Last year was notable for the remarkable variety of good music released, and it seems that the guitar band trend continues to be popular with plenty of new and exciting bands continuing to emerge.
The Kooks – Inside In/Inside Out
Probably the best album of the year for me and remained in the music charts for much of the year. The strength of the album was demonstrated by the release of four separate singles all of which charted solid positions, with Naive the first to hit back in early 2006.
Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars
Chasing Cars is the best selling album of 2006, and is as good if not better than the Kooks contribution to the list, albeit for different reasons. Chasing cars, the aptly named single re-entering the charts on download only sales, proving how much the band has developed since ‘Chocolate’. The strength of the album and the guys growing popularity was demonstrated with the release of their latest single ‘Set Fire to the Third Bar’ featuring Martha Wainwright, which entered the charts at No.1.
Hot Chip – The Warning
These electro-knob twiddlers burst onto the big stage on the back of indie dance-floor filler ‘Over and Over’, and if there was any justice would have picked up the Mercury Music Award ahead of the Artic monkeys in my eyes. The Warning is a rarity, an album which grows on you, moves you and has the ability to genuinely surprise you. Excellent stuff and after the lads debut album, no-one really saw this coming. Also a class act live.
Sufjan Stevens – Illinois
Granted, this was 2005 but I didn’t get my hands on it until February (my blog, I’m allowed to bend the rules!). Sufjan is one of the most talented and prolific songwriters around today. Described as a folk storyteller (I know, just stick with me here) Sufjan’s latest grand project was to write an album for each American state. Illinois is a mixture of lush strings, ballads and uplifting songs that have incredible grace, beauty and detail.
All of the songs are in-fact historical stories that give way to even more grand titles such as ‘Decatur, Or Round Of Applause For Your Stepmother!’ or ‘John Wayne Gacy Jr’ a song about the infamous 70’s ‘Clown Killer’, but as soon as your ears catch the opening to tracks such as ‘Chicago’ and ‘They are night Zombies..’ you will be in no-doubt that this man is a wonderful talent. A truly special and unique album and talent.
Artic Monkeys- Whatever People say I am, that’s what I’m not
What a year it has been for the Artic Monkeys, coming from nowhere to not only dominate the music scene in 2006 but also launching a whole bunch of clones on the back of their sound (Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery). ‘Whatever People Say..” is an album full of lyrical flair, painting a bleak but ballsy picture of modern life, youth and drinking with tracks such as “Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ becoming instant classics, and ‘Fake Tales of San Francisco’ dominating my iPod.