5. She Does Is Magic – She Does Is Magic
I fell in love with this Indianapolis release immediately. Catchy, surf rock overtones without the whiny voices that dominate the genre. If the full length, due out next year on Bloomington’s Flannelgraph Records, is half as good as the sneak peek, we’ll have another Hoosier band to tout.
4. Gary Clark Jr. – The Bright Lights EP
I was late to the bandwagon with Mr. Clark, but boy am I happy to be aboard! Austin’s native son has been gigging on his native Texas turf since the age of 12. His type of music is exactly what the latest Keys album was missing – pure, heartfelt blues of the highest order.
3. Jessie Baylin – Pleasure Center EP
This one came out of left field directly into my heart. The songstress known best for pop vocals and her marriage to The Kings of Leon’s Nathan Followill, recorded this collection of covers in a single day in her living room. It has become my go to pre sleep spin. Download it for free via Soundcloud above.
2. Typhoon – A New Kind of House
I have been certifiably obsessed with Portland’s Typhoon since NPR featured them in a Tiny Desk Concert from South by Southwest back in January. This mammoth orchestral folk has every one of my guilty pleasures: Great lyrics, horns, cute chicks and a touch of timelessness. Their after show at Lollapalooza was one I’ll never forget.
1. Alabama Shakes – Alabama Shakes
The Year of The Shakes. They play tonight in Indianapolis and I could not be any more thrilled about laying my eyes on the soul-infused rockers from Athens, AL. If you follow this blog, you know we’ve thrown just about any material we can get our hands on from these cats. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating this epic release tonight at Radio Radio in Fountain Square.
Written by Rob Peoni
5. Toro y Moi – Freaking Out
Chazwick Bundick rose above the chillwave this year with his full length release of ‘Underneath the Pine’ early this year. Just when I thought that my chillwave was dying, Toro y Moi gave me an extra life with Freaking Out. Bundick’s voice has gotten better with each of releases and song ‘All Alone’ competes as one of my favorites tracks by him. I am excited to see what direction he takes us next.
4. Alabama Shakes – Alabama Shakes
The Shakes exploded on the scene, causing me to tread water as I drowned in their sea of soul. The attention this band has received not only comes from this EP, but also their live shows. I am thrilled and honored to allow the Alabama Shakes to knock me out with their fist full of funk tonight at Radio Radio.
3. Dirty Gold – ROAR
Who would of thought a group of high school kids from San Diego could build the EP that served as my summer anthem? The kids from Dirty Gold have left me thinking that anything is possible, regardless of age. These indie prodigies have caused me to put on my shades and look deeply in to the bright careers the have ahead of them. I am thrilled to see what they bring to be in the future. My guess is that once the ‘California Sunrise’ sets on 2011, they will rise and provide a new project with a brighter polish.
2. Dum Dum Girls – He Gets Me High
Readers of Thought on Tracks understand that I have a weak heart for this San Pedro quartet of female distortion. 2011 was quite the year for the Dum Dum Girls as this served as the appetizer to their excellent full-length ‘Only in Dreams’. While appetizers are petite and initial, ‘He Gets Me High’ fills my belly with a four song entrée. The Smiths cover of “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” is my favorite cover song of this year and serves as a reminder that sometimes remakes can compete with originals. I take my hat off to the Dum Dum Girls for having an absolutely spectacular year, especially for me.
1. Beach Fossils – What A Pleasure
Surprise, surprise a Brooklyn based band takes the crown in my world of EP’s in 2011. This hardly feels like an EP sitting at sitting at eight tracks. They build off their 2010 self-titled LP, and to me even sound better. Beach Fossils coast during this EP using beautiful melodic guitars to allow listeners to ride their wave. The song “Calyer” has received airplay on Sirius XMU and has been floating in my head ever since. Beach Fossils team up with Wild Nothing on ‘Out In the Way’, which seals the deal for me. I am expecting more from Beach Fossils in 2012. My nautical eye tells me these Beach Fossils will not wither, but gain value with time.
Written by Brett McGrath
5. Wavves – Life Sux
It was quite the year for Nathan Williams highlighted by his hilarious twitter stream of his group’s antics at the MTV Music Awards. What more can you say about Wavves other than that they just absolutely rock? This EP spans singing about Dave Grohl, a song featuring his girlfriend Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast: “Nodding Off”, to some punk rock with the members Fucked Up, the perfectly named “Destroy.”
4. Dom – Family of Love
This EP features one of my favorite songs of the entire year in Damn. Dom are a self proclaimed “EP band”, but as long as everything continues to be as great as this album and their previous, Sun Bronzed Greek Gods, I’ll never be disappointed.
3. Surfer Blood – Tarot Classics
This EP picks up right where Astrocoast left off, and that’s a very good thing. Beachy pop music is a favorite of mine, and Surfer Blood do it to perfection. My only complaint is that they couldn’t have put 6 songs on it instead of 4. Be sure to listen to “I’m Not Ready.” Hopefully a new full length is to come in 2012.
2. Toro Y Moi – Freaking Out
While Chaz Bundick’s second full length LP, Underneath the Pine, was released in early 2011 and seemed to go more jazzy than his more DJ-ish sound on Causers of This, this EP shows Chaz still can drop that beat. I actually liked this EP more than the full length. It’s straight-up fun weekend music.
1. Beach Fossils – What a Pleasure
Beach Fossils play dream pop perfection on this EP. Almost a full length at 8 songs, it listens like an LP, and this would have made my Top 10 albums of the year had we not separated the EPs out. “What a Pleasure,” “Fall Right In,” and “Out in the Way” are brilliant songs and three of my favorite of the year. Put on a good pair of headphones, listen to this EP, and relax, because life is good.
Written by Greg Dahman