There is now so much music being written and released each year that even with the thousands of catalogs and “critics” on the Internet it’s impossible to keep track of it all. And jazz and classical musics are so poorly covered and marketed that I probably haven’t heard any of my to-be favorites of those genres from this year yet. But I did listen to several hundred rock albums this year.

Unfortunately, no masterpieces were recorded this year, and rock continued its plummet from the last creative season of its history: the mid-late 90s. (2006 was worse than 2005, which was worse than 2004, which was worse than 2003, etc.) Nonetheless, here are my favorite rock albums from 2006 (roughly 7/10 rating). I will add titles as I continue to listen.
Carla Bozulich – Evangelista
To quote Scaruffi, these are not songs, but Diamanda Galas-esque “screams, whispers and moans that wander through the inner maze of the psyche”, with the accompaniment of digital noise and the Godspeed You Black Emperor! instrumentalists commune. It is a desperate sonic representation of schizophrenia, loneliness, and hope, and perhaps today’s spiritual cousin of (and an improvement upon) Catherine Ribeiro‘s albums from the late 60s and early 70s.
TV on the Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain
Most artists that burst onto the music scene with a sound as original and powerful as Young Liars (2003) steadily shed their creativity and conform to more pop music clichés with each new release. This is called “refining their sound” as if it’s a good thing. But so far, TV on the Radio have instead pushed the outer boundaries of their music with each album, and Return to Cookie Mountain is their most daring and successful work yet, an unlikely marriage of doo-wop, shoegaze, ambient and post-grunge.
Need to hear: Barnyard Drama – I’m a Navvy, Feuermusik – Goodbye, Lucille, Svarte Grenier – Knive, Fred Frith – Snakes and Ladders

Overrated but good: The Liars – Drum’s Not Dead, Keith Fullerton Whitman – Lisbon, Joanna Newsom – Ys, Scott Walker – Drift, Beirut – Gulag Orkestar, Built to Spill – You in Reverse, Serena-Maneesh – Serena-Maneesh, Zukanican – Horse Republic

Overrated and mediocre/bad shortlist: Bob Dylan – Modern Times, Ali Farka Toure – Savane, Ghostface Killah – Fishscale, Destroyer – Destroyer’s Rubies, The Hold Steady – Boys And Girls In America, Yo La Tengo – I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass, Sonic Youth – Rather Ripped, Junior Boys – So This Is Goodbye, Grizzly Bear – Yellow House, The Knife – Silent Shout, Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Show Your Bones, Muse – Black Holes and Revelations, Gnarls Barkley – St. Elsewhere, The Strokes – First Impressions of Earth, Thom Yorke – The Eraser, The Killers – Sam’s Town, Christina Carter – Electrice, The Decemberists – The Crane Wife, Tool – 10,000 Days, Islands – Return to the Sea, Mogwai – Mr. Beast, Justin Timberlake – FutureSex / LoveSounds, Guillemots – Through the Windowpane, Belle & Sebastian – The Life Pursuit, The Thermals – The Body The Blood The Machine, Boris – Pink, Comets on Fire – Avatar, Alejandro Escovedo – The Boxing Mirror, I’m From Barcelona – Let Me Introduce My Friends, Clint Mansell – The Fountain, Benoit Pioulard – Precis, Final Fantasy – He Poos Clouds, The Flaming Lips – At War with the Mystics, Spank Rock – Yoyoyoyoyo, Man Man – Six Demon Bag, Brightblack Morning Light – Brightblack Morning Light, Film School – Film School, Beck – The Information, She Wants Revenge – She Wants Revenge, Ricardo Villalobos – Fizheuer Zieheuer, The Residents – Tweedles, The Mars Volta – Amputechture, The Fiery Furnaces – Fiery Tea, Charalambides – A Vintage Burden, Mission of Burma – The Obliterati, Sufjan Stevens – The Avalanche, Bardo Pond – Ticket Crystals, Valley of Ashes – Cavehill Hunters’ Attrition, Clipse – Hell Hath No Fury, Girl Talk – Night Ripper, Herbet – Scale, Hot Chip – The Warning, The Thermals – The Body, The Blood, The Machine, Tom Waits – Orphans Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards, Geoff Mullen – Thrtysxtrllnmnfstns, Mastodon – Blood Mountain, Sparklehorse – Dreamt for Light Years in the Belly of a Mountain, Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, Loscil – Plume, The Necks – Chemist, Clogs – Lantern, The Ascent of Everest – How Lonely Sits the City, Autopsia – The Berlin Requiem, My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade, Bruce Springsteen – We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, The Raconteurs – Broken Boy Soldiers, The Rapture – Pieces of the People We Love, Let Airplanes Circle Overhead – Let Airplanes Circle Overhead, Park Attack – Half Past Human, Agalloch – Ashes Against the Grain, Emily Haines – Knives Don’t Have Your Back