I know I'm a bit behind schedule, but here's my list for 2006:
1. Deftones - Saturday Night Wrist
This is what it sounds like to hear the teenage angst behind "White Pony" simmer over time to form top notch alternative metal song writing. The boys from Sac-town have crafted their finest exhibition to date with this one. It still might only be the band's second or even third best record, but that just shows how good the Deftones are when they're on their game.
Stand-Out Tracks: Hole In The Earth, Pink Cellphone
2. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale
"Iron Man" is back with the best hip hop release of 2006. One of the best rappers of all time, Ghost has turned in a lasting performance with Fishscale that solidifies his legacy. This one had an extended stay among my most played albums that year, that lasted right at 8 straight months.
Stand-Out Tracks: Three Bricks, 9 Milli Bros
3. Silversun Pickups - Carnavas
My favorite alternative record of the year, this one grabbed me from the first time I heard "Well Thought Out Twinkles" on Lucy 54 on XM radio (now called Lithium54). A smooth blend of soft vocals, cool rhythms, and fuzzy guitars, I still enjoy hearing it when it pops up on my iPod.
Stand-Out Tracks: Well Thought Out Twinkles, Lazy Eye
4. Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere
Creative without being boring, this record put southern gospel in bed with funk, hip hop, and soul. Danger Mouse and Cee-lo burst onto the scene with the inescapable "Crazy" and gave birth to THE hit single of the year, and one of the best pop songs in recent memory.
Stand-Out Tracks: Crazy, Gone Daddy Gone
5. Pearl Jam - Pearl Jam
Talk about a band that doesn't quit. The Modern Day Who (as I consider them), PJ keeps cranking out solid album after solid album. Their catalog is so loaded with all-timers that this effort may not get the credit it deserves as one of the group's best, and one of the top rock records of the year.
Stand-Out Tracks: World Wide Suicide, Life Wasted
6. Band of Horses - Everything All The Time
There is just something about this album that makes it feel both raw and orchestral. There is an unavoidable sad-bastard-ness to it, but listening to it doesn't bring you down. That's a very difficult effect to pull off, and makes it one of the best indie rock records of the decade.
Stand-Out Tracks: The Funeral, The Great Salt Lake
7. Justin Timberlake - Futuresex/Lovesounds
This is sexy pop music at its best. The JT/Timbaland combo is basically untouchable when it comes to fresh beats, smooth samples, and singable hooks. Justin does an "Off The Wall" Michael Jackson impression for a new generation. He brought sexy back.
Stand-Out Tracks: Sexyback, What Goes Around, Summer Love
8. Mastadon - Blood Mountain
This young Georgia-born metal outfit is not-so-quietly assembling one of the best overall catalogs in heavy music. In my not-so-humble opinion, this record is their finest work so far. It's as hard and heavy as music got in 2006.
Stand-Out Tracks: Colony of Birchmen, Sleeping Giant
9. Lupe Fiasco - Food & Liquor
Smooth rhymes about riding a skateboard around town. What's not to like. It sounds like the best parts of Kanye and Pharrell with 90% less braggadociousness. This record has some of the smoothest hip hop beats of the last 5-6 years, and is still fun to listen to today.
Stand-Out Tracks: Kick Push, Pressure
10. Teddybears - Soft Machine
I dare you to listen to this record without moving your feet or at least nodding your head. It simply can't be done. This band of Swedes have made an electro pop album that I just couldn't get enough of in '06.
Stand-Out Tracks: Automatic Lover, Cobrastyle