Dalliance Albums of 2006 – In these days of Grace

10. Nighteeneighties - Grant Lee Phillips
The guy who either thinks he is Neil Young or really is Neil Young does covers of the best tunes of the 1980s with far better than the original versions of Boys Don't Cry and The Killing Moon.

09. Crushing Love - Some Girls
The ego of Julian Hatfield is always worth watching. This time she is back in a band with some good tunes and fiesty lyrics. He's On Drugs Again and Rock Or Pop stand out as fresh as any Blake Babies track.

08. Ringleader of the Tormented - Morrissey
Not the glory that was You Are the Quarry but a thoughtful and thought provoking album which shows a delight in continued use of the hooks of He Has Killed Me along with the intelligence of I Will See You In Far Off Places

07. Someone To Drive You Home - The Long Blondes
Coming out of Sheffield and very much a mix of Pulp and the Arctic Monkeys The Long Blondes are class right out of the (long overdue) box. Once and Never Again rightly gets the plaudits but Separated by Motorways and You Could Have Both have the breathy edge of Jarvis Cocker.

06. Costello Music - Fratellis
Unrelenting and joyously enjoyable with one stomp following another and another.

05. Pet Grief - The Radio Dept.
Breathy shoe-gazers or would be Pet Shop Boys tribute act? I fall very much in the former camp. Stand out track is The Worst Taste In Music which has been glued to my turntable and will continue to be for sometime to come. Emotive and brilliant.

04. The Jarvis Cocker Record - Jarvis Cocker
Having been away from us Jarvis returns with a comment on the modern situation creating a companion piece to the giddy excesses of the Arctic Monkeys and highlighting the worrying, unsettling and disturbing side of life amougst the ASBOs. I Will Kill Again and Fat Children rank alongside anything Jarvis has done before.

03. Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not - Arctic Monkeys
Thoughtful, powerful, enjoyable, vivid and generally superb.

02. Broken Boy Soldiers - The Raconteurs
Ignoring the wonderfully entertaining Jack White it is Brendan Benson's melodic hooks and honest lyrical dexterity that make Broken Boy Soldiers creating the mood and setting for White's guitar heroics. Dragging together a mix of the Gram Parson in Benson, the showmanship of White and a Doors living section of the Greenhorns Broken Boy Soldiers is unique, interesting and effervescent with a deep experience and love of damn fine music. Intimate Secretary stands out as a collaboration and Benson's Together and White's Steady, As She Goes provide personal high points.

01. This Hungry Life - Tanya Donelly
Perhaps it is a me think or perhaps it is a personal growth thing. It is true that every album released by Tanya since 1992's Star has topped my album of the year list. Emotional to the point of pain, powerful to the point of ebulliance yet soft and gentle and lilting in the somber recesses This Hungry Life is - in my humble opinion - the finest collection of songs of the year. Heartbreakingly echoing This Hungry Life reflects on patriarchal rejection and is one of four or five play and play again tracks. Littlewing glories in second children, Days of Grace is recast as a proclamation of parenthood, New England scowls and worries while Long, Long, Long - the disused Harrison Beatles track - is pulled from the bottom of the heart.

Genuinely and very, very breathtaking.