Top Tracks of 2011 #40-21

40. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – “Can’t Hold Us (feat. Ray Dalton)”

Performed at his shows and on KEXP Live long before it dropped, this song was already one of Macklemore’s fan favorites. One of his more upbeat songs that we don’t see too often, the expressive voice of Ray Dalton is the perfect accompaniment to Mack’s lyrics and the bright trumpets and piano. (Brittany W.)

39. Oneohtrix Point Never – “Sleep Dealer”  

If you need an example of an incredible talent, look no further than Daniel Lopatin’s project Oneohtrix Point Never. A true master of repurposing samples, “Sleep Dealer” takes little microseconds of 80s and 90s commercials and warps them into a rhythmic daydream. His 2011 album Replica can safely stand beside DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing…. and The Avalanches’ Since I Left You as a classic example of sampling genius. (Adam)

38. Craft Spells – “After the Moment”

I cannot even begin to explain all the winter days I spent cooped up in my old apartment dancing around in my underwear to this song. Bedroom pop at it’s finest. (Andi)

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37. Washed Out – “Eyes Be Closed”

At this point, there’s really no telling how much longer chillwave is going to last, but “Eyes Be Closed” will surely be seen as the pinnacle of the genre. Ben Allen adds his flawless production to Ernest Green’s familiar voice to create the unquestionable jam of the summer. (Adam)

36. The Dodos – “Companions”

The swirling of a crisp Spanish guitar juxtaposed next to Metric Long’s subdued and echoing vocals is one of the most brilliant combinations of style this year. (Josh)

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35. J-Live – “Great Expectations”

When RJD2 relinquishes some of his greatness on to a track you better believe that you’re in for something special and this track speaks for itself. This beat immediately announces its present and it’s hard to keep yourself from physically moving. “When it all Goes Down”, J-Live throws it down with the harmonies as well as cutting down rappers whose egos implode due to short term success. (Kyle S.)

34. Gem Club – “252″

Christopher Barnes and Kristen Drymala create beautifully minimal piano/cello music. The vocal harmonies on “252” make it the most heartbreaking song on their debut album, Breakers. (Kelsie)

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33. Sophie Milman – “Til There Was You”

A classic song that’s been performed from Broadway to The Beatles, “Til There Was You” never seems to get old no matter how many times it’s covered. Sophie Milman brings a gorgeous voice to the tune and the simple, effective accompaniment enhances it as well. (Tom)

32. Pure X – “Twisted Mirror”

This dream pop group out of Austin released one of the more underrated albums this year in Pleasure, and “Twisted Mirror” nails every aspect of what makes this band so great. The sticky bass and overblown guitar pair incredibly well, which makes it all the more impressive that the entire album was recorded live with no overdubs. (Adam)

31. World Under Blood – “A God Among the Waste”

An underground super band with the explosive talent to quickly make a name for themselves. The frontman of CKY, Deron Miller, and the drummer from Divine Heresy, Tim Yeung, brought together the bassist from Decrepit Birth, Risha Eryavac, and the amazing talents of Luke Jaeger of Sleep Terror to create one of the best and most unique death metal songs I have EVER heard. You can clearly hear each artist’s style and overall flavor from their previous and most known outings. This song flawlessly melds completely different sounds into one immaculate giant that helps redefine metal as a whole. (Monika & Tall Kyle)
30. Atmosphere – “She’s Enough”

Ant is a genius for producing simple samples that have so much complexity and such a distinct sound. Slug rips it as always and provides new personal point of view of lyricism on The Family Sign. Also, the music video for this track is quiet funny. And cute. (Bryce P.)

29. The Antlers – “I Don’t Want Love”

The lead off track from their latest effort Burst Apart finds this trio in familiar territory after the acclaim of 2009’s Hospice, but with a more perfected sound. “I Don’t Want Love” is sung like a love song, but lyrically it tells the listener a different story. When Peter Silberman lets his vocals float above the subtle drum beat in the last 40 seconds of the track it’s true musical bliss. (Brennan)

28. The Physics – “Chalk Up Tomorrow”

The only negative thing I’ve ever heard about this song is that it isn’t long enough. The Physics always bring the soul to Seattle hip-hop and this song is no exception. With the smooth voices of singers Malice & Mario Sweet along with clever verses from MC Thig Nat, this is just one of the  many great songs off of Love Is A Business. (Brittany W.)

27 Belong – “A Walk”

Belong rip the heart out of Joy Division and My Bloody Valentine and send it through a blender on “A Walk”. It’s almost too lo-fi for it’s own good, but listening at a high volume to each instrument get drowned out by each successive louder one is a mind-altering musical journey.  (Adam)

26. Hunx and His Punx – “Lover’s Lane”

Infamous garage rocker Seth Bogart (“Hunx”) makes bubblegum pop inspired by girl groups of the 60s. On his 2011 album, Too Young To Be In Love, the highlighted track “Lovers Lane” featured background vocals courtesy of Shannon (Shannon & The Clams) and catchy lyrics. (Kelsie)

25. Sun Airway – “Symphony in White, No. 2″

The b-side of Sun Airway’s 7’’ single released this summer, this track just doesn’t stop layering synth beats and echoing baselines atop a gorgeous verse and chorus. (Josh)

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24. Panda Bear – “Last Night at the Jetty”

Compared to many other brands of chillwave artists, Noah Lennox can actually sing. And when his vocals are layered on top of each other in such a way, the outcome can be reminiscent of a street-corner choir. If the first minute and forty five seconds wasn’t enough, wait till the “I know, I know, I know” accompanied by the swirling electronics shifting in the background. It will draw you into the track closer than ever. (Brennan)

23. Clams Casino – “Drowning”

If anyone can claim to have influenced music this most year, it’s hip-hop producer Mike Volpe who records as Clams Casino. Volpe supplied numerous artists with his haunting beats in 2011, most notably A$AP Rocky, Main Attraktionz, and Lil B. His Rainforest EP features the raw beats with no rapping, blatantly showcasing just how meticulously crafted his tracks are. (Adam)

22. Mellowhype – “Primo”

“How do you open up an album properly?” If you find yourself asking this question just turn to Hodgy Beats & Left Brain of Mellowhype. Part of the Odd Future crew, they’ve established themselves in the hip-hop community and reminded us all that there’s always something we haven’t heard yet. Once you listen to the first track you’ll want to hear the rest of the album. Game over. (Kyle S.)

21. Purity Ring – “Lofticries”

Canadian duo Corin Roddick and Megan James are the future of pop music. With only three songs under their name they’ve already cemented their role as the next best thing. In “Lofticries”, Roddick draws influences from his other band, Born Gold, to produce a beat-heavy pop song with substance. (Kelsie)

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