Top Tracks of 2011 #100-81


100. Cataldo – “Deep Cuts”

Moscow-native, and now Seattle artist Erik Anderson created one of the most beautiful break-up albums of the year. This track winds you up and down through sorrow while making your heart beat a little faster with the plucking guitar, soothing violin, and simple melodies. Every time I listen to this track I feel a deep sigh overwhelm me at the end. (Andi).

99. A$AP Rocky – “Palace”

While his flow is excellent and the lyrics are pristine, A$AP’s greatest talent on the track is the selection of ambient producer Clams Casino. The production adds a ghostly mood to contribute an intriguing persona. (Brennan)

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98. Girls – “Honey Bunny”

Father, Son, Holy Ghost is a journey through the evolution of rock music, and Girls really nailed the surfing era of the Beach Boys on “Honey Bunny”. The vocal melody even recalls “Surfin’ USA”. (Adam)

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97. Robin Pecknold – “I’m Losing Myself (feat. Ed Droste)”

The Fleet Foxes frontman teams with Grizzly Bear crooner Ed Droste in this lo-fi duet. Released only as a Mediafire link, Pecknold’s underrated “Three Songs” EP showcased his ability to write simple songs with impeccable melodies. (Kelsie)

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96. Winds of Plague – “Raise the Dead/One for the Butcher”

Pre-ordered the album. Saw them in concert. Acquired two autographed posters. Met the band twice. I would consider myself a big fan. Alana Potocnik on the keys while creepy children’s voices sing “peel away earth and raise the dead/back from the grave to strike again/we have come as children of the night/sworn to drain everything of life,” just put that “awesome/unique” thing into a new category. It’s amazing. It’s brutal. It’s the best pairing of any intro and song on any album this year. (Monika & Tall Kyle)

95. Dum Dum Girls – “Coming Down”

On Only In Dreams, the Dum Dum Girls’ sophomore album, lead vocalist and songwriter Dee Dee demonstrated maturity in both songwriting and singing. This is showcased best on the epic, over-6-minute first single “Coming Down”, a downtempo shoegaze tune over which Dee Dee’s vocals are better than they’ve ever sounded. (Kelsie).

94. Roomful of Blues – “Time Brings About a Change”

On an otherwise fast paced and rocking new new album, Roomful of Blues stops for a moment to remind us that even swing and jump blues need some soul. And soul along with incredible accompaniment is exactly what this song has in spades. (Matt)

93. Sam Lachow – “Brand New Bike”

Summer anthem hands down. Put this song on, roll the windows down and crack a smile. No samples used, all live instrumentation executed perfectly to create one hell of a feel good jam. Would you mind if I rode my bike for a little while…? (Bryce P.)

92. Mutual Benefit – “Stargazer”

Mutual Benefit, a.k.a. the (mostly) solo project of Jordan Lee, is best known for beautiful experimental folk music. On one of his 2011 releases, I Saw The Sea, a collection of songs inspired by the ocean, the track “Stargazer” stood out with its twinkly acoustic guitars and drawn-out synth lines. (Kelsie)

91. Tapes ‘n Tapes – “Hidee Ho”

I didn’t expect much upon my first listen to Outside, Tapes ‘n Tapes first album since 2008’s Walk It Off. It was surprisingly fresh, and “Hidee Ho” still stands out as an incredible single. Josh Grier’s piercing shouts during the slow beginning foreshadow the hectic and distorted ending that pushes this song over the edge. (Adam)

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90. fthrsn – “Hysteria”

Fthrsn released a really eclectic and fun EP that I simply cannot stop listening to. This track is solid with lovely harmonies and I promise that you will feel on top of the world when you listen to it. (Andi)

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89. Chad VanGaalen – “Shave My Pussy”

VanGaalen’s 2011 album Diaper Island experimented with noise-pop and freak folk, but the most affecting track ends up being the simple ukelele closer. It’s simultaneously hilarious and depressing: “Maybe if I shave my pussy / then you’ll love me / baby, will you love me? / I’m really feeling ugly.” (Adam)

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88. Lana Del Rey – “Video Games”

While people love to bash Lana Del Rey for her internet rise to fame and artificial image, it seems like everyone forgot about the music. “Video Games” truthfully is a wonderful piano ballad that showcases a Nancy Sinatra inspired vocal style. Her brutal honesty creates a song that feels sincere, walking the fine line between romantic and depressive. (Brennan)

87. Gardens & Villa – “Carrizo Plain”

This San Diego-based band released a series of singles leading up to the release of their debut, self-titled album. The most intriguing of these, “Carrizo Plain”, is an emotional indie pop song complete with whistling and flutes. (Kelsie)

86. Yohuna – “Mateo”

Wisconsin bedroom pop daydreamer Johanne Swanson is fresh on the scene, with only a short limited edition cassette release called Revery to her name so far. But Revery contains an absolute stunner of a track in “Mateo.” Johanne’s vocals wistfully glide along until the lo-fi drum machine beat kicks in and the song turns into an unexpected dance party. (Adam)


85. Balam Acab – “Apart”

Alec Koone’s debut as the mysterious Balam Acab was met with much anicipation, and his first full-length Wander / Wonder is genre-defying, life-affirming stuff. Chopped vocals, pitched way high up carry the song above a stuttering dubstep-ish beat. (Adam)

84. Schoolcraft – “Here in the Dark”

“I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt seemed like the go-to song when indie artists indulged their fans with a cover this year. Schoolcraft utilizes a sample of that song to mask a melodic landscape of shifting beats. While the sample continuously repeats itself, the beat is ever-changing. (Brennan)

83. Bodies of Water – “Open Rhythms”

By far the highlight of married duo Bodies of Water’s 2011 album Twist Again, “Open Rhythms” is already an indie rock classic, drawing influences from freak folk and psychedelic rock. (Kelsie)

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82. Bon Iver – “Beth / Rest”

While Bon Iver’s self-titled sophomore release might be the most overrated album this year, the albums closer “Beth / Rest” proves to be one of the most peaceful tracks released this year. Justin Vernon’s vocals soar as if he’s singing in an empty cathedral. The song itself is played in such a way that it’s reminiscent of a great 80’s piano ballad. (Brennan)

81. Trivium – “In Waves”

Most definitely a top notch song off of this totally legendary album! Their brilliance is demonstrated in the melodic vocals over the fast drum beats with their title track, “In Waves”. (Monika & Tall Kyle)

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