Ah! The end of year list. Most music publications do them, and even if we don't agree with the idea, we all still read them and get annoyed with those left in and more so by those left out.

Some present theirs in the form of a chart, however it's impossible to say that album X should be ranked 14 over album Y which only deserves to be considered as the fifteenth greatest LP of the year. When you cover styles as wide ranging as we do it becomes even more tricky; show me another list from either print or online with Slayer and Regina Specktor next to one another.

For this reason, as with the 2005 list, the Room Thirteen Album Guide to 2006 is simply a list, compiled after weeks of arguing among our bunch of opinionated writers, of forty(ish) of the strongest albums of the past twelve months, in alphabetical order, considered as equal for what they bring to the party.

You may agree with our suggestions, you'll probably think there's something missing, but if there's a name you don't recognize or an album you haven't heard, click the album name to read more. If you find something new you might not otherwise have checked out then job done!

Daniel Agust 'Swallowed A Star'
"This is a record that has been a long time in coming from the GusGus frontman, and it's certainly been worth the wait. A vibrant atmosphere seems to engulf the listener and make them tingle along with the fragile strings and beautiful vocals. This is an intense and fascinating album." Jo Vallance

Arctic Monkeys 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not'
"The reality is that this is a very good album, it isn't a life changingly stunning record although I don't doubt that for kids of a certain age the current Monkey mania that is sweeping the UK will leave them as rock fans for life, just as Oasis, Nirvana, Sex Pistols, Beatles and so on have done in the past." Simon Webb

Backyard Babies 'People Like, People Like...''
"Swedish Rock'N'Roll sleaze sensations Backyard Babies, make no apologies with their honest-to-God rock. Where other bands spend time trying to be all that is metal, and trying to tick the boxes of being fashionable and cool, Backyard Babies live the lifestyles and stick two fingers up to whatever stupid look or sound happens to be en vogue at the moment." Jim Ody

Belle & Sebastian 'The Life Pursuit'
"This album was recorded in L.A mid 2005, and there is a real summer feel to it, with many of the tracks sounding even better in August than they currently do in winter. This is a real uplifting, feel-good indie pop record." Simon Webb

Benedictum 'Uncreation'
"This is a must for ALL true metal fans, the ingredients are there, big vocals, solos, loud guitars, pace...If all your dusty records of Saxon and Judas Priest don't influence your offspring, then try 'Uncreation' in their stead, and if it helps, try stirring those classic memories by copying it onto a C60 tape for that authentic 80s feel." Pete Worral

Billy Talent 'Billy Talent II'
"While fans of accessible or mainstream punk and rock will be in their element, anyone who knows a good melody when they hear one would be hard pressed to find fault with this collection." Christine Miller

Breed 77 'In My Blood'
"Before you know it, this album will be on your MP3 player, cruising the top spot of your Last.fm profile and MSN will be declaring your love of the latest offering from Gibraltar's biggest and best band." Philippa McMahon

The Bronx 'The Bronx'
"This is such a different experience from the intense punk-rock assault of their first because its tunes are, rather than beating you into submission, more likely to grow on you slowly and stay with you, and luckily it leaves you just as breathless. You thought you knew The Bronx? Think again." Emma Gould

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah 'Clap Your Hands Say Yeah'
"This album, with its cooler than cool, aureate and ethereal artwork, is a patchwork tour-de-force of philosophy, politics, America, rhythm, melody, and humour and cannot be matched by anything else that emerged this year." Daniel Bristow

Jarvis Cocker 'Jarvis'
"Jarvis' eponymous solo debut isn't Pulp, but this is a relief; it cuts the great social commentator a whole new role that reaches beyond the Brit Pop of Pulp and opens up a whole new realm of possibilities." Jo Vallance

Deftones 'Saturday Night Wrist'
"True, there aren't many surprises awaiting fans of Deftones on this album, it neatly packages their trademark sound, poundingly heavy and ethereally fuzzy. Although it doesn't challenge, neither does it disappoint. It's difficult not to be impressed with music that's this perfectly formed." Emma Gould

Dirty Pretty Things 'Waterloo to Anywhere'
"With the rawness of The Libertines still apparent but tauter and more controlled, Dirty Pretty Thing's 'Waterloo To Anywhere' is a debut of mammoth proportions. Weighing in at a lean 36 minutes and 28 seconds, its minutes are a barrage of fury, longing and ultimately, a fierce desire to destroy the past in order to carve a future." Hayley Rutland

Dresden Dolls 'Yes, Virginia'
"The Dolls' second studio album is certainly more polished than its predecessor, and has a more consistent sound despite a larger variation in the pace of its songs. The Dresden Dolls are two very talented individuals with the skill and courage to try something new in a music scene flooded with sound-alike guitar bands." Hannah Wingfield

Firewind 'Allegiance'
"Firewind may not be the most original band to be found in the metal scene at the moment - but they're definitely the most fun. For a truly exceptional and highly enjoyable fifty minutes of head-banging, this album is hard to beat." Stuart Anderson

Fratellis 'Costello Music'
"'Costello Music' is packed with catchy riffs and energetic basslines which combine to make this an album with more indie anthems in the making than any other I've heard in 2006." Simon Webb

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. 'The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager'
"This glimpse inside the head of a 20 year old on the road is also a slice of British life that is fascinating to listen to, and his sometimes melancholy, sometimes joyful but always full on performance will, given half a chance, worm its way inside your head and refuse to let go." Emma Gould

Albert Hammond Jr 'Yours To Keep'
"This album has surpassed my admittedly rather high expectations of it, and here Albert Hammond Jr. has crafted something entirely his own and much softer and more reflective than The Strokes. This album deserves huge success in its own right." Hayley Rutland

Heavens 'Patent Pending'
"Anyone familiar with Alkaline Trio will already be extremely aware of the lead singer's penchant for the darker, more macabre side of life. It comes as no surprise therefore that Matt Skiba's new project Heavens takes ventures even further into the darkness and arrives at an even more desolate place." Christine Miller

Iron Maiden 'A Matter of Life and Death'
"The album is a grower, there's no denying this fact, but there are enough 'immediate, ideas to make you keep coming back for more. In a metal scene that is relying more and more on pace, aggression and brutality, it's a relief to know that there are still some bands who can write great songs."Pete Worral

Joan as Policewoman 'Real Life'
"If you were expecting raucous rock, you'll be sadly disappointed. But those who enjoy being swept away by sultry, soulful music will be in their element with Joan As Police Woman." Christine Miller

Jon Oliva's Pain 'Maniacal Renderings'
"The rock opera touches on this new offering from Mr Oliva, like the Savatage release 'Gutter Ballet', they're dealt with tastefully, adding to the metal rather than overpowering it. Perhaps a good analogy would be; 'Maniacal Renderings' is rock theatre rather than rock opera." Pete Worral

Killers 'Sam's Town'
"This is one of the hottest albums of the year and should be in any decent record collection. The Killers on this showing, have the musical balls to be a round for a long while yet." Paul Diggett

Lacuna Coil 'Karmacode'
"This may have taken a long time to emerge but the wait is well worth it as Lacuna Coil have returned with what should be considered as one of the stand out rock records of 2006." Simon Webb

Lamb of God 'Sacrament'
"The new wave of American heavy metal may have helped Lamb of God get their feet onto metal's musical ladder, but they're taking strides up its rungs leaving their contempories in their wake, superb!" Pete Worral

Love Is All 'Nine Times That Same Song'
"Ladies and gentlemen you need to buy this record now! Refusal to do so is an option of course but you'd be mad to even consider it for 'Nine Times That Same Song' is quite simply one of (if not) 'the' best debut albums released this year." Clark Summers

Morning Runner 'Wilderness is Paradise Now'
"I would love Morning Runner to be on the verge of something big. Support slots with the likes of Coldplay, Bloc Party and Magic Numbers, and lengthy tours in their own right means they've certainly done the ground work to deserve it." Simon Webb

Morrissey - 'Ringleader of the Tormentors'
"'Ringleader of the Tormentors' sees Morrissey's acute social story telling focused more on affairs of the heart, although his scathing political eye remains ever present. He has been keen to emphasise that this album is not merely an extension of previous album, 'You Are The Quarry', but it continues to have the same resounding tracks bristling with the understated power, which has made the singer so great." Jo Vallace

Motorhead 'Kiss of Death'
"True metal isn't about loincloths, keyboards, operatic vocals and oiled-up homoeroticism; it's dirty denim, whisky-soaked leather, and nicotine-stained fingers cranking distorted rock 'n roll out of sweat-slicked instruments." Derek Evans

Muse 'Black Holes and Revelations'
"Muse have pulled it off once again. Always looking to develop their sound and try new and interesting ideas, those who fail to appreciate this simply don't understand the way the band approaches its work." Simon Webb

My Chemical Romance 'The Black Parade'
"Pack away all your preconceptions; forget what you think you know about My Chemical Romance because the band of self confessed outsiders who seem to be either loved or loathed have done the unthinkable, they have created an album that is so flamboyantly ridiculous in its pomposity and so fantastic in its theatrical delivery, it could quite possibly be the best album of the year." Jodie Woodgate

The Organ 'Grab That Gun'
"They may recall 80s splendour, but their sound still has a very modern resonance and should certainly fill the most intellectual disco kids with joy and stir anyone into a carefully choreographed dance frenzy. Canada seems to be a breeding ground for quirky indie bands and The Organ certainly have enough icy sass to impress a British audience." Jo Vallance

Pearl Jam 'Pearl Jam'
"If someone tries to tell you that Pearl Jam haven't got it anymore, and aren't as good as they once were, look them straight in the eye and tell them they're lying to you, for this is better than most of us dared to hope for." Simon Webb

Cat Power 'Greatest'
"For a relaxing and soulfully sombre affair, wrought with solace and solitude this is where to come, Cat Power's 'The Greatest' is gripping and releasing at the same time." Daniel Bristow

Primal Scream 'Riot City Blues'
"It swaggers, it struts, it boogies, it does every rock and roll catchphrase in the book but it doesn't disappoint. This is a fantastic record by one of Britain's truly classic bands." Andrew Reilly

Raconteurs 'Broken Boy Soldiers'
"The Raconteurs are not initially an easy listen but after a while the layers of each track steadily unpeel to revel ingenious musicianship and finally prove that the words 'super' and 'group' can go together and work." Jodie Woodgate

The Roger Sisters 'The Invisible Deck'
"As they couldn't find a name that indicated their genders, you couldn't have expected them to stick to a genre and the heady mix of rumbling and squealing guitars, whispered vocals and burgeoning rock energy; it's wonderful. Please don't make the mistake of assuming any band with "sisters" in their name produce
saccharine sissy songs; this is one of the brightest, most electric albums of the year."
Jo Vallance

Slayer 'Christ Ilusion'
"'Christ Illusion' not only stands up as a credible metal album, it's one of the best thrash albums released so far this year.. For those fans still thinking it's not exactly classic Slayer, it perhaps maybe for those listening to Slayer for the first time. Try and keep an open mind." Pete Worral

Regina Spektor 'Begin To Hope'
"'Begin To Hope' is a little more collected and polished than Regina's earlier albums, but it's just as crazy under the surface with the singer's charisma bubbling through on every track, from the quirky pop songs to the orchestral emotional releases. 'Begin To Hope' could be revered by fans of every genre and such praise is long awaited for such a talented singer-songwriter." Jo Vallance

Time Again 'The Stories Are True'
"Time Again aren't totally original, but what they are is right at the top of this genre. Anyone who likes even a couple of Rancid tunes will enjoy Time Again. There is no doubt for me that this is the best punk album of the year." Jim Ody

M.Ward 'Post-War'
"There's never a moment where the thing turns floppy or dull, there's an abundance of beauty, soul-searching and worry-drenched musing, which is delightfully tranquil and encapsulating, and there's enough fun and frolicking about to keep it kicking too." Daniel Bristow

Nicky Wire 'I Killed The Zeitgeist'
"'I Killed The Zeitgeist' is a cool and very much rocking album that kicks the slightly limp numbers from recent Manics' release, 'Lifeblood' to the curb and stomps on it." Jo Vallance

Wolfmother 'Wolfmother'
"Stop fannying about with emo and all that, get stuck into some Real Rock!" Daniel Bristow

Zutons 'Tired of Hangin Around'
"From the list of "difficult second albums" we got in 2006, we can safely say the Zutons have successfully cleared this dangerous hurdle." Simon Webb

If you want to see last year's list
Click hereAnd check out our live review of 2006 by
Clicking Here.