Heycoolkid! Best Songs Of 2011

27 Dec

Heycoolkid! Best Songs Of 2011 (11-25)

THIS IS WHERE THINGS START GETTING OFFENSIVELY GOOD

[I messed up the count. See #17 as to why. Yes I realize there are two 26’s just enjoy the music, we’re all friends here]

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26. Radical Face – “All Is Well (Goodbye, Goodbye)”

Radical FaceRadical Face is oneartist who’ve I’ve been following for years just waiting for all that potential I heard to come into fruition.

When I picked up Ghost back in 2007 I was instantly blown away by the opening track “Asleep On A Train” and to this day it stands as one of the most listened to songs in my itunes library as well as one of the best instrumental tracks ever created.

Here we are four years later and Ben Cooper has re-emerged on the scene with an absolute vengeance. “All Is Well (Goodbye, Goodbye)” was one of four songs released on The Bastard EP in August and then in October he finally gave us a full length with The Family Tree: The Roots, which was an album with mind blowing lyrical strength that should one day have him seen as an equal with the likes of Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes, it’s happening as we speak, one new fan at a time. I’m really going to miss when his music felt like a conversation between the two of us as it does now but I can’t keep songs like these to myself for long.

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25. Caroline Smith And The Goodnight Sleep – “Tanktop”

Caroline Smith And The Goodnight SleepTanktop” is not only one of the best songs to come out this year it also one of the best crafted break-up songs of remembrance ever.

Each one of us has gone through something similar at some point in our lives, where looking back we miss all those little things that defined the comfort and perfection that was once our relationship. Still we’re here with some monumental chasm between what we were then and the strangers we are now,  friends ask us how things went wrong and all we can say is “Ain’t that always how it always seems to go”

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24. Future Islands – “Give Us The Wind”

Future IslandsGive Us The Wind” is the perfect friend to bring along on a road trip, just let it breath for fifty seconds and it’ll set everything in the perfect emotional direction of optimistic nostalgia that is the ideal undercurrent for any cruise. Once this song kicks in it never lets up, just holds your hand and at the same time motivates you to roll the window down and light up, this song is the soundtrack for our movie moments where the script is our lives and the lines our words being etched in ink as we speak. (Via)

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23. Grandpa Was A Lion – “Dancer”

Grandpa Was A LionDancer” makes me want to cry or get drunk or both. Getting to the bottom, down to the very soul of emotion, and breathing this magnetism into it that is romantically sad yet as the song progresses feels like a blanket in deepest of night with  its subtle hint of calm.

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22. Yellow Ostrich – “Mary (Alternate)”

Yellow OstrichI almost left this song off of the list only from having listened to it so often  it feels like it’s been out for longer than a year.

Which is kind of how all of their songs come across, it’s as if they’ve been with you for a long time.

Yellow Ostrich are one of the main bands you see pop up on blogs all of the time. I’m not sure why more people aren’t stoked yet but those who listen to hundreds of bands each day, myself included, know real talent and potential when they hear it, So for now Yellow Ostrich is “our” band.

These guys define all there is to love about the unbelievable amount of incredible music coming out of Brooklyn each day. Yellow Ostrich are comfortable and at ease with themselves and play whatever they feel like really well… REALLY well.

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21. Sleepy Vikings – “A Backyard Funeral”

Sleepy VikingsA Backyard Funeral” brings into focus an aspect of music I love but haven’t experienced in a long time.

The way the combined vocals feed off of each other cause the lyrics to take on force and passion that is surprising considering the relaxed nature they are delivered.

I’ve been impressed all year with Sleepy Vikings, there’s real craft to the entire delivery they use in their songs.

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20. Ryan Adams – “Lucky Now”

Ryan AdamsOf all the songs on this years Best Of list this was the hardest one for me to place. Part of me believes that it’s nearly offensive not having it in the top five because of how incredible “Lucky Now” is on it’s own. On the other hand it’s Ryan Adams and this is what I count on from him in his songs so the “new” factor is kind of non-existent. I hate having to say it that way but it’s how I feel. 20 is the lowest I could possible lower it to, allowing room for songs that surprised me to rank higher, and still express how great this song is.

Lucky Now” is Ryan Adams at his absolute best. Some people may prefer his more uptempo songs but I feel the same way about Adams as I do about Margot And The Nuclear So And Sos… when they are venting their true feelings and not trying to prove to us how talented they are things get epic. Thanks Ryan for coming back to us in such a fashion that shows us we would be missing out without you.

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19. Nerves Junior – “As Bright As Your Night Light”

Nerves JuniorI found Nerves Junior over at My Old Kentucky Blog and at once knew this is a band we’ve been waiting for.

In typical Kentuckian fashion, the bands that make it out sound like they’ve spent their entire lives studying the sounds other bands have been working with, honing in on their own strengths and then appear out of nowhere with a sound that is bigger than every influence we could tag them with to describe what we’re hearing.

“Lotta talent building in Louisville, KY these days. Nerves Junior is the latest to gas up my ear tanks. Sparing us all the verbal eloquence we all often know I lack, I effing love their album’s title cut, “As Bright As Your Night Light. The song has a dark atmosphere, gorgeously blends a load of rock and electronic elements, and features hooks powerful enough to catch Moby Dick.” – My Old Kentucky Blog

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18. Cheerleader – “New Daze”

CheerleaderThere are few bands I expect the scene to embrace more than Cheerleader in 2012. They’ve got the texture, the vibe, and songs strong enough to listen to on repeat. All things Indie and all things Brooklyn, only these guys are out of Connecticut which for some reason makes Cheerleader even sexier. (Via)

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17. R.E.M. – We All Go Back To Where We Belong

R.E.M.This song is the reason for the count being off 😦  (hence two number 26’s) I still haven’t gotten a physical copy of this track, yes I could get it through less than legal means… my very first cassette I ever asked my parents to get me was Out Of Time and ever since they’ve been the one band I always make it a point of having the album,  since Part Lies Part Heart Part Garbage is a greatest hits rather than a collection of new songs I haven’t found the motivation to grab it from Indy CD and Vinyl or Luna yet.

I can’t imagine a better song for R.E.M. to go out with. I’m nearly brought to tears each time I hear it, an experience in regrets and hindsight clarity that is far from surprising from one of my all-time favorite bands.

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16. Jonny Dylan Hughes – “Dreamsssss”

Jonny Dylan Hughes“Vancouver’s Jonny Dylan Hughes returns with a stunning follow up to 2010′s Arms Legs Feet. We’re Going To Make It is an enigmatic effort that cantilevers hymnful vocals over a precipice of kaleidoscope electro dance pop explosions. At the best of moments, JDH’s crisp cavernous voice inhibits these arrangements like a massive hollow rubik’s cube shuttling through space at a blistering speed that is nonetheless peaceful like any massive black vacuum tends to be.” – Argue Job

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15. Small Black – “Moon Killer”

Small Black“[Moon Killer] starts with a distorted synth line and soon explodes into a full-fledged dance-floor groove, complete with bouncing toms and a catchy, shout-along chorus. Retro in all the right places.” KEXP

As far as 2011 chillwave tracks go “Moon Killer” should go down as the best song to come out of a genre growing more cluttered by the minute and even harder to define.

In the year that passed between releases this title track from Small Black‘s most recent mixtape shows how focused these guys have been on there craft. They don’t feel as forced as they did on New Chain, what I hear when listening is a band letting the songs develop on their own, each one with it’s own personality. For some bands this approach would feel empty and lacking emotion yet the adverse seems to have happened for the Brooklyn natives.

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14. Agent A & Omae – “Breathing 2007”

Agent A And Omae“It’s no secret that my (Cory G’s) personal taste in music leans towards the brutal, aggressive, fast paced ilk. It’s not that I don’t have a softer, gentler side, it is just that finding something laid back that is not overly (and needlessly) spacey/atmospheric or at the very least overwhelmingly somber or even downright depressing. Anyhoo it’s always nice to find some relaxing snow day jam that is comforting-yet-groovy.

The second full-length by Austin CPU-based duo Agent A & Omae was thrust upon the world earlier this year and offers a few of just this type of gem. Every once in awhile pianos and laptops apparently do make for fine company.” – SubEx

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13. Bon Iver – “Beth/Rest (Piano Version)”

Bon IverI’m just another voice in the sea of Bon Iver praise, I know this, but when I thought I had finally come to realize how amazing Justin Vernon is and how grateful we should all be to have one of the greatest songwriters of all-time creating music right before us he goes and and puts out this version of “Beth/Rest” and makes it crystal clear that he has barely even begun to show what he can create with his troubled soul. This song is the absolute, the pinnacle of greatness,  emotion at its truest rawest form, sadness shaped into a mountain of understanding, this is everything, EVERYTHING, that I love from music and am thankful each and ever time I replay this song to have it in my life.(Via)

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12. Teenagers – “Sweet P”

[audiohttps://heycoolkid.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/teenagers-sweet-p.mp3]

teenagers“Travis Keymer’s new solo project Teenagers surely captured my attention with his track “Sweet P” off his most recent EP Besides. It holds a beautifully crafted blend of rumbling, suspense building drums, soft doo-wopping background vocals and a bit of infectiously danceable goodness that you’ll be more than welcome to let take you over” – Antlered Pigeon 

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11. TV Ghost – “Doppleganger”

TV GhostTV Ghost‘s “Doppleganger” is the ideal mix of fuzz, garage, and punk without going over the top and still sounding incredible original.

Rarely does a song catch me off guard as much as this one; In less than two and a half minutes “Doppleganger” showcases these guys out of Lafayette, Indiana’s ability to combine angsty lyrics with a seventies psychedelia that is an emotional roller coaster between tense intensity and spaced out atmospheric bliss.

Someone get Quentin Tarantino on the phone and let him know we’ve found an ideal song to feature in his next Grindhouse movie. (Via)

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All songs are for promotional purposes. If you or an artist you represent would like content removed email me at heycoolkid@yahoo.com

3 Responses to “Heycoolkid! Best Songs Of 2011”

  1. nickdrakedesign December 31, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    Hey, I noticed you put a Small Black song on your list. I saw them live in KC at a really small venue. Stood directly in front of them and my photographer friend Matt Navarro snapped some awesome pictures. I thought I would share them with you. Great list man.

    http://box-fox.com/2011/12/28/small-black-and-the-politics-of-my-brain/

    • heycoolkid! December 31, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

      Thanks man. Those are some pretty sweet pictures! I hope I get to catch them in as personal of setting someday, that’s the best way to experience music.

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  1. Strangers From The Light « Heycoolkid! - March 7, 2012

    […] 2011 had to offer, most notably being “Breathing 2007” which came in at #14 on my Best Of 2011 […]

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