Happy Holidays Friends! Family! Planet Animals! Plant Life! As my Secret Santa gift to all of you, may I present my ‘Best Of’ list in Music for 2011. First, I’ll list my favorite albums, then favorite songs, then I’ll list a couple Oldies But Goodies. Lots of killer ladies in the mix this year! I’ll keep the list it to just the audio world here, though I will tell you that the best movie I saw last year was ‘Too Big to Fail’ on HBO, and my favorite TV Show was ‘American Horror Story’. It was the only show I watched. Funny how that works.
LETS GET TO IT!!
ALBUMS OF THE YEAR
1. WYE OAK – CIVILIAN.
This is my favorite record of the year. I thank my pal Larry Sheffey (aka Chutie Moreno, aka Shandy Randy, aka lil Faust) for turning me on to these Maryland natives.
2. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
My second favorite record of the year. Annie Clark is a brilliant writer, wields an axe as strong and as tough as Prince (see the ripping direct tone of “Surgeon”) and happens to also be from the North Texas Area. Much Love.
3. Twin Sister – In Heaven
I love these kids from Long Island. Intensely dreamy and smooth. Their song “All Around and Away We Go” was my favorite song of 2010, and this new record is stronger than previous efforts. They can play their instruments pretty well.
KEEP READING FOR SO MANY MORE ON THE NEXT PAGE!!!
4. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
Everyone and their sister (not excluding Victoria’s Secret Angels) were shaking their proverbial what-not’s to “Midnight City”. The rest of this dreamy outing sounds like if The Wall had been directed by John Hughes. It’s real good.
5. Modeselektor – Monkeytown
Rent an exotic sports car, put this in eine mini-disc player, turn it up, leave your house at 3am, get weird. and hurry. It’s not all bangin’ techno, though. There is some cool hip hop stuff and dreamy material, including “This” feat. Thom Yorke. He plays in an “indie band” called Radiohead, I think.
6. Bjork – Biophilia
What can you say? Bjork made a record. You know it’s good. And this one is about plant life and features an app for every song, w/ David Attenborough narration! Miracle Grow coupons not included.
7. Spank Rock – Everything is Boring and Everyone is a Fucking Liar
One of the best MC’s and Party Starters in the game returns with this dazzling plaque filled with psych-ish dance cuts and pure Art-Hop lyrical craft. Me and my roomies, Future People, also had a bit to do with the Boyz Noize/Chris Cosgrove produced, Can-sampling track “Energy”, recorded in our LA home, The Mallard. It’s also on EA SPORTS FIFA 12. Peep.
8. Sandro Perri – Impossible Spaces
This guy is awesome. He loves Disco. The good, under-the-surface kind of Disco. You can hear the Arthur Russell influence here, and that’s a good thing. This is what I love. He had a band called Dinosaur L, equipped with some real nice cuts. He swings lightly here and turns out the beautiful goods. In fact, “Changes” happens to be my favorite song of 2011. You’ll hear about that below.
9. Toro Y Moi – Freaking Out (EP)
Despite releasing an incredible full length, ‘Under The Pine’, this year, I prefer this EP release. Nothing really made me move in 2011 like Chaz Bundick’s filtered psych boogie goodness.
10. Planning To Rock – W
She’s the boldest (read that as “strangest” if you are old and boring) female in music, today. She wears a prosthetic face. She would eat Lana Del Rey or Florence what’s-her-name with a side of honey mustard, if given the chance. She rocks so hard.
ADDITIONAL BEST ALBUMS
11. James Blake – James Blake
Sometimes dudes come along that make perfect music. Here is one such dude.
12. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Here is another such dude.
13. Phantogram – Nightlife
freak out, folks.
14. Tune-Yards – WHOKILL
15. Hercules and Love Affair – Blue Songs
16. Young Galaxy – Shapeshifting
This record is like deep-sea diving on the moon.
17. Cloud Nothings – Cloud Nothings
Saw these youngsters rock it in Dallas. This is a fun record, that makes me feel weird. Perfect!
Their new record comes out in just a few weeks!
18. Shabazz Palaces – Black Up
The best MC actively participating in the game, today. worth seeing live, because he knows how to play. certain.
19. Destroyer – Kaputt
Another breezy and smooth outing from the New Pornographer, himself. This record sounds like a bottle of Sea Breeze face astringent. And that’s a good thing, Daniel.
20. Graveyard – Hisingen Blues
Total Swedish Face Pummel
21. Justice – Audio Video Disco
Thanks to Steve Steward, for turning me on to this funk madness. I don’t know why I didn’t jump on this record back in October. Totally Wicked.
22. The Lisps – Are We At The Movies
These Brooklyn friends make the coolest things. Did your band also write a musical, like the Lisps did? Didn’t think so. SO GOOD!
23. WIN WIN – WIN WIN
When DJ’s XXXChange and Chris Devlin, and Video Artist GhostDad get together, people willingly lose their minds. Then they go to the bar and order another Disarrono Cranberry. Then they go lose their minds again. This record plays best as a record, not a group of songs, so get the whole thing.
24. White Denim – D
The lead singer is the son of ex-Texas Ranger Catcher, Geno Petrali, and he went to Nolan in Fort Worth for High School. You would think any more awesome would make him explode. Well he did. He exploded with his Austin bandmates all over some analog tape and a pro tools rig. Few bands are better at their instruments than these Texans. I love Texas.
25. Chad VanGaalen – Diaper Island
My great friend Daniel Stessen turned me on to this Calgary artist just a few years back. Not only does he self-produce and perform all the instruments on his releases, he also is an accomplished animator, often making short films for his songs. He also skateboards a lot. And by the title of his newest release, he must be a father. I mean, CHECK IT OUT!!!
MY FAVORITE SONGS OF THE YEAR
1. “Surgeon” – St. Vincent
2. “Changes” – Sandro Perri
3. “Fat Read” – Rimer London
4. “DTF DADT” – Spank Rock
5. “The Wilhelm Scream” – James Blake
6. “New Beat” – Toro Y Moi
7. “Stop” – Twin Sister
8. “Purple Swag” – Asap Rocky
9. “Humanized” – Modeselektor
10. “You Yes You” – Tune-Yards
MY FAVORITE THINGS THAT I’M A PART OF
Ben Harper – Give Till It’s Gone
This is my second record with Ben. I think if you guys like good songs, then you’ll love this record. My personal favorite tune is “I Will Not Be Broken”.
Future People – Future People (EP)
I get to play with these amazing fellas and call them my best friends. Check it out!
Grace Woodroofe – Always Want (Australian Release. Available in January in US.)
She is the best. 2012 is her year. Listen to the brilliance in her voice. I’m honored to say I was part of this record. I played drums, vibes and co-wrote some stuff. But this record (and this world) is all Grace!
Quaker City Night Hawks – Torquila, Torquila
These Fort Worth guys are so fucking tough. So fucking good. Any band would be the best band if Sam Anderson (also in my band EPIC RUINS) OR David Matsler (also in my band EPIC RUINS) were their lead singer. Well, this band utilizes both of these guys at the vocal helm. The rhythm section of Matt Mabe on drums (also in my band EPIC RUINS) and Pat Adams on bass is nothing shy of brutalizingly great!
SOME OF MY OTHER FAVORITE BEST ALBUMS OF THE YEAR
Junior Boys – It’s All True
Atlas Sound – Parallax
Washed Out – Within and Without
Karl Blau – Max (ep)
Drug Cabin – Drug Cabin
Burning Hotels – Burning Hotels
Lower Dens – Twin-Hand Movement
Spirit Animal – I’m Around (7″ single)
Oneohtrix Point Never – Replica
Future Islands – On The Water
PHEW!!! Happy New Year!