It was only after compiling my Top 10 favorite songs of 2011 that I noticed how, with the exception of one track (“Go Outside”), all of them are on independent labels.
That was entirely unintentional, as was the disproportionate number of new acts on the list. (Seven out of 10 have yet to release more than one album or EP.)
All of which, I think, speaks well for today's music — although possibly not for the industry itself.
You can read all about these songs and the artists behind them in Thursday's issue — or here — and I hope you will. But ultimately, it’s the music that matters most, which is why I'm posting these videos for all ten songs, in order of preference, so you can hear them yourself.
Also, if you’re interested, the Indy has interviewed most of the artists included here. (We interview around 150 artists each year in our music section, so these things happen.) You’ll find links to all those stories below as well.
And finally, I should emphasize the fact that I'm not passing these off as the best of 2011, mainly because I think anyone who makes that kind of claim is either dishonest or delusional. Some 100,000 albums came out this past year, and you'd have to listen to three a day to hear just 1% of them. Even if there were such a thing as an objective "10 Best" out there, no one would know for sure what they are.
So instead, these are the songs and performances that meant the most to me as a music writer and fan in 2011, the ones I can put on and still get a sense that there’s nothing else I’d rather be listening to at that moment.
Have a listen and let me know what you think.
1. Ghostpoet, ‘Survive It’
2. Lianne La Havas, ‘Final Form’
3. Fitz and the Tantrums, ‘Don’t Gotta Work It Out’
Read our Fitz interview here
4. Che Bong, ‘Okay’
Read our Che Bong interview here
5. Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers,
‘The Chelsea Clinic Physical’
Read our Shilpa Ray interview here
6. Mike Clark, ‘Hey Daisy’
Read our Mike Clark interview here
7. Atmosphere, ‘The Last to Say’
Read our Atmosphere interview here
8. El Toro de la Muerte, ‘The Chattering of Rats’
Read our El Toro interview here
9. Cults, ‘Go Outside’
Read our Cults interview here
10. Tokyo Jihen, ‘Kaze ni Ayakatte Ike’
(‘Go With the Wind’)