The Self-Hating Hipster’s Top 51 Tracks of 2011

22 Jan

As promised, below you will find the Self-Hating Hipster’s T0p 51 Tracks of 2011 thanks to a scramble at my lake house, indirectly motivated by six girls working on their Masters theses.  I actually mistakenly published the article about a week ago but quickly made it “Private” so as not to give you readers a glimpse of the SHH in his article underpants.  I didn’t realize (stoopit!) what a massive undertaking this article would prove to be as a solo project.  I know it’s too late, but I’m hoping that you don’t find it to be too little.  I’ve been really busy with my job lately, and in the words of Garth Marenghi, “I’m not Jesus Christ…I’ve come to accept that now.”

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51.  Fucked Up – “Queen of Hearts”

David Comes to Life

Fucked Up adds a cute, poppy flare to post-hardcore as evidenced by “Queen of Hearts.”

“Hello, my name is David!”  Hi, David.  “Let’s be together!  Let’s fall in love!”

Stop yelling, David.

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5o.  Tycho – “Coastal Brake”

Dive

Dive was one of the few 2011 albums that I did a full review of this year.  I did enjoy the album overall, but it wasn’t able to stack up against some of the more impressive electronic instrumentals like The Field’s Looping State of Mind.  The single, “Coastal Break,” exhibits Scott Hansen’s meticulous attention to detail and, as I mention in my review, it’s as if Boards of Canada were working on a soundtrack for Ecco the Dolphin.

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49.  Kaskade – “Waste Love (feat. Quadron)”

Fire & Ice

Fire & Ice is a double album with the first disc of dance music, Fire, and the second disc of colder remixes, Ice.  Fire has a lot of hot-fruity, yet catchy club/dance tracks of which “Waste Love” stood out.  Yeah, it’s clubby, but it has a Guy Ritchie soundtrack bass-line that made it a bit more intriguing than the the other tracks off of the first disc.  Also check out the Ice remix of “Eyes”…it almost beat “Waste Love Out” for this spot.

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48.  The Drums – “Money”

Portamento

I was introduced to The Drums a few weeks ago by SHH colleague bobdoes (who had heard about them from a hipster chick who he deemed “adorable”).  Their self-titled first album is much stronger, but there were a few tracks on Portamento that, though forced at times, nab your attention.  “I want to buy you something, but I don’t have any money, no, I don’t have any money.”  Lyrics like that call up Morrissey without the mope.

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47.  The Joy Formidable – “Whirring”

The Big Roar

“Whirring” is a song that is encouraging for the future of “Indie Alt. Rock.”  As a genre, “Alternative Rock” has lost all of the inventive luster that it had in the 90’s.  The Joy Formidable feels like Arcade Fire’s production on mid-90’s Belly.  “Whirring” as a single is three minutes of Ritzy Bryan’s power (what a name for a leading lady) followed by another four minutes of a head-rushed outtro on the cut for the LP.

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46.  The Olivia Tremor Control – “The Game You Play is in Your Head, Parts 1,2 &3”

The Game You Play is in Your Head, Parts 1,2 &3

After 12 years since their last release, Black Foliage, I was elated to hear that the Athens, Georgia-based OTC had released something this year.  And, it doesn’t disappoint.  “The Game You Play…” could just as easily have been named “Green Typewriters XI-XIII.”  I was under the impression that they had disbanded years ago, but apparently they’re not only still together, they’re touring again.  They will be hitting Europe before returning to the US in 2012.

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45.  Thundercat – “Daylight”

The Golden Age of Apocalypse

The Golden Age… is admittedly not an album where tracks stand out.  I don’t mean that it’s a bad album by any means, it’s just each song seems to bleed into the next so seamlessly that picking one song is sort of arbitrary.  “Daylight” is worthy of recognition regardless.  I just wish the first track, “Hooooooo,” a clip from the animated series opener, was included as part of “Daylight.”  “Thunder, Thunder, Thunder, Thundercats HOOOOOOOOO!”

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44.  Clams Casino – “Motivation”

Instrumentals

“Motivation” is the first and most memorable track on the debut full-length release from New Jersey’s Clams Casino.  I looked into Clams Casino after seeing his name pop up all over A$AP Rocky’s LiveLoveA$AP.  Instrumentals has a number of tracks that could stand on their own, “Motivation” first and foremost.  Though as the album plays through, you just sort of hope that some competent rap artist will cherry-pick the tracks that need reinforcement.

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43.  My Brightest Diamond – “We Added it Up”

All Things Will Unwind

I hadn’t paid any attention to My Brightest Diamond since 2006’s Bring Me the Workhorse.  Shame on me.  Shara Worden’s operatic surge is backed by the classical yMusic on her latest record and it’s a surprisingly good fit.  Worden’s style is as always interesting, but also all-over-the-place which sometimes yields sweet ambrosia and other times syrupy vomit.  The opener, “We Added it Up” is the prior.

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42.  Gem Club – “Breakers”

Breakers

Breakers is Gem Club’s, Christopher Barnes and Kristen Drymala, first LP following their debut EP, Acid and Everything.  The album is entirely somber and the title track is no exception, though it does effectively break some of the album’s ice with Barnes’ whisper-hum and piano work and Drymala’s warming cello and percussion.

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41.  Fleet Foxes – “Lorelai”

Helplessness Blues

Fleet Foxes were a band that graced the cover of every underground music publication and had every hipster talking after the release of their self-titled debut in 2008.  Frankly, I got sort of tired of hearing about them and just plain hearing them (ah, roommates) despite the record being very good.  Three years of separation was just enough time to have me excited when Helplessness Blues came out.  The sophomore release is always important for bands that garner so much attention from their debut.  Do Fleet Foxes continue to live up to the hype?  Yup.  Fleet Foxes create a warm folk/baroque sound in songs like “Lorelai” that feel like Brian Wilson produced The Left Banke.

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40.  Thurston Moore – “Illumine”

Demolished Thoughts

I had admittedly never listened to any of the solo work by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore until Demolished Thoughts.  I wasn’t necessarily expecting folk music, but I was  pleasantly surprised nonetheless.  Demolished Thoughts is produced by Beck and may provide an explanation for the Sea Change-like instrumentation.  “Illumine” has gorgeous guitars, strings both played and plucked and twinkling harps and triangles.

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39.  Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – “Stick Figures in Love”

Mirror Traffic

As the frontman of one of my all-time favorite bands in Pavement, Stephen Malkmus is an artist that I always root for in his efforts with the Jicks.  Mirror traffic is another album produced by Beck in 2011.  Unfortunately, it feels like a B record with A-tracks scattered throughout.  Songs like “Stick Figures in Love” fall quite comfortably between the sound on Pavement’s 1995 Wowee Zowee and Malkmus’ 2005 Face the Truth.

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38.  tUnE-yArDs – “Bizness”

W H O K I L L

First things first…I just discovered that tUnE-yArDs is a one person operation…and it’s a woman.  Merrill Garbus’ vocals are so rich and throaty, I assumed it was a dude who could hit high notes.  Kudos, Merrill.  I’m not usually one for politically charged rock, but tUnE-yArDs won me over with tracks like “Bizness.”  From the cascading hum backdrop to Garbus’ strong “What’s the bizness, yeah!” followed by a horn onslaught, tUnE-yArDs provides a modern uniquity of sound for freedom from oppression.

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37.  Wilco – “I Might”

The Whole Love

I was weary when I heard that Wilco had come out with a new album because the two releases after A Ghost is Born really hadn’t piqued my interest and I would have hated to see another installment of a slow decline.  The Whole Love immediately prepares the listener for the confident exploration of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot era Wilco (the first Wilco album that I owned) with “Art of Almost.”  The follow up track, “I Might,” with its chirping organ and grizzly guitar is a foot-tapping pop/rock zinger.

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36.  Gang Gang Dance – “Adult Goth”

Eye Contact

Gang Gang Dance is like Ambient Dub meets World Music on Eye Contact.  Case in point: “Adult Goth” on their first release for the label 4AD.  The song plays like dubbed-out Asian pop music.  Imagine walking into a haunted hibachi grill.  Singer Liz Bougatsos’ unique, eerie voice and the ever-changing synths make for an interesting composition.

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35.  Youth Lagoon – “17”

The Year of Hibernation

Youth Lagoon is the solo work of 22-year-old Trevor Powers and his debut, The Year of Hibernation, came very close to making my Top Albums of 2011 list.  “17” is one of eight well-crafted, nostalgic daydreams (one of which is “Daydream”).  In his manboyish murmur, Powers sings “When I was 17, my mother said to me ‘Don’t stop imagining.  The day that you do is the day that you die.'”  Perhaps this is why I fill my days with idle musings.  I haven’t died yet.

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34.  Hunx and His Punx – “Lover’s Lane”

Too Young to Be in Love

I was introduced to my Hunx and His Punx this past year by my buddy, Marc.  A more appropriate name for this band is The Flaming Lip-line Mustaches.  The San Francisco band consists of two flamboyantly homosexual men (including former hair stylist and frontman Seth Bogart) and two modded-out heifers.  Hunx makes The B-52s’ Fred Schneider look like, well, straight.  Their compilation, Gay Singles, released in 2010 had a number of very entertaining tracks including “U Don’t Like Rock N’ Roll.”  The follow-up LP, Too Young to Be in Love, is a whole lot of fun.  The blend of 50’s bubblegum and ridiculous homo-eroticism play like a leather daddy at a soda fountain.

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33.  Surfer Blood – “Drinking Problem”

Tarot Classics EP

Surfer Blood was one of the more interesting newcomers of 2010 with the release of Astro Coast.  The Tarot Classics EP intends to hold their audience over until their second LP and “Drinking Problem” aids in the effort.  The droning filtered vocals and happy, high-pitched bass-line provide a backbone for the distorted guitar wanderings.  The remix is also worth a listen.

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32.  PJ Harvey – “Let England Shake”

Let England Shake

PJ Harvey is an artist that I could never get into for some reason.  That being said, I did listed to Let England Shake a number of times in order to rate it and I’ve determined that I’ll have to revisit her earlier work before I decide if she’s uninteresting…chances are I’m just an uninformed jerk.  The title track is one rattling chapter of the history lesson on WWI that is the album.

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31.  The Black Keys – “Mind Eraser”

El Camino

The Black Keys El Camino was another record that I actually found time to review this year.  The album’s final track, “Mind Eraser,” happens to be one of the strongest tracks on the record.  It certainly recalls The Eagle’s “Witchy Woman” with its opening riff and the time signature and tambourines that follow, but who’s to say that’s a bad thing?  “I fucking hate The Eagles, man…”  It’s a groovy track and finds the listener agreeing with The Black Keys: “Don’t let it be over…”

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30.  Sepalcure – “Breezin”

Sepalcure

The dubstep duo of Praveen Sharma and Travis Stewart had no shortage of great tracks on their self-titled debut and so it wound up at #11 on my Top 11 Albums of 2011 list.  Sepalcure infuse elements of house and dance on “Breezin” to make for an interesting build up.  About three-and-a-half minutes in, the tone switches gear from more traditional dubstep track to a house with a gospel-like refrain of “Mountains high and low!”  It’d get me dancing…

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29.  James Blake – “The Wilhelm Scream”

James Blake

“The Wilhelm Scream” is a darkly introspective track that gets colder and more anxious as it goes on.  It begins with a very clever minimalism; it’s as if any beat that wasn’t ultimately necessary was stripped away and then Blake gives the song a pulse and sprinkles haunting creaks and ghost bullets throughout.  I don’t know about your dreams either, James, but I can assure you that you’re not falling.

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28.  WU LYF – “Cave Song”

Go Tell Fire to the Mountain

This one just missed the Top Albums of 2011 list.  WU LYF, or World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation, were able to garner a lot of attention in 2011 by hiding behind the pop media curtain and self-releasing  Go Tell Fire… which they recorded in an abandoned church.  Tracks like “Cave Song” put a heavier spin on some of Modest Mouse’s earlier work, but instead of dealing with a speech impediment in Isaac Brock’s vocals, WU’s Ellery Roberts can be entirely unintelligible at times.  Despite the message being a bit lost in translation, the speaking in tongues over a jangling guitar and organ are strangely pleasing.  According to their website they will be touring again in the US in a few months.

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27.  Nicolas Jaar – “Space is Only Noise if You Can See”

Space is Only Noise

“Space is Only Noise if You Can See” shows that Jaar has a sense of humor.  A boinging bass and lyrics like “Grab a calculator and fix yourself” were not what I was expecting for the title track to an otherwise serious electronic album, but it made it all the more accessible.  I’m not sure that I grasp the logic behind the title, but I’ve been advised to replace the word “space” with “drink” and forget it.  That’s never been a problem for me.

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26.  St. Vincent – “Strange Mercy”

Strange Mercy

Strange Mercy is my #1 album of 2011 and the title track was one of the reasons why.  Even after a single listen, you find yourself threatening a “dirty policeman” and not knowing why.  St. Vincent, or rather singer/songwriter Annie Clark, creates a series of narrative songs on Strange Mercy, and the story of “lost boys” (not to be confused with The Lost Boys…at least I think) whose father is in prison is the most moving on the album.  The song transitions from a comforting hand on the back of the head to a fiery threat like a mother protecting her children.

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25.  Yuck – “Get Away”

Yuck

If I didn’t know any better I would have guessed that “Get Away” was released in the early 90’s.  What’s more interesting is that Yuck’s band members would have all been in diapers at that point.  I’m reading “Get Away” as homage to 90’s indie lo-fi, but even if it were impersonation, it’s freakishly accurate.

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24.  Panda Bear – “Afterburner”

Tomboy

What would a hipster top tracks list be without an Animal Collective side-project??  Joking aside, I liked the direction that Noah Lennox took with Tomboy.  “Afterburner” is a track that one could slide into the second half of Talking Heads’ Remain in Light without causing much of a disturbance.  The quick-strummed guitar, near-Gregorian chanting and African/world music vibe all jive nicely.

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23.  Cass McCombs – “Robin Egg Blue”

Humor Risk

Cass McCombs is an artist that I had no prior knowledge of going into this year and now plan to revisit the rest of his catalog.  Humor Risk is his fifth album and the second of this year.  “Robin Egg Blue” is a charming bit of lo-fi folk, although I’d like to have a chat with the song’s character, Heather Burns; she shouldn’t be eating robin’s eggs or speaking to snakes.

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22.  Oneohtrix Point Never – “Up”

Replica

Have you ever wanted to attend an African rites of passage ceremony?  Now you can without leaving the comfort of your own home with OPN’s “Up.”  This track scared the ever-loving shit out of me the first time that I heard it as it comes out of nowhere after the quiet ending of “Submersible.”  The thumping, tribal percussion and bizarre time signature seems to challenge the listener to dance before dissolving into a wash with twinkling piano notes.  What’s most interesting is that Daniel Lopatin reportedly used found sounds to create the album from a DVD of television commercials from 1985-1993.  For all we know, the “up” in “Up” could have been from a Fruit Roll-ups ad.

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21.  The Field – “Is This Power”

Looping State of Mind

As per my review of the album which found itself at #3 for 2011:  “[Alex] Willner might have syntax dyslexia because the opening track, “Is This Power,” is clearly supposed to read “This Is Power.”  It builds off of a dub bass, droning synth melody and Kraftwerk-esque tap and smack percussion…and then the bottom falls out leaving the stripped down bass and some simple percussion.  It serves the same function as Gang of Four’s anti-solos; you break a song down to its essentials so that it seems all the more funky when the rest of the instrumentation is re-introduced.”

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20.  Girls – “Honey Bunny”

Father, Son, Holy Ghost

Girls’ Father, Son, Holy Ghost impressed some and blew the socks off of others.  My socks are still on, but it’s a lot more difficult to blow off business socks.  Take Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome,” add androgyny and amphetamines, take away shampoo and you have Girls’ “Honey Bunny.”  You get a bouncy, self-critical pop song and a sentimental “oh, mama” breakdown in two-and-a-half minutes.  If there was anything wrong with Girls’ record, it was that some tracks ran too long.  “Honey Bunny” is short and sweet.

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19.  Toro Y Moi – “All Alone”

Freaking Out EP

I haven’t been able to get enough of this track lately.  I’m trying to limit back-to-back listens.  It’s got Ghostbusters II ghost-wrangling montage written all over it, but I mean that in the nicest way possible.  With Underneath the Pine and the Freaking Out EP under his belt in 2011, Chaz Bundick has a bright indie electronic future.

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18.  Smith Westerns – “Imagine, Pt. 3”

Dye it Blonde

Smith Westerns, whom I referred to as Teenage Rex in my Top Albums of 2011 article, stepped into the studio for their second record…clearly.  Beginning as a lo-lo-fi high school project, Smith Westerns may have turned some fans of their cutesy first album off with the much cleaner production on Dye it Blonde.  I appreciated their lo-fi output (trust me, I’m a lo-fi shill), but their studio sound doesn’t feel cheap or overproduced and was an inevitability for such an talented group of youngters.  Their manic neo-glam shines on tracks like “Imagine, Pt. 3.”

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17.  Neon Indian – “Polish Girl”

Era Extrana

This is an album that I was extremely excited about because Psychic Chasms was my 2010 poolside anthem and a favorite of my Brooklynite friends.  Unfortunately, Era Extrana doesn’t come close to Psychic Chasms.  It’s passable, but only a few of the tracks have that repeat listenability that “Terminally Chill” and “Mind Drips” had on the first record.  “Polish Girl” is the track on the album, and if you listen to it when you’re wasted, you hear Mario getting coins in the background.

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16.  David Lynch – “Good Day Today”

Crazy Clown Time

“Good Day Today” is actually one of my most played tracks this year.  I chalk that up partially to my reviewing Crazy Clown Time a few months back.  It’s David Lynch so of course it’s weird: gunshots, explosions, underwater vocal filters.  It’s also incredibly catchy.  “Good Day Today” along with “Pinky’s Dream” where he collaborated with Karen O. of  The Yeah Yeah Yeahs show a potential for Lynch to cross over into mainstream music where he can creep out the multitudes like he’s been doing with film for the past 30 years.

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15.  Iceage – “Broken Bone”

New Brigade

“Broken Bone” seems to embody Iceage’s musical mentality…it’s “just a broken bone” as if even that wouldn’t stop them from rocking.  It’s short (2:29), fast, charged, abrasive and bad ass.  The teenaged Danish foursome have a very bright future if they follow New Brigade up with more riveting live performances and a powerful neo-Wire second album.  Now, let’s hope for some more stateside touring!

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14.  Kurt Vile – “Baby’s Arms”

Smoke Ring For My Halo

Kurt Vile, who ranked #9 in my Top Albums of 2011 for Smoke Ring For My Halo, stacked his album with alternating pickers and strummers like “Jesus Fever” and “Peeping Tomboy,” but the other tracks couldn’t compete with the brilliant intimacy of “Baby’s Arms.”  Vile perfectly captures that irreplaceable feeling of comfort when being held by the person you love.  Awwww.

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13.  Wild Flag – “Black Tiles”

Wild Flag

Wild Flag is an amalgamation of a number of different indie bands including and Sleater-Kinney, The Minders and Helium.  Their self-titled debut may not be start-to-finish great, but it’s certainly impressive.  On “Black Tiles,” the guitars are heavy, the riffs are sharp and the drums will have you pounding your hands on your steering wheel (if you’re in your car that is).  And I have to say, it’s been some time since I’ve heard a female vocalist with as much gusto and muscle as Carrie Brownstein on Wild Flag.

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12.  The Weeknd – “Glass Table Girls”

House of Balloons

The Weeknd, made a lot of noise in 2011 both literally and metaphorically.  He released three albums for download on his tumblr blog and had everybody on the Hip-Hop/R&B scene wondering who the hell he was and where he came from.  The answer: Abel Tesfaye from Toronto.  House of Balloons is 50+ minutes of late-night pill-popping mischief, dripping with sex.  Oh, and there’s a boob on the cover!  “Glass Table Girls” is the pinnacle and gives you both sides of Abel’s game in one track.  Like him or not, don’t expect The Weeknd to go away any time soon.

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11.  Bon Iver – “Michicant”

Bon Iver

Bon Iver was on the tip of a lot of tongues in 2008 after the release of For Emma, Forever Ago.  2011’s self-title (is it just me or did artists just get lazy this year?) disappointed some fans citing overproduction, but pleased far more.  I was somewhere in between indifferent and amused.  “Michicant” is simply put a very pretty song and it isn’t the only one on Bon Iver, though I must say that the album’s finale, “Beth/Rest,” is absolutely vomitous.

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10.  Atlas Sound – “The Shakes”

Parallax

In the opening track to Parallax Bradford Cox forecasts a bleak future for a pop/rock Charles Foster Kane of sorts: “Found money and fame / but I found them really late. / So in my mansion I’d sit / waiting for it all to end.”  Cox accents the vocals with a hushed echo effect which adds to the song’s angst.  As the album is steeped in introspection, one wonders if a burnt-out future in the music industry is an actual concern of Cox’s.  Between Deerhunter and his solo stuff, I think things will turn out just fine.

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9.  Destroyer – “Savage Night at the Opera”

Kaputt

First of all, I had no idea that Dan Bejar had been releasing since the mid-90s since the only other Destroyer record that I have is 2002’s This Night; so, again, shame on me.  “Savage Night at the Opera” is like a New Wave time machine.  Bejar’s old hat narrator hums pretentiously (“I’ve heard your record, it’s alright) over a Talk Talky rhythm, ultimately giving way to a solo that is so incredibly telegraphed and yet it hooks you every time.

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8.  Twerps – “This Guy”

Twerps

After hearing the first couple of tracks on Twerps’ self-titled second album, I thought they might have released one of the best records of 2011.  Then the album entirely deflated.  The foursome from New Zealand sounds like older New Zealand indie pop acts like The Bats and has a Flying Nun air about them.  The majority of the tracks on the album are sung by Martin Frawley, but Julia MacFarlane takes the lead on “This Guy.”  Her simple and charming delivery reminded me very much of Beat Happening’s Heather Lewis.

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7.  James Blake – “Unluck”

James Blake

This is the second time that James Blake has shown up on this countdown.  And the second track on James Blake, “Unluck,” is where I realized that I was listening to something different and special.  It begins with a simple four-chord piano melody and minimal, scratchy percussion.  Blake calls out mushily for “treated walls” to “care for” him and the beat gets slightly more complicated as if Stomp were given only Snapple bottle-tops to work with.  Just like that, the beat switches up entirely and Blake utters in a voice that sounds like it’s coming from a punched-in mouth, “Only child, take good care, I wouldn’t like you playing, falling there.”  Add a eerie, fuzzy synth organ and we have ourselves a song!  “Unluck” pairs up well with “The Wilhelm Scream” which follows.  Both reference falling and a calmly terrified emotional complacency.  In “Unluck” it’s as though the parent calls out protective words to the child, but the child grown up calls out to his walls for protection.  My walls aren’t treated and so I still call my parents when I’m falling.

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6.  A$AP Rocky – “Trilla”

LiveLoveA$AP

Thanks to urban dictionary, I now know that “trill” is a term in hip-hop combining “true” and “real” and is usually reserved for revered figures.  A$AP’s not yet revered in the industry and so apparently “trilla” means subscribing to the easy hip-formula (money, women and drugs) while on your way to getting noticed.

“…always on that cash flow, she use call me ‘asshole,’ now she drop that as low.  Fuck it, man, I’m past dope, sour diesel stash though…”

There’s all three.  What sets “Trilla” apart is A$AP’s flow and confident delivery and the beat which is absolutely rides your brain.  I wish I wasn’t so god damn white.

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5.  St. Vincent – “Cruel”

Strange Mercy

“Cruel” screams “put me on the radio and keep me there!” for St. Vincent who is one of only two artists to appear twice on this list.  It is Annie Clark’s poppiest song to date.  It’s as if somebody put an indie pop diva at the helm of a an ABBA disco-boat.  The main guitar riff begs for an echoing whistle and the 1940s morning film sequence backdrop every time she starts with “Bodies…” is infectious.  That last sentence was supposed to be specific, not convoluted.  Shit.

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4.  Real Estate – “It’s Real”

Days

Days was a very near miss on my Top Albums of 2011.  Some reviewers wrote Real Estate’s second album off for its creative apathy.  I found it very listenable, and some tracks really stuck with me.  “It’s Real” is one of them.  The guitar work is crisp and pretty, the lyrics are heartfelt, the vocals are power-poppy and have you ohhhhh’ing along to the chorus. I didn’t realize it until just now, but that means that “It’s Real” is also my favorite love song of 2011 (excluding unrequited love).  “It’s Real” and Days in turn may not be anything groundbreaking, but who says you have to break ground if you can consistently write great pop songs?

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3.  SBTRKT – “Pharoahs”

SBTRKT

Until recetntly, SBTRKT was known for random remixes.  Now, SBTRKT is a man of mystery in his burial mask, and mystery is something that has effectively generated hype for artists that wouldn’t have gotten noticed otherwise (I’d like to make a personal shout out to the masked Brock Berrigan).  As soon as you hear “Pharoahs” you are helpless and wish that your car stereo was more sophisticated.  I’ve also made up my own lyrics to make singing along all the more interesting: “All I see is green klons, open bars, Maker’s Mark, crunk as sheeeee-it”

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2.  M83 – “Midnight City”

Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

This one is obligatory.  “Midnight City” is my most played song of 2011.  I’ve actually recently revisited this song after weeks of not listening to it.  I played it so much when I wrote my review of Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming that I felt it necessary to avoid the track afterwards so as not to risk track ruination via overplay.  It’s just as fun as when I left it.  Anthony Gonzalez has a gift for 1980s emulation.  “Midnight City” was actually released as a single a month prior to the album’s release.  The single has four remixes.  I recommend the Black Delta and Trentemoller remixes.

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1.  Cults – “Abducted”

Cults

Cults got major buzz in 2011 after the release of “Go Outside” on their Bandcamp page and deservedly so…it’ a great song and almost made this list.  It was enough buzz to turn one song into a record deal.  The album was a tad overrated.  It’s very listenable, but a lot of the tracks just go in one ear and out the other.  The singles are what made the album.  “Abducted” is my most played song of the past two months.  It’s absurdly catchy.  The first few lyrics sound like they are being played over the intercom of an airport which fits with the title.  Then there’s a back and forth [unrequited] love song between vocalist Madeline Follin and guitarist Brian Oblivion.  Boil down The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” to pure heartache and then give it a shot with some indie pop defibrillator paddles and you’ve got “Abducted.”

*     *     *

Well, there it is.  If you don’t see somebody on here that you think is an obvious mistake, let me know.  It may be a case of difference of opinion, but there’s always the chance that I’m totally uninformed.  Now that I’ve finally finished this, I can accept that it’s 2012 and move on.

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4 Responses to “The Self-Hating Hipster’s Top 51 Tracks of 2011”

  1. Jan January 25, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Excellent list. Unknown mortal orchestra deserves a spot on there .

  2. Andee January 29, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    Awesome job, Evan. Staggering in its comprehensiveness.

  3. Tuesday October 27, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    But twerps are from Australia!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Joy Formidable at Upstate Concert Hall (4/14/2013) | the self-hating hipster - May 2, 2013

    […] way to a two-song encore, including their wonderful “Whirring” (which was listed in my Top Tracks of 2011).  It was basically and hour and a half of good, live entertainment before some polite salutations […]

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