1. Lotus / The Strength of Weak Ties (Harmonized)
This Philly-based instrumental outfit stepped up to the plate and embellished their jam band inspired brand of dance-rock with flourishes of jazz, world music and—gasp—even a vocal.
2. Sissy / All Under (Global Underground)
3. Blowoff / Blowoff (Full Frequency)
4. Unearth / III: In The Eyes of Fire (Metal Blade)
5. Lamb of God / Sacrament (Epic)
Biggest musical disappointment: Neil Young’s Living With War. Neil, you’re a genius, and we agree with the political sentiment, but what the hell were you thinking?
Worst album of the year: Paul Oakenfold’s A Lively Mind. Prediction: The Geneva Convention will outlaw its use on captured Taliban fighters.
Most anticipated album of ’07: LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver. James Murphy hits the nail on dance-rock’s head with a spirit, unironic affair.
Most anticpated tour of ’07: Ronnie James Dio reuniting, recording, and touring with Black Sabbath. RJD has a better voice than Ozzy, and he doesn’t require a teleprompter. I’ll feel 13 all over again when I see ’em at the NYC show.