Best Of 2006 Poll Results!

By shane

Here at Excellent, we bang to our OWN drum.

If we wanna post a story about a band that we like and nobody else on the planet's ever heard of, we do it.

If we wanna post rumors about a Spice Girls reunion, we do it.

And if we wanna post the results of our Best-of-2006 Poll three weeks past it's relevance, we do it.

Okay, so we're not the timeliest of people. But we ARE the most finicky. Which means it takes time for the many members of our mailing list to comb through the releases of an entire year and then hash out the best of the best. Well, the collective nerdgasm is over. The poll is done, the votes have been counted. Wanna see our picks for record of the year? TV show of the year? Our favorite Beanie Baby of all time? Well, you can see at least TWO of those (and oh-so-much more) by clicking READ MORE.



3. The Decemberists
4. The Editors
5. Gnarls Barkley

Wherein minds are locked between the actual artist of the year (J.T.) and the shoulda-been artist of the year (TV on R.) Some of the ballots came in with enthusiastic support for Justin... and hey, even though we're an indie site, can we blame 'em? After all, the guy DID bring sexy back, and Lord knows we'd been missing sexy for some time. Did Belle & Sebastian bring sexy back? Nooooo. So some folks were serious about their votes for Justin. Others were less than enthusiastic, with votes showing up with comments like, "Justin Timberlake (as much as that depresses me.)" But the year really DID belong to Justin in terms of airplay and sales and words that usually mean little to our sect. That's where TV on the Radio come in, returning to Cookie Mountain with their big hair, bigger riffs, and the collective salivations of every music critic in the world. So who's the artist of the year? We say there's room enough for two.


1. Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out Of This Country
2. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
3. Muse - Black Holes and Revelations
4. TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
5. Kasabian - Empire
6. Belle & Sebastian - The Life Pursuit
7. Thom Yorke - The Eraser
8. Keane - Under the Iron Sea
9. Lily Allen - Alright, Still
10. Beirut - Gulag Orkestar
11. Band of Horses - Everything All The Time
12. Editors - The Back Room
13. The Knife - Silent Shout
14. Pet Shop Boys - Fundamental
15. Mogwai - Mr. Beast
16. Silversun Pickups - Carnavas
17. Primal Scream - Riot City Blues
18. Radio Dept. - Pet Grief
19. The Rapture - Pieces of the People We Love
20. Hot Chip - The Warning
21. The Dears - Gang of Losers
22. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
23. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
24. Morrissey - Ringleader of the Tormentors
25. Phoenix - It's Never Been Like That
26. Snow Patrol - Eyes Open
27. Love Is All - Nine Times That Same Song
28. Yo La Tengo - I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
29. Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Ballad of the Broken Seas
30. Long Blondes - Someone To Drive You Home
31. Asobi Seksu - Citrus
32. Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
33. The Kooks - Inside In / Inside Out
34. Goldfrapp - Supernature
35. Mew - And The Glass Handed Kites
36. The Concretes - In Colour
37. Beck - The Information
38. The Strokes - First Impressions of Earth
39. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones
40. Pernice Brothers - Live A Little
41. CSS - Cansei De Ser Sexy
42. Robbie Williams - Rudebox
43. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
44. Grandaddy - Just Like the Fambly Cat
45. Duke Spirit - Cuts Across the Land
46. The Flaming Lips - At War With the Mystics
47. Junior Boys - So This is Goodbye
48. The Brother Kite - Waiting for the Time To Be Right
49. Jarvis - Jarvis
50. Scissor Sisters - Ta-Dah

Otherwise known as a come-from-behind victory more impressive than the Indianapolis Colts last weekend. All through the tabulation process, the Album of the Year race was a dead heat between Muse and the Decemberists, who seemed to trade the lead back & forth every time we logged in to see the results. This two-way race was SO close at the end of the poll, we decided to extend the deadline for our members to submit their poll entries. Our hope was for the last minute votes to secure either Muse or the Decemberists into a commanding lead, thus ensuring we wouldn't have to go back and do a recount (at one point, only ONE vote separated the two!) What we WEREN'T expecting was that, in that final extended weekend of voting, Camera Obscura would leapfrog over both of them and claim the Album of the Year title by a mere 3 points. Honestly, we couldn't be more thrilled. "Let's Get Out of the Country" was the Great Equalizer of 2006 -- a record that few people, if anyone, put in their #1 slot... but a record that nearly every ballot included in their Top 25 somewhere. And hey, it's kind of nice to see a quality pop record at #1 instead of the self-indulgent, self-important, art-is-all concept records that usually take up the slot. Bravo!


1. Muse - Starlight
2. TV on the Radio - Wolf Like Me
3. Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
4. Editors - Munich
5. Primal Scream - Country Girl
6. Justin Timberlake - Sexyback
7. Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars
8. Hot Chip - Over and Over
9. Camera Obscura - Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken
10. Camera Obscura - If Looks Could Kill
11. Delays - Valentine
12. Lily Allen - Smile
13. Silversun Pickups - Checkered Floor
14. Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
15. Peter, Bjorn & John - Young Folks
16. Pet Shop Boys - I'm With Stupid
17. Raconteurs - Steady As She Goes
18. Patrick Wolf - Accident and Emergency
19. Gnarls Barkley - Smiley Faces
20. Guillemots - Trains To Brazil
21. Keane - Is It Any Wonder?
22. The Concretes - On The Radio
23. The Decemberists - Sons and Daughters
24. Mogwai - Friend of the Night
25. Mew - Zookeeper's Boy

The only major category that WASN'T an absolute nail-biter, as the Muse track took a commanding lead from practically the moment we opened the poll. Last year, we had an unabashed # of actual Top 40 tunes on our list. This year we're back to our indie street cred, with the lone exceptions of Gnarls Barkley (which, let's face it, was a fluke that we hipsters let sneak onto the radio) and ol' Justin and his sexy, sexy back. (Note to self: When composing our forthcoming chart-topper, be sure to leave room for Timbaland to yell "yeah" someplace.)


1. The Cure - Head on the Door
2. Pulp - Different Class
3. Pulp - His 'n' Hers
4. Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Marie Antoinette
5. Oasis - Stop the Clocks
6. Delta 5 - Singles and Sessions 1979-1981
7. Pulp - This is Hardcore
8. The Delgados - Complete BBC Peel Sessions
9. Gene - John Peel Sessions 95-99
10. Massive Attack - Collected

Wow, what a hodge-podge. I normally get annoyed when I see simple remasters making their way onto this list, but you can't deny that they went above and beyond with the Pulp and Cure remasters, from packaging to extra tracks and beyond. Just missing the cut were also several of the assorted Depeche Mode remasters of 2006...


1. Radiohead
2. Sigur Ros
3. The Cure
4. Depeche Mode
5. The Dears
6. Muse
7. David Bowie
8. Blur
9. Doves
10. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

For a rather straight-forward category, we always get the weirdest results here from year to year. I mean, last year Oasis rolled in and swept this category. This year, after putting out one of the coolest greatest-hits packages of the year, they disappear from the Top 10 altogether. Their replacement? Radiohead, who pretty much spent 2006 twiddling their thumbs and waiting for Thom to get his over his solo fetish.


1. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
2. TV on the Radio
3. Interpol
4. The Decemberists
5. Beirut
6. The Shins
7. The Dears
8. Explosions in the Sky
9. The Pernice Brothers
10. Silversun Pickups

Finally. It only took 3 years, but Interpol have finally been dethroned from their lock on the #1 position in this category... to be replaced by BRMC? Who did precisely, umm, nothing in 2006? And of course there's Beirut sitting at #6, the North American band whose only defining characteristic is that they'd probably be voted "Band Least Likely To Hail From North America." Ah well...


Asobi Seksu

Now if somebody would just tell me how to pronounce their name and I'd be happy... But hey, I never thought I'd see a proto-shoegazer band topping this category, so I'm a happy old fart about this one...


The Killers - Sam's Town
Not even a contest. The Killers launched their career making indiekids swoon to their Duran Duran for the New Era sensibilities. Somehow they managed to take it to the top of the charts. They had the world on a string. So what's a band to do? Well, obviously, the answer is NOT "grow a dippy moustache and listen to a lot of Springsteen," as evidenced by our universal hatred of this record. Oh, how the mighty fall...


1. Fields
2. The Shins
3. Of Montreal

Interesting that our #2 and #3 picks for 2007 both put out new, career-definining records this week. As for Fields, we stay tuned...


1. The Knife - Silent Shout
2. Hot Chip - The Warning
3. Goldfrapp - Supernature
4. Pet Shop Boys - Fundamental
5. Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
6. MSTRKRFT - The Looks
7. Spank Rock - Yoyoyoyoyo
8. Ellen Allien & Apparat - Orchestra of Bubbles
9. Caroline - Murmurs
10. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere

A category that might be taking its swansong from our poll this year. We're in partial agreement with some of our members that it feels a little dated separating electronic music from the other hodge-podge, as more and more bands (see: Hot Chip, Of Montreal, etc.) are blending electronic elements with mainstream rock sensibilities, a trick that seems unique until you say the words "New" and "Order," who've made a career out of the same for decades now. Regardless, this year belonged to The Knife, who brought to life the classic Wax Trax model of Ambiguous Vocals + Creepy Videos = Success. Either that or they're just weird Scandinavians. I have a theory, but I'm not telling...


1. The Knife
2. Basement Jaxx
3. Goldfrapp
5. Hot Chip
6. Ellen Allien
7. The Orb
8. Ladytron
9. Junior Boys
10. Spank Rock

Last year, you didn't even know who The Knife were. This year, they're the saving grace of hipster club kids everywhere. Interesting that Basement Jaxx rank #2 in a year that saw the release of probably their weakest record. And, umm, The Orb? Isn't Alex Paterson like 50 years old by now?


Nigel Godrich

Is it that Nigel is the best producer of the year? Or is it that Nigel is probably the first producer that pops into your head? Maybe a little of both... Think about it - how many producers can you name for their unique style on today's indie scene? Umm.. there's Nigel... there's Dave Fridmann... there's the DFA... and, umm, that's about it off the cuff. I won't begrudge you guys for voting for Nigel, though. After all, this guy even had the power to make ol' Paul McCartney cool again last year. In 2006, he brought his work to his old friends Beck and Thom Yorke, with predictable results. Predictably STUNNING.


1. Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
2. Little Miss Sunshine
3. The Queen
4. Casino Royale
5. An Inconvenient Truth
6. Thank You For Smoking
7. The Departed
8. Children of Men
9. V for Vendetta
10. Volver

Borat had almost twice as many votes as the #2 movie of the year. But that's okay, because it's almost twice as good.


1. Lost
2. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
3. The Office
4. Heroes
5. Battlestar Galactica
6. Project Runway
7. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
8. Grey's Anatomy
9. 24
10. Weeds

A category we were watching closely this year, as perennial favorites Arrested Development and Six Feet Under both bid adieu last year. So what happened in 2006? "Heroes" and "Studio 60" came in as freshman shows and whomped the competition. Also strangely missing for the first time in poll history is The Simpsons from the Top 10... as well as a disappearing Family Guy as well. Is our love affair with the animated series coming to an end? And is it all due to Battlestar Galactica?


Chuck Klosterman, Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People & Dangerous Ideas

Has there EVER been a better pop culture commentator? Or at least one that brings us to Music-Nerd-Vana as easily? Doubtful.


1. Lily Allen, "Smile"
2. The Knife, "Silent Shout"
3. The Knife, "We Share Our Mother's Health"

One snarky Brit and two creepy Swedes. Weird year.


Beck - The Information

Only again this was a bazillion-way tie, with the Beck album the ONLY entry in this category receiving multiple votes and thus winning by default... Proving that either none of us know art... or that we're all so artistically eclectic that we can't make up our mind... or we're all mp3 whores who havent looked at an album cover in months.


1. Mew
2. Muse
3. Editors
4. Mogwai
5. Radiohead
6. TV on the Radio
7. Pet Shop Boys
8. Silversun Pickups
9. Death Cab for Cutie
10. Stuart A. Staples

Mew? Really? Wow.


1. James Brown
2. John Peel
3. Tower Records

Was I the only one watching James Brown's funeral waiting for him to leap out of the casket and yell, "Fellas! I'm ready to get up and do my thing!" The godfather of soul, the grandfather of cool, and a poorly-managed corporate monster. And we miss them like crazy.


The Closing of CBGB's

I've always hated change. At the same time, I've never been too big of a fan of shitholes. And, hey, let's face it, CBGB's was a shithole. I never made it to the club (hell, I've never made it to New York,) but Chicago had its own shithole, too -- Lounge Ax. And it, too, died a most unholy death a few years back. And, while I always went into Lounge Ax going, "Wow, what a shithole," it's left a fond memory in my heart that can only be healed by repeated viewings of "High Fidelity," which had some interior shots from the place. To close CBGB's is a sin... to re-open it in Vegas (as is the plan) is sacrilege.



Only two to list, as we had an umpteen-way tie for third. Notable, though, that our #1 and #2 have NEVER made our list before, while stalwarts in this category like NME, Pitchfork, and Playlouder failed to make enough votes this year...


Patrick Wolf


Lily Allen

(With a nod of the cap to Giant Drag's Annie Hardy, who barely missed this one.

(henceforth otherwise known as "The Liam")

Pete Doherty

Pete got more votes than all the other nominees in this category combined. Though I like the one vote for we got for "The Arctic Monkeys. All of them." Even the dude who quit the band?



That's it, Kevin. It's official. We're done waiting. When we established the Hall of Fame, we set one definitive rule: Nominees had to be artists who were no longer with us. Bands that had shown up, had their moment in the sun, and left us. From the very first year that we set up the poll, votes came streaming in for My Bloody Valentine. "No way," we said earnestly. "They're not broken up. They're gonna come back with another amazing record. Just give it time." And hence we waited. And waited. And put up with the weird Kevin Shields remixes that would occasionally pop up, arguing with people that it's "a good sign of things to come." And then we waited some more. Every year, more and more people would vote for My Bloody Valentine for the Hall of Fame. We're through with waiting. I don't know if we'll call it "giving up" outright, but, despite the occasional interview promising us a new record, it's looking pretty bleak. And let's face it, we don't want to be honoring My Bloody Valentine when we're grey-haired. So hey, let's do it now. The new record might be around the corner... or it might never happen. So for now, let's bask in the small yet stunning discography and the tremendous impact that one band can make on a planet.

At the same time, we've also reserved the Hall of Fame for actual recording artists... but when votes starting coming in like crazy for John Peel, who are we to discount them because of rules? Half the music we listen to was made possible by John Peel. His radio show, despite the fact that many of our State-side members never even got the chance to tune in, was half the reason why some of our favorite bands got record deals, tours booked, and eventually, North American exposure. Try to name one other DJ as influential to music. Go for it. It can't be done. As we enter a new age of satellite radios and mp3's and the information superhighway of commercialism, a true advocate like John Peel may never be seen again. From the bottom of our indie hearts, we thank you for the music. RIP.

Thanks as always to everyone who participated. Contest winners will be notified via e-mail. We now return you to your 2007, already in progress.