best of 2006
The 150 Best Records Of 2006 - Part 1

Burnt Friedman Jaki Liebezeit Secret Rhythms 2Diesler Keepie UppiesQuantic An Announcement to AnswerGrant Phabao Remixed and RemixesAFX Hangable Auto BulbAFX Chosen LordsSenor Coconut Yellow FeverThe Juju Orchestra Kind Of Latin RhythmThe Juju Orchestra Take FourOrgatronics MoonfruitFort Knox Recordings The New Gold StandardFelix Laband Dark Days Exit
01. Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit - Secret Rhythms 2 (CD/2xLP)
02. Diesler - Keepie Uppies (CD)
03. Quantic - An Announcement to Answer (CD/LP)
04. Grant Phabao - Remixed & Remixes (CDR)
05. AFX - Hangable Auto Bulb (CD) / Chosen Lords (CD)
06. Senor Coconut - Yellow Fever (CD)
07. The Juju Orchestra - Kind Of Latin Rhythm (12") / Take Four (12")
08. Orgatronics - Moonfruit (CD)
09. Fort Knox Recordings - The New Gold Standard (CD/12")
10. Felix Laband - Dark Days Exit (CD/LP)

We've been amazed by their talent for years now so it's no surprise to find Burnt Friedman, Grant Phabao, Aphex Twin or Atom Heart (under his Señor Coconut guise) in this Top 10 once again. These guys are at the top of their game, each one creating an exceptionally unique sound and an incredibly vast discography. Seek them out. Diesler and Quantic are no real surprise either, as the Tru Thoughts label they're on was one of the best of 2005 for all connoisseurs. Breakbeat programming and fusion of groovy styles gets re-invented with the Brighton twist in there. Ask your record dealer for their albums and singles! Newcomers are also welcomed in this bi-annual "Best Of", whether they're cool and fun like the Juju Orchestra, roots and classy like Orgatronics, hip and shaky like The Fort Knox Five or dark and lovely like Felix Laband. You can start diggin'.

MushroomCaroleen BeattySoul SistersPhish Live at Madison Square GardenLoka Fire ShepherdsBenevento Russo Duo LiveLes Claypool Of Whales And WoeBrave Captain DistractionsBobby Previte Coalition Of The WillingKeller and The Keels GrassDisco Biscuits The Wind at Four to FlyBlues Traveler Bastardos
01. Mushroom - Really Don't Mind If You Sit This One Out (CD)
Caroleen Beatty (w/ Mushroom) - You're Only As Pretty As You Feel (CD)
Various (alias Mushroom) - Soul Sisters - The Sights & Sounds of the African-American Underground (CD)
02. Phish - Live at Madison Square Garden New Year's Eve 1995 (3xCD)
03. Loka - Fire Shepherds (CD/LP)
04. Benevento/Russo Duo - Raw Horse: The Benevento Russo Duo Live! (CD)
05. Les Claypool - Of Whales And Woe (CD/LP)
06. Brave Captain - Distractions (CD/LP)
07. Bobby Previte - The Coalition Of The Willing (CD/LP)
08. Keller & The Keels - Grass (CD/LP)
09. The Disco Biscuits - The Wind at Four to Fly (CD/LP)
10. Blues Traveler - Bastardos (CD/LP)

Yeaaaah we like our pop and rock to go psychedelic all the way. So what? You'd rather we'd opt for some formatted everybody-plays-the-same-shit-to-be-on-radio? Sorry, that won't happen. As pop/rock has became the mainstream in all major medias, some artists and bands are still re-inventing the realm each year, starting with the acidest we could find, Mushroom, who recently released three albums under different names. Those San Francisco guys love trippy music as much as record collecting, so you'd rather take their misleadings as a trasure quest... Next is an 11-years- old show from mammoth jamband Phish, but one of their bests, at a cheap price for a 3 -CD set.
Our American underground / jam bands / psychedelic US rock selection doesn't stop here, with incredible mind-meltingness from the Benevento/Russo Duo (now touring with Trey and Mike from Phish...), Primus frontman and bassist extraordinaire second solo opus as Les Claypool, Bobby Previte and his stellar array of guests (Charlie Hunter, Stanton Moore, Steven Bernstein, Skerik...) for some loud "jazz meets rock" noise, Keller Williams' soft folk in the grass, The Disco Biscuits' cosmic live trance-fusion exploison, and Blues Traveler's recent comeback to their best with some heavy psychedelia.
Last year we had voted in this same section for Super Numeri, and we're still listening to that album. So it's no surprise to find the Loka album in this list this year, as Loka is a duo fronted by Karl Webb, one of the three founders of Super Numeri. Go seek - and yes, there are vinyls for those albums!! Cherry on the cake is the FREE album from former Boo Radleys frontman, Brave Captain, who simply still on the top of my pop idols list. You can download it on his site in WAV or MP3 format for free. Life's no bitch.

Spank Rock YoYoYoYoYoPeople Under The Stairs StepfatherCut Chemist The Audience is ListeningNew Flesh Universally DirtyMocky Navy Brown BluesFreddie Cruger presents The 3 Foot PeopleCunninLynguists A Piece Of StrangeAmmoncontact With VoicesSpeech Defect Freshcoast Gettin RowdySoul Position Things Go Better With RJ And AlRjd2 Magnificent City Instrumentals
01. Spank Rock - YoYoYoYoYo (CD/2XLP)
02. People Under The Stairs - Stepfather (CD+DVD/2xLP)
03. Cut Chemist - The Audience's Listening (CD)
04. New Flesh - Universally Dirty (CD/2xLP)
05. Mocky - Navy Brown Blues (CD)
06. Freddie Cruger presents The 3 Foot People - 3 Feet High & Rising (CD/2xLP)
07. CunninLynguists - A Piece Of Strange (CD)
08. Ammoncontact - With Voices (CD/2xLP)
09. Speech Defect - Freshcoast Gettin' Rowdy (CD/2xLP)
10. Soul Position - Things Go Better With RJ And Al (CD/2xLP)
10. Rjd2 - Magnificent City Instrumentals (CD/2xLP)

Spank Rock is undoubtly the sensation of the year. He brought Baltimore's Hip Hop to us without warning and stormed to our dancefloors with the most innovative record of the year (so far). We've chosen another Big Dada joint with the upcoming New Flesh album, full of hits and inventivness. Sister label Ninja Tune isn't far with the Ammoncontact album, a pure masterpiece of L.A. jazz/soul/hip hop, and we're still very fond of Mocky's world, not so far from Gonzales one... The rest of our biannual selection is mostly old school funky hip hop, the one we like best, with "I-need-the-vinyl-absolutly" pieces from People Under The Stairs, former Jurassic 5 DJ Cut Chemist, recent Tru Thoughts signing Freddie Cruger (known as Red Astaire on the recently closed G.A.M.M. imprint), underground favorites Cunninlynguists, and swedish Ugly Duckling counterparts, Speech Defect. A couple of recent Rjd2 productions are thrown in there too cos' we still haven't got tired of his Shadow-esque style. Hip Hop don't stop.

The Bamboos - Step It UpGeorge Clinton U Aint Runnin Shit Grant Phabao SkankDarondo Let My People GoThe Broken Keys GravityThe Cheebacabra Exile In The WoodsCampbell Brothers Can You Feel ItThe Wood Brothers Ways Not To LoseThe Wood Brothers Live At Tonic EPChristian McBride Live At TonicNostalgia 77 Octet 7s and 8s Live At The Jazz CafeCharlie Hunter Bobby Previte Dj Logic LongitudeCharlie Hunter Copperopolis
01. The Bamboos - Step It Up (CD/LP)
02. George Clinton - U Ain't Runnin Shit (Grant Phabao Skank)
03. Darondo - Let My People Go (CD/LP)
04. The Broken Keys - Gravity (CD/LP)
05. The Cheebacabra - Exile In The Woods (CD)
06. Campbell Brothers - Can You Feel It? (CD)
07. The Wood Brothers - Ways Not To Lose (CD)
The Wood Brothers - Live At Tonic EP (CD)
08. Christian McBride - Live At Tonic (3xCD)
09. Nostalgia 77 Octet - 7's & 8's - Live At The Jazz Café (CD)
10. Charlie Hunter & Bobby Previte as Groundhunter + Dj Logic - Longitude (CD)
Charlie Hunter - Copperopolis (CD)

Running the game today in the new soul/jazz/funk roots "worldwide scene" is Brighton's finest label, Tru Thoughts. Three of their albums from the last 6 months have graced this selection: heavy heavy funk from The Bamboos (from Australia with love), soul-rock with hip hop leanings from The Broken Keys, and jazz café with the Nostalgia 77 Octet. The only other label we've found who could compete with that is New York's Ropeadope, with their gospel (The Campbell Brothers produced by John Medeski), their folk jazz (The Wood Brothers with Chris Wood from Medeski, Martin & Wood), a stunning document from downtown NY (a 3-CD live set from Christian McBride with many guests), and a new Charlie Hunter Trio album. There's nearly no competition against those two giant labels, but Ubiquity Records managed to find their way into this list, excavating supersoul from Darondo, and The Cheebacabra graced us with a second album of psychedelic keys and synths meets West coast jazz/funk lounge. And for something completly different, try the Grant Phabao remix of George Clinton for a few minutes of pure bliss. Dr Funkenstein never went reggae/soul before and he loved it. You can get it for free on while stocks last...

Tropicalia Brasilian Revolution In SoundAntibalas Family AffairThe Budos BandNomo New TonesNomo NomoStudio One DJs 2Studio One Soul 2The Daktaris Soul ExplosionSound Dimension Jamaica Soul ShakeFire Tongue and Chief Cook Wayo Bring WarGroundation Dub Wars
01. Various - Tropicália : A Brasilian Revolution In Sound (CD/2xLP)
02. Antibalas & Doctor L - Family Affair (7")
03. The Budos Band - The Budos Band (CD/LP)
04. Various - The Brazilian Funk Experience (CD)
05. Nomo - New Tones (CD/LP)
Nomo - Nomo (CD)
06. Various - Studio One DJs 2 (CD/2xLP)
Various - Studio One Soul 2 (CD/2xLP)
07. The Daktaris - Soul Explosion (CD/LP reissue)
08. Sound Dimension - Jamaica Soul Shake (CD/2xLP)
09. Fire Tongue and Chief Cook - Wayo Bring War (CD)
10. Groundation - Dub Wars (CD/2xLP)

OS Mutantes' albums are finally available on CD but if you don't know where to start, check out the Soul Jazz compilation, it's the best sum-up of the brazilian "Tropicália" movement yet. The booklet is, as usual, nearly perfect. If you'd rather get some 70's brazilian soul/funk instead, go for the latest Patrick Forge compilation, it's a bargain with a killer selection.
Hipsters into Afrobeat won't be disappointed with a new single from Antibalas (covering Sly Stone with Doctor L!!!), the first Budos Band album or the Dakataris reissue on Daptone Records, two Nomo albums (because we prefered the first one, released some time ago), and a french release from Fire Tongue and Chief Cook. That's what we call a grand buffet.
The reggae selection is 100% Soul Jazz Records, with their second volumes of "Studio One DJs" and "Studio One Soul" and a compilation of Sound Dimension instrumentals. Three major compilations of old school jamaican grooves in less than 6 months. Those Soul Jazz guys are just incredible. Their booklets are fantastic and the sound is what the music deserves. Send them love.

Panama Latin Calypso and Funk on the IsthmusQuantic presents The World Rarest Funk 45sBoozoo Bajou Juke Joint IIStay On The Groove 20 Modern Funk AnthemsShapes CompilationBay Area Funk 2Let Rhythm ProvideBiggabush Sound SensationTrap Door An International Psychedelic Mystery Mix
01. Various - Panama! - Latin Calypso and Funk on the Isthmus 1965-75 (CD/2xLP)
02. Quantic - Presents The World Rarest Funk 45s (CD)
03. Boozoo Bajou - Juke Joint II (CD/12")
04. Various - Stay On The Groove: 20 Modern Funk Anthems (CD)
05. Various - Shapes Compilation (CD)
06. Various - Bay Area Funk 2 (CD/2xLP)
07. Various - Let Rhythm Provide (CD)
08. Biggabush - Sound Sensation (CD)
09. Various - Trap Door - An International Psychedelic Mystery Mix (CD/LP)
10. Various - Fallin' Off The Reel: Truth & Soul Single Collection Vol.1 (CD)

UK afro and funk reissues label Soundway records is doing one helluva job. This time they've gove over to Panama and brought back an amazing selection of singles and tracks. The record is just unbelievable, but that's not all: a second volume should be out in 2007!! Whoa!!! A big friend of Soundway's boss Miles Cleret is Quantic, who also worked hard to gather his selection of supa-dupa-rare-and-collectable funk 45s for Jazzman Records. Don't pass out on this one cos it's a bargain. Another top-notch selection of funk titles if the second Luv'N'Haight collection of Bay Area grooves - killer stuff all the way.
If you're more into today's deep funk scene, the Freestyle Records compilation "Stay On The Groove" is heavenly. BUY IT and never regret it. It's 20 incredible tracks that costs 10 Euros each when you have the chance to find them, gathered here for a mere 20 grand. The whole worldwide funk scene of today is represented here... And another volume should hit the stands before the end of year - celebrate! More 21st century deep funkiness is also to be found in the Truth & Soul CD, "Falling Off The Reel", with its Wu-Tang Clan cover of "C.R.E.A.M." by El Michels Affair... Don't say we didn't warn you.
Even more new roots things can be found in the new "Shapes" compilation from Tru Thoughts (still 10 Euros, still top quality stuff), which might just win the "label of the year" polls again in 2006... Check our dedicated blog for more info. Afrobeat lovers will be delighted to learn that Antibalas released a self-produced compilation called "Let Rhythm Provide" with 100% exclusive tracks from the family around them - only available on their website though.
Finally, we've also selected a few mixed CDs, with psychedelic and groovey delights from Boozoo Bajou, Biggabush and Groove Merchant DJs Cool Chris & Vinnie Esparza with collaborator Sean Julian. Of course, you can still choose cheap loungey compilations...