Friday, January 5, 2001

McQ's Best Of 2006 Recommended Mixes

2006 was an interesting year.

I found it to be one of the decade's weakest in terms of truly great albums, feeling only one 2006 release (Howe Gelb's Sno Angel Like You) and one 2005 straggler (Kanye West's Late Registration) were worthy of a highest recommended.

But it was an amazing year for individual tracks, and exceptionally rich in experimentation and stylistic diversity.  The album's may not have been great, but it seemed every release in 2006 held at least one singular A++ gem.

As such, the 2006 mix collection remains my favorite in all the years I've put it together.

Here are its fourteen mixes,  as always,  designed to fit on one 70mb CD at a 128 kbit sample rate.

09/23/23 Update - I've added Spotify versions of the playlists to the mixes - obviously not every song on these mixes is carried by Spotify, so click on the mix names to see the original full list.

Volume 1 - Progmania:
2006 produced a number of releases that hearkened back to the hey day of 1970s prog.  My favorites, including 2006 song of the year "Rubies" by Destroyer, are represented here.

Volume 2 - That Glorious WXRT C-Tier Band Sound:
My friends who grew up in Chicago in the 80s will know exactly what I'm talking about with this collection of tracks that evoke the feel of lesser acts from the late 80s alt-rock scene.  Includes efforts from Maritime, The National, Alejandro Escovedo, The Clientele, Snow Patrol, Gomez and more.

Volume 3 - It Goes To 11: The Year's Best Big, Dumb Rock:
The closest I've ever come to a straight up heavy metal mix.  Includes tracks from Wolfmother, Boris, Tool, Eagles Of Death Metal, Comets On Fire, Queens Of The Stone Age, and The Raconteurs.

Volume 4 - Crooners, Chanteuses, and Balladeers:
From thrash to sooth with this next mix, a collection of tracks from the crooniest, big-bandiest releases of 2006, anchored by stellar efforts from Jens Lekman, Regina Spektor, Richard Hawley, and Feist.

Volume 5 - Snot-Nosed Punks:
The title says it all.  Includes tracks from Art Brut, Tapes n' Tapes, The Futureheads, Arctic Monkeys, The Hold Steady, The Pipettes, The Thermals, and The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs.

Volume 6 - Alt-Country:
Again, the title says it all.  Includes tracks from Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash, Howe Gelb, Band Of Horses, Neko Case, Calexico, Drive-By Truckers, and Centro-Matic.

Volume 7 - Up Yours, A--hole: A Typically Soothing Collection Of Warm And Cuddly Offerings From The Big Apple:
Viva the drone.  New York drone-rock, shoegaze, and indie, along with a sizable contribution from Boston-based Mission Of Burma, make up the bulk of this noisy but exhilarating mix.

Volume 8 - West Coast All-Stars:
Pacific-based bands from Washington state down to Los Angeles are collected here in this summery, more mainstream feeling mix.  Includes efforts from Beck, Viva Voce, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Persephone's Bees, and Los Lobos.

Volume 9 - Those "Oh So Twee" Experimental Poppers:
2006 indie's more testosterone-challenged pop and experimental rock acts are gathered here.  Includes cuts from Animal Collective, The Decemberists, Beirut, Danielson, Architecture In Helsinki, Islands, Death Cab For Cutie, and Grizzly Bear.

Volume 10 - Electro-Pop:
My first straight-up Dance/Electronica mix, a grouping that, given the enthusiastic response, has since become an annual tradition.  Several fine artists shine here, but none more compellingly than Sweden's creepy The Knife.

Volume 11 - The Grand Old Guard And The Attack Of The Ultra Mellows:
Old dogs and more contemporary singer/songwriter acts were grouped together here.  Includes tracks by M. Ward, Bruce Springsteen, Charalambides, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Mountain Goats, Stuart Staples, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, and Lambchop.

Volume 12 - Folk and International:
Once again, the title says it all, a back and forth weave of folk and world music, highlighted by cuts from various artists from a wonderful Brazilian Tropicalia retrospective.

Volume 13 - Nightmares And Dreamscapes:
Tracks from albums with a dreamy or horrific feel went here. Includes more from Tool, an unbelievably good track from Serena Meneesh, and beyond bizarre efforts from the likes of OOIOO, Liars, and Scott Walker.

Volume 14 - A Touch Of Soul:
My first rap/soul composite, and a fantastic one if I do say.  Includes cuts by Ghostface Killah, Jamie Lidell, Kanye West, Herbert, John Legend, Hot Chip, Gnarls Barkley, and The Roots.

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