Countdown: Top 20 Tracks of 2011 Part I.

December 19, 2011

Year end lists seem to be a popular option for just about any asshole
who bought a domain and thinks that he has better taste
in music.  And thanks to the total and complete convenience of the
internet age, any asshole can have access to the coolest, most obscure
music that nobody has heard of . . . because everybody has heard of it.

I’m too young to know this for certain, but I’m sure there was a time
when you actually had to be cool to have access to the cool music.  You probably had to go to shows or had a buddy who worked in a record store who would pass you bootleg tapes.  Yeah, I’m romanticizing about the pre-internet early 90’s and any decade before that.  Maybe you aficionados from the slightly elder generation can confirm or deny this.  Because while you were tripping balls and going on road trips to see Pavement or Sonic Youth, I was attempting to make functional wings out of cardboard and watching the Muppet Show.  But I digress.

Now all you need is a laptop and a few short hours a week cruising the
indie-blogosphere, which is perfect for a gym rat like myself who
likes to keep current with new releases as they come out.  What can I say?  It makes me feel more connected to pop culture.

Anyways, here’s my top 20 favorite tracks from 2011 (or at least the
first 10).  I may write more about a few of these artists later in the
week as I also am planning on doing a favorite albums list and most
(over) hyped list.

So heeeeerrrrreeee we . . . GO.

TOP TRACKS NUMBERS 20 THROUGH 11:

20) Need You Now-Cut/Copy. 

Wasn’t a big fan of the album.  I guess I never actually sat down and gave it a chance.  But the synth pop, chill-wave loving indie kid inside of me imagines this song being a festival ender.  The steady build up pays off and is instantly gratifying after the first chorus.  Now all I need is the volume turned up about 500 decibels (I have no concept of what this unit actually is) and about 500 other people to dance around with.

19) Polish Girl-Neon Indian. 

Speaking of chill-wave.  I was wondering how Neon Indian would follow up the striped down, low-fi, borderline shitty production that made the first album such a joy to listen to.  The sounds are glossier and carry more weight.  I dig it.

18)  Wasted Away-Dum Dum Girls.

Heartbreaking lyrics dealing with feelings of loss over upbeat, rockabillyish/sort of surf rock.  As an album, I thought that the straightforward chord changes and constant tempo made it hard to listen to all at once.  I liked the album much more in segments and especially liked this track.

17)  Still (ft. Trademark and Young Roddy)-Curren$y.  I feel that Curren$y is a standout from the rest of the DIY stoner rapper crowd (and there were a lot of them in 2011) and I like his simple, understated production.  Throw on this track after a long day at the office and kick up your feet, 40oz to the lip.

16)  Weekend-Smith Westerns.  I guess a bunch of fucking high school kids made this track.  Not that that ruins it for me, it just makes me embarrassed for all the bullshit I was creating in high school.

15)  Will Do-TV on the Radio.  Was NOT a fan of the new album.  I still like these guys though and I really like this straight up love ballad.

14)  Prepare to Ground-YOB.  Oh yeah!  Thundering, doomy riffs, crusty, no-bullshit production, I fucking dig it.  This was the first album I’ve heard from these guys but I’m definitely going to do some investigating into their older stuff as I’m sure I’ll fucking dig that as well.

13) Belong-The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart.  Early 90’s influenced rock anthem.  ‘Nuff Said.

12)  Single Malt-Iron Witch.  I’m going to remember 2011 as the year in which I developed a taste for doom, sludge, and stoner metal.  This made me really excited after hearing this EP because I discovered it just as I was discovering bands like Eyehategod, Down, Sleep, and YOB (see above).  It’s very interesting to me that these guys are from the UK as their sound seems heavily influenced by the southern (Nola) sludge scene of the 90’s with more of a hardcore influenced yelling into the mic type sound.  If anyone in the Sacramento area plays drums and wants to start fucking around and attempting to play something of the sludgey style like this, I’ll bring the tallboys of PBR.  Download the EP for FREE HERE.

11) I Don’t Want Love-The Antlers.  I really liked their 2009 album, Hospice because of the utterly devastating depression felt while listening to it.  Seriously, have a bad day and then listen to Kettering alone in your apartment and try not to kill yourself.  So when pitchfork gave this album like a 9.5 gazillion, I figured I might as well just download it and have myself a nice little pity party.  I was mildly underwhelmed.  But I DID however really, really like this track . . . in that “I hate myself” type of way.

8 Responses to “Countdown: Top 20 Tracks of 2011 Part I.”

  1. Brian said

    Check out Corrosion of Conformity. One of the guitarists from Down plays guitar and sings (in the 90’s-2000’s version of the band). They’re like a slicker, more southernish version of Down, but better song writing than Down. In the Arms of God is the most stripped-down, and most recent album.

    • bclaridad said

      Nice! I’m all over it. Thanks for the suggestion, bro.

      • patrick stroup said

        Uh no. COC is NOT better at song writing than DOWN. Try again. COC honestly has not even been relevent in the past 6 or so years let alone being a major part of the ressurection/ new wave of sludge/doom/crust metal. again IMO and this is coming from a guy who LIKES coc.

      • bclaridad said

        Honestly one of the main reasons I’m a fan of Down is Phil Anselmo’s vocals. I think he has an impressive range that I just wasn’t really aware of when I would listen to Pantera.

  2. Terri with a heart over the "i" said

    Love the music posts (although “Coming Down” is the best Dum Dum Girls song).

    Re: your last (food) post – is that all you eat for dinner? I eat at least 2x that much, and I only go about 215 (and not particularly yammed out).

    • bclaridad said

      I had about 2 plates that night about that size. I was pretty full. I really haven’t been eating a whole lot (in terms of volume, I’ve been eating more of the stuff that I was craving but not that much of it) since I dropped all that weight for the AO. Although I did kill a whole large pizza on Sunday.

    • bclaridad said

      I also enjoyed “coming down” but when side by side with “wasting away” I just liked it better. I read on a pitchfork interview that at the time of writing this album, she was dealing with the loss of a loved one so I guess after reading that, I really identified with this one when thinking about people that I’ve lost.

  3. Ash said

    Great post. I’ll definitely be playing a few of these on the radio.

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