This past year was really up and down musically. The biggest selling song of the year happened to be one of the best; chillwave came roaring back with releases from all the major bands; September saw major prog metal releases; and the indie scene continued to amaze. I had high hopes for 2011 releases from Death Cab for Cutie, Radiohead, Fleet Foxes, and Björk (especially Björk), only to be let down. I also spent a lot of 2011 listening to older music that I missed along the way. One of the best was Trapeze’s Medusa, a 1972 hard rock album by the Glenn Hughes-fronted band that I heard about on That Metal Show. I can’t believe it slipped below my radar all these years. I also caught up on some older downtempo, indie, metal, and dubstep.
On my favorite songs of 2011, there’s a pretty good mix of heavier music, lots of indie, and even a hip hop song. What’s interesting is that most of these songs came out in the second half of the year:
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – ‘Weight of the Sun”
Lykke Li – "Love Out of Lust"
Friendly Fires – “Blue Cassette”
Toro Y Moi – “New Beat”
Neon Indian – “Polish Girl”
Cults - “Abducted”
Arch/Matheos – “Incense and Myrh”
Washed Out – “Amor Fati”
Ben Folds Five – “Tell Me What I Did”
Ben Folds - “Rocky” (unreleased 1992 track)
15. Memory Tapes - “Wait in the Dark” While was not as impressed with Player Piano as I was with the Tapes’ previous effort, 2009’s exceptional Seek Magic, “Wait in the Dark” delivers a shot of straight ahead indie pop, accented by studio effects, with a hint of chillwave. The sound definitely makes you think of Dayve Hawk’s previous band, the now-defunct and underrated Hail Social.
14. Anthrax - “Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't” If you told me that I’d be listening to Anthrax in 2011, I would have called you nuts. I hadn’t listened to anything the band put out since the early '90s. Back with singer Joey Belladona, the band's “Fight 'Em” is a great thrash throwback song. Makes you want to mosh … if it was 1987 again, and you were 15 years old.