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The five best albums of 2006 … so far


  1. The Starlight Mints, Drowaton: I got a weird look at the gym the other day because of this album. So I was singing on the elliptical machine — what’s wrong with that? This is infectious, catchy orchestral pop from the first place you think of when you hear the phrase “infectious, catchy orchestral pop” — that’s right, Oklahoma.
  2. Tapes ‘n Tapes, The Loon: I am going to try very hard not to say this debut album out of Minneapolis sounds like Pavement for the 21st century. Whew. Glad I didn’t say that. Listening to this album makes me wish I was drunk in a dirty bar. That is probably some kind of warning sign.
  3. Band of Horses, Everything All The Time: If you have been accused of listening only to “whiny indie rock” and you haven’t heard this album yet, then you, my friend, are no fan of “whiny indie rock”! I have listened to this album more than any other in the first half of 2006, but I have not listened to it much recently. Not sure why.
  4. Jason Collett, Idols of Exile: This not-quite-alt-country release from the Broken Social Scene member (seriously, name someone from Canada who isn’t in that group) is so relaxed and easy to listen to it scares the shit out of me: Does liking this mean I really am officially an old man? Have I totally lost my edge? And then Collett throws in a lyric like “I love it when my girlfriend calls me a cock-sucking faggot” — and I feel a little bit better about myself.
  5. Built to Spill, You in Reverse: Built to Spill and I go way back, so I put them here partly do to nostalgia. You in Reverse isn’t as good as the band’s previous efforts, but it is solid — and the opening track “Goin’ Against Your Mind” kicks so much ass it would make this list on its own. It’s an 8-minute 42-second song you never want to end.

Read more mid-year lists (and post your own) at Shanghaiist.

07.20.2006, 10:44 AM · Music


  1. It seems I have a very similar music taste to you! I go to lost of indie concerts here in America and am about to leave for Shanghai next week for a semester abroad. I can’t imagine spending four months without my live music fix. How can I find out about concerts in Shanghai this fall? Is there any sort of a scene?
    Please email me!

  2. I’m a huge indie rock fan about to head to Shanghai for a semester abroad next week. I can’t imagine going four months without my live music fix. How can I find out about concerts in Shanghai and is there any sort of an indie scene there? Please email me!

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Shanghai Diaries is a website about Shanghai, China ... and lots of other stuff. Voted Best Mainland China Blog in the 2004 Asia Blog Awards.

Editor: Dan Washburn

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