The Best of 2006: Staff Picks

Our favorite albums of the year, as chosen by the deadline.

Scroll down or jump to:
Claudia Marshall | Julianne Welby | Darren DeVivo | Dennis Elsas | Corny O'Connell | Rita Houston | Russ Borris | John Platt | Vin Scelsa | George Evans | Sarah Wardrop | Alan Light | Harlan Jacobson (films) | Laura Fedele | Shari Rosen Ascher | Ben Jones | Joey Delvecchio | Chris Pergolizzi

Claudia Marshall

FUV Weekday Morning Host

It's always been difficult to do this list - but now it's nearly impossible. These days, I can't help but cherry pick tracks for my MP3 player - and so I no longer listen to CDs the same way. I'm not saying the album is dead, but I have to admit that my music habits have changed. So in addition to the traditional list of some stellar records, I also offer a list of tracks that made it to my iPod.

  • Richard Julian - Slow New York
  • Josh Ritter - The Animal Years
  • Elvis Costello and Allen Touissant - The River in Reverse
  • Block - The Last Single Guy
  • James Hunter - People Gonna Talk
  • David Mead - Tangerine
  • Peter Mulvey - The Knuckleball Suite
  • Beck - The Information

Also notable:

  • Klezmatics - Wonder Wheel
  • T-Bone Burnett - The True False Identity
  • Rhett Miller - The Believer" (You must see him live!!)
  • Teddy Thompson - Separate Ways
  • Candy Staton - His Hands
  • Dayna Kurtz - Another Black Feather
  • Gomez - How We Operate
  • The Avett Brothers - Four Theives Gone
  • The Subdudes - Behind the Levee
  • Ollabelle - Riverside Battle songs

And some great songs!

  • "Multiply" - Jamie Lidell, from Multiply (For the fan of funk)
  • "Pocketfull of Change" - Will Hoge, from The Man Who Killed Love (Real Southern Rock!)
  • "Love You in the Fall" - Paul Westerberg, from Open Season soundtrack
  • "Thankful" - Jonny Lang, from Turn Around (For fans of funk and gospel)
  • "Can't Climb Up" - Jennifer Kimball, from Oh Hear Us (See, it wasn't JUST Jonatha...)
  • "Enough To Get Away" - Joseph Arthur, from Nuclear Daydream
  • "Distracted" - L.E.O., from Alpacas Orgling (Power Pop)
  • "Laughing" - Winterpills, from Winterpills (More Power Pop)
  • "Come On Girl" - Candy Butchers, from Making Up Time
  • "Stupid Game" - Stephen Clair (Folky, fun and quirky)
  • "Some Say I'm Not" - Mason Jennings, from Be Here Now
  • "Get on the Boat" - Prince, from 3121
  • "Positively Beautiful" - Lewis Taylor, from Stoned (more Funk!!)
  • "Replace You" - Jay Bennett, from The Magnificent Defeat (ex-Wilco!)
  • "Black and Blue" - Tim O'Reagan, from Tim O'Reagan (ex-Jayhawk)
  • "Talking 'Bout My Love" - James Hunter, from People Gonna Talk (Not just a novelty!)
  • "Like a Star" - Corrine Bailey Rae, from Corrine Bailey Rae
  • "Balancing the World" - Eliot Morris, from What's Mine is Yours (With Jackson Browne's legendary bandmates)
  • "Crazy Arms" - Hem, from No Word from Tom (Pure and twangy and fresh from Brooklyn)
  • "Trains to Brazil" - Guillemotts, from From the Cliffs (More power pop)
  • "Dance Like a Monkey" - New York Dolls, from One Day It will Please Us...
  • "I'm So Gone" - Jackie Greene, from American Myth
  • "Hawks and Doves" - Scott Miller and the Commonwealth, from Citation

Julianne Welby

News & Public Affairs Director/FUV Weekday Morning Host

Favorite Albums:

  • Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
  • Beck - The Information
  • Belle and Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
  • Beth Orton - Comfort of Strangers
  • Calexico - Garden Ruin
  • Gomez - How We Operate
  • T-Bone Burnett - The True False Identity
  • The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
  • The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
  • Wilco - Kicking Television: Live in Chicago

Favorite Songs:

  • Michael Franti - "East to the West"
  • The Flaming Lips - "Free Radicals"
  • Frank Black - "Where the Wind is Going"
  • Solomon Burke - "Does My Ring Burn Your Finger"
  • Kinky - "Una Linea de Luz"
  • Yusuf - "Heaven/Where True Love Goes"

Darren DeVivo

FUV Weekday Host

A Top 30, hmmm. As always, I agonized over my list this year. As usual, albums from numerous music genres appealed to me. Since my tastes covered a wide range, I found it hard to keep my list to a concise Top Ten, or thereabouts. I didn't want any one area to be shortchanged. While putting this list together, I found my tastes falling into roughly three categories: The albums I discovered solely through WFUV; albums by "classic" artists; and those that could be categorized loosely as jazz. By expanding my list to thirty albums, each area could be properly represented, plus I could include a couple of titles for sentimental reasons! Enjoy.

  • The Beatles - Love
  • Edie Brickell and New Bohemians - Stranger Things
  • Lindsey Buckingham - Under The Skin
  • T Bone Burnett - The True False Identity
  • Larry Carlton - Fire Wire
  • Johnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways
  • Bruce Cockburn - Life Short Call Now
  • The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
  • Joey DeFrancesco - Organic Vibes
  • Dion - Bronx In Blue
  • Donald Fagen - Morph The Cat
  • Peter Frampton - Fingerprints
  • David Gilmour - On An Island
  • Billy Joel - 12 Gardens Live
  • Elton John - The Captain & The Kid
  • Laurence Juber - I've Got The World On Six Strings
  • Tommy Keene - Crashing The Ether
  • Diana Krall - From This Moment On
  • Sean Lennon - Friendly Fire
  • Pat Martino - Remember A Tribute To Wes Montgomery
  • Medeski Scofield Martin and Wood - Out Louder
  • (Pat) Metheny (and Brad) Mehldau - Metheny Mehldau
  • Tom Petty - Highway Companion
  • Duncan Sheik - White Limousine
  • Paul Simon - Surprise
  • Mike Stern - Who Let The Cats Out?
  • Tom Waits - Orphans Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
  • Yellowjackets - Twenty Five
  • Thom Yorke - The Eraser
  • Yusuf - An Other Cup
  • An honorable mention: Paul McCartney - Ecce Cor Meum

Dennis Elsas

FUV Weekday Host

Top Albums, in alphabetical order:

  • The Beatles - Love
  • The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
  • Dion - Bronx in Blue
  • Elton John - the Captain and the Kid
  • Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris - This is Us
  • Joan Osborne - Pretty Little Stranger
  • Tom Petty - Highway Companion
  • The Racounteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
  • Josh Ritter - The Animal Years
  • Paul Simon - Surprise
  • subdudes - Behind the Levee
  • KT Tunstall - Eye to the Telescope

Corny O'Connell

FUV Weekday Host

In alphabetical order:

  • Rosanne Cash - Black Cadillac
  • Dion - Bronx in Blue
  • Bob Dylan - Modern Times
  • Michael Franti and Spearhead - Yell Fire!
  • Gomez - How We Operate
  • James Hunter - People Gonna Talk
  • Ray LaMontagne - Till the Sun Turns Black
  • John Mayer - Continuum
  • Corinne Bailey Rae - Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Josh Rouse - Subtitulo

Rita Houston

Music Director/The Whole Wide World Host


  • Bob Dylan - Modern Times
  • Citizen Cope - Every Waking Moment
  • Amos Lee - Supply and Demand
  • Gomez - How We Operate
  • Fatboy Slim - The Greatest Hits: Why Try Harder
  • David Ford - I'm Sincerely Apologise for All the Trouble I've Caused
  • James Hunter - People Gonna Talk
  • Rosanne Cash - Black Cadillac
  • Little Willies - The Little Willies
  • Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat


  • "King of the Road" - Rufus Wainwright and Teddy Thompson
    An unpredictably delightful and campy performance.
  • "Fly Me to the Krazy Moon" - Jadmix
    Probably the most requested song at FUV this year and one that I'm still not bored with.
  • "Empty" - Ray Lamontagne
    This is destined to be a classic. I dig the whole album but this song in particular really deserves to be heard.
  • "Limon en La Cabeza" - Gecko Turner
    The Whole Wide World of music is represented in this track from this cool guy from Spain - reggae, samba, latin, funk it's all in here and it's a Groove with a capital G.
  • "What's Goin' On" - Dirty Dozen Brass Band with Chuck D
    It's crazy to me that this 30-year-old song still has relevance. But it does. Love the edge Chuck D brings to it.
  • "Arizona" - Alejandro Escovedo
    From City Folk Live 9. A flawless, heart-true performance.
  • "Reprieve" - Ani DiFranco
    I love when Ani gets into spoken word and I'd seen this one performed several times before getting the album and there are some days I just need to hear this. It'll move you.

Russ Borris

Assistant Music Director

  1. The Gothic Archies - The Tragic Treasury
    Stephin Merritt might be the cleverest songwriter out there.
  2. The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers
    A world of rock influences twisted around some solid power pop songwriting.
  3. Morrissey - Ringleader of the Tormentors
    No one sings about love, hate, romance and angst better than Moz.
  4. Johnny Cash - American V: A Hundred Highways
    The last from the legend. Sweet and sad at the same time.
  5. The Killers - Sam's Town
    They've gone from NuWave to Bruce disciples and somehow it works.
  6. Ray LaMontagne - Till the Sun Turns Black
    He's still sheltered and withdrawn, and from that comes another great batch of songs.
  7. Wolfmother - Wolfmother
    Clearly out of place in '06, the only band that has successfully mimicked Sabbath's thickness.
  8. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
    The rock record of the year.
  9. Tom Waits - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards
    For a man whose name is seemingly always attached to brilliant, I'll just call it... really brilliant.
  10. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
    Just when you think you may have figured out where they're going next, they go all prog-matic on us.

John Platt

Marketing & Communications Director/Sunday Breakfast Host

These had the greatest staying power for me this year:

  1. Rosanne Cash - Black Cadillac
    Out of her three-fold grief, a masterpiece
  2. Kate Campbell - For the Living of These Days
    Asking the question, how can faith work in today's world?
  3. Mark Erelli - Hope and Other Casualties
    Capturing the zeitgeist of the post 9/11 world
  4. Madeleine Peyroux - Half the Perfect World
    Such a voice, such great taste in songs
  5. Bruce Cockburn - Life Short, Call Now
    Dispatches from a world traveler
  6. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
    An old-fashioned thematic rock album - what a concept!
  7. Antje Duvekot - Big Dream Boulevard
    A protégé of Ellis Paul, with her first national release
  8. Richard Julian - Slow New York
    Took three years to come out, but worth the wait
  9. Toby Walker - Plays Well With Others
    Long Island's favorite son, on the cusp of wider recognition
  10. Audra McDonald - Build a Bridge
    A certified Broadway star trades Richard Rodgers and Jerome Kern for Elvis Costello, Laura Nyro, and Nellie McKay.

Other favorites:

  • Tony Bennett - Duets: An American Classic; Janis Ian - Folk Is the New Black; Diana Jones - My Remembrance of You; Elvis Costello/Allen Toussaint - The River In Reverse; Red Molly - Never Been to Vegas; Catie Curtis - Long Night Moon; Kris Delmhorst - Strange Conversation; Mark Knopfler/Emmylou Harris - All the Road Running; Neil Diamond - 12 Songs; The Subdudes - Behind the Levee; Christine Lavin, et al - One Meat Ball

Favorite Songs:

  • "People Look Around" - Catie Curtis
  • "Seeds of Peace" - Mark Erelli
  • "Passing Through" - Catie Curtis and Mark Erelli
  • "God Give Me Strength" - Audra McDonald
  • "The River in Reverse" - Elvis Costello/Allen Toussaint
  • "Life Short, Call Now" - Bruce Cockburn
  • "Song for Soldiers" - Greg Greenway
  • "One Word (Peace)" - The Subdudes
  • "I Was Watching You" - Rosanne Cash
  • "Follow Me to Carthage" - The Mammals
  • "See the World" - Gomez
  • "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" - KT Tunstall
  • "Toothbrush and My Table" - Grace Potter

Vin Scelsa

Idiot's Delight Host

This is not a Best of 2006 list, but a list of 10 album discoveries for 2006. A "Best of" list would have to include new CDs from Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and others, not included here. But these are ten personal favorites that deserve wider attention.

  • The Avett Brothers - Four Thieves Gone (Ramseur Records)
  • Vinicio Caposella - Ovunque Proteggi (Atlantic/Italy) and L'indispensabile (A greatest hits compilation on East West/Italy)
  • Mila Drumke Band - Radiate (Little Pro)
  • Jeffrey Dean Foster - Million Star Hotel (Angel Skull)
  • Butch Hancock - War And Peace (Two Roads Records)
  • Eilen Jewell - Boundary County (
  • Leah Seigel - Little Mule (self release)
  • John Proulx - Moon And Sand (MaxJazz)
  • Ben Vaughan - Designs In Music (Soundstage 15 Records)
  • Josh Weinstein - Brooklyn Is Sinking (Random Logo Productions)

George Evans

Director of Technical Operations/FUV Weekday Guest Host

  • KT Tunstall, Eye to the Telescope
  • Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Strangers Things
  • Gomez, How We Operate
  • Beth Orton, Comfort of Strangers
  • Brett Dennen, So Much More
  • Jack Johnson, Sing-a-Longs and Lullabies
  • The Decemberists, The Crane Wife
  • The Damnwells, Air Stereo
  • Alexi Murdoch, Time Without Consequence
  • Keane, Under The Iron Sea
  • Corinne Bailey Rae, Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Regina Spektor, Begin to Hope
  • Willie Nelson, Songbird
  • Citizen Cope, Every Waking Moment
  • G. Love, Lemonade
  • Rosanne Cash, Black Cadillac
  • Ani DiFranco, Reprieve
  • Josh Ritter, The Animal Years
  • Bruce Cockburn, Life Short Call Now
  • Keb' Mo', Suitcase
  • Teddy Thompson, Separate Ways
  • Alejandro Escovedo, The Boxing Mirror
  • Brazilian Girls, Talk to La Bomb
  • John Mayer, Continuum
  • Paul Westerberg, "Open Season" soundtrack
  • Mojave 3, Puzzles Like You
  • Lloyd Cole, Antidepressant
  • Los Lobos, The Town and the City
  • Yo La Tengo, I Am Not Afraid of You
  • Zero 7, The Garden
  • Pete Yorn, Nightcrawler
  • Rhett Miller, The Believer
  • Wilco, Kicking Television: Live in Chicago
  • Amos Lee, Supply and Demand
  • Badly Drawn Boy, Born in the UK
  • Cat Power, The Greatest
  • Damien Rice, 9
  • Joseph Arthur, Nuclear Daydream
  • Madeleine Peyroux, Half the Perfect World
  • Michael Franti, Yellfire!
  • Nellie McKay, Pretty Little Head
  • Paul Simon, Surprise
  • Pete Droge, Under the Waves
  • Mark Knopfler/Emmylou Harris, This is Us
  • Scott Miller & the Commonwealth, Citation
  • Shawn Colvin, These Four Walls
  • Thom Yorke, The Eraser

Sarah Wardrop

Interview Producer

Favorite albums:

  • James Hunter - People Gonna Talk
  • Rosanne Cash - Black Cadillac
  • Josh Ritter - The Animal Years
  • Beth Orton - Comfort of Strangers
  • Gomez - How We Operate
  • Ollabelle - Riverside Battle Songs
  • The Weepies - Say I Am You
  • Gecko Turner - Guapapasea!
  • The Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldier
  • KT Tunstall - Eye To The Telescope

Other new songs that held their ground in my head:

  • Ani DiFranco - "Reprieve"
  • Citizen Cope - "Back Together"
  • Corinne Bailey Rae - "Put Your Records On"
  • Grace Potter and The Nocturnals - "Toothbrush and My Table"
  • Indigo Girls - "Rock And Roll Heaven's Gate"
  • Jeffrey Foucault - "One For Sorrow"
  • Kinky - "Sister Twisted"
  • Paul Westerberg - "Love You In The Fall"
  • Ray Lamontagne - "Three More Days"
  • Regina Spektor - "Fidelity"
  • Rose Cousins - "If You Were For Me"

Thanks to this year's Studio A interviews for introducing me to:

  • Ane Brun
  • David Ford
  • Gecko Turner
  • Lewis Taylor
  • Richard Hawley
  • The Wood Brothers

Alan Light

FUV Weekday Morning Music Correspondent

  • Dixie Chicks
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Bob Dylan
  • The Beatles
  • Rosanne Cash
  • Regina Spektor
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Heartless Bastards
  • Keith Jarrett
  • Neko Case
  • My Chemical Romance
  • Lady Sovereign
  • Neil Young
  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Candi Staton
  • Johnny Cash
  • Solomon Burke
  • Jenny Lewis
  • Ray LaMontagne
  • Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris

Harlan Jacobson

FUV Weekday Morning Film Correspondent

  1. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
    Sasha Baron Cohen... Borat Sagdigayev... whatever you call him, it's the number one film of the year. From the cardboard invitation at Cannes, where I saw the first screening and laughed so hard I practically coughed up my liver Toronto, where I became convinced that it was simply the most alive film of the year.
    And I don't care about the objections on moral grounds, or anything else...I still cackle over the Georgia dinner party scene, and the nude wrestling scene in the hotel between Borat and his sidekick (or maybe that should be "TopSit") Azamat Bagatov (Ken Davitian) is the worst nightmare sequence of all time....
  2. The Queen
    Stephen Frears ruminated over what's a good queen to do over a better Princess who behaved badly, and Helen Mirren made me love her... Frears could have taken a cheap shot, instead he offered a meditation that took the subject above the tabloid level, while still fulfilling the necessary obligation to lift up the petticoats and point. Loved it: God doesn't have to save the Queen, Stephen Frears did.
  3. Kekexili: Mountain Patrol
    Chinese director Lu Chuan inserts us in with Tibetan vigilantes pledged to stop wild antelope poaching on the Kekexili wilderness of China. Gorgeous to look at, and Lu Chuan doesn't shy away from the shades of gray: the poachers are people too. A thrilling ride.
  4. Apocalypto
    What is it with Mel? I care about his demons less than his ability to make a great chase film, going all the way back to his Road Warrior, and now as a director in the graphic but stunning Apocalypto. As violent as it is, the film was mauled worse by critics - and it's first-rate filmmaking. As specious as the historicity is - Mel made it up - at least he has done what he can to revive Aramaic, and now he's pumped new adrenaline into ancient Mayan.
  5. An Inconvenient Truth
    Al Gore did what he couldn't do in Election 2000: make you believe the Polar ice cap was melting and that he could stop it in this PowerPoint demonstration - more than it is a film per se - by Davis Guggenheim. In true muckraking style that goes all the way back to Jacob Riis, the film had a terrific impact on the national conversation, which is why I chose it.
  6. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
    Romanian director Cristi Puiu gives us Health Care, socialist style, in a 2.5 hour downward spiral of one Mr. Lazarescu, a late middle-aged ordinary man played by a fabulous Ion Fiscuteaunu. Never less than riveting, darkly funny, and true the world over.
  7. Venus
    UK director Roger Michell and writer Hanif Kureishi team deliver a film that expands the bounds of May-December relations to something on the order of mid-February - and two minutes to midnight New Year's Eve. Peter O'Toole, who at 74 appears quite fragile, gives a stunning performance as an old letch with the grace to still be a lover one last time, and newcomer Jodie Whittaker is the lower class 19-year-old who shows up on his doorstep in a Pygmalion tale for the new century. With a great supporting cast, including Vanessa Redgrave and Leslie Phillips.
  8. Tie: 13 Tzameti / Battle in Heaven
    13 Tzameti, by Gela Babluani, is a French-Georgian film set in the French countryside and ends in a mysterious game of Russian roulette - a journey that crosses The Deer Hunter with French existentialism. Battle in Heaven, by Mexican director Carlos Reygadas, is a "class and sexual politics crossed with religion" tale. Both these films are by young 30-something filmmakers, both are graphic in different ways, both are young, spirited, uneven films that mark emerging talent...and are not for people with pacemakers.
  9. This Film Is Not Yet Rated
    Troublemaking doc director Kirby Dick takes on the MPAA's movie ratings in a film that turns itself into something of a private eye caper movie crossed with a Ralph Nader-style demand for corporate accountability. The film was a little too inside baseball to attract much of a theatre audience - but it's first-rate viewing from your couch, guaranteed.
  10. Thank You For Smoking.
    Jason (son of Ivan) Reitman's debut film about a tobacco lobbyist played by Aaron Eckhart and the lessons about he has for his young son, was never less than smart, sassy and did I say smart? Great supporting cast of Maria Bello, Robert Duvall, Sam Elliot and even Katie Holmes....

Un certain regard:

  • The Devil Wears Prada
  • Little Children
  • Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story
  • Babel
  • I Like Killing Flies
  • The Illusionist
  • Off the Black
  • Unknown White Male
  • Wah-Wah
  • Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont

Best Actor:

  • Peter O'Toole, Venus
  • Forest Whitaker, Last King of Scotland

Best Actress:

  • Helen Mirren, The Queen
  • Penelope Cruz, Volver

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Mark Wahlberg, The Departed
  • James Cromwell, The Queen
  • Ken Davitian, Borat

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Fernanda Torres, House of Sand
  • Fernanda Montenegro, House of Sand
  • Vanessa Redgrave, Venus

Worst of the Year:

  • The DaVinci Code: My favorite line - "I gotta get to a library..."
  • Zidane, Un Portrait du 21E Siecle: How not to make a doc
  • Marie-Antoinette: Oh dig it, a teenager who doesn't lose her head who should have... More Sofia Coppola than a body oughtta have to stand.

Laura Fedele

Web Site Director

I don't really listen to albums as such much, but these collections have at least a few songs I like; in pseudoalphabetical order:

  • Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
    Plus you must see the transcendant live string quintet!
  • Amos Lee - Supply and Demand
    He's the real deal. "Careless" is esp. fabulous.
  • Ani DiFranco - Reprieve
    It took me a while to get into this groove. But then I did.
  • Cat Power - The Greatest
    Somehow it ended up in my car and then never left.
  • Citizen Cope - Every Waking Moment
    Finally we can hear all the stuff that was going on in his head!
  • David Ford - I Sincerely Apologise For All the Trouble I've Caused
    This guy puts it on the line every time, bless him.
  • Fatboy Slim - The Greatest Hits: Why Try Harder
    Because after all that, a girl's got to DANCE.
  • Gomez - How We Operate
    What can I say, I'm in love.
  • Jenny Lewis w/The Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat
    Beautiful and creepy? Or creepy and beautiful?
  • Josh Ritter - The Animal Years
    Put your big thoughts into art and you too can end up happy.
  • KT Tunstall - Eye to the Telescope
    I hear something new I like and it always turns out to be on this record.
  • Ray LaMontagne - Till the Sun Turns Black
    He really does back up that gift of a voice with great songs.

Shari Rosen Ascher

Underwriting Director

  • Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint - The River in Reverse
    Elvis never ceases to amaze me with his songwriting skills, his sexy, soulful singing and the way he can put a new spin on an old favorite. This album is for Elvis and New Orleans lovers alike and is a pure joy from start to finish.
  • Tony Bennett - Duets: An American Classic
    This album is so much fun! While there are a couple of songs I can do without, Tony and Diana Krall is something I can listen to all day long.
  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Ardcadium
    This is my son Marty's favorite album and it was his first major concert. So this one is close to my heart and fun for all ages.
  • Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs - Under the Covers Volume 1
    I have given up my dream of another Thorns record. But I did get a good Matthew fix with this one. And who can resist a Bangle?
  • Shawn Mullins - 9th Ward Picking Parlor
    See my comment above and add that this record is just gorgeous and haunting.
  • James Hunter - People Gonna Talk
    Sam Cooke for the new millennium. When a song from this CD comes up when I am on "shuffle," it makes me smile.

Songs I find myself singing:

  • Anything by KT Tunstall
  • "White and Nerdy" by Weird Al
  • "Fergelicious" (despite my feminist sensibilities)
  • "Who Says You Can't Go Home" - Bon Jovi, like a fine wine, gets better with age
  • "Dani California" - RHCP
  • "Hips Don't Lie" - Shakira

And, 2 years later, I am still listening to American Idiot by Green Day.

Ben Jones

Music Manager

  • Built To Spill - You In Reverse
    An obvious change in sound for this band (probably due to the lack of producer Phil Ek on the record), You In Reverse is as epic and raw as Built To Spill gets. Songs rock very hard live.
  • Cat Power - The Greatest
    Probably the best album of the year. I find myself growing more comfortable with this album every time I listen. And, most of all, it swings like romance and heartbreak should.
  • The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
    Very focused, if at times overblown. Immediate emotional impact in the sound, and lyrics worth printing out.
  • Deertick - Greatest Hits
    20-year-old Garageland blues singer from Providence Rhode, Island. Seriously not a song on this collection that I don't like. An earnest and sometimes jarring voice, with more life in his lyrics than most artists twice his age. Should be some kind of folk hero.
  • Eels - With Strings: Live at Town Hall
    Mr. E navigates channels everything from the spirit of "Jungleland" to the wry smile on the cover of Nashville Skyline. Beautiful arrangements for this great storyteller.
  • Eli "Paperboy" Reed & the True Loves - Roll With You
    Soul music played by a 23-year-old Boston prodigy who cut his teeth studying in Clarksdale, Mississippi. The real deal, with an absolutely breathtaking band to back him up. All songs record live and in mono.
  • Mogwai - Mr. Beast
    Mogwai records are always the healthiest way to leave your body.
  • Peter and the Wolf - Lightness
    Red Hunter is a songwriter from Austin who brings his Peter and the Wolf project around the country via foot, sailboat, or Toyota. This record is Peter and the Wolf's first official release, and is a gorgeous showcase for the Hunter's sad folk tales.
  • Thom Yorke - The Eraser
    I'm not going to lie; this man is the pope of my church. And this album continually blew me away, no matter how hard I tried not to like it.
  • Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your...
    A dense record that veers in and out of beautiful, jazzy, and chaotic. Also wins the award for "Album Title of the Year."

Joey Delvecchio

Traffic and Continuity Director

  1. Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam
    Yes, folks, this is indeed my favorite album of this year. Eddie Vedder and co. are back, for real this time. After releasing a few duds since their heyday in the early and mid 90s, Pearl Jam delivers what I think is their best work since their 1991 debut album Ten. And, you gotta love the fact they waited until their eighth studio release (not counting the plethora of live and B-Side material they've put out), to self-title their album, perhaps implying that the band is going back to where they started from. Long live Pearl Jam!
  2. The Damnwells - Air Stereo
    Whether it's "Radar Love" or "Sweet Child of Mine" or, heck, "I've got You, Babe," The Damnwells unabashadedly let you know that they're not out to revolutionize music, just to keep making good ol' rock 'n' roll! And, they're so good at it, too! Led by Alex Dezen, The Damnwells very successfully walk the line between alt-country, Americana, and pop rock, in the vain of Soul Asylum or Gin Blossoms. It might be "more of the same", but hey, as the saying goes, "Why mess with a good thing?"
  3. Five for Fighting - Two Lights
    Five for Fighting (a.k.a. one man by the name of "John Ondrasik") is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated artists out there today. On his third major label release, Five for Fighting continues his piano-laden rock and ballad style. Think Billy Joel, or even Elton John. Like both of those legends, Five for Fighting writes lyrics that make your head spin! You can't not get emotional while listening to FFF, and I personally love that. I can only hope, for everyone's sake, Five for Fighting gets the recognition he deserves.
  4. Michael Franti & Spearhead - Yell Fire!
    This album was actually an introduction to the band for me, and wound up making #4 for the year. What an impressive piece of work! Who knew making such powerful political and social statements could have you groovin' like you're at the club on a Saturday night! Good stuff by Franti & Co.
  5. Buckcherry - 15
    WHOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO. "Might make your head blow off!" as I like to say. This, their third major label release, was a great return for this rock 'n' roll band. Buckcherry continue to tip their hats (or bottles, in their case) to that great pioneer of rock 'n' roll from whom many suspect they got their name (flip the first letter of each syllable of the name "Buckcherry"). Buckcherry aren't on a quest to save the world or even themselves. With this band, it's just "sex drugs, and rock 'n' roll". And, in a day where it seems all of Hollywood needs to tell you their opinions on the state of the world today, thank goodness for Buckcherry.

Chris Pergolizzi

'FUV Jamboree Host Emeritus

  1. Annuals - Be He Me
    The most exciting, original record of the year to my ears came from a bunch of North Carolinians (Carolinans? Carolinites?) who would almost all need fake id’s to get into the clubs they play in every night. This record is beautiful, and most of the songs move in such strange and interesting directions that they leave you wanting more, which is something that happens rarely, even with a good record.
  2. Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
    The hype surrounding this long awaited Clipse follow up record has been pretty well documented by the press, and Pusha T and Malice managed not only to live up to it but to surpass expectations. The production is fantastic, and lyrically this record is vicious, but the hooks are still there—you feel guilty for wanting to sing along.
  3. TV On the Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
    On its first record, TV On the Radio took a big band with a horn section and did weird things with it that critics raved about. For this record they went in a completely different direction, stripped back the sound—it was heavier, more electronic—and once again it met with rave reviews. These guys score some bonus points for starting out weird and managing to take their sound apart and reinvent it one album later.
  4. Cat Power - The Greatest
    This album is just beautiful from beginning to end. It’s mellow but soulful and Cat Power just draws you in with every word. She stole Al Green’s band to back her, and while you may not be able to go wrong with a rhythm section that good, there are certainly varying degrees of right you can go. And she seems to have had a vision for this record that worked out perfectly.
  5. Ghostface - The Fishscale
    Following the careers of the members of the Wu Tang Clan is like watching the planet earth evolve over millions of years. It began with one great land mass, in a raw, primitive state, and that land mass broke apart, leaving smaller places around the globe for life to evolve on. And in those spaces, wars were fought, problems arose, and sometimes things went spectacularly well. Ghostface seems to be the Alexander the Great of the Wu universe, usurping RZA (who is probably the Persian empire or something like that) as the dominant force. This guy rose from an mc who was overshadowed by his more successful colleagues in Wu Tang, to become a hip hop Godfather and the king of drug rap. This album is his coronation ceremony.
  6. M. Ward - Postwar
    M. Ward has a wonderful way of constructing songs that can be quiet and mellow, but can stick in your head and stay with you just as much as a catchy pop melody. His last record did that, and Postwar does it better.
  7. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
    This record finally got Cee-Lo the attention he deserves. Critics have loved this guy for a long time, and now everyone seems to love him. And a hip hop record with a Violent Femmes cover and Feng Shui references is a pretty bold move, but it worked in a big way.
  8. The Black Keys - Chulahoma
    The Black Keys actually put out two records this year. The other one, Magic Potion, is fantastic. Chulahoma is an EP of the Black Keys covering Junior Kimbrough songs, and it’s impossibly good.
  9. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
    These guys keep proving that they are some of the best songwriters alive with each record, and Colin Melloy’s imagery is made stronger by the fact that the instrumentation and the production on their records is so big and keeps changing.
  10. Thom Yorke - The Eraser
    Thom Yorke refuses to settle for boring, and I would not have expected anything less than a great record from him. He delivered.
  11. Ratatat - Classics
    Instrumental rock anthems. Amazing.
  12. Matt and Kim - Matt and Kim
    I saw these two play an opening gig to a hundred kids in a room that holds a thousand. All of those kids were jumping up and down, crowd surfing, and throwing confetti and pom poms. The record brings back that feeling every time I listen to it.
  13. Josh Ritter - The Animal Years
    Easily the best folk record of the year, Ritter stepped up his game on The Animal Years. Thin Blue Flame is incredible, and almost every song manages to tell a story and make it hum-able.
  14. T.I. - King
    T.I. seemed like a pretty average rapper before this record, but the aptly titled king raised his status by leaps and bounds. There are a number of classics here, and it’s great to see a mainstream artist—especially in hip hop—who can actually make a record that is more than just the sum of its singles.

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