Electronic and pop favorites from 2006

Junior Boys — So This is Goodbye. Gentle electro-pop on this sophomore album from the group that makes the Postal Service sound decidedly out of date. Steady beats, some dub influences, and soothing male vocals make this one great for quiet afternoons.

The Knife — Silent Shout. To be honest, I was more into Deep Cuts, their previous album, but Silent Shout is slowly growing on me as a fantastic example of out-of-this-world vocals coupled with in-your-face synth attacks. It’s simultaneously beautiful and harsh.

Matmos — The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast. Sixth album from the sample-based duo. Matmos is one of the few acts right now that can be said to use “sound” as an instrument; anything that can be recorded goes. The 10 tracks each stand for a person the band admires.

Asobi Seksu — Citrus. Shoegaze-influenced pop fronted by a Japanese singer, echoing Galaxie 500 and My Bloody Valentine, but at once more sugary in its structure and melodies while still adding a hefty dose of noise explosions every once in a while.

Ellen Allien and Apparat — Orchestra of Bubbles. A truly solid release from two modern techno giants. The album fuses modern German techno trends with pop and IDM influences to create something instantly accessible and exciting. A great gateway to everything exciting about European techno right now.

Lindstrøm — It’s a Feedelity Affair. This great collection of 12-inch recordings released in the last few years combines disco and minimal influences to create infectious dance tunes.

Rex the Dog — Maximize. Not an album but a 12-inch on Germany’s Kompakt label, it was good enough to mention if only for its seriously intense synth/beat combo that will knock you down but then pick you back up and convince you that dancing could actually save lives.

Jonas Bering — Behind this Silence. A great 12-inch also on Kompakt, this is a wonderful example of how exciting minimal and ambient house can be. Best enjoyed with a clear head early in the morning.

Hot Chip — The Warning. This groups lies somewhere between Junior Boys and the Knife in terms of sound and far from both in attitude. The band members probably take themselves the least seriously out of anyone reviewed today and invite listeners to kick back and enjoy their funky dance tracks long into the night.