I felt that 2011 was a weak year for full length albums but was a very strong year for individual songs. Panda Bear faltered slightly on “Tomboy” but the album was nestled with great tunes. Radiohead’s latest “King of Limbs” was overshadowed by their performance of the same songs on “In The Basement”. It was an odd year indeed.
Shabazz Palaces – Free Press and Curl (KEXP live version)
If you haven’t watched Shabazz Palaces performance on KEXP do yourself a favor and at least check out “Bop Hard“, an unreleased new tune. This version of “Free Press and Curl” is superior to the strong album version. With live drums and new harmonies this song steps up to the next level. If you need further convincing fast forward to the 3:00 min mark and enjoy.
Radiohead – Little By Little (In the Basement version)
Had Radiohead released the “In The Basement” versions of these songs as their formal release, there is no doubt that it would have been my album of the year. This version of “Little By Little” is my song of the year. It sounds much less electronic, a lot more organic and you can actually hear the awesome guitar line.
Real Estate – It’s Real
“It’s Real” is an infectious little ear worm with a hook of a guitar line and sing along chorus. This is easily the most fun I have had listening to a song in a long while.
Youth Lagoon – Posters
Starting out like it was recorded in the depths of a well, “Posters” morphs (much like its undulating synth line) into a nice little mid tempo jam, when the guitar kicks in. His voice is a slight adjustment but this is a tightly packed tune.
Fleet Foxes – Montezuma
I expected a step backwards from Fleet Foxes debut, instead I got amazing jams like “Montezuma”. Chalk full of harmonies and instruments, it is everything I have come to expect from FF yet it feels like a nice step forward.
Battles – Ice Cream
The opposite of Fleet Foxes, I expected Battles sophomore album to be a step forward but it got tied up in its own lofty ideas. But that doesn’t keep this tune from being great and the video being a trip.
Charles Bradley – Why Is It So Hard
Soul music is back, or at least Charles Bradley is doing his best to bring it back. Great song craft on display and even better singing, this is the kinda music Otis Redding was giving the world in his prime……And those are lofty words.
Panda Bear – Last Night At The Jetty
One of the lone standouts from “Tomboy” it is truly hard to resist. Bouncy guitars and the standard Panda Bear repetition that is very hard to clear from your mind. I wish the rest of the album was this strong.