Submitted by Dan Ficker (Webmaster, inReview.net)
1. Mute Math - Mute Math
There's no doubt that 2006 was the year of Mute Math. In early 2006 I saw them play live and picked up the independent version of this CD. Both the show and the disc blew me away. Plus, the major-label fall re-release with a nice live EP got me out to the stores for more. From the opening notes of "Typical" to the last pulsating note of the epic "Reset", this album does not disappoint. My favorite parts are easily those electronic sounds in "Noticed" and "Stare at the Sun" paired with it's extended instrumental, "Obselete". Let's hope 2007 will be even bigger for Mute Math.
2. The Elms - The Chess Hotel
Perhaps not many have been awaiting the new release from The Elms. But I've been waiting fervently and consuming all kinds of behind-the-scenes stuff from Phil's blog and more. This spring finally brought The Chess Hotel to stores, though, and it was worth the wait. The Elms embody the hard-workin', rock 'n' roll, rough-around-the-edges personality of the people at the heart of America. Classic rock albums like this are possibly not even made anymore. Guys, please play a club in Minneapolis soon!
3. The Listening - The Listening
This is an amazing new band. The journey that started as the Rock 'n' Roll Worship Circus has finally matured into The Listening. The band has perfected their own brand of Brit-rock to make this a must-have independent release. Some might find the music a bit dark and atmospheric for their tastes, but I thought the entire ride was mind-blowing.
4. Mars Ill - Pro*Pain
Die-hard fans will know that this disc has also been years in the making. Without fail, Mars Ill steps up and delivers the goods. Almost every song on this disc is a lead single, starting with the double-punch of "Say So" and "Sound Off" and continuing with "More" and "Effortless". Plus, don't miss the slow burners like "When Heaven Scrapes the Pavement". Hip-hop has never sounded this good.
5. Mat Kearney - Nothing Left To Lose
This was also the year for this artist. Although some knew about Kearney's unique melding of Coldplay and Citizen Cope, most were still unaware of this new talent in pop music. Thanks to the hard work of a major label and a solid new release, Mat Kearney seems to be almost everywhere. As you can probably tell, I love all types of music and this release fits in almost all of them, at least in part.
For more information on this series, visit the Most Spun 2006 main page.