Will’s Best of 2011!

Good year for music. Make sure to check the comments for the link.

81. The Rubbish Zoo – More Ink than an Octopus

80. Wolf Gang – Pyramid Song. Hard to cover Radiohead, but these guys do it pretty well. 

79. Prasant Rhadakrishnan – Bhairavi Ragam. Prasant plays in one my favorite jazz groups, Vidya; this track features his carnatic saxaphone accompanied by a sitar. Very meditative.

78. Fitz and the Tantrums – Don’t Gotta Work It Out

77. My Morning Jacket – First Light. Matt this is for you. 

76. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Ffunny Ffriends.

75. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

74. Lil Wayne – Dear Anne. When Lil Wayne actually tries to come up with an interesting flow, dude can rap.

73. Black Books – The Big Idea.

72. St. Lucia – The Old House is Gone.

71. Toro y Moi – Intro/Chi Chi. Tape loops always get me. 

70. Moonbell – Figurine. Psychedelic SF. Gotta include that.

69. e-dubble feat. Komplex – My Last Dream.

68. Cali Swag District – Teach Me How To Dougie. Not a whole lot of pop on this list, but man this song was hella catchy.

67. Olaf Arnalds – Fyrsta. Part of a week-long live series where Arnalds composed a new piece every day in his living room.

66. Man/Miracle – Valleys. Was expecting a little more from Man/Miracle’s new EP considering that their 2010 LP, The Shape of Things, was really, really good. Valleys has a more moody vibe and isn’t quite as exuberant, but it works. Local band go check them out some time.

65. Smith Westerns – End of the Night.

64. The Horrors – Still Life. Eh, shoulda been lower.

63. Cashier No. 9 – Oh Pity. Sounds like it should be in a James Bond movie.

62. Icona Pop – Manners.

61. Dominant Legs – Clawing Out at the Walls. Great guitar riff. This one didn’t make their album, don’t know why.

60. Zola Jesus – Vessel. Zola Jesus is pretty weird.

59. Emil & Friends – Short Order Cooks.

58. Big Tree – This Fall. Starts off slowly and builds into a really nice plateau at the end. Great vocals and lead guitar.

57. Alexander – Truth. Love the way Alex Ebert modulates his voice in this. 

56. Cut Copy – Need You Know. A lot of bands did the 80’s throwback this year; this one rose above.

55. White Denim – River to Consider.

54. Gangsta – Tune-Yards. Man, you gotta watch Merrill Garbus perform live. Youtube it. Shit is crazy.

53. Gorilla Warfare Tactics – Dream Green.

52. Cyhi Da Prynce – Woopty Doo feat. Big Sean

51. Yellow Ostrich – WHALE. This song was about 100x better than the rest of their album, for what it’s worth.

50. James Blake – Limit to Your Love. Really grew on me. Is this dubstep? What is dubstep? Does anyone actually know what dubstep is?

49. Black Keys – Little Black Submarines

48. Real Estate – All the Same. I was a little disappointed by Real Estate’s album this year, but I guess I also didn’t really like their first album. The singles off those albums, however, continue to be mostly awesome. 

47. Lovecraft – Malcolm Xes.

46. Vacationer – Trip. Lighthearted and fun.

45. Maffew Ragazino – Yowzers!. Love this beat.

44. Kurt Vile – Jesus Fever.

43. Chico Mann – Harmonía.

42. Jangula – Genji Glove. I was all about this song earlier in the year. Not as sure why now.

41. Black Lips – Bicentennial Man. Fun tune. Gotta see these guys live some time.

40. The Kills – DNA.

39. Washed Out – Eyes Be Closed

38. Foster the People – Houdini. Not sure if this was on their LP, but it was on their EP that came out last January. I read somewhere that the only real complaint you can make about Foster the People is that they are just too catchy. 

37. Lana Del Rey – Blue Jeans. Really expressive voice.

36. The Antlers – Rolled Together (Daytrotter Sessions). This song really stood out to me when I heard this live version. Haunting.

35. B. Hamilton – Everything I Own Is Broken.

34. Thievery Corporation – Web of Deception.

33. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – Morning Thought. Cheerful, earnest song. I like it.

32. Friends – I’m His Girl. Probably doesn’t deserve to be ranked this high, but that bassline! 

31. Jay-Z and Kanye West – Otis.

30. Ty Segall – I Am With You. Finally saw him live last July and it was fucking incredible. Couldn’t hear properly for days. Plus Stickle and I rearranged a restaurant letterboard to say that they served farts.

29. Hindershot – The Mark. Small band from Colorado has a few really solid tunes. Saw them last summer in SF and fooled Stickle with the old “look closely at the intricate design on the frosting of this cake” with a boob cake that one of the band member’s girlfriend had brought him for his birthday. Subsequently got chased around the bar by Stickle with a handful of cake; subsequently subsequently got kicked out of the bar. This was after we drank Tecates with Hindershot’s lead singer, Manual Hindershot, in their tour van, which still said “First Korean Baptist Church” or some crap. It was a pretty great night.

28. Al Lover – Natural Child – White Man’s Burden. Al Lover takes local indie records and remixes them with instrument hip-hop in mind. Somehow it totally works.

27. Thee Oh Sees – The Dream. SF band’s 7 minute freakout. It gets weird. Love it.

26. Lil’ B – Base For Your Face. The Based God lays it down. Great sample. 

25. Beastie Boys – Make Some Noise. Great old skool Beasties beat. 

24. Son of Rams – Black Widow. I love this dude. He’s put out 3 great, free records in the last year or so, all good. Just got the vinyl LP of his first one in the mail, straight up from him, for $8, shipping included. Not having a record player anymore has slightly crimped plans to listen to said vinyl LP, but whatevs. I am definitely happy that I own that item.

23. Bon Iver – Holocene. Hard to pick a favorite from a record that is meant to be listened to all together.

22. Toro y Moi – New Beat. Mellow fun from a super forward-looking artist.

21. Sic Alps – Battery Townsley. SF group, just kinda got into them. Need to get more into them. Excellent tune.

20. Lovecraft and Sleepwalk – Discount Magic Carpet. I don’t always listen to electronic music, but when I do, I prefer Lovecraft.

19. Girls – Alex. Love the drums on this one. And obviously Christopher Owens’ songwriting. Everything he writes is perfect. Not too poppy, not too out-there. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is one of the best through-and-through albums I’ve heard in a really long time.

18. Twin Sister – Bad Street. Fun song.

17. Radiohead – Giving Up the Ghost (live on Jimmy Fallon’s show, whichever one that is). I liked this song, but hearing the stripped-down live version really did it for me. Everything about it is perfect. Jonny Greenwood’s backing guitar is mesmerizing.

16. Death Songs – Ophelia. Small group out of Portland. Song starts strong and builds.

15. White Denim – Cat City. White Denim’s D, which came out this year, is one of my favorite records of the past 5 years, and I probably listened to it as the aforementioned Girls album. Cat City isn’t even off D; dudes put out another excellent EP later in the year. If you want to hear more about the huge boner I have for White Denim, just ask Matt O’Hearn, who will sigh.

14. Kreayshawn – Gucci Gucci. Best beat of the year, and girl can rap. Bay Arrreaaaa!!

13. Mike Simoneti – The Third of the Storms. Great, long, peaceful, flowing track. Don’t know much about this guy, but this track is excellent.

12. Foster the People – Pumped Up Kicks. Too catchy!

11. little brothers – old shows. Can’t remember where I found this one. This guys are pretty small, but are obviously having an incredibly fun time playing in a band together. old shows is lighthearted but propulsive, and also really funny. I would love to see this group live. 

10. The Dodos – Good. I love the Dodos. Take 2 excellent musicians who have really distinctive styles on their respective instruments (drums and mostly acoustic guitar), give them plus songwriting ability and hella charisma, and you get a pretty swell end product. Check out the video for this one, and see them live if you can.

9. Mikal Cronin – Apathy. First record from a guy in SF who plays a lot with Ty Segall. Great guitar-driven SF-style garage rock. Love the weird sax at the end of the song. It’ll be fun to see where Mikal Cronin goes in the next few years, and I’m sure his live show is fantastic.

8. The Pieces of Shit – Lay & Love. The Pieces of Shit are David Byrne writing music, Bonnie “Prince” Billy writing lyrics, and Irish singer Michael Brunnock on vocals. This track is a cover of Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s Lay & Love, but it’s different enough from the original to make it wonderful in it’s own right. Great vocals, perfect, subtle guitars. 

7. The Black Keys – Lonely Boy. This is all you need to know about this song. You may want to avoid playing it early in the week, because the longer you have to wait to throw back 10 PBRs (or 1/2 of 1 PBR if you happened to be named Sam C.) and attempt to dance like the dude in the video, the more painful. 

6. White Denim – Keys. Closer from the album D. White Denim had a great year. 

5. Bill Callahan – Baby’s Breath. This was the first time I heard Bill Callahan and actually thought he was good. His poetic delivery on Baby’s Breath is outstanding, and his band backs him up perfectly. The spare guitar figure that starts the track (not to mention his audible sigh) and continues throughout conveys his message perfectly.

4. tUnE-YarDs – Bizness. Full-throated and passionate, but somehow accepting and fun at the same time. Another really well put together song by Merrill Garbus. Shouts “I’m a victim, yeah,” but in defiance and solidarity, rather than sadness or hurt.

3. B. Hamilton – On Borrowed Time. B. Hamilton is a band out of Oakland that released an incredibly good record, Everything I Own Is Broken in October. The songwriting is really high caliber, and the band really knows how to cut loose. On Borrowed Time is my favorite from the record; it’s haunting and melodic and really well-done. Looking forward to what more these guys have to offer. 

2. Girls – Die. Unexpectedly heavy song off a nearly perfect album. I’m amazed that Christopher Owens can write so many different types of songs so well, and have them all go together on one album without leaving the listener feeling confused or scattered. See Girls live. You will not regret it.

1. Battles – Ice Cream (feat. Matias Aguayo). This song is incredibly fun to listen to. Starts slow but quickly builds up into an awesome jam with multiple awesome riffs. 

Links are in the comments!

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3 thoughts on “Will’s Best of 2011!

  1. mckleroy says:

    Alternates if the one above is too slow or not working:
    part 2: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=7ADFGFQY
    part 1: http://www.zshare.net/download/97729704771d5443/

  2. mckleroy says:

    The dropbox link above still works! Download it for the full list. Obv. support the artists if you find something you dig.

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