19 December 2011

Best of 2011 Mix

Top Songs of 2011
(may contain tunes from 2010)

Trumpets? Check.
Banjo and/or Mandolin? Check.
Surfy guitars? Yeah, baby!
Adorable male / female duets? Check aaand Check.
Song in Espanol? Si.
A song about being at sea? Oh yes, we have that too.

Here they come... in no particular order...my favorite tunes from 2011. When possible I've included a link to listen/buy the song. I hope you will consider supporting these artists.

Abrazame (uproot Andy remix) by Las Rakas is actually from 2010 but I didn't come across it until January 2011.  If this doesn't make you want to shake your booty - your booty is probably broken.

Two songs from Austra caught my attention this year. Beat and the Pulse is more trance-like and Lose It is a little dreamier. I felt validated by this find when I heard Lose It playing in a  Berlin hipster clothing store.

If Moon was Cookie by Laura Jansen (cover) - see video below.

Stamp by The Rural Alberta Advantage has the best drumming I've heard all year. The lead singer's voice is a little bit rat-like but the drums, man-oh-man. Hope I can write a drum part like this one day.

Little Talks by Monsters and Men - this song has it all: horns, accordion, great vocal parts, lyrics and it's hooky as shit. Bonus: these guys won Icelandic band of the year in 2010. Expect to hear this song in a movie trailer or TV commercial in 2012.

Icarus by Kairos - was released in 2010, but I had a hearing-it-for-the-first-time moment when I was diving in The Solomon Islands. I took it as a sign and incorporated it into my Solomon Islands recap video. It's dreamy with a nice little beat. Makes you want to listen to it while staring at the ocean on a sunny day.

Be Your Bro by Those Darlin's - let Those Darlin's charm the pants off your inner Tomboy.

I just wanna I just wanna be your brother
You just wanna be my boyfriend
I just wanna run and play in the dirt with you
You just wanna stick it in
I just wanna be your brother
I don't wanna be your lover
Woah-woah-woah I wanna be your bro

Holcombe Waller - Qu'Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan  is another cover - really ballsy. The Native American / First Peoples vocal part at the end could not have been easy to learn and it's a Buffy Saint Marie tune. You can tell that Holcombe really loves this song.

I loved the entire Wild Flag album, but primarily Romance and Racehorse. I couldn't be happier that the Traveling Wilburies for our time happens to include two chicks from a Portland band. Carrie Brownstein is one of the greatest living guitar players and that goes double for Janet Weiss on drums. Many thanks to Carmel over at Evolving Epicurian for finding this great live performance on OPB where Wild Flag performs most of the tunes off their new album.

We Have Everything by Young Galaxy -  I feel like this song would have been the closing credit music for my favorite 80s movie - had it been written in the 1980's. Is it me or does anyone else think this chick's voice sounds like Carly Simon?

Something to Brag About by Deer Tick - here's another one that I like for the lyrics. The band plays it at punk speed but it's got this kinda classic rock feel as well. If you like The Gaslight Anthem, this tune may be for you.

Here's a link to live performance. The tune starts at about 45 seconds in.

123 Forever by Apparat Organ Quartet is, as you might guess, a song made by a band with four keyboards. The vocals have a machine-like quality that adds to the flavor of the song rather than seeming gimick-y.

If you don't mind tunes that aren't in English - Ave Que Emigra by Gaby Moreno is a particularly adorable tune. It's got a vintage country-western kind of feel and she has this very cute and sincere voice.

Half Moon by Blind Pilot - is a sweet little tune by an up-and-coming Portland band. On a mix like this the song seems almost pedestrian, but I had to find a place for it. The ebb and flow of the music, the composition, everything in this song is done just right.

Analog Woodland Song by Viva Voce - some songs have a particular time of day when they sound best, we'll hear one of those tunes later. Analog Woodland Song, in my opinion, can be enjoyed at anytime, anywhere: at your desk, while driving, working out, in the morning, or on the way home from the bar. 

Hunting by Katie Kate - the first tune I heard from Katie Kate was Totebag, and I felt pretty meh about it because I wanted the totebag song to be funny or at least ironic - so I kinda wrote her off.

Then I heard Hunting and was like holy shit, this is the Totebag chick? If you've pined for more electroclash or just like a good uptempo tune, Hunting is one of the best this year.

Her whole album - Flatland - is pretty alright, I bought about half the tracks, yes, including that Totebag song. It's kinda growing on me.

Dystopia by YACHT The earth, the earth, the earth is on fy-ah! We don't have no daughter. Let the motherfucker burn! Uh, I guess this is like the hipster dance take on Midnight Oil's Beds are Burning.

Street Halo by Burial - if you already know Burial, well, this is more of the same. If you're not familiar with Burial, um, his sound is a darker dub-step. It's kinda ambient, kinda house, and a great song for driving at night.

Forget That You're Young by The Raveonettes - I love the guitar sound in this tune. The singer could be reading the phone book, really, and I would still love it.

Lonely Boy by The Black Keys - this track hooked me in the first 10 seconds. The guy dancing was just a huge bonus.

Want more? Check out:
Best of 2010 round up
Best Music of 2009 post

Here's one last tune, it's from 2009 but it was new to me in 2011 - Me Voy by Julieta Venegas. I like the song as a stand-alone, but it's even better if you check out the translated lyrics and watch the video (see below).


Unknown said...

I think on the 10th anniversary of this list, you should go back and review whether or not you're still listening to those top songs anymore. Or do a top list of your top lists...I love lists. And now I have "Racehorse" in my head and that is not a bad thing.

Jeff H. said...

+11 to Qu'Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan