10. Craft Spells – “After the Moment“
Catchy. Pop. Music. It’s a song that truly understands and encompasses that perfect night with someone else. We’ve all been there, and we all can listen to this jam and remember the past moments, live the present ones, and hope for more to come.
9. Twin Sister – “Bad Street“
A song with some serious vibe and sex appeal. Not to mention a funky beat. “Feel it with you, in you feel it. Feel it with you, feel it in you. I want it bad!” Really, enough said, this song brings some funk, pop, and a great voice all together perfectly.
8. Smith Westerns – “All Die Young”
Probably cliché to say, but when I hear this song I get some serious Beatles vibe going on. From the wailing guitar to the boisterous chorus, it’s a big project from a young band. And they pull it off.
7. The Antlers – “I Don’t Want Love“
My initial favorite off this album was “Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out”, but as the year went on, this song stuck out more and more. The falsetto vocals bring so much feeling, and heartbreak, that for me, this song hits me right where it counts. Add in the haunting wail at the end, and this fits in right behind” Two” as my second favorite Antlers song.
6. Cults – “You Know What I Mean“
Two people. A girl singing like it’s 1965. A guy playing guitar. And perhaps the best chorus of 2011. Feel that drum beat and say it, “Cause I am afraid of the light, yeah you know what I mean.”
5. Bon Iver – “Beth / Rest“
Simply put, this song makes me want to cry. It reminds me of listening to 1980’s songs on the radio on Sunday nights courtesy of my Mom while growing up. From the lyrics, to the guitar solo, it’s my favorite track off Bon Iver’s self -titled masterpiece.
4. Friends – “Friend Crush”
A newcomer to the scene in 2011, this song struck me the first time I heard it. I couldn’t get it out of my head, and I don’t think I ever want to. It says everything about wanting to feel connected to someone else.
3. Real Estate – “Out of Tune”
I know this song was released in 2010. I don’t care, because I didn’t hear it then. It’s my favorite song off an unbelievable album. An album about getting lost in life in the suburbs, this song is its anthem.
2. Holy Ghost – “Jam for Jerry“
This is an ironic song for me. While it’s a tribute to their late drummer Jerry Fuchs, it’s the song of 2011 that brings me the most happiness whenever I hear it. As soon as those first words come out, “You set the tempo, set the pace”, a smile hits my face and life is good again.
1. M83 – “Midnight City“
Well Anthony, the city is indeed my church. And this is the song of the year. Why? Well, you only need to listen to it to understand:
Written by Greg Dahman
Those that know me well and have any grasp of my musical tastes should understand that there exist several sure-fire paths to my heart. Horn sections – love them. Soulful songwriting: I need an emotional investment from the artist. Strong vocals, not a must, but I tend to gravitate toward great singing. I am a bonafide sucker for bands fronted by a chicks, New Orleans piano players, anything from the Motown label, and slide-blues guitar.
The debut, self-titled release from Nashville’s Jessica Breanne & The Electric Hearts has many of the ingredients from the aforementioned list – in spades. The album showcases Breanne’s strengths as a songwriter, touching on a variety of genres without ever feeling lost or falling flat. Her vocals remind me of a cheerier Alison Mosshart or an edgier Susan Tedeschi.
The Electric Hearts provide an accessible, classic soul foundation for Breanne to build from. Their guitar play has enough of an edge to keep things interesting, at times mimicking Dan Auerbach to a dangerous degree. But I can’t say I’m mad about it. This album is guaranteed to liven up one of your parents’ lame dinner parties without inviting any dirty looks from an older guest list.
The album is solid top to bottom. Don’t miss the cover of Bon Iver’s “Flume.” The band pulls it off without abandoning the soulful simplicity that drives the rest of the disc. Stream the entire album below and pick it up for $10 via bandcamp.
Written by Rob Peoni
Love them or hate them, people are always talking about them. I have yet to notice anyone else make a 2k11 list covering covers. My selections for the best songs from previous recordings are as follows:
13 Real Estate – Barely Legal (The Strokes)
I could not be any more pumped up for the upcoming Strokes cover album Stroked. If the rest of the disc stacks up to the first single from Real Estate, we are all in for a real treat. Congrats, Real Estate, on making this song your own–no small task.
12 The Black Keys – Dearest (Buddy Holly)
The Black Keys work wonders on their take on this Buddy Holly classic. Short, sweet and fantastic. The Keys at their simplest, which is always a good thing.
11 Morning Benders – Lovefool (The Cardigans)
Hand claps, acoustic guitar and three part harmonies. Rarely do I say that a cover surpasses the original, but this sure as hell comes close. A helluva rendition of the classic guilty pleasure from Swedish rockers The Cardigans.
10 Friendly Fires – I’m Good, I’m Gone (Lykkie Li)
What better way to add buzz to their latest release, Pala, than to put out of cover of a song that people can’t hate. These guys have a formula and it is continuing to work.
9 She & Him – Oh Boy (Buddy Holly)
When I heard that a tribute album to Buddy Holly was going to be dropped this year I thought “Oh Boy”! Unsure of what to expect I found exactly what I was looking for with this track.
8 Fitz and the Tantrums – Arthur’s Theme (Christopher Cross)
This is a silly cover from a silly movie by a band getting a lot of buzz this year. I love it.
7 Hooray for Earth – Lewis Takes Action (Owen Pallet Cover)
This band has caused me to take a step back ever since I started listening to them. No Love, True Loves, and Sails make their full-length debut stand strong. This cover makes me think they are going to be around a while.
6 Bat for Lashes – Strangelove (Depeche Mode)
Natasha Khan continues to be the mark for indie innovation. This pairing just makes sense to me.
5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – Higher Love (Steve Winwood)
After Dodge posted the video of them covering this at the White Cabaret in Indianapolis I was extremely jealous for being out of town. If this does not win you over, I am not quite sure what will. Their cover of The Beach Boys “God Only Knows” deserves to be on this list as well.
4 James Blake – A Case of You (Joni Mitchell)
James Blake and the Dub-step movement has been one of the hottest topics of 2k11. This song makes me believe there is some legitimacy to it.
3 Mr. Little Jeans – Suburbs (Arcade Fire)
Sometimes groups get popular after they have maxed out on buzz via a cover (i.e. First Aid Kit – Tiger Mountain Peasant Song). I thought it would be impossible to cover anything off this album. I was wrong.
2 Bon Iver – I Can Make You Love Me / Nick of Time (Bonnie Raitt)
Justin Vernon’s release this year deserves to be album of the year, win a Grammy, and be talked about for the rest of eternity. Opting to play this to national audiences instead of a track on his latest release tells you how good he thinks this is and I would have to agree.
1 Dum Dum Girls – There is a Light That Never Goes Out (Smiths)
This beats out Bon Iver because of the happiness it brings to the table. This cover has given me a newfound respect these four Californian garage poppers. This is number one because I do not think of it just as a cover, I consider it one of my favorite songs of the year.
Written by Brett McGrath