Best of 2006: Best Artists

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The XLR8R staff has polled our favorite labels, producers, graphic designers, clothing companies, and friends to find out which artists people loved in 2006, which ones they hated, and who everyone will be talking about in the months to come. 

TV On The Radio, Skream, and Hot Chip turned heads and wowed crowds in '06. 

Best Artists 

TV on the Radio
I remember seeing these guys at Starfoods back in 2003 when their Young Liars EP just came out, and now I feel like a nerdy super-fan. Besides being really nice guys, they’ve easily become one of the best bands innovating rock music today. I’ll never forgive myself for leaving their secret show at Union Pool to have horrendous, drunken sex with a stranger.
Caural, Mush Records

In my opinion they are the most unique musical artists out there today. They have melted so many genres
together to create a soaring sound of their own.
Reynolds, photographer

Gnarls Barkley
With Gnarls, Cee-lo he really gets what he deserves. Live, he’s a crazy entertainer, a great vocalist, a true showman, and a great master of ceremonies with his band. He’s the pope of future soul. And his costumes are so cool. When indie heroes go mainstream and do a great job, it’s got to be said.
Matthieu Gazier,

If this guy is performing anywhere remotely near your town, and you don’t go, you better have a great excuse. Something like, “While I was on my way to the Edan show my grandmother died, my girlfriend cheated on me, and I ate some bad spinach and came down with E. Coli.
Nate Nelson, Stones Throw

Most people would call him a producer, but surely he’s also an influential artist who has consistently made the most interesting and future-thinking pop music of the last decade. And somehow he still has the power and time to re-invent Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake with two great albums in the same year. If Timbaland could do this for Nelly and JT, surely he and Missy should have another Miss E...So Addictive up their sleeves.
Outputmessage, Ghostly Intl.

Almost everything he touches turns to gold, and people have adopted his sound all over the world. Awesome power. Kid Kameleon, XLR8R writer

Hot Chip
Friendly, funny, and charmingly quirky–the
 kind of band you’d want to be set up with on a date.
Taruc, Bitch/Flavorpill contributing editor

Switch (a.k.a. Solid Groove, A Bruckner)
If you haven’t heard his remixes of Lily Allen, Futureheads, Spank Rock, Dr. Evil, Fatboy Slim, Hot Chip, Pharrell, MIA, Bonde Do Role, etc., go to some blog and find them, then go on your blog and post them.

Booka Shade
This duo has a talent for emotive synth work and subtle build-ups that rivals Depeche Mode (for whom they opened in Berlin). Movements is Ecstasy music that sounds like all the best party nights wrapped into one. And they’re captivating live–no “real band,” no bells ‘n’ whistles, just plenty of percussion and pure heart.
Vivian Host,
XLR8R editor

Panic! At The Disco: Even their idols can't stand them. 

Worst Artists

Panic! At The Disco
I read an article on the band last month and even they admitted that their favorite bands didn’t want to tour with them. Ouch.
Celeste Tabora, Solid PR

Lady Sovereign
I mean, come on. That voice. There’s no way anyone can actually handle that crap. Give me Roots Manuva or the sound of tin cans clanking together–both are infinitely more interesting.
Justin Kay, Industrial-Organic

I’m glued to my screen in utter disbelief every time she’s on TV. She can’t sing, she can’t dance, and she’s an offense to people that can actually yodel properly. Pure torture.
Georgina Cook, photographer

When you hear her tracks, it’s like all the nastiness of L.A. busting a nut in your hair.
Derek Morris, Trophy Graphics

More of XLR8R's Best of 2006:
Justice's Best of 2006

Best Albums

Best Record Labels

Best Visual Artists