15 November 2006

The Top 40 Bands in America - 2006 Edition

The past three years (2003, 2004, 2005) Information Leafblower has gotten together a panel of music bloggers to collectively decide which bands are the Top 40 Bands in America. This year, I was asked to participate by submitting my own list and I did so gladly. Hey, what can I say? Some people love reality TV, some love fast food, I love lists. A bit from Information Leafblower Kyle about the process:

In case you're not familiar with the process, each year I email a bunch of bloggers and ask them for their Top 10 artists of the year. I changed up the criteria this year and asked the participants to simply give me the 10 artists they covered the most throughout 2006. I felt that in years past, people were voting for artists they felt like they had to vote for, not the artists they wanted to vote for, so hopefully that changed this year. The entries are then scored, sorted and double-checked and viola, the list is born. Anyone making music is eligible for the list, as long as they are American. NO FOREIGN BANDS.
Right, so let's take a look at some of this list, shall we?
40) Margot & the Nuclear So and So's
39) Shearwater
38) Tapes N Tapes
37) LCD Soundsystem
36) Girl Talk
35) Car Stereo (Wars)
34) DangerMouse
33) Lucero
32) Timbaland
31) Lavender Diamond
30) Man Man
29) Sonic Youth
28) Midlake
27) M. Ward
26) Ryan Adams
25) Fiery Furnaces
24) Aberdeen City
23) Sufjan Stevens
22) Tom Waits
21) Bishop Allen
What? You didn't think I was going to reveal the whole thing did you? To see the Top 20, and the entirety of the The Top 40 Bands in America 2006 Edition (including blurbs about each band and MP3s and pictures) - CLICK HERE.

Okay, now a bit about my own process. I had a very hard time with the stated criteria given that I often focus on bands that not so many other people are writing about. My 2006 definitely hasn't been spent posting about The Hold Steady or Beirut (or other similar bands) because those bands don't do a whole heck of a lot for me. Yet both are worthy of being noted as big bands in 2006. Then again, this year also hasn't been completely about The Decemberists or TV On The Radio over here on EAR FARM, and those bands have truly dominated much of 2006 for me. So I tried to have my list reflect the bands that have been most prominent in my world this year, while keeping in mind the bands who have truly had an excellent 2006 and those I've been posting about lots.

Here's the list I submitted to Information Leafblower, with a blurb about each:
10) Goes Cube - In 2006, this Brooklyn trio has been my go-to for loud math rocking goodness. Punishingly awesome live.

9) Annuals - Young band from Raleigh seemingly came out of nowhere and blew me away in person and on CD. My reaction to seeing them in September at Sin-e: they sounded like they were leading a tribal indie-rock invocation of the god of sound.

8) The Walkmen - Two albums this year and lots of live dates - even though I've been a bit disappointed with their 2006 output I think it's actually quite a whole lot better than they're getting credit for.

7) Tapes 'n Tapes - You'll get no knee-jerk backlash from me. Tapes is still as vibrant and catchy as ever and, even though The Loon came out last year, let's be honest - they're one of the big indie successes of 2006. Regardless of what your hipster advisor cool meter says, it's okay to still like Tapes 'n Tapes. I mean, come on - you used to think The Strokes were the best band in America.

6) The Silver Jews - The album came out last year but the live shows were this year. I still can't stop listening to Tanglewood Numbers and loving the lyrics. Live they were actually everything I would've expected: awkward, honest, a bit rough around the edges, and imperfectly perfect.

5) Danielson - The collective responsible for Danielson's 2006 album, Ships, has crafted one of the best records of the year and one of my very favorite songs of 2006 in "Did I Step On Your Trumpet".

4) Ratatat - Sounds that sometimes veer towards the end credit songs from late '80s Capcom/Konami games are (honestly) EXACTLY what I've been wanting to hear in 2006. I can not stop listening to their album Classics and it's really no question that these guys have some of the best melodies out there.

3) Man Man - I've seen them so many times in the past year it's silly. A fantastic fun band gaining more fans by the minute and one of my votes for best lyrics of the year: "wanna sleep for weeks like a dog at her feet even though I know it won't work out in the long run"

2) TV On The Radio - TVOTR are something special in the realm of indie rock soundalikes because they're constantly pushing themselves, their sound, and their audience forward towards something new. Thank goodness for them.

1) The Decemberists - Frankly, I wasn't expecting good things after Picaresque, and learning that they'd signed to Capitol, but The Crane Wife proved that The Decemberists are easily one of the top bands in America today.
After I put this list together and sent it off to Kyle, the nerd in me got angry. I kept wanting to list the top 10 BEST/most important bands (in my opinion) in America currently, regardless of what they've been up to this year. I mean, Wilco, Deerhoof, My Morning Jacket, and many more, really deserve to be put on any list like this, right? Well, not if you're trying to play by the rules that were stated, and I was. As a result, I went ahead and put together another list. Last one, I swear.

EAR FARM's Top 10 Bands in America Today:
10) The Silver Jews
9) Pretty Girls Make Graves
8) The Roots
7) Animal Collective
6) TV On The Radio
5) Deerhoof
4) Sonic Youth
3) Wilco
2) My Morning Jacket
1) The Decemberists
There you have it. More than enough to satiate even the hungriest of list appetites. Bring on the comments, criticism, lists of your own, etc. And please do go check out Information Leafblower's Top 40 Bands in America - 2006 Edition.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

too many lists

lauren said...

what about Band of Horses? Gnarls Barkely?? Sleater Kinney?

Anonymous said...

I agree with lauren - no Band of Horses? What about Evangelicals? I guess being from Oklahoma it may take them a little longer than some others to build up the fan base, but man are they a trip live! Best concert I've seen since, well, I really don't know, but a long, long time.

Anonymous said...

have to like your last list, hard to argue with the top 3, however i would throw out deerhoof and put in spoon, also i think pretty girls make graves are way out of their depth, how about okkervil river?

you said...

too too many lists

Matt said...

wayne - I thought about Spoon for sure, and PGMG is only in that list because I happen to like them a lot but they probably don't belong there. I'da put Sleater-Kinney in that spot instead if they didn't just break up. jerks.

Anonymous said...

yeah pity about sleater-kinney. i think PGMG are good just not great, just my opinion, it is hard to narrow it down to just 10 though, i could also find a spot for explosions in the sky, if you like instrumental music

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