If this were the late 80s, I would probably have made an end-of-year list with (what I think were) the best songs of the year. But this is 2006, and I am old and disgruntled, and don't like a lot of music that comes out these days.
So, instead, I'd like to do a small list of albums that I discovered this year, but that didn't necessarily come out in 2006. (OK, so none of them did.
Nitro Microphone Underground: Straight from the Underground (2004): Japanese hip-hop. I don't understand a word of it, but it's cool. Some tracks sound modern, some have a real "old school" flavor to it, and some sound... well, like nothing you've ever heard.
Girls at our Best: Pleasure (1981): Probably best described as candy-coated punk. ;-) Interesting guitar riffs and a singer with a high-pitched voice, who is, incidentally, the only girl in the group. The album is hard to get, unless you're willing to pay big bucks. I personally think it's worth it, though. Easily the best album I've heard in years. But then again, my taste is probably... somewhat different from most.
Hammerfall: Crimson Thunder (2002): A Swedish power metal band. Many fantasy-based themes.
Overseer: Wreckage (2005): Not sure what you would call this kind of music these days. Personally, it reminds me of Bomb the Bass, Coldcut, Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim. :-)
1200 Techniques: Consistency theory (2004): Australian hip-hop. Not too bad. Interesting accents, too. ;-)