My favorite music of 2011

2011 was a busy year for me, as evidenced by the fact that I’ve posted nothing on this blog since last year’s “best of..” list.  Apologies to my throngs of blog fans.  Not sure 2012 will feature many more blog posts, though I may tinker with advertising on here just so I have a better understanding of how that works.

In any case, here’s my favorite music from the last year.  Just like last time, a song doesn’t need to have been released in 2011 to be included on the list.  I try to choose mostly 2011 releases, but I think of this more as my “mix tape of the year,” and if I discover some oldies during the course of the year, they are still welcome on the list.  And also like last year I did a bit of cramming to put this list together, so I may not be able to tell you much about the artists or the other songs on these albums.  Big thanks to Pandora and Paste Magazine as my two primary sources for discovering music.  Here goes:

  1. Pinecone Lovely – Gustafer Yellowgold – Gustafer Yellowgold’s Have You Never Been Yellow?  Not sure how I discovered this one, but I liked what I heard and I downloaded it.  Then I saw that iTunes listed the genre as “children’s music.”  Then I paid attention to the lyrics.  I like to think it’s total coincidence that this song appealed to me the same year that I became a father.  In any case, I like to try to never be genre biased, so if I like a song I’ll include it in the list.  See what you think.
  2. The Walk – Mayer Hawthorne – How Do You Do Mr. Hawthorne is this year’s nominee for the “I can’t believe he’s a white guy” award.  The song is very soul/R&B with slightly edgier lyrics, but the photos I’ve seen of the singer look more like a guy who could star in a Judd Apatow movie.
  3. Screws Get Loose – Those Darlins – Screws Get Loose This one is a snarly girl rock song.  I like it now; I might find it annoying by this time next year.
  4. The Commander Thinks Aloud – The Long Winters – Ultimatum Slow but not plodding, hints of old Pink Floyd maybe?  It’s kind of a mood piece, so don’t worry too much about the lyrics.  Just put it on and space out.
  5. BlackNight – The Dodos – No Color eh, I’m tired of describing each song
  6. Million Dollar Bill – Middle Brother – Middle Brother This album is the collaboration between the guy from Dawes, the guy from Deer Tick and the guy from Delta Spirit.  Lots of good songs on the album, but this is my fave.  There’s also a very similar version of the same song on the Dawes album, but I prefer hearing all 3 different vocalists.
  7. Bedroom Eyes – Dum Dum Girls – Only In Dreams I wanted to hate a band called Dum Dum Girls, but dang if this song isn’t catchy.
  8. Free My Mind – Katie Herzig – The Waking Sleep Maybe the most unlikely inclusion in this year’s list.  This song has a lot of poppy & electronic elements, and it’ll get stuck in your head.
  9. Cats and Dogs – The Head and the Heart – The Head and the Heart I’m a sucker for “ooooh’s” and this song has a lot of them.  Plus I saw this band live this year at the Variety Playhouse and they made a good impression.
  10. Shadow – Gringo Star – Count Yer Lucky Stars The opening guitar riff makes me think it’s going to be an annoying song, but once the first chorus kicks in I’m hooked.
  11. A Little Bit of Everything – Dawes – Nothing is Wrong Dawes was the focus of much debate earlier this year among my music snob friends.  We saw Dawes and Blitzen Trapper share the stage at the Variety Playhouse.  Most of my friends preferred BT and even dissed Dawes.  I felt the exact opposite.  This Dawes song could very well be the worst offender in the eyes of those friends, but I find it very endearing – even if it is over-earnest and borderline melodramatic.  Plus you gotta like a song that features a shout-out to mashed potatoes.  Suck it music snob friends.
  12. Morning Thought – Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.  – It’s A Corporate World I’ve seen this band on lots of “best of” lists.  This is a genuinely good, catchy, interesting song.  Too bad the band name and album title are terrible.
  13. I Don’t Wanna Go To The Party – Marvelous Darlings – Single Life This year’s most rockin’ inclusion, so turn it up.  (I just noticed that I’ve got both Darlins and Darlings on this list).
  14. Hobby Girl – Mannequin Men – Mannequin Men Good garage rock track with the sentiment “you should get a hobby, girl.”  Surely this can’t be the first song written about this sentiment.
  15. Palomino – Mates of State – Mountaintops I just realized how frequently Mates of State make my “best of” lists.  I’m by no means fanatical about this band, but they put out catchy songs and there’s always a hole they can fill as I put these lists together.
  16. Sydney (I’ll Come Running) – Brett Dennen – Loverboy I like Brett Dennen.  This album was only fair, but this track is a catchy gem.  Still, BD should consider getting some new glasses.
  17. Don’t Carry It All – The Decemberists – The King is Dead When the Decemberists are on, they’re hard to deny.  I thought this one offered the right mood to wrap up the CD (if you should feel like listening to this list in order).

Download link below:

DOWNLOAD ZIP of all tracks HERE

Hope you enjoy, please let me know what you think.

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