10 Best CDs of 2006 Page 2

0702_flaminglips_best200Mike Mettler's Top 15 of 2006 Best Sound on CD

1. The Flaming Lips: At War with the Mystics (Warner Bros.). Call 'em the sonic inducers of metaphysical graffiti. Also quite possibly the most consistent adventurers in surround sound today.

2. Lindsey Buckingham: Under the Skin (Reprise). A stripped-down production, consisting mainly of vocal effects and processed guitars, lays bare the Fleetwood Mac frontman's raw honesty.

3. Secret Machines: Ten Silver Drops (Reprise). Still trippy, still dreaming. No secret here: Catchier hooks and honed harmonies buttress extended jams layered with great gobs of feedback and effects.

4. Beck: The Information (Interscope). A semi-crazy quilt of modern, soul-certified beats mixed with various beeps, boops, and heady rawk. (Okay, the D.I.Y. booklet cover is cool, too.)

5. David Gilmour: On an Island (Columbia). A cinematic, if measured, tour through the Pink Floyd guitarist/vocalist's psyche. And his axe (not too careful with that, David!) is still as sharp as a diamond.

6. Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris: All the Roadrunning (Warner Bros.). A dream backwoods collaboration between the gentleman Geordie and the angelic songstress.

7. Donald Fagen: Morph the Cat (Reprise). Twisted urban cool served up smooth, as only the ever-cynical jazzy man of the Dan can deliver.

8. Thom Yorke: The Eraser (XL). A minimalist marriage of loops, a laptop, and desperate, warbly vocals galvanizes the Radiohead ringleader's solo debut.

9. Gomez: How We Operate (ATO). Ramshackle Brits expand their melodic palette but make sure to keep a burbly bass wallop in all the right places.

10. T Bone Burnett: The True False Identity (DMZ/Columbia). A sly collection of down-home, low-end analog shuffles replete with the requisite dollops of reverb and a keen sense of the space where these songs were cut.

11. Foo Fighters: Skin and Bones (RCA). The live, logical extension of the acoustic disc of 2005's In Your Honor also underscores the depth of previously electrified alternahits like "Everlong" and "Times Like These."

12. Gnarls Barkley: St. Elsewhere (Downtown). A beat-a-riffic romp that's not exactly hip-hop, not exactly soul, not exactly rock, and certainly not static. "Crazy" cool is what it really is.

13. Tool: 10,000 Days (Volcano). Forward-thinking 21st-century progressive men stir a cauldron of challenging time signatures and dark, churning riffs. Required during playback: a perpetual increase in volume.

14. Bruce Springsteen: We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (Columbia). An organic, rootsy jamboree that celebrates (and expands) the spiritual side of Pete Seeger's iconic folk songbook. Reborn in the U.S.A.

And a bonus listing of music that, while not technically "new," is necessary: 15. The Beatles: Love (Apple/Capitol). A treasure trove of Beatle bangers, many well mashed by Sir George Martin and son Giles. You say you want a revelation? Check out the heavenly surround mix on the special edition's DVD-Audio disc.