We now find ourselves in 2006, a year where people were doing terrible Borat impressions and talking about how good The Departed was. Believe it or not, other things did happen that year! We received the first taste of Jack White’s new “side project”, Thom Yorke decided to go solo, and one of biggest bands from the UK were just getting started. These albums are in no particular order and are just a few of the great albums from 2006.
Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
The debut record from Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not was released early in 2006, on January 23rd. This LP bolted past Elastica’s self-titled record, becoming the fastest selling debut record in British Music history. The album sold 360,000 copies in the first week with help coming from their big singles “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” and “When the Sun Goes Down”. They pre-promoted this album in an interesting way with many tracks found on the record being shared for free on the internet on the unofficial Beneath the Boardwalk compilation. This album snagged the 2006 Mercury Prize and took home both Best British Group and Best British Album at the 2007 Brit Awards.
TV On The Radio – Return To Cookie Mountain
This is album #2 to come from TV on the Radio and was released in the summer of 2006 on July 6th. Canada didn’t officially get the record until September 12th but in early 2006 an unmastered version of the LP surfaced on the internet. The record had many guest appearances with David Bowie, Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead and Katrina Ford of Celebration all lending their voices to the project. The album received a generous amount of praise from critics and earned the title of Album of the Year from Spin magazine.
Destroyer – Destroyer’s Rubies
The follow up to their 2005 EP Notorious Lightning and Other Works, Destroyer’s Rubies was released on February 21st, 2006. Upon its release the 10 track project found its way on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, peaking at #24 while it hit #30 on their independent albums list. Pitchfork magazine reviewed it with a score of 8.5/10 and ranked it as #158 on their list of the top 200 albums of the 2000s.
Grizzly Bear – Yellow House
Written and recorded in singer Ed Droste’s mother’s house, Yellow House was made available September 5th, 2006. Production duties were left in the hands of band member Chris Taylor, who plays everything from the bass to the flute on this LP. This is looked at as the “band’s” debut record, expanding from just Ed Droste to a line up that includes Chris Taylor, Christopher Bear and Daniel Rossen. They all had an integral part in the writing and recording process for this album. Many of the songs were products of a few late night drinks in Cape Cod. Bear said “A lot of the stuff we ended up recording was really late at night, after our voices had really warmed up, or after properly loosening up at our religious cocktail hour.” Yellow House was named the 8th best album of the year by Pitchfork but New York Times thought it was a little better than that and slated it the #7 spot.
Camera Obscura – Let’s Get Out Of This Country
Let’s Get Out of This Country is the third studio record to come from Camera Obscura and was released through merge in June, 2006. The scottish pop rockers recorded the album in Sweden throughout 2005 and was produced by The Bear Quartet’s Jari Haapalainen. The album’s first single was an inside joke. “Lloyd, I’m Ready to be Heartbroken” is a response to Lloyd Cole’s song “Are You Ready to be Heartbroken”. The aforementioned song found it’s way on to the P.S. I Love You sound track. Indie music magazine Under the Radar ranked the LP as the 4th best album of the decade (2000-2009).
Band Of Horses – Everything All The Time
The debut record to come from Band of Horses, Everything All the Time was released through Sub Pop on March 21st, 2006. This album featured new versions of 5 of the 6 songs found on their Tour EP, some with different titles as well. This was the first and last LP to feature the band’s original line up with production credit going to both the band and Phil Ek. The idea when making the record was for it to be more electronic sounding. Singer Ben Bridwell said “I thought before recording that I really wanted an ELO-sounding record, with strings and keyboards and synths, but then, as we got closer to it, we wanted to take a more raw approach. Pitchfork ranked the album 8.8/10 in part to the very successful single “The Funeral”.
The Killers – Sam’s Town
Sam’s Town was released on October 2nd, 2006. When discussing the album, singer Brandon Flowers said he “wanted to create an album that captured, chronologically, everything important that got me to where I am today.” The album got it’s name from the Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall in the band’s hometown – Las Vegas. The sign for the hotel was just outside the window of bassist Mark Stoermer’s room when he was a kid. The 12 track effort debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 and went on to sell over 5 million copies to date. In 2009 the LP was voted by Rolling Stone’s readers as the most underrated album of the decade.
Thom Yorke – The Eraser
This is the first time Thom Yorke stepped away from Radiohead to create music, his solo debut The Eraser was released on July 10th, 2006. With the excitement that surrounded the record, it easily found its way onto the charts. It debuted at #3 in the UK and #2 in the US, selling over 90,000 copies in the first week. The album was produced by long time Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich and is “more beats and electronics” than what we’ve heard from Yorke in the past. In an email to a Radiohead fan site, Yorke assured fans that the band was not breaking up and this material was created with “their blessing”. The Eraser was nominated for both the Mercury Prize and Best Alternative Music Album at the 2007 Grammys.
The Decemberist – The Crane Wife
The Crane Wife was recorded from March till June and released later the same year on October 3rd. It was inspired by a Japanese folk tale and revolves around two song cycles, The Crane Wife and The Island, which drew inspiration from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The record was produced by Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla and notable producer Tucker Martine. The LP was both a favourite of critics and fans with Pitchfork naming in the 41st best album of 2006 and fans voting it as the best album of the year in an NPR poll.
The Strokes – First Impressions of the Earth
This is The Strokes’ third record and the third time they’ve found themselves on our “Great Albums” list. First Impressions of Earth was released on January 3rd, 2006. The album was again recorded in New York City, this time over a ten month time frame. The initial plan was to once again work with Gordon Raphael who had produced their last two records. During the recording process guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. introduced the band to Grammy award winning producer David Kahne who came into the studio to collaborate with Raphael. The “collaboration” didn’t last long, Raphael stepped down and the majority of the production work was handled by Kahne. The 3 singles released were “Juicebox”, “Heart in a Cage” and “You Only Live One”. Reviews were mixed but the record but it debuted at #1 on the UK charts, making it the groups first #1 debut.
The Raconteurs – Broken Boy Soldiers
This was the first record of the new Jack White and Brendan Benson fronted group, and was released on May 16th, 2006. All of the songs were written by Benson and White, with the first two songs the pair ever worked on being the #1 hit single “Steady As She Goes” and the title track “Broken Boy Soldiers”. After the demos for those tunes were laid down, Patrick Keeler and Jack Lawrence were called in to work on more material. “Store Bought Bones” was originally a White Stripes outtake from their record Get Behind Me Satan and both “Call It a Day” and “Together” were songs Benson was working on for his solo album. Broken Boy Soldiers was nominated for Best Rock Album at the 49th Grammy Awards and landed at #19 on Spin magazines Top 40 albums of the year.