Typically by the time there’s snow settling outside I’m listening religiously to somber acoustic songs. This year that has not been the case.Brooklyn natives Snowmine and their sweet little track “The Hill” exemplifies the more upbeat music I’m digging into lately.
I know it may seem like an almost generic statement but “Know It’s Right” is the best song I’ve found this year. If it had came out in June or November I would still be saying the same things. Check out my full review of this track here.
I woke up singing this song this morning…actually I think I started while I was sleeping in a strange dream I was having and it just carried over to my morning. It took me another hour of searching through my library to figure out what song it was. I put the “Killing Time” video up on LBYB just a few days ago and it must have lodged itself in the back of my mind then. Continue reading →
Making theBest Albums list was relatively easy compared to nailing down the 100 best songs of 2011. The level of incredible music to surface this year is unbelievable. What’s more difficult is trying to create some sort of order when laying these songs out, what makes one great song better than another great song? Nothing. Keep that in mind as you go through this list, hopefully there will be a few new tracks you haven’t heard before and if a song stands out to you which should have been included, make use of the comments section If I haven’t heard it before or haven’t given my full attention to a song that may have been lost in the midst of the unorganized shuffle that is my “new music folder” know I will take full advantage of the opportunity to check it out.
I’m going to space these out in hopes that the artists get more of a focus per song than if I put them all up at once, with art as good as this they deserve it.
This Rollo And Grady Session was the first I’d ever heard of Lord Huron. These Michigan via L.A. natives are killing it with potential, I can’t imagine anything other than HUGE things from these guys in 2012.
The strength of “Street Joy” lies in the fact that it’s a nice change from what we’ve come to expect from an A-typical White Denim track which is precisely why it stands out as being worthy of this year’s list over the other solid tracks off of “D” .
Real Estate seem poised for scene domination in the wake of the incredible “Days.” Without a doubt they’ve got the sound and talent yet it’s the band’s universal acceptance from every demographic other than mainstream that allows me to write that with full confidence, which would probably seem blasphemous to the hipster crowd but they seem to be staying loyal which is a feat in itself. “It’s Real” was the first single from the new album and is just chill enough to remind us these guys are from Brooklyn but clean enough to make those of us in the mid-west not feel neglected by their coolness.
I’ve always felt the conviction that if a band or artist is going to do a cover it should be an entirely new take on it. Any thirteen-year-old with some free time can learn to play a song identically with the original, if you need proof just look at forty percent of the videos on youtube.
Needless to say this take on “Barely Legal” may go down as my favorite cover of the year. Brazil’s Cicero strips this song completely back and has rebuilt it in a way that feels as if I’ve never heard it before. For some it may seem blasphemous but I truly like this version better than the original, sorry Julian.
Real Estate put out there own version of this track earlier this year and although the two re-envisioned versions are similar Real Estate was able to keep the arrogance that IS The Strokes still slightly attached where Cicero is able to discard it completely and make this song actually sound like a soul baring piece of acoustic indie. As a fan of The Strokes the fact that they never wrote a song that didn’t sound pretentious is basically the underlying theme of the band we once loved, for someone else to take the exact same song and deliver a feel that is anything but impresses me.
The line “these places your therapist fears to tread, well I bet you knock em dead” is an ideal example of the clever and surprisingly original lyrics that set this song up for necessary repeat listening. (Via)
There have been a few times this year when I’ve had to ask myself whether I’m writing music reviews or heading the Jhameel fanclub (Example 1, Example 2) . If you haven’t noticed lately, I’m not the only one getting all band-crush on his music either. “Waves” is the more “pop” style track he’s put out this year and shows why it’s the title track from his most recent project.
“…Dystopia is their supercharged, post-apocalyptic anthem, virtually a warrior’s cry warning of the impending inferno of mother earth; all the while beating the drums of self-empowerment in the face of doom and leading the listener towards the kinetic potential within. It’s a tall order, but these dance-punk emissaries have an intergalactic belief system to back up their call to the altar of their disco floor…” – My Old Kentucky Blog
“I caught a video a few weeks ago from Oh land and immediately was attracted to what this band is doing. Like a chill Florence and the Machine or Coco Rosie with pop sensibility. Each song breathes exceptionally well ‘Perfection‘ is a solid example of that.” (Via)
“Mike Tucker is Canadian video game design student who goes by the name of Blood Diamonds when he turns to music production in his spare time. Recent track, “Dreams” is an explosive cocktail of R&B-inspired high pitch vocals, dreamy synth melodies and repetitive beats that sounds something like Beach House with a hint of The Weeknd and a little Animal Collective” - Onomatopoeia
Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan (a.k.a. The Milk Carton Kids) have made one of the most sing-alongable songs with Girls, Gather Round. This one shows what strengths these two troubadours are working with. A tinge of classic bluegrass that makes you want to swing a mug and belt along with the chorus and what’s even better is that such a full sound is created by two guys playing live. (Via)
Although I think for most people “Girls Gather Round” is the more worthy songs for this list, I’m starting to think I should have included the haunting “Michigan” higher up on the list, here’s a video for it if you haven’t heard it yet.
And while some of the imagery has drawn specifically on Alberta, from where frontman Nils Edenloff hails, Cole loves the universality of the music. “I’m from a small town, too, and I feel an emotional connection to the themes cause I think it’s something everyone goes through,” she says. “Like, you leave your small town and move to the big city, leaving things behind, ending relationships. You don’t have to necessarily come from Alberta to understand it.”
“North Star” finds Edenloff singing about driving in a friend’s car, with the north star guiding them home. He croons over sparse electric piano and a skittish drumbeat, before the song finally swells into a organ-led crescendo that comes on like the first hints of a sunrise after an all-night adventure. – Spin
“Kaputt“ has shown us once again how phenomenal Dan Bejar is. It’s not like he had anything left needing to be proved but he took his art to a whole other level this year. He’s so relaxed in his delivery we can’t help but turn the volume up in awe of the ease he portrays.
Pat Grossi first came onto the scene last year with his highly praised “Curtis Lane EP” that bloggers couldn’t get enough of, myself included. When Active Child’s debut album “You Are All I See” came out it basically perpetuated what he started a year ago. This is how good electro-pop can be and indie at it’s finest.
Every day this week when riding my bike to work I have started off with “Cosmonauts”. This may not seem like something worth mentioning but it really is because I never repeat listen. My ride to and from work is the only time I get to relax while listening to the songs that i’ve enjoyed each day, the only chance I get to really experience them. I noticed on day one that this song gives off that eighties movie vibe that is in the action/music scene which is a great way to get you motivated about going into work (think Iron Eagle when Pappy gets told to shove his rules “I’m doing it my way” and slips the cassette in, the opening scene with the feet from footloose, or I’m trying to think of a good dirtbike/bmx scene from a movie but have drawn a blank- you get the idea though). I guess what i’m trying to say is Kites With Lights have created a song which is a perfect track for doing shit.(Via)
With how incredible Mr. Plastic was I’m practically offended by the lack of hype going towards Glowbug. The album was the most addicting of any to come out in 2011. Secrets aren’t always good to keep and Glowbug is the ideal example, so quit keeping them to yourselves and start mixing up some cd’s for your friends, these guys are too good to be floating this low under the radar.
Try “Generation Handclap” — a track from Canadian indie-poppers Library Voices. It features just the right doses of New Order guitar freakouts, surfy drums, power pop harmonies and even those saxophone accents that make you do a twisty dance without caring what others think. – Rcrd Lbl
Slothpop are the best local export we have here in Indy. As with most great bands you really need to see them live to grasp the fire to understand all the smoke surrounding them in this town. “Kokoro” comes close very close to delivering on the hype but given the chance to see them sweat on stage in the coming year make it point number one not to pass it up.
If the feel-great lyrics and handclaps don’t bitchslap a smile across your face, perhaps the punchy piano and crip-walking bassline will. This is like that random Cults song meets Panda Bear’s collab with Atlas Sound, except not something you’re ridiculously sick of hearing at Urban Outfitters. Savor it, folks, before it winds up in a Nissan commercial. - I guess I’m Floating
Like an upbeat Quick Said The Bird, Mother Falcon are incredibly talented musicians who understand the importance of being part of a whole. Nothing escapes from the ether yet at the same time every note in this song is astonishingly fitting. The vocal round-about does me in more than any other aspect of “Fireflies” reminding me of a mature Lydia who at one point in time I was obsessed with. (Via)
The best news I’ve heard in the last few weeks is that Mat Cothran will be continuing on with his recently acquired Elvis Depressedly moniker.I’m a huge fan of artists who place art before self. By putting out music under a band name it throws all pretensions aside and allows us to take in the music without the unnecessary distraction that comes with solo artists.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from following Cothran’s musical endeavors is that this guy has absolutely no clue what he’s going to do next. One day Coma Cinema is done the next day he’s saying it’ll be around until his death and pretty much copying the same format at the same time with Elvis Depressedly.
His work as Elvis Depressedly feels more truthful than what he’s given us before reminding me immensely of early Bright Eyes with its raw honesty and unrelenting emotional heart-on-sleeve sound.Wherever Cothran chooses to take his music I’m sure we’ll be thankful for it and thoroughly enjoy whatever sounds he gives us, I’m hoping for much more Depressedly it’s too real to just throw to the way side. (Via)
“While We’re Young” is the new single from Californian musician Max Greenhalgh, who has recently finished the recording of a solo album dubbed ‘Teenager’. Yeah, there’s a bit of a trend here. Naturally, the song is a melodic lofi pop number, but instead of being cliched it’s actually a fantastic example of summer music done right. With the warmer weather obviously on its way, we could all do with a bit more music like this. -And Pluck Your Strings
The Speed Of Sound In Seawater is one of the bands that, after taking some time to grasp, have worked their way into just about every personal playlist I’ve made this year. Something about their Maps And Atlases meets early 2000′s emo mixture elevates them from being merely another overly talented band to one of the key lines of defense I use to defend the state of music when combating friends who believe there hasn’t been instrumental talent since the seventies, those friends are also idiots.
For how much I enjoy promoting new songs and great bands I feel a confession is called for; I have a secret stash . With the ease that artist get tossed around and discarded (I’m part of the problem), with terms like “buzzband” often times doing more damage six months down the road than it helped, and the way that “great music” can become “generic music” just through album sales and the amount of people we are crammed between when going to a show I feel justified in having a few secrets.
I love the feeling of having a band to myself as much as anyone else, to know that a song I love is “my” song instead of everyone’s song. That amazing feeling that lingers all night after standing in some small sweaty basement with thirty-five people when there is only room for about ten with that constant fear of knowing if there is one spark, one faulty wire in an amp, we will all burn to our death before we have a chance to react. These are the things that I love about music and sure it’s not fair to the bands I choose to keep to myself but I need that personal connection and sometimes I make a conscious effort to keep certain bands that way.
I got nervous when the whole surf rock thing started trending that Teenagers would get chewed up and spit out by the hype machine (the actual machine and not the blog) so I kept my mouth closed. Unfortunately/fortunately the music which Travis Keymer creates using the Teenagers moniker is far too great to keep hidden beneath a bushel…. (Excerpt from my Listen Before You Buy post)
The opening guitar lick to this track just radiates sunshine, immediately transporting me to the top of a sand dune watching a hazy sunset fade away into the horizon. Featuring Mississippi’s premiere ukulele-maestro Dent May and Woods’ Jarvis Taveniere as guests, this song is a case of beer and a few mermaids away from a summertime blast. If you’re suffering from seasonal depression or need a good soundtrack to watch sea turtle babies crawl back to the ocean, spin “Killin The Vibe”! – I Guess I’m Floating
All songs are for promotional use only. If you or an artist you represent would like content removed email me at Heycoolkid@yahoo.com
Summer always makes me reshuffle through songs that encapsulated summers of the past (last year it was Foals Total Life Forever, The Head and the heart (self-titled), and The Love Language’s Libraries), about all i can remember from 2008 is Bishop Allen and Miniature tigers. I take that back that’s what good i can remember from 2008. I also remember M.I.A. being played at every damn party i went to and hating my life evertime fly like papers came on and everyone feeling the need to tell me how “talented” she is. whatever between M.I.A. and kanye west you are wasting your breath. I see the for sale sign and i’m not buying.
My last two posts had Beverlay and honheehonhee on them, it just wouldn’t be right if i left out the third part of this holy Montreal trinity. This is where the pop aspect of Beverly comes from and i”m not talking britney spears pop, i’m talking the good pop. The best way i can describe the difference is that when someone tells me they like Death Cab For Cutie i tell them they will probably love Winter Gloves …that kind of pop.
Everyday i’m thankful for taking the time to add bands i dig on facebook. Courtesy Tier’s yet to be released The Resolution is a perfect example of why. Today they posted it before it’s actually release, For Free, and sent the link out on FB. The album is a little less energetic than what i’d already picked up from them (my favorite so far has been “Buddy Casey”) but that’s not a bad thing. The instrumentation is not only solid but well placed. Each song has it’s own touch so the album never feels monotonous. The strongest song is probably the closing track “Home” but “Rescue” mixes much better along with the other tracks i’ve picked out for this playlist. here’s a link to there FB page so next time you don’t have to take second hand gifts when you can get them for yourself : Courtesy Tier’s facebook page .
Broken Social Scene are another band (like wilco) that i never have been able to fully get into, and believe my i have tried(hard) but i just can’t. There’s something that immediately turns me off about the majority of their songs (although lovers spit makes my top 50 of all time). It may be brilliant and leagues above everyone else, it might even be ground breaking and have opened doors for so many other (better) bands, but they just don’t connect with me the way i feel they are hyped up to. This is why Young Buffalo impress me. Not only do they have a sound that’s SO DAMN ADDICTING they somehow have found a way to take a song i don’t already like and make me LOVE IT. And how often do we get to hear a cover that’s better than the original? This version will be getting played on my headphones for a long time to come. It even makes me appreciate BSS for once, who knows it may, by some miracle, make me end up being a fan of them someday.
I’m not sure what makes this my favorite song on this weeks post but it is. Catchy bluegrass folk. I can’t describe many songs that way. I think what i like so much about this song is that i’ve seen so many unsigned bands try to write songs like this and not even realize they’d failed at creating something other than an annoying background song to what would have been a decent conversation at the bar. The lyrics may not be perfect but they work…really really well.
This is one my favorite songs ever to be created in Indy. It’s also from a band that’s relatively inactive in the local scene.Hopefully they’ll start playing shows frequently around town because they’ve got as good, if not a better, chance of being able to accomplish something with their music as similar bands in the local genre like Jascha and The Accordians who play shows every week in Indy. There’s a couple of free songs posted up on musical family tree from them and if you want to hear some strong solo stuff check in onAnthoney Scroggins myspace page. Before hey hey melodica I was already a fan of his and am really impressed with what the bands been able to do with what he brings to the table.
Atlanta newcomers are already making an impression and it seems like they came out of nowhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if they swell into one of this falls hype bands and since they actually deliver the goods i’m alright with that.
Even though parts are a throwback to the eighties,something i rarely get into, holy ghost! pull it off successfully and have created a perfect addition to any party playlist be it club, house, or basement.
I’ve read mixed reviews on Real Control and anyone who says this album is anything short of solid has no idea what they are talking about, especially the guy who wanted to hound on Anders Wendin for having been influenced by the clash…it’s hard to find a band out there without some influence from the clash. That’s like all the critics who hated Brand New for there similarities to the smiths. Good music is good music let’s leave it at that.
This songs great to put on late night when you’re not yet tired and not yet ready for the night to be over. Great lyrics. This is my first taste of American Babies (not literally), i’m looking forward to seeing what else they have to offer.
I’d read a few articles and album reviews on David Wax Museum, i even went as far as downloading a couple songs but for some reason nothing sank in, then I heard them on npr last week and decided to give them another chance. I’m glad i did. I’m not sure what kept me from committing before but i’m definitely into them now.
Another great band in the tampa based New Granada family(Sleepy Vikings, New Times Roman, sunbears). I’m having trouble finding anything out about them yet and googling “king of spain” is an obvious waste of time. I’ll let you know more as soon as i do.
This is the opening track off of wild smiles and for how good “save your love for me” is the album just keeps getting better which doesn’t seem possible. I’m seeing that stupid baboon in my dreams, that’s how often i’ve been pulling the album up on my ipod.
This song is crafted flawlessly all the way down to the closed high hat they use coming out of the chorus and back into the main piano track…perfection. Even better Alexander Jorgensen has created a video for Older Together that is just as great as the song itself. I’m equally in love with both
I hadn’t heard anything about Hanlon before seeing him open for David Dondero. Darren took the stage and completely stole the show with his amazing songs and magnetic stage presence. Seriously, people were laughing before one song, crying during another, and then he sold out of hard copies of his cd’s afterwards. Take all that and reverse it and that’s what watching David Dondero play was like. I saw DD open for bright eyes years earlier for a crowd that couldn’t have cared less about the opening act, i always thought that it was the crowds fault and not dondero’s that i wasn’t impressed… now that i’ve seen him as a headliner my main opinion is that for one of the great songwriters of all-time David Dondero is a dick. He stumbled onstage half-drunk and fumbled through half his songs then went into a four minute rant about daytrotter and how they’re stealing money from him and then went back into a lackluster set of his worst songs. I’ll never pay to see dondero again or buy another album but i’ll be more than happy to drive an hour to see Hanlon play and you can believe that i try to promote his songs as often as possible.
Right now in Austin my girlfriend is interviewing for jobs . I was going through songs to send her while she’s gone and of all the ones i put together this one stood out more than any other. Ableman sells the sentiment and, like hallmark, says things better than i ever could.
So that’s it. If you represent an artist whose songs are on this page and would like it removed i’ll be more than happy to both oblige and never recommend their music in a positive light again, that’s the agreement. I completely understand the need for bands to make money so they continue creating art but spreading some free love from time to time is really the most humble and appreciated thing i can find in music right now. If you need the money that bad you can have it, but i have no reason to promote you anymore.
Also if there’s any music i’m missing or missing the point on here’s the comments section… i’m listening:)