The 2011 Mix
So, it’s been a while since I’ve done this, but Mike inadvertently reminded me that it’s time to compile a track list for 2011. I put it off because I’m lazy and because I had some last minute additions that I wanted to give a listen to before the year ran out. I stopped doing these primarily because I wasn’t even blogging, but also because I was listening to less music. I deliberately tried to turn this around this year.
To recap: I’m picking my favourite songs from 2011. The tradition is thus: pretend like it is 1999 and you want to burn this to a CD: thus, 80 minutes is the arbitrary limit. And the songs must be released in 2011 — I think I differ from Mike in this regard — so there might be other songs or albums that were new to me this year, but they are not under consideration.
List and links below the fold.
Washed Out – Amor Fati – Youtube
Another album bought on reputation alone that I can’t quite love like I’m expected to. However, this song is great. Simple in melody and tone, but I could probably have it going on loop forever.
M83 – Midnight City – Youtube
Late addition to the lineup, this song is 10 kinds of awesome. These guys certainly my latest trend of leaning more toward electronic music (though the internet says these guys are shoegaze, which is also pretty cool I guess?) Plus, rocking some saxophones in the mix near the end there never hurts. Some overlap with Mike, here.
Ladytron – Melting Ice – Audio via Youtube
Reflecting on it, Ladytron is probably one of the most influential artists on my taste in music. If I hadn’t seen the video for Seventeen on the Wedge late one night, and been unable to get the song out of my head for weeks after, I probably wouldn’t listen to any kind of non guitar-and-drum based music. Their latest album isn’t phenomenal, but it’ll do. Runner up: Ace of Hz.
The Rapture – In The Grace Of Your Love – Audio via Youtube
Where Echoes was all sharp edges and noisy dance music, and Pieces Of The People We Love felt sleazy and slinky, this album has a laid back, chillaxed kind of vibe exemplified by this, the title track. Not what I was expecting, but this album grew on me real quick like. Runner up: Sail Away.
St. Vincent – Surgeon - Audio via Youtube
Lots of choices on this album, but you gotta give it up for those disco guitar riffs and farty synths. Again, overlapping Mike here. Runner up: Cruel, which has an awesome video incidentally.
Moonface – Whale Song (Song Instead of a Kiss) – Audio via Youtube
Yet another Spencer Krug side project, and I ain’t complaining. The whole album is filled with this sort of slow burning atmospheric synth tracks. This is my favourite, quietly marching forward as element after element is added, until the weird drum machine percussion kicks in at like the six minute mark and I have to take a moment to myself. Runner up: Fast Peter.
Foo Fighters – Bridge Burning – Audio via Youtube
Holy smokes, the Foo Fighters made a pretty alright album! In fact, I’d say this is the best one since The Colour And The Shape! And I only picked it up to round out a 2-for-20 type bargain bin thing. Mike chooses Rope, but this track is the actual correct answer. Runners up: Rope and Walk.
Sloan – It’s Plain To See – Audio via Youtube
Hipsters teased me for liking the new Sloan album. Fie! This is a barnstormer, and the frigging catchy organs come in from out of nowhere for the steal. Runner up: Unkind.
Chixdiggit! – I Hope Things Will Turn Around - Audio via Youtube
Chixdiggit! always have that one track on their releases that are just great sing-along anthems ready for the stadium they’ll never play. Like Going to the Peelers or Paints Her Toenails. This is that track for this year. Man, screw these guys for only putting out an EP after all this time.
tUnE-yArDs – Bizness – Youtube
Keep singing, lady, and we’ll forget about this alternating capitalization business. Don’t even ask me to describe what this sounds like apart that ukeleles are involved. Also, more saxophones! Runner up: Powa.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Hysterical – Buried in a flash player here
I don’t really think these guys are suited to the sort of sheen and polish that this album has. The singers voice isn’t adolescently cracking nearly enough for my tastes. This track is the closest to that swampy-pop sound I love so much.
Deerhoof – No One Asked to Dance/Let’s Dance the Jet/Super Duper Rescue Heads! – Fan video/Audio/Youtube
That’s right, I’m am putting a frigging suite of three tracks on here. Deerhoof is basically like my favourite band at this point. It’s unprecedented in my personal taste history that a band can string together like 8 consecutive albums that I think are unequivocally great in their own ways. This set of three tracks comes right in the middle of Deerhoof vs. Evil, are the best tracks on there, and go together nicely. No One Asked To Dance is a gentle and utterly un-Deerhoof song, Let’s Dance The Jet answers it with that manic sugary off-kilter energy I love so much (and is apparently a cover of some 60s soundtrack?), and Super Duper Rescue Heads! brings it home with its most triumphant and crunchy guitars.
Eleanor Friedberger – I Won’t Fall Apart On You Tonight – Audio via Youtube
Another one of those songs that could just put the chorus on loop forever and I wouldn’t stop singing along. Runner up: My Mistakes, if only to keep going with the saxophone thing.
Handsome Furs – What About Us – Youtube
Opens with a machine-like 80s sounding march, then switches out for a moody anthem that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on a Wolf Parade album. I miss Wolf Parade.
Fucked Up – The Other Shoe – Youtube
So I keep hearing that these guys are great, and Polaris prize and such, yadda yadda yadda, but I kind of couldn’t get past all the screaming. With great trepidation I decided to try and fight through it. I still can’t quite get behind the screaming, but somewhere along the line in songs like this one when the harmonies kick in and it sounds like every guitar on the planet is playing, I can live with it. Runner up: Queen of Hearts.
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Brain Gallop – Audio via Youtube
The best SM+Jicks song in forever, and that’s coming from someone who has been more than happy with all of their releases up to now. Runner up: Senator.
R.E.M. – It Happened Today – Youtube
Guys, it’s over, and while you didn’t quite go out on top, it could have been far, far worse.
And Mike did it, so why not?
The Bestest Albums of 2011, a list that I am just cooking up now without much reflection
1. tUnE-yArDs – WHOKILL
2. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Mirror Traffic
3. Deerhoof – Deerhoof vs. Evil
4. The Rapture – In The Grace Of Your Love
5. Mikal Cronin – Mikal Cronin