Chris Schott | Albums

manningYou probably own some Roger Joseph Manning Jr. work and don't even know it. He's played keyboards on just about every major release in the past 10 years. Beck, Green Day, Johnny Cash, Fiona Apple-you name it, he's done it.

 

 

manman

1. Man Man | Six Demon Bag (Ace Fu)

Man Man's second full length proves a band without serious label support can still make a rather large dent in the indie rock scene. Six Demon Bag sports the theatrics of Frank Zappa, the carnivale poetic of Tom Waits, and "the whatever" Captain Beefheart is. Man Man brought with them all of these influences, and twisted them into their own brand of "gypsy-rock" too unique to be ignored. With the precise insanity of tracks like "Engwish Bwudd" and "Black Mission Goggles," the band is tapping into a side of human nature that is undeniably tribal. The fact that this is a rationally thought-out album keeps our inner caveman in check.

2. mewithoutYou | Brother/Sister (Tooth & Nail)

Concepts albums may be a little on the cliché side of the coin. The truth is, when done correctly, it's still something to behold. MewithoutYou made a great one in 2006. Brother/Sister tells a story of religious resentment, acknowledgement, and acceptance. The lead singer, 27-year-old Aaron Weiss, even admits to his confusion about this virgin status. "Devil, disappear!/I'm still a virgin after 27 years/which never bothered me before/what's maybe 50 more?" All this-and guest vocals from Jeremy Enigk. What more could you ask from a Christian rock band?

3. Roger Joseph Manning Jr. | The Land of Pure Imagination (Cordless Recordings)

You probably own some Roger Joseph Manning Jr. work and don't even know it. He's played keyboards on just about every major release in the past 10 years. Beck, Green Day, Johnny Cash, Fiona Apple-you name it, he's done it. Little do people know, the man has been a part of some great bands himself. From the early '90s (and highly underrated) Jellyfish, to Imperial Drag and the infamous Moog Cookbook, Manning has always been busy. This year, Manning released his first solo album, The Land of Pure Imagination. While the album didn't get a lot of critical acclaim, it stands as the most of pure and stable releases this year. Songs like "Wish It Would Rain" and "You Were Right" not only employ the co-writing of Brian Wilson, they show off Manning's skills in the studio, as the album is wonderfully produced.

4. Bluebottle Kiss | Doubt Seeds (Nonzero)

As far as double albums go, this one sits on top of the pile for 2006, and possibly forever. Not one weak track in the 20 that live inside Doubt Seeds' brooding rock temperament. This album hasn't been released in the United States yet but has already been getting acclaim from those who have had the pleasure of hearing it. Think Cursive with more balls. Or maybe Nick Cave with more vision. These Australians are doing something special, and it's time for the rest of the world to pay attention.

5. The Bottle Rockets | Zoysia (Bloodshot)

The Bottle Rockets have been making albums for over 10 years now. Over that stretch of time, you might think the band's work would eventually get less appealing with age. Nope. Zoysia is possibly the band's best album to date-giving us the same blue-collar country rock we know and love from the Bottle Rockets, but with some new twists on old tricks. Brian Hennenman's lyrics have always been on point, but on Zoysia, his words seem to paint the Picasso of alt-country music.

6. Sonic Youth | Rather Ripped (Geffen)

7. The Format | Dog Problems (Nettwerk)

8. Loose Fur | Born Again in the USA (Drag City/Caroline)

9. Sparklehorse | Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain (Astralwerks/EMD)

10. Bonnie "Prince" Billy | The Letting Go (Drag City)

Honorable Mentions: Margot & the Nuclear So and So's | The Dust of Retreat (Artemis/V2), Maritime | We, the Vehicles (Flameshovel), Grandaddy | Just Like the Fambly Cat (V2), The Magic Numbers | Those the Brokes (EMI/Heavenly) | Chris Schott

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