Best Songs of 2011


I’d like to include some kind of literary musical tribute to the past year but my writing skills are out of practice and I’m afraid my words would make no one happy, so it’s just the music folks!

Some of my favorite songs this year were released in previous years and time willing, I’ll post those up sometime in the next few days.

For now, take a listen and let me know if any of these were you favorites and please, tell me which songs I missed.

Cheers and Happy 2012!

2011: “Where the concrete meets the river”

Austra – Beat and Pulse (extended)
The beat is pure old school cold wave electronica, the pulse relentless and the amazing vocals by Katie Stelmanis are flavored with Siouxsie-like echoes combining to create an overall sinister kind of mood.

Brenmar – Done (Don’t Luve Me No More)
A last minute addition, awesome track. First heard from one of my favorite music curators/DJs/Record producers, Disaro. Their label is putting out some amazing music.

Burial – Halo
What can you say about Burial? He’s amazing, just listen.

Cassius-I Love You So (Skream remix)
Nu-Jungle or J-Tek (Jungle Tekno) and it’s massive! (to borrow a British term). This track has everything 90s electronic music did well, plus some: diva vocals, anthemic hooks, addictive sing-a-long lyrics and the beautiful 140 rpm Amen Break.

Charli XCX – Nuclear Seasons
A late minute addition. It’s what I’ve been listening to the past few weeks. We all need a bit of pop to bring levity to our heavy lives, right?

Com Truise – Polyhurt
“Bottom heavy style, slo-mo funk” yeah, that about explains this music. But it’s the sad, melancholy, the future shoulda been great but it isn’t kinda mood (is that called dystopia?) that I really like about this song. And the organ fiddling is pretty nice too.

Connan Mockasin – Forever Dolphin Love (Erol Alkan rework) 2011
I saw dolphins in the ocean and later on that day, I heard this song. It was the year of coincidences.

I’m not a huge fan of The xx but appreciate Romy Madley Croft’s contribution to this track. Her languid vocals provide a bit more of that moody witchy-ness I’ve come to appreciate in this post-Fever Ray world of ours.

Daphne – I Know
Daphne is the Caribou dude. His talent is endless.

FaltyDL-Gospel of Opal (Ft. Anneka)
Echoes of drum n bass with sweet vocals that are barely saccharine but not enough to distract from the military high hats and the heavy, heavy bass.

Grimes – Vanessa
First it sounds like it’s a bunch of other songs shoved into one song but “shoved” sounds bad, right? Let’s say it’s like a collage of other good songs I’ve posted recently and all the mixing resulted in a little something nice for everyone. There’s echoes of Austra (also Canadian), especially in the beats. I particularly like the Felix Da Housecat-ish drop at 2:26, super touch! And it’s awesome to hear women using their full range of voice nowadays.

Hard Mix-Callers
Wobbling, fun house mirror music.

Fever Ray – The Wolf
The movie was a huge disappointment but the opportunity to hear new music from Fever Ray justified the ticket price.

Holy Other – Touch
Holy Other is a secretive DJ, from Berlin via Manchester. The song is a nice bit of ethereal dubstep, slowed down R&B vocals and a sorta bamboo windchime percussive element giving the song a little windblown energy before the dark drop comes in. One of my favorites this year. Yr Love was another good one.

Iceage – Never Return
One of those song I listened to over and over and over…

Jape – The Oldest Mind
Jape is responsible for one of my all-time favorite songs, Floating, but I hadn’t been paying much attention to any of his new music until I heard this song. It didn’t quite grab me right away, the beginning of the song eases you into what’s to come. It’s the break at 2:19, as the tune moves into a melancholy place that made me fall in love with this song. How is it possible to make music sound hopeful while at the same time acknowledging a bitter past? Jape somehow accomplishes this. “Celebrate what it means to be young,” a phrase with a lot of meaning for me this year.

Jonwayne – Tomato Purge
Jonwayne is the only artist on this list I had the pleasure of seeing live this year. His original music DJ sets at Low End Theory, an amazing dubstep, electronic music, alternative hip-hop club night here in Lincoln Heights were among my favorites. He’s a nice guy too! Low End Theory has a real community feel to it and I was lucky enough to frequent the Wednesday night hotspot quite a bit this year, thanks to my homegirl Ana and the good folks at The Airliner.

Modeselektor – Pretentious Friends
Busdriver lends some nice rhymes to this fun song. Hasir is good for some beat bouncing listens as well.

Plaid – Missing
Wavy chord flows, harpsichord melodies, synthy vocals, nods to various beautiful musical pieces that came before it and little familiar notes peaking in at the edges make this one of my favorite songs of the summer.

Star Slinger – Casanova’s Jump Off
Fun song by this Manchester DJ, wish I wouldn’t have read his tweets though especially the reactionary response to the events in England this summer. Oh well, he makes good music.

Waterlily – You Kiss
Clean crisp beats and the best use of a sample from ABC, ever. “Hello, my name is Eden and I want you to kiss my___.”

When Saints Go Machine – Parix
Danish band with an Antony soundalike? Beautiful end of the year song. “Bad dreams ricochet, ricochet…Where the concrete meets the river…”

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