Dec 31 2011

Top 15 TV Shows of 2011

15. The Walking Dead

It’s a bit slow-moving and the acting is occasionally over-the-top, but The Walking Dead proved once again, even without zombies, it’s pretty compelling television. The first half of Season 2 revolved around the increasingly hopeless search for a little girl who had gone missing, while characters battled each other, themselves, and the end of the world as we know it.

14. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

Still hilarious after all these years, Sunny’s seventh season introduced us to a new brutal board game called CharDee MacDennis, gave us a scenic tour of the Jersey Shore, and brilliantly tackled Mac’s ongoing weight issue. Dennis is still creepy, Frank and Charlie are still eccentric, and Dee….well, I think the gang’s driving her to the point of insanity.

13. 30 Rock

Don’t call it a comeback – season 5 was a strong turning point for this aging series, which got a lot of flak for a hit-or-miss season 4. Even with a temporary absence from Tracy Morgan, who underwent emergency medical surgery during filming, the show remained sharp as the plot became focused on trying to find out where his character went missing.

12. Archer

Just when we thought we had the womanizing, James Bond-mocking Sterling Archer figured out, he gets cancer, falls in love, and leads us on a three-part getaway when his fiance is killed. Season 2 (and the aforementioned first three episodes of Season 3) were exciting, witty, daring, and, most importantly, pretty damn funny.

11. How I Met Your Mother

It feels like it’s been a few seasons, but things are finally getting tackled on How I Met Your Mother. The character of Barney is slowly changing into a baby-lover. Robin has discovered an important revelation about the rest of her life. Marshall and Lily are adjusting to the realization of being future parents. Ted…well, does anyone care, really? The show is still irreverent, funny, and entertaining after all these years.

10. Modern Family

Modern Family isn’t really a show trying new things, per se. We’ve all seen the family sitcom thing done over and over, lessons learned, etc. And we’ve seen the Office-esque mockumentary multi-camera style of filming. But this show’s approach to it all continues to feel fresh and revolutionary week after week, even if the topics tackled aren’t necessarily so.

9. South Park

I surmise The Book of Mormon reinvigorated Matt and Trey, because this was a surprisingly excellent season of South Park overall, especially after many consecutive hot-and-cold ones. The half-season finale gave us a potentially series-altering cliffhanger, but we should have known nothing would change. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Quite the opposite, actually.

8. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

The Daily Show has completely changed from when Stewart took it over in 1999. Night after night, these guys do some heavy lifting, taking the day’s political issues and giving them a hilarious, and simultaneously rational, take on them. With a barrage of idiot Republican candidates vying for the presidency this year, you can bet the writing staff had a lot of great material.

7. Louie

Louie is heartwarming, realistic, and very, very dark. Louis CK plays a straight man in his own corrupt version of New York that he created, holding his children’s hands and guiding them through his cynical hell. The Seinfeld-esque standup bits put the eccentric short films all together for a strange, but hilarious, half-hour of TV.

6. Parks and Recreation

Parks works where the Office doesn’t. The Office has tried a more ensemble cast approach with the absence of Steve Carell, and it’s not working. Parks tried an Office-like approach in the beginning, making Leslie Knope a crazy Michael Scott clone. But now this show has found its true roots, with the whole crazy, lovable cast involved, and the results have been spectacular.

5. The Colbert Report

This year, for me, marks the first year the student became the master. Night after night, Colbert trumped Stewart on most bits, the interviews, the musical guests, and the overall quality. Colbert’s ongoing mockery of the Supreme Court’s ridiculous “corporations are people” ruling is daring and hilarious, as is the creation of the pointless Colbert SuperPAC.

4. Homeland

I started this show late, a few days before the finale, worrying I wouldn’t catch up in time. Man, was I wrong. This is the best new show on TV, no contest. Thrilling, compelling, addictive. If I even begin to go on about this show, I’ll just spoil it for you, so do yourself a favor and watch it. It will only take you a few days to get through it, I promise, because once you start, it will be hard to stop.

3. Boardwalk Empire

I suppose I should have seen it coming, as the season gradually progressed toward all the major cliffhangers of the finale, but wow….what an ending. Killing off a major character always marks a dramatic change, so we have to wonder, after only two seasons, where does Boardwalk go from here? You can bet, with an amazing cast and a stellar performance from Steve Buscemi, I’ll be watching.

2. Community

It may be on the brink of cancellation, but for now, we can revel in the utter amazement of this show, which never ceases to amaze on a weekly basis. It’s absurd, it’s off-the-rails, it’s hard to pin down. It’s topical, it’s smart, but it’s also got heart. This season the character bonding of Season 1 met with the absurdity of Season 2 for the show’s best yet. And hopefully they’re not done.

1. Breaking Bad

After Season 4, any naysayers have to admit: not only is Breaking Bad the best show on television, it’s one of the best shows ever made. Just when we think we’ve got a character pegged, they shock us. And no one shocked us more than Walter White, played by the incomparable Bryan Cranston. There’s one season left, and there’s only so far down that dark abyss these characters can crawl. There’s no way this ends happily, and I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait.


Dec 30 2011

The Top 50 Albums of 2011 – The Top Ten

10. tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l

Merrill Garbus has always been known for oddball melodies and quirky arrangements, but the growth shown on this spectacular album is spellbinding. Memorable, inviting, disarming, and purely inventive, this standout is unlike anything anyone in music is doing right now, and is an un-arguable example of the unique power of the musicality of tUnE-yArDs.

9. The Weeknd – House of Balloons

The addiction to partying, to tripping, to rolling, to getting wasted and blackout obliterated has never been so perfectly soundtracked than in this promising debut. The hollow feelings, the numbed experiences, and the utter craving to do it all again to forget about the last time is captured here. Dark, demented, honest, and with the worst intentions.

8. Araabmuzik – Electronic Dream

The title of this introductory mixtape is certainly appropriate – like the blurred drive home after a night of partying, the triple-time drum machines, 90’s era female vocals, and repeated reminders that “you are now listening to Araabmuzik” blend together like the final dance at the club, or the final steps to the bed.

7. Terius Nash – 1977

He’s proclaimed himself the Love King, but for his free mixtape, The-Dream chose not only to name it after the year of his birth, but opted to use his real name as the moniker of choice. Why? Because the Love King isn’t bragging much this time around. Lamenting on heartbreak, personal turmoil, and soulful anguish, this is the most introspective effort from Nash to date.

6. Jay Z/Kanye West – Watch the Throne

A collaboration of this magnitude certainly wasn’t going to meet the overhyped expectations it was given. With that out of the way, while nothing revolutionary, Watch the Throne is certainly memorable. It’s not even a collaboration, but a competition. Who can out-rap the other? It’s a battle of braggadocio rhymes and quick wit, and it’s entertaining all the way through.

5. Born Gold – Bodysongs

Freak pop might fit, but that’s more akin to the psychedelic work of Flaming Lips. No, Born Gold (formerly Gobble Gobble) is more futuristic ADHD pop. Chaotic electronic noise and stuttered, effected vocals surround the magnificent melodies of this group’s surprisingly strong debut. A joyous proclamation of computer-glitching defiance throughout, it might give you a fabulous headache.

4. Drake – Take Care

What a short, strange trip it’s been for Drake, who has evolved from a hashtag-rapping former actor to the most interesting, downbeat, and flat-out real rapper in the game right now. Take Care is the best rap album of the year because its mixed-emotion honesty is overwhelming, its beats are curiously addicting, and its mood is so powerfully smooth. Pristine production amongst contradictory, conflicting verses, this album is simply sublime.

3. Hooray For Earth – True Loves

Quite possibly the most overlooked album of 2011, Hooray For Earth are delivering subtle, yet undeniable unforgettable electronic jams for the undeserving masses. Everything here, from the hooks of the title track, to the gradual grandiosity of “Sails,” to the fist-pumping madness of “No Love,” is a winner.

2. Primus – Green Naugahyde

Since frontman Les Claypool has remained active, it’s hard to believe it’s been twelve years since Antipop, but our favorite alt-funk oddballs pick up right where they left off, bringing instant career highlights reminiscent of all the brightest spots of their catalog. It’s not exactly forward-thinking, but when the funk is this solid, who cares?

1. M83 – Hurry Up We’re Dreaming

While not as completely cohesive as the shorter Saturdays=Youth, Anthony Gonzalez managed to out-epic that album, a feat many surmised would be impossible. Then again, what’s more epic than a dream-pop double album exploring the concept of childhood slumber? And with that concept comes feelings of excitement, innocence, comfort, and imagination. There’s a lot to take in, but repeated listens will deliver the ultimate reveal: Gonzalez is brilliant, and this album is remarkable. Near flawless, completely enjoyable.


Dec 29 2011

The Top 50 Albums of 2011 – 20-11

20. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light

Age tends to wear and tear a group into writing lamentations on nostalgia, love, family, and life – apparently aging has the opposite effect on Foo Fighters, who have released their loudest, RAWK-iest album since The Colour and the Shape. And the songwriting in at its finest hour since One By One.

19. Gillian Welch – The Harrow & the Harvest

After years, Welch has finally returned, now a primary elder statesmen, with a new album that quiets the naysayers and gives the fans exactly what they wanted. There’s no shortage of emotion here, nor is there lacking of reserved brilliance in melody, balance in structure, and perfect respect to tradition. Best folk album of the year, no contest.

18. Givers – In Light

Simple indie pop wrapped in a blanket of wise intuition and progressive approach. In what should sound like an album full of throwaway 3-minute ditties, Givers transform an overdone sound into a borderline-epic affair full of tempo changes, wavering moods, and consistent unpredictability. And yet, it all feels like a challenging puzzle you’re putting together slowly, but surely.

17. Yuck – S/T

Fuzzy grunge and disarming melodies are the tale here. We can sense this London group loved their flannel, but so did Candlebox; the difference here is not pure derivative formula, but unique arrangement and a knack for knowing what works. We admire grunge’s finest for their abrasive, angsty mood – Yuck goes deeper to find what works not as a method of looking back, but moving forward.

16. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Belong

For those wondering if Pains were a one-note, twee-loving band, think again. The sound is bolder, the scope is grander, and the melodies? Worthy of some of the best written this year. Choruses stick like rubber cement, shy vocals peer out from aggressive guitars, and the ambition just keeps growing as the record plays on.

15. The Rapture – In the Grace of Your Love

Like contemporaries Cut Copy, while everyone around them struggles to meet the expectations of an overcrowded genre, the Rapture takes their time to craft an impeccable album. And that’s exactly what happened. The group’s fourth album is effortless, confident, and a reminder of what everyone else is missing.

14. Cloud Nothings – S/T

2012 may be a sharper, more mature turning point for Cloud Nothings, but until then we have this self-titled debut – a fun, noisy romp through great hooks and haphazard punk licks. Six months from now we may find this effort somewhat naive compared to the growth the band has done in future albums, but for now it’s simply charming.

13. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy

No one has ever said Annie Clark wasn’t a gifted songwriter, but what she had in ambition she lacked in accessibility. That is, until now. Clark has found the missing link between her unique approach and a larger audience. Crafting some of her most memorable tunes, St. Vincent has kept that bold brilliance we’ve come to adore.

12. The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar

In a time full of clean, quiet indie, this Welsh group provides the fix for loud and brash. The sound of this debut disc is mighty, and the melodies accompanying the in-your-face noise loom just as large. Joyous anthems are wrapped around chaos, providing optimism amongst today’s apathy and nonchalance.

11. Neon Indian – Era Extrana

Psychic Chasms was a delightful acid trip, an introduction to one of the sharper chillwave pioneers. Era Extrana proves that pioneer has staying power, even if his original subgenre doesn’t. The aural wooziness of his debut is heightened here with dark undertones and enticing refrains. If you feel weird after listening, just know that’s the whole point, as it’s always been.


Dec 28 2011

The Top 50 Albums of 2011 – 30-21

30. The Lonely Island – Turtleneck and Chain

I would like to say it was a long process determining whether or not this was one of my favorite albums of the year, but its placement pretty much nulls that. Cred be damned, this was a no-brainer for me. It’s smart, it’s funny, the production is pristine, and the comedic, cameo-filled results reveal these guys worked a lot harder on this sophomore release than we would guess.

29. The Black Keys – El Camino

I was admittedly worried our favorite Akron duo was releasing a follow-up to the huge hit Brothers too soon after their inevitable breakthrough. Would they pull a Kings of Leon and give us limelight-influenced, second-rate dreck? In hindsight, I feel stupid for thinking such a thing. The Black Keys have their shtick down, and they’re able to tweak it ever so slightly for an interesting effect, but never a disappointing experience.

28. Big Black Delta – LP1

Jonathan Bates has been the leader of Mellowdrone for years, but in 2010 he took some time off to experiment with an electronic-based project. He collaborated with M83, released some singles, and garnered enough hype for a full-length. The result is a spell-binding, futuristic take on the subdued, reticent sounds of his primary project.

27. Middle Brother – S/T

This Partisan Records supergroup turned heads at SXSW this year, and the group’s debut gives each each songwriter their fair share of time to shine. Deer Tick’s John McCauley, Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith, and Delta Spirit’s Matt Vasquez deliver a promising debut of collaborative songs and infectious melodies.

26. Gross Magic – Teen Jamz EP

The cover may give one an urge to watch Saved By the Bell reruns, but the EP itself is more of a distorted, lo-fi take on the dirtier works of bands like L7 and other early 90’s greats. Whooshing sounds, piano clinks, and loud-ass guitars envelop the listener on this introduction to a band to watch in 2012.

25. Ringo Deathstarr – Colour Trip

Austin’s very own delivered a more approachable take on the deafening sounds of My Bloody Valentine and other formidable shoegazers. The sound is here, but the mood is all too different; cacophonies of sound give way to catchy melodies and casual lyrics. Those wishing to mope might want to look elsewhere, because you might be more inclined to dance.

24. Sebastian – Total

Some would say Total is derivative of superior work, and it’s too little too late for a producer who had been hyped since 2007, when this sound was in full swing, but has just now released his first full-length. And I wouldn’t argue with any of that. But while Daft Punk scores Disney movies and Justice errs in creating prog rock, Sebastian gave me my French house fix I so desperately needed.

23. Jeff the Brotherhood – We Are the Champions

After a well-deserved amount of praise for Heavy Days, the Nashville guitar-and-drum duo churned out a victory lap. That’s not to suggest We Are the Champions is exactly the same album, though the raucous vibe we’ve come to adore is present. There are new ventures here, including a dynamite foray into new wave mixed in with good old fashioned garage punk.

22. Cold Cave – Cherish the Light Years

If you were looking for Love Comes Close Part 2, you were likely disappointed in this challenging follow up. More Bauhaus than “Bizarre Love Triangle,” Cold Cave have reinvented themselves by channeling their dark side to another great era of 80’s rock, and the results grow on you track by track.

21. Ford & Lopatin – Channel Pressure

One look at that awesome album cover should give you a sense of what you’re walking into – Channel Pressure is probably the strongest homage to the sounds of the 80’s in recent memory. But this isn’t merely a replication of the Miami Vice – subtle structure and hidden surprises lie within repeated listens. Dark instrumentals, upbeat synth pop, and total freak-outs galore, there’s never a dull moment here.


Dec 27 2011

The Top 50 Albums of 2011 – 40-31

40. Tom Waits – Bad As Me

Finally, after seven long years, our favorite barroom brawler has returned with his first album of new material. And the result? More of the same, give or take. Not that anyone’s complaining. With Bad As Me, Waits determines and plays to his strengths, all of which are diverse, and absolutely none of which are filler. The rasp is refreshing, the arrangements unusual, the dark mood prevalent. Nothing has been broken for a long while, so why change a winning formula?

39. Youth Lagoon – The Year of Hibernation

22-year-old Idaho native Trevor Powers has created a half hour’s worth of material that can be interpreted as simultaneously joyful, shy, alienated, and sad. Beneath these eight tracks is a vibe that shifts with every tempo change, every gradual crescendo, every explosion. And in all the correct places, Powers’ echoey vocals fill the air with the uncertainty of the future and the courage to move forward all at once.

38. The Dodos – No Color

Visiter was the strong debut, and Time to Die was the experimental sophomore slump. And so, No Color is indeed the combination of the two, where the Dodos have come full circle and grown immensely along the way. The brilliant hooks and time changes of their first album strengthen the intense progression of their songwriting they previously tried but came up short. Here, it all works.

37. Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears – Scandalous

If you don’t know him by now, you best get acquainted; Austin local Black Joe Lewis, like contemporaries Janelle Monae, Sharon Jones, and Cee Lo Green, has a knack for taking the classic sounds and giving them a 21st century feel. But Lewis and his tightly-wound band aren’t focused on the surreal or the space-age; rather, they just want you to dance your ass off. And dance you will, all the way to Booty City.

36. Dum Dum Girls – Only In Dreams

It’s no secret Dum Dum Girls are simple. Obviously I mean that as a compliment – we heard that pretty simplicity on I Will Be. Here, as was hinted on the stellar He Gets Me High EP earlier this year, the group takes their Sub Pop-financed production and raises the bar ever so slightly. The melodies are intact, surrounded by a post-punk take on gorgeous music Chrissie Hynde would kill for. So you see, in this instance, simplicity is a very, very good thing.

35. Black Lips – Arabia Mountain

Good Bad Not Evil introduced this rowdy crew to the indie rock masses, but perhaps the limelight blinded them a bit. This was evidenced on the hot-and-cold 200 Million Thousand, but now, with the help of unlikely producer Mark Ronson, we get an incredible comeback littered with some of the finest, rawest, and catchiest material Black Lips have ever given us.

34. The Weeknd – Thursday Mixtape

The follow-up to House of Balloons is less diverse, less immediate, but just as intense. The Weeknd, by this point, was decidedly less mysterious, but no less serious about partying. Dark, disjointed, and deeply affecting, this second part of a strong trilogy of mixtapes released this year is a powerful chapter into the psyche of one of the year’s finest emerging artists.

33. Gauntlet Hair – S/T

This Windy City duo turned heads in 2010 with a few excellent singles, and here they take their winning formula to a full-length effort. The album is layered with echo, clanging guitars, R&B beats, and mounds of noise. It’s not for everyone. But for the patient, for those willing to be challenged, there’s a fair amount of accessibility here, precisely buried under that first level.

32. Wavves – Life Sux EP

Even when he’s dicking around, Nathan Williams is powering through, creating sloppy power pop-punk garage nonsense that will alienate some and inspire others. This thrown-together EP isn’t perfect, but its highs are almost as high as Williams perpetually is constantly. Life Sux marks a stepping stone for a project that has seen its ups and downs, but is certainly at a creative peak.

31. Cut Copy – Zonoscope

Is it too early to call these guys elder statesmen? Because in a time when everyone is biting their style, Cut Copy remain consistent, churning out hook after hook while newcomers struggle to create even one. I know it’s only their first follow-up to In Ghost Colours, but Zonoscope is a strong reminder that this group is naturally brilliant. They make it sound so easy. And it sounds like, it feels like, they’ve always been around, the way great bands in over-saturated genres are. Occasionally delivering gold around everyone else’s varied imitations.


Dec 26 2011

The Top 50 Albums of 2011 – 50-41

50. The Go! Team – Rolling Blackouts

The third album from the Go! Team is slightly more mature, but only slightly. The cheerleader chants are here, the rollerskating rap staples are alive and well, yes, but leader Ian Parton amps up the instrumentals and girl group numbers. There’s more variation, more challenging diversity, more fun. Overall, a satisfying listen from a group determined to build upon a winning formula.

49. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

The title track describes how one feels upon realizing they are not necessarily as unique as they were raised to believe, but rather discovering what machine in the world they want to be a cog for. It’s an all-too real feeling for most people, particularly Generation Y’ers, and not only are Fleet Foxes tackling it lyrically, they’re doing so musically as well, building upon their glorious, harmonious sound. The results may not give any solid answers, but they are rewarding nonetheless.

48. Green Day – Awesome As Fuck

Green Day’s second official live album predictably gives its share of live versions from their latest album, but the middle third is so satisfyingly punk and old skool you can feel the energy eeking out of your speakers. For anyone who’s never seen this band’s full throttle live show, let this serve as a reminder you need to put Green Day on your bucket list.

47. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – S/T

The Internet can provide a perfect sense of anonymity for those who wish to share art, but are a little camera shy. We’ve seen it many times over the years, and we can chalk up UMO as the latest, a band from Portland we knew very little about for a long time. What their art tells us is that they have incredible, hooky potential for the forseeable future. This is a strong, half-hour long, infectious, lo-fi debut.

46. The Decemberists – The King Is Dead

After the conceptual mess that was The Hazards of Love, Colin Meloy has reined it in and gone back to the beginning for this refreshing album. Keeping it short and sweet at 10 tracks in 40 minutes, there’s nothing here to bore. The focus of melody, the natural blending of rock and folk, and the sharpness of Meloy’s voice all blend together for one of the band’s strongest albums in years.

45. Cass McCombs – Wit’s End

Not for the faint of heart, McCombs has outdone himself with despair. If Catacombs was a tribute to loneliness, Wit’s End contains the sounds that inspired the entire concept of loneliness. He has always been one to delve into somber emotions and downtrodden structure, but here McCombs digs the hole further, albeit with his most subtle, subdued, and brilliant songwriting yet.

44. EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints

I’ve mentioned before this album has many different sounds, but you’re just going to have to listen to understand. Never have I heard someone throw so much at the dartboard and hit the bull’s eye so consistently. An album of this ambition usually is dismissed as directionless, but the one theme tying it all together is the raw, unbridled, and unafraid emotion throughout.

43. I Break Horses – Hearts

This is a disc too many people slept on. Incorporating shoegaze, dream-pop, and dense instrumentation, this new band have created a meticulous, enjoyable, and surprisingly precise debut. The flaws here, of which there are few, give a human quality to the grand soundscape the band has made, which only supports the notion I Break Horses are just getting started.

42. Teams vs. Star Slinger – S/T EP

What happens when you get a producer who specializes in ambient sounds and combine him with a rising star, high hat heavy DJ who just wants to make booties shake? One of the most interesting, fun, and repeatable EPs of the year. And definitely booty shaking. Lots of it. The sound texture and beat structure work great together here, and the chosen samples only amplify the enjoyment.

41. Dominique Young Unique – Glamorous Touch Mixtape

Dominique’s been busy, churning out three mixtapes in a year and half. This one, the strongest of her latest two, finds the Florida-bred female rapper spitting her trademark rapid-fire delivery alongside unusual beats and rock-inspired sounds. If Domination was the strong introduction, Glamorous Touch is proof this girl can rap over almost anything. It’s also proof we should keep an eye out for her in the future.


Dec 25 2011

Honorable Mention Albums of 2011

We’ve discussed the overrated and the disappointing, but there were also a ton of albums in 2011 that were absolutely great. Since I only make a Top 50, there were several I felt deserved recognition, but had strong superior competition. Here, in alphabetical order, are 25 of the best albums of this year that just missed the final cut. Spotify/Download/Buy links provided below.

Battles – Gloss Drop

Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part Two

The Cars – Move Like This

Cheeseburger – Another Big Night Down the Drain

The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow

Clams Casino – Rainforest EP

Cults – S/T

Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lenses Alien

Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong

DJ Quik – The Book of David

Dom – Family of Love EP

Fucked Up – David Comes to Life

Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx – We’re New Here

Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes

J Mascis – Several Shades of Why

Cass McCombs – Humor Risk

Panda Bear – Tomboy

Pictureplane – Thee Physical

R.E.M. – Collapse Into Now

Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What

Martin Solveig – Smash

Thee Oh Sees – Carrion Crawler/The Dream

Shugo Tokumaru – Port Entropy

White Denim – D

Wiz Khalifa – Rolling Papers


Dec 24 2011

The Top 20 Remixes of 2011

Compared to the past couple of years, I was underwhelmed with the number of awesome remixes I heard in 2011. Not that they weren’t out there, I just didn’t mosey upon them. So if by chance you don’t see one of your favorites listed here, send it my way or comment, by all means.

Regular readers will not be surprised to find a plethora of Star Slinger on here; he’s one of my favorite current producers. There are others here as well, and he doesn’t get the top spot. Also it should be noted, for those uninitiated, that I’m a big club and house fan, so other styles are likely under-represented here. I enjoy dance music, but I’m not going to pretend I know a lot about it. Like most of my year-end lists, this is basically just a ranked list of remixes I heard that I enjoyed. YouTube links are provided, and listening to these tracks loudly is highly encouraged.

20. Star Slinger – Dumbin’ (Diplo Remix)

19. The Rapture – How Deep Is Your Love (A-Trak Dub aka Dub For Mehdi)

18. Escort – Cameleon Chameleon (Club Remix)

17.

      1. Trombone Shorty - Do To You (Star Slinger Remix)

16. Jamie Woon – Lady Luck (Hudson Mohawke’s Schmink-Wolf Refix)

15. XV – Swervin’ (Clams Casino Remix)

14. Tyson – Out of My Mind (Star Slinger Remix)

13. Star Slinger – How Will I Copulate (Moranis Mashup feat. Whitney Houston)

12. Aaliyah – Are You That Somebody (Hudson Mohawke Remix)

11. James Vincent McMorrow – If I Had a Boat (Star Slinger’s R ‘n’ B Thug Mix)

10. Gold Panda – Marriage (Star Slinger Remix)

9. Ra Ra Riot – Too Dramatic (The Kids Are Radioactive Remix)

8. Pony Pony Run Run – Hey You (Star Slinger Remix)

7. Alex Winston – Sister Wife (Star Slinger Remix)

6. The Go! Team – Apollo Throwdown (Star Slinger Remix)

5. Rizzle Kicks – Down With the Trumpets (Star Slinger Remix)

4. Coldplay – Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall (Swedish House Mafia Remix)

3. Childish Gambino – Freaks and Geeks (Star Slinger Remix)

2. Bingo Players – Cry (Just a Little) (Kids at the Bar Bootleg Remix)

1. The Joy Formidable – Whirring (Innerpartysystem Remix)


Dec 23 2011

The Top 200 Songs of 2011 – The Top Twenty

20. Wiz Khalifa – Roll Up

Delivering sing-song verses, that trademark stoner laugh, and a chorus you’ve memorized by the second time you’ve heard it, Wiz Khalifa might be one of the laziest rappers on Top 40 radio. But that’s exactly the point. He’s not some uptight, eccentric, crazy ambitious, domineering figure. He’s that pot-smoking friend who’s down for whatever, and if your down, he’s down. The most casual summer jam of the year.

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Dec 22 2011

The Top 200 Songs of 2011 – 50-21

50. Surfer Blood – Miranda

To whet our appetite in between LPs, Surfer Blood released a rocking little EP featuring this excellent little tune.

49. Starsmith – Lesson One

Another band I know little about, but this played nonstop in my car last spring. A great ode to the unrequited and the ones that got away.

48. Cloud Nothings – Understand At All

Another catchy lo-fi power pop rocker from this group’s self-titled debut. Enjoy it while you can, because the follow-up promises to be darker and more ambitious.

47. Kreayshawn – Gucci Gucci

This Internet sensation crept onto FM radio with this undeniable, absolutely fun track. Bonus points for rhyming “over me” with “ovaries.”

46. Born Gold – Decimate Everything

My first introduction to the newly named Born Gold, and I was immediately hooked. There is a remarkable gift here in making the unorganized sound so irresistible.

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