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Tony Pascarella

Written by: Tony Pascarella (11/08/06)
Click the links, read the reviews. Enjoy!

Top Albums of 2006

01. John Mayer - Continuum
02. The Damnwells - Air Stereo
03. Street Dogs - Fading American Dream
04. Liam and Me - There's A Difference
05. The Living End - State of Emergency
06. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium
07. +44 - When Your Heart Stops Beating
08. The Format - Dog Problems
09. Kevin Devine - Put Your Ghost to Rest
10. New Found Glory - Coming Home
11. The Matches - Decomposer
12. The Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Machine
13. Calexico - Garden Ruin
14. Regina Spektor - Begin to Hope
15. Copeland - Eat, Sleep, Repeat
16. Bad Astronaut - Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment
17. The Falcon - Unicornography
18. My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
19. Goo Goo Dolls - Let Love In
20. Lucero - Rebels, Rogues, and Sworn Brothers
21. The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
22. Blackpool Lights - This Town's Disaster
23. Over It - Step Outside Yourself
24. Rory - We're Up to No Good, We're Up to No Good
25. Damiera - M(US)IC
26. Army of Freshmen - Under the Radar
27. The Sounds - Dying to Say This to You
28. Bouncing Souls - The Gold Record
29. Dead Girls Ruin Everything - What A Perfect Ending
30. Brandtson - Hello Control
Explanation2006 was a year of surprises and disappointments. Many albums I expected to be great proved only marginal, leaving me to search elsewhere for the undiscovered gems. I found a few (with AP members' help), namely The Damnwells, The Thermals, and The Essex Green, all which come highly recommended. Pick on the unabashed powerpop mentions on my list (Army of Freshmen) or the absence of heavier music--I don't care. These are the 30 most entertaining, memorable albums I listened to this year.

Top Albums (Honorable Mention)
Heavens - Patent Pending
Much the Same - Survive
Set Your Goals - Mutiny!
Ryan's Hope - Apocalypse in Increments
Monty Are I - Wall of People
ExplanationHonorable mention is always tough because you're bound to leave some bands out. I tried to include five bands that just missed the cut, but are all very much worth checking out.

Top EPs of 2006
1. Lakes - Photographs EP
2. The Action Design - The Action Design EP
3. My Favorite Highway - Anywhere But Here EP
4. Sherwood - The Summer EP
5. Lucky Boys Confusion - How To Get Out Alive
ExplanationLakes was a fantastic release, and The Action Design (featuring Agent M and Matty of Tsunami Bomb) is closely behind. My Favorite Highway will be huge, and rightfully so. Sherwood also should take off in 2007 with their next full-length. Lucky Boys Confusion rounds out this list.

Worst Albums of 2006
Cute Is What We Aim For - The Same Old Blood Rush With a New Touch
Yellowcard - Lights & Sounds
Angels & Airwaves - We Don't Need to Whisper
Hellogoodbye - Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!
Halifax - The Inevitability of a Strange World
ExplanationIt is strange to see two Drive-Thru releases in a worst-of list, but these are the times we've arrived at. The most digitized rehashed tripe we could find was only trumped by the most boring rehashed glam rock we could find. Eesh. Angels and Airwaves tuned the dial to "boring" as Yellowcard learned to spell "career killer." And to no surprise, Cute Is What We Aim For made the list for the half-assed album that set FBR sales records and then promptly bombed.

Best "New" Band:
Lakes
Damiera
ExplanationThese are two bands that were both highly praised by those who listened, but the main problem is that few actually took the time to listen. EVR will be re-releasing Damiera's album in '07, and hopefully their career with take off. They are one of the tightest live bands I have seen, and M(US)IC will make them an EVR cornerstone. Lakes, formed from the ashes of Watashi Wa, is one of the closest, most emotional pieces of music released in 2006, and you're doing your romantic side a disservice by ignoring it.

Most Overrated Band:
Brand New
ExplanationMost of you probably realize this isn't a surprise coming from me. Brand New is (in my opinion) vastly overrated, and TDAGARIM was not the album that BN fans hyped by any means. I hope they continue to go in a similar direction musically, but make some changes lyrically. Their next album could really be a force to be reckoned with, despite the fact that this one lost steam quickly with me.

Most Underrated Bands:
New Found Glory
Calexico
ExplanationWhile the second one seems more reasonable, a lot of people are going to raise their eyebrows at my first choice. New Found Glory have always been at the forefront of pop-punk, but with the release of Coming Home this year, they sold a disappointing number of copies, especially for such a complete album. It might have been the best release of their career. Calexico's Garden Ruin was an album I had a tough time finding, but once I did, I have fallen in love with the CD.

One Year Later:
Acceptance – Phantoms
ExplanationWhen Acceptance's Phantoms came out last year, I disparaged it at first as "overproduced" and "lacking substance" among other things. However, like a good album should, it incessantly grew on me, amplified by several opportunities to see the band live. By the end of 2005, I had it placed at #9 on my Best of 2005 list, surprising considering the B I had awarded it upon my initial review. Fully one year after elevating it to "Best of" status, it is necessary to mention Acceptance again. While the album never found the success it deserved, it is no less relevant. In 2006, Acceptance decided to call it quits, ending a band that was more than just Phantoms. They will never touch the musical quality and beauty of Phantoms, and that's perfectly fine with me. I have a unique emotional attachment to the songs on that particular album, and while 2006 marks the end of an era, the band lives on with every person who did themselves a service and bought (or even stole) the album. This winter, during those cold or lonely nights, break out Phantoms and appreciate just how special a band Acceptance really was.

Band of the Year:
Red Hot Chili Peppers
ExplanationI bet you didn't see that one coming! From a secluded point of view, I could pick someone like Brand New, but I'd be doing the rest of the music released in 2006 a disservice. Outside of the internet and Brand New's fan base, the sales have not responded as positively as some expected. Instead, I'm going to go with the clear-cut career revitalizion that RHCP underwent this year. Fans expected they would fall flat with a headstrong and weighty 2-disc set like Stadium Arcadium; instead, a million and a half people decided to forego their ADHD and experience the Chili Peppers like never before. Launching themselves onto yet another generation, the collective of Kiedis, Frusciante, Flea, and Chad Smith have spent 23 years changing the shape of alternative rock, and 2006 proves they are not content to rest on their laurels. For that, they deserve to be the Band of the Year.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 24
08:12 PM on 11/08/06
#2
Tony Pascarella
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I just want to take a moment to thank everyone that I have worked with, dealt with, or talked to this year. December 31 will mark one year for me on AP.net's staff, and it has been quite an experience.

I look forward to a great 2007, and I love you all (even if the love isn't returned).

I'd also like to thank Jason for taking a chance on me last year. I'd like to think I've made a positive contribution to Absolutepunk, and I hope to continue for as long as you'll have me.

And last but not least, I have a lot of upcoming things in 2007. Expect to see my name around a lot more, both with AP.net and other things related to music. Barring any changes, I will be doing some writing for a relatively new music magazine starting in February, and I am doing some part-time work for a really cool new company that I expect you'll see posted about on AP in the next few months.

Anyway, thanks to everyone, and happy holidays. I hope you enjoyed my Best of 2006 List and I look forward to reading your responses.
01:50 AM on 12/21/06
#3
samantha b-face
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i did not know acceptance were done
where have i been?
i bought phantoms and i thought it was amazing
hell yes for mentioning it again
03:56 AM on 12/21/06
#4
sasalukac
giddy up
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yes! i love that Monty Are I got a mention!
07:28 AM on 12/21/06
#5
Özgür Kurtoglu
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Never thought I'd find another person on here that doesn't praise Brand New.

Just for those precious few sentences, this list will be declared my favourite.
08:54 AM on 12/21/06
#6
petey536
peace
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Never thought I'd find another person on here that doesn't praise Brand New.

Just for those precious few sentences, this list will be declared my favourite.
haha yeah, atleast your not the only one
08:55 AM on 12/21/06
#7
roxy
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Awesome list Tony.
You also forgot to say fall of '07 you will be in Boston!
10:41 AM on 12/21/06
#8
piaffeprncess98
check out www.avoidthescene.com
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Good call on Acceptance. RIP.
11:11 AM on 12/21/06
#9
Blake Solomon
Leave a one-way note.
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i also had The Damnwells at number 2, good call.
12:52 PM on 12/21/06
FatJordan
Fat is Fashionable
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Holy crap, I thought it was sacreligious to say Brand New is overrated. Now that the air is clear...

I AGREE.

PS. I think you are one of the only staff on this site to hear the Bad Astronaut album. Or else it would be on everyone else's list.
03:01 PM on 12/21/06
James Johnson
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16. Bad Astronaut - Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment
17. The Falcon - Unicornography
!!!! awesome!!!!
12:02 AM on 12/22/06
hxchairstylist
Hair on Mars
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Good list. Way to go with your gut. Also, kind words about acceptance. Kind, and true. They will be sorely missed. Not too many bands will be able to match what that band had going in such a short amount of time.

-Jake
www.hxchairstylist.com
07:04 AM on 12/22/06
Özgür Kurtoglu
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Oh crap! Totally missed the Bad Astronaut comment! A great ending to a great story.
12:17 PM on 12/22/06
BuyMyIntention
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i did not know acceptance were done
where have i been?
i bought phantoms and i thought it was amazing
hell yes for mentioning it again

Yeah... it was pretty sad. I was really looking forward to their next record. I saw them 4 times in one year!
12:19 PM on 12/22/06
BuyMyIntention
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I also agree with you on Brand New. The new record has some rad cuts, but I never understood what all the fuss was about.
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