Tuesday 6 December 2011

The Best Tracks Of 2011

Chosen by KevW

Hopefully by now you will have read our albums of the year list as well as The Sound Of Confusion's Scottish correspondent's top 25 tracks of the year, but apparently I'm "Mr Sound Of Confusion" and that makes my list more "official". So I've been told. Anyway, I do take the editor's privilege of choosing the Obligatory Record Of The Year and this year's luck recipient will be unveiled below. First, though, the all important rules: all songs must have been released in 2011, although new recordings, remixes, edits, album/single versions of previous releases are allowed as long as they were made or first released this year. There is no limit to the amount of songs an artist can have in the list, it's simply what I consider to be the best 25 tracks of the year. There's a few free songs here too, so check those download arrows. Time to quit my jibber-jabber and begin the countdown...

25) The Go Team - Bust Out Brigade

Undoubtedly one of the bands of the year. 'Bust Out Brigade' takes 70s cop show horns and gives them a big beat and beefy production. Masterful and original. Why haven't these guys done a film soundtrack yet?

The Go! Team - Bust-Out Brigade by thegoteam

The Go! Team's website

Buy the track.

24) S.C.U.M - Whitechapel

This dark epic was the highlight of debut album 'Again Into Eyes' and slowly builds with throbbing bass, synth washes and eerie vocals to a menacing but tuneful climax. It's a brooding, towering track.

S.C.U.M - Whitechapel by SoIndieItHurts

S.C.U.M's website

Buy the track.

23) Sad Day For Puppets - Big Waves 2011

Originally on the 'Just Like A Ghost EP, 'Big Waves' was rerecorded as the b-side to 'Sorrow, Sorrow'. This time they've made it more sparkly and better produced without losing any of its sweetness.

Sad Day For Puppets 'Big Waves 2011' by Sonic Cathedral

Sad Day For Puppets' website

Buy the track.

22) Bikini Test Failure - What Will I Do?

The full version of this appeared on last year's 'Fleecing The Easily Pleased' album, but this 2011 edit was even better and deserved to be a single. It's like a lost 90s indie classic and is only available to stream.

What Will I Do EDIT by bikini test failure

Bikini Test Failure's website

Buy the original version.

21) Exitmusic - The Modern Age

These are certainly one of our bands to watch in 2012 and this track shows why. With a powerful, quivering vocal and lush soundscapes before bursting into a huge crescendo. This band could be big.

Exit Music - The Modern Age by edin2sun

Exitmusic's website

Buy the track.

20) Tennis - Long Boat Pass

We'll give these the joint band of the year title with The Go! Team. Debut album 'Cape Dory' was full of first rate fuzzy indiepop centred around a sailing expedition. All the tracks were stunning, this is one of them.

Tennis - Long Boat Pass by jmarcalain

Tennis' website

Buy the track.

19) Anna Calvi - Blackout

She may have been one of the most hyped artists of the year but there was a good reason for that. Her debut album was like Shirley Bassey fronting Arcade Fire and the pick of the bunch was 'Blackout'.

BLACKOUT Anna Calvi by CristinaBlack

Anna Calvi's website

Buy the track.

18) The Go! Team - Voice Yr Choice

Another stand-out from a record which only contained stand-outs. This track featured the hotly tipped young rapper Dominique Young Unique and was more perfect experimental pop genius.

The Go! Team - Voice Yr Choice by thegoteam

The Go! Team's website

Buy the track.

17) The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Heaven's Gonna Happen Now

The new album may have split opinions but we like it and some of the tracks easily match the indiepop rush of their debut, including the lovely, scuzzy 'Heaven's Gonna Happen Now'. This should be a single.

Heavens Gonna Happen Now by user5471806

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart's website

Buy the track.

16) Young Galaxy - B.S.E

These former shoegazers went pop for new album 'Shapeshifters' with generally good results. Best of all was this little stunner with its funky bass, handclaps and non stop melody. It was also somehow not a single.

Young Galaxy's website

Buy the track.

15) Tennis - Seafarer

More boat themed sweetness from the best husband and wife duo in music. The surfy, tropical guitars and vocal coos are only possible to dislike if you have a severe case of miserableshititis.

TENNIS - Seafarer by @indierockgirl

Tennis' website

Buy the track.

14) TV Girl - Benny & The Jetts

Featuring the biggest (phattest?) bass of the year, this 60s pop influenced highlight from the free EP of the same name should be earning this duo way more plaudits than they're currently receiving.

Benny and the Jetts by TV Girl

TV Girl's website

Get the EP for free.

13) The See See - Mary Soul

The long awaited debut album took a while to get a release but it was well worth the wait, not only containing the superlative 'Keep Your Head' but this amazing slab of soulful, sparkling, sunkissed perfection .

Mary Soul - The See See by 360degreemusic

The See See's website

Buy the track.

12) Tennis - Cape Dory

Them again. The album's title track distilled everything that's great about the band into two and a half minutes. Beautiful, fuzzy melodies, twangy surf guitars and Alaina Moore's intensely loveable vocals.

"Cape Dory" Tennis by Gluttony Is The New Black

Tennis' website

Buy the track.

11) The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - My Terrible Friend

If any track was going to persuade any dissatisfied customers that 'Belong' was an album worth giving a second chance it was this one. Why some have turned against them really is beyond me. A wonderful track.

My Terrible Friend-The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart by David Tipto

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart's website

Buy the track.

10) Acid House Kings - Heaven Knows I Miss Him Now (Feat. Dan Treacy)

This highlight from the Swedish indiepop legends recent album 'Music Sounds Better With You' was made even more delightful with the addition of vocals from the Television Personalities main man for its single release.

Free download: Heaven Knows I Miss Him Now (Feat. Dan Treacy)

Acid House Kings' website

Buy the track.

9) The Raveonettes - Recharge & Revolt

Latest album 'Raven In The Grave' may have taken a few more plays to get into than some of their previous efforts but in the end it was just as good. Single 'Recharge & Revolt' is pure, dark, fuzzy class.

The Raveonettes - Recharge and Revolt by the1234

The Raveonettes website

Buy the track.

8) The Go! Team - Apollo Throwdown

Another highlight from a stunning album. 'Apollo Throwdown' proved a slightly more psychedelic take on their trademark mash-up pop that never fails to be uplifting. Impossible for other bands to replicate.

The Go! Team - Apollo Throwdown by thegoteam

The Go! Team's website

Buy the track.

7) Sad Day For Puppets - Set Alight 2011

Another early track given a makeover for our favourite Swede's rarities compilation. This time with more guitars and a fuller sound. One of their best songs just got even better. Love guitars? Love SDFP.

Set Alight 2011 Sad Day For Puppets by HaHa FONOGRAM

Sad Day For Puppets' website

Buy the track.

6) Future Islands - Balance

This track from the Baltimore odd-pop band was instantly likeable but not instantly lovable. Over the course of the past few weeks it's unravelled itself to become a real lost classic. Quirky, but in a very very good way.

Future Islands - Balance by thrilljockey

Future Islands' website

Buy the album.

5) Being There - The Radio

If you're one of the aforementioned people who now have a Pains Of Being Pure At Heart shaped hole that needs filling then here's where to look. This truly great debut single promises amazing things ahead.

''The Radio'' Being There by Nadia Young & Lost Club

Being There's website

Buy the single.

4) Dum Dum Girls - Bedroom Eyes

This first track taken from their bar-raising album 'Only In Dreams' has the team behind The Raveonettes producing it, and with Dee Dee's masterful songwriting it's a match for some of that band's best moments.

Dum Dum Girls - Bedroom Eyes by subpop

Dum Dum Girls' website

Buy the track.

3) Tennis - Marathon

Last year's demo of this track was good enough to make our top 25 then, but with a few tweaks the album version proved even better. Perfect lo-fi pop boasting a glorious chorus that doesn't even have any words.

Tennis - Marathon by PropMike

Tennis' website

Buy the track.

2) The Death Set - I Miss You Beau Velasco

Any death is tragic, but more so when it's someone so young and talented. From Beau Velasco's untimely passing came not only a great album but this stunner. And who wouldn't want something this immense written as a tribute? Monumentally good.

07 I Miss You Beau Velasco by The Death Set

The Death Set's website

Buy the track.


The Go! Team - Buy Nothing Day (Feat. Beth Cosentino)

Ah yes, The Go! Team. We thought they may never match the likes of 'Bottle Rocket', 'Ladyflash' et al again, but boy were we wrong. This year's brilliant 'Rolling Blackouts' album contained some serious contenders for their best track to date and the breathtaking 'Buy Nothing Day' was top of the tree. The single version was teasingly made available online at the end of last year but the full album version exceeds it for sheer unadulterated joyous fun. Beth from Best Coast adds some perfectly fitting vocals to the mix and between them they give us 2011's Obligatory Record Of The Year. Totally unique. Totally unbeatable.

The Go! Team - Buy Nothing Day by thegoteam

The Go! Team's website

Buy the track.

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  1. Some truely wonderful selections here Kev. So good to hear The See See have finally released their album. The Dum Dum girls is my favorite album along with The Go- Team....

  2. I love the Tennis album too. The See See's album is well worth checking out. It only narrowly missed the top 15 albums list.

  3. Pretty cool that Buy Nothing Day comes in at #1 after getting my recommendation last week. Did that influence your decision? No, of course it didn't.

  4. The list was already decided by then I'm afraid! It's a hell of a tune though. The single version was actually #6 last year. (#1 was 'Sandy Dunes' by Sambassadeur)

  5. Did Best Coast feature last year? I think I could just listen to a whole album of Beth C vocals set agaisnt the sound of nails being scratched on a blackboard. She is a force of nature.

  6. No but they weren't far off in the albums list. Played them a lot on the show.