool: Taken from the Bubblers album this is a truly beautiful little bit of soul. Just been released on 7″ – get it.
3. Soil & “Pimp” Sessions – Pimp Master EP: Dancefloor jazz that actually makes you want to dance.
4. Lupe Fiasco – Kick Push: Refreshing to hear a hip hop star talking about getting into trouble with the Police for skateboarding, rather than shooting someone. Kanye’s protege comes of age.
5. Amy Winehouse – Rehab: A true revelation; a celeb who decides not to go to rehab for her drink problem and then writes a storming tune about it. Like Diana Ross if Shaun Ryder wrote her lyrics.

Best Record Label

It’s almost impossible top pick between these two – I reckon that they’ve been responsible for about 60% of the music that’s rocked me in 2006…..

Brownswood – Gilles Peterson’s first record label since Talkin‘ Loud releases some of the best contemporary soul of the year. Ben Westbeech’s LP promises to be one of the releases of 2007.
Ubiquity/Luv n Haight – San Fran based label whose compilations always introduce me to new & exciting music, from funk to hip-hop & everything in between.

Best Music Store

emusic – Beats iTunes by a mile. Launched a UK version which put my prices up slightly, but still boasts the best choices at the best price (and I’m happy to take gifts if anyone from emusic reads this)

Best Music Website

For people talking about music – MOG: like MySpace for grown-ups….
For people playing music – Mixed Moods: German DJ releasing awesome podcasts….

Best Festival

It was the only one I went to, but it still rocked..

Lovebox – Gilles had his own tent, I discovered the excellent DJ Spiritual South, the sun (almost) shined, and I remembered that I liked Bacardi……
I’m sure that most of you disagree with most of this, so let me know what has rocked your world this year…..

One comment

  1. Winehouse is absolutely brilliant, isn’t she? And seeing your post reminds me that I had every intention of posting some favorite compilations of mine from 2006. I’d best get right on that …

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