OTR's Favorite Singles of 2011

Hope you had a great Christmas! Ready for New Years?!? For fun I went through my 2011 playlists and picked out some of my favorite singles of the year. I arranged them in some type of cohesive order, but not really best to worst or anything. The only exceptions being track one & two M83's "Midnight City" and Gotye's "Somebody I Used to Know" that are probably my two favorite singles of the year. I included links where you can read posts we did on OTR throughout the year, grab the mp3, check out the video or all of it. Lots of great material/music for you. Enjoy!

P.S. This list doesn't include remixes which there were tons of amazing ones this year that would make up a whole other list.

M83 "Midnight City" (post) (video)
Gotye "Somebody That I Used to Know" (post/mp3/video)
Black Light Dinner Party "Older Together" (post/mp3/video)
Geoffrey O'Connor "Whatever Leads Me To You" (post/mp3/video)
Flight Facilities ft Jess "Foreign Language" (post)
Class Actress "Weekend" (post/mp3)
Metronomy "The Bay" (post/video/remix)
Pallers "Come Rain, Come Sunshine" (post/mp3)
Cut Copy "Need You Now" (post/mp3/video)
The Magician ft Jeppe "I Don't Know What To Do" (post)
Edwin Van Cleef ft Gemini Club "Never Be Alone At Night"(post)
Fabian "This Night" (post) (video)
Venice Beach "Midnite" (link)
Meridian "Magic" (post/mp3/video)
Destroyer "Savage Night at the Opera" (post)
Low Roar "Tonight Tonight Tonight" (post/mp3)
Radiohead "Lotus Flower" (post/video)
Neon Indian "Polish Girl" (link)
Starfucker "Julius" (post/mp3/video)
U.S. Royalty "Monte Carlo" (post/mp3)
Mansions on the Moon "Leaves Fall" (post/mp3)
New Navy "Zimbabwe" (video)
Saint Motel "Puzzle Pieces" (post/mp3) (video)
Johan Agebjorn & Le Prix ft Lake Heartbeat "Watch the World Go By" (post/mp3) (video)
Hooray for Earth "Sails" (post)
Little Majorette "Overflow" (post/mp3)
Strange Talk "Eskimo Boy" (post/mp3/video)
Housse De Racket "Roman" (post/mp3)
Digitalism "2 Hearts" (post/mp3)
Mitzi "All I Heard" (post/mp3)
Foster the People "Pumped Up Kicks" (post/remixes)
Chris Malinchak ft Damon C Scott "No Secrets" (post/mp3) (video)
Goldroom "Morgan's Bay" (post)
Active Child "Hanging On" (post/mp3)
The Horrors "Still Life" (post/video)
The One AM Radio "Sunlight" (post/mp3/video)
Azari & III "Manic" (post/video)
Voltaire Twins "Animalia" (post/mp3/video/remix)
Summer Camp "Better Off Without You" (post/mp3/video)
Sam La More "Paradise" (link)
Bit Funk "Rap Music" (link)
Oliver "I Need You" (post)
Clancy "Panther" (post)
Rambla Boys "Cocomero" (post/mp3)
Baron Von Luxxury "The Last Seduction" (post/mp3/video)

OTR's Favorite Albums of 2011 :: Part 1

Another year has passed and 2011 has left us with some amazing albums! Here is a list I compiled from my favorites as well as favorites from fellow contributors Michael and Erika. We all have slightly different tastes so together it leaves us with a nice representation of the year. These are in no particular order (that would be too difficult/unnecessary to do). Enjoy and thanks for listening! Have a great holiday weekend!

Hooray for Earth :: True Loves

Hooray For Earth was without a doubt the album I listened to the most in 2011. I listened to it when I was inspired to write, happy about something dumb, sad about something dumber, while I was questioning government policies, when I was showering, while I walked to the train, when I was playing board games in the park, while I was laying on the beach eating lobster rolls in Montauk, While I was closing down the bar I worked at... You get the picture, I listened to this album a lot. EO

MP3: Sails - Hooray for Earth

Is Tropical :: Native To

MP3: Land of the Nod - Is Tropical

Destroyer :: Kaputt

Destroyer's 'Kaputt' is probably my favorite record of the year. So smooth and well produced. It's an instant classic. Got many plays from me at home and in my car. Those type of records always stick with me. "Savage Night at the Opera" is near perfection. RM

MP3: Savage Night at the Opera - Destroyer

Azari & III :: Azari & III

Disco house fun. RM

MP3: Reckless (With Your Love) - Azari & III

The New Division :: Shadows

Dark, melodic, atmospheric. Beautiful. RM

MP3: Opium - The New Division

Cut Copy :: Zonoscope

Not as great as 'In Ghost Colours', but they definitely tried to expand their sound and opening track "Need You Now" carries the album on it's shoulders. One of my favorite tracks of the year. Always gets the crowds riled up when I play it out with it's great gradual progression until the peak where he sings "know we're going crazy, but I need you now" at the top of his lungs in full desperation mode. I think we can all relate to that feeling. Always great live too, one of my favorite shows of 2011. RM

MP3: Need You Now - Cut Copy

Foster the People :: Torches

This one got big huh. Who will be able to look back on 2011 and not recall "Pumped Up Kicks" getting blasted practically everywhere. Despite that it still took a hell of a lot of listens before I finally started to grow weary of it and there's lot of other great indie pop tracks here to keep you interested. Now to see if they can handle the difficult sophomore transition. RM

MP3: Waste - Foster the People

Noah and the Whale :: Last Night on Earth

Really enjoyed this indie pop record. Their lead singer has an amazing voice and they had a bunch of great remixes that allowed me to play it on the dance floor as well as my apartment. RM

MP3: Tonight's the Kind of Night - Noah and the Whale

The Drums :: Portamento

Really wasn't expecting to like the new Drums album that much, but I was wrong. Stronger/more varied album than their debut, meaning no sophomore slump here and we all know how often that happens. RM

MP3: Hard to Love - The Drums

Starfucker :: Reptilians

Since it's release last March, this fantastic sophmore album from Portland's Starfucker has been a staple of my 2011 soundtrack. This album is a solid work of smooth electronic synth melodies, great vocals and just the right amount of bleeps, it's amazing single "Julius" being the flagship example. MU

MP3: Julius - Starfucker

The Strokes :: Angles

Seems most best of list's this year forgot/ignored The Strokes, but I'm not sure why. They put out a really fun dancey record with some excellent tracks that saw them change things up a bit. Probably their best since their classic 2001 debut 'Is This It'. I prob would have picked a different first single though, maybe that was it. RM

MP3: Games - The Strokes

The Horrors :: Skying

Another instant classic. The Horrors changed their style again. This time into more of a shoegazey/post punk style and I love it! I didn't think I could like them more and I did. A great late night smokes album. RM

MP3: Still Life - The Horrors

Washed Out :: Within and Without

As one of the original ambassadors of the Dreamwave movement, Washed Out has refined the genre down to a science. This album is so smooth and easy on the ears its like a soft pillow of music to lull you into a magical dream land. Easily his best work to date. MU

MP3: Eyes Be Closed - Washed Out

Real Estate :: Days

Real Estate's 'Days' is easily within my top five albums of this year. An album that is, from start to finish, just plain and simple feel good shoegazey indie rock that's warm, inviting and filled with nostalgia and good feelings. MU

MP3: It's Real - Real Estate

Raveonettes :: Raven in the Grave

MP3: Forget That You're Young - Raveonettes

M83 :: Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

Posssibly the best single to come out in 2011 is M83's "Midnight City" what an amazing track! I liked the album, but I feel it suffered a bit from being too long and instrumental. I'd have cut about half of the tracks and made it a one disc of the best stuff. Then it'd prob be as good as their magnificent 'Saturdays = Youth', but hey I'll take "Midnight City" and the music that he creates which is better than most of the stuff out there, even on his bad days. RM

MP3: Midnight City - M83

Gotye :: Making Mirrors

Found out about this late in the year. "Somebody I Used to Know" is probably one of my favorite songs of the year along with M83's "Midnight City". Heartbreaking and beautiful. I found myself pressing repeat many times with that one and the amazing video for it. RM

MP3: Somebody That I Used to Know - Gotye

Metronomy :: The English Riviera

Thanks to Spotify and Facebook, I know that all my friends were constantly listening to this album as well. It's smooth transitions between pop and electronica make it an album that doesn't get old. I've had a new favorite track weekly since it was released. The kind of fun you remember. EO

MP3: The Bay - Metronomy

St. Vincent :: Strange Mercy

This album finally tames her previous art rock efforts with this beautiful quirk-pop album. It's brutally honest and leaves itself to interpretation which ultimately makes it very accessible (hence it being on everyones best of lists). You don't have to get the depth of her songs to be transfixed. Did I mention she's stunning? EO

MP3: Cheerleader - St. Vincent

The Rapture :: In the Grace of Your Love

MP3: It Takes Time to Be a Man - The Rapture

OTR's Favorite Albums of 2011 :: Part 2

Miracle Fortress :: Was I the Wave?

MP3: Everything Works - Miracle Fortress

The Kills :: Blood Pressures

Really solid album from the Kills this year. Crunchy and gritty all the way through. Impressed! RM

MP3: Satellite - The Kills

PJ Harvey :: Let England Shake

MP3: Let England Shake - PJ Harvey

Casa Del Mirto :: 1979

I'm not sure if this came out at the end of 2010 or right in the beginning of 2011. Amazon says January 15th so I'm gonna have to include it on here. A great chillwave record that works well on road trips. RM

MP3: The Haste - Casa Del Mirto

Generationals :: Actor-Caster

I don't think there is a single album that got more listening out of it for me during the summer of 2011 than the Generationals' Actor-Caster. The New Orleans band puts out very straight forward, upbeat indie rock that song after song is addictive and catchy, probably none more so than the albums opener "Ten-Twenty-Ten". MU

MP3: Ten-Twenty-Ten - Generationals

Fleet Foxes :: Helplessness Blues

I realize that folk rock of this caliber is a bit of an acquired taste. But no one can deny that this album deserves its place in the years Best Of list. It is a highly skillful work and probably Fleet Foxes most creative/experimental effort yet. These guys are true artists and tracks like the albums namesake "Helplessness Blues" demonstrate their brilliance. MU

MP3: Helplessness Blues - Fleet Foxes

Neon Indian :: Era Extraña

While Neon Indian has always had skills in electronic noise-pop, Era Extraña is a much more of a refined work than it's predecessor Psychic Chasms. He has maintained, yet edited and sculpted, his experimentalism into this well produced album that makes masterpieces out of reverb soaked vocals and deep layers of electronic bleeps and bloops. MU

MP3: Polish Girl - Neon Indian

Twin Sister :: In Heaven

In Heaven is a really fun album full of dreamy indie-pop gems. While my favourite Twin Sister song still has to be "Lady Daydream" from their 2k10 release Color Your Life, this, as the band's debut full length, really explores their unique sound. A prime example of which is its track Bad Street, which is a quirky fun pop jam. MU

MP3: Bad Street - Twin Sister

Lykke Li :: Wounded Rhymes

Lykke Li is a true artist. Her pop sensibility really shines in this dark, heart-break themed yet often musically upbeat album. Tracks, like "Sadness Is a Blessing" have not only enchanted us throughout this year, but have also given us some of the most amazing accompanying music videos showing the extent of the lovely Swede's creative prowess. MU

MP3: Sadness is a Blessing - Lykke Li

Girls :: Father, Son, Holy Ghost

MP3: Honey Bunny - Girls

Cults :: Cults

MP3: Go Outside - Cults

Florence and the Machine :: Ceremonials

MP3: Spectrum - Florence and the Machine

Nurses :: Dracula

MP3: So Sweet - Nurses

Tune-Yards - W H O K I L L

MP3: Powa - Tune-Yards

Class Actress :: Rapprocher

"Weekend" is one of the funnest indie dance singles of the year. Perfect for getting ready for that most fun time of the week. RM

MP3: Weekend - Class Actress

Holy Ghost! :: Holy Ghost!

They made us wait a long time, but Holy Ghost! finally gave us an album after years of only singles here and there and it was worth the wait! So many great dance tracks on here "Wait and See", "Hold My Breath", "Say My Name". I definitely played these out tons in my DJ sets throughout the year. RM

MP3: Wait and See - Holy Ghost!

Little Dragon :: Ritual Union

MP3: Ritual Union - Little Dragon

Peter, Bjorn & John :: Gimme Some

Another album kinda like The Strokes that didn't quite catch on this year despite being classic PB&J indie pop and having one of the coolest album art works around. RM

MP3: May Seem Macabre - Peter Bjorn & John

Panda Bear :: Tomboy

MP3: Surfer's Hymn - Panda Bear

 Tennis :: Cape Dory

Can't believe I almost left this one out! With Its January of 2011 release, Tennis' album 'Cape Dory' was so early in the year it was easy to confuse it with a 2010 release. However, this one was easily one of the best albums of the year. Like a breathe of fresh sea air, it is from start to finish a whimsy throwback nautical summer vacation in sound, which is funny considering the duo is from Denver. Cape Dory is the ultimate get-away album that has accompanied me on many a road-trip throughout the year! MU

MP3: Seafarer - Tennis

Black Lips :: Arabia Nights

MP3: Bicentennial Man - Black Lips

Motor :: Man Made Machine ft Martin Gore

Busy working on our favorites of 2011! In the meantime check out this new video by Motor ft the one and only Martin Gore (Depeche Mode). Martin's been busy this year. New project with Vince Clark (VCMG) and just saw this today. Wonder what else he may be working on?

Zambri :: To Keep Back (Video)

Zambri who I have been gushing over the past year, just released a new video for "To Keep Back" off their recent debut 'Glossolia'. The video directed by Milton Ladd is stunning. Zambri is most definitely one of the most powerful acts I experienced in 2011. The originality in everything they produce is so refreshing in a world where over produced ringtone pop is king.

ZAMBRI - TO KEEP BACK from meringuemeringue on Vimeo.

Edwin Van Cleef :: Falling / December DJ Mix

UK's Edwin Van Cleef has had a great year and he's not slowing down at the end of it. He's just finishing up his first North American Tour and releasing new single "Falling" December 18th. Plus as he does every month he's released another excellent December DJ Mix. Check out / grab the goodies below including a Chilly Gonzalez instrumental edit that he's done and offering as a free download. Merry Christmas to us!

Edwin van Cleef - Falling (Preview) by Edwin van Cleef

Chilly Gonzales - You Can Dance (Edwin van Cleef Instrumental) by Edwin van Cleef

Edwin van Cleef - December Mix 2011 by Edwin van Cleef

Black Bananas

Not really sure how to really describe the sound of Black Bananas (formerly RTX), other than to say its quite unlike anything I've heard before, which is pretty impressive in and of itself. Its like, all the awesomeness of an 80's metal band but like in a radioactive soup of bizarre electronic experimentalism. Plus they have some pretty awesome cover art. Their first album Rad Times Xpress IV is set to drop on January 31st, but they've given us a good idea of what to expect with the albums namesake track "Rad Times" which you all can check out/download below.

MP3: Rad Times - Black Bananas


Gotta love music recommends from friends, especially when they consistently give you good finds. Like this latest recommend my friend Rocky Grimes who designed our OTR tee's gave me for Portland, Oregon three piece band Blouse. Did some investigating and seems like they have been garnering lots of attention. Making it onto Gorrilla Vs Bear's top tracks of 2011 and being featured in magazines like Nylon, Fader & Spin. They have a dark lo-fi sound with dreamy female vocals that I'm always attracted to.

Here's a couple great tracks from their self titled debut album "Videotapes" and "Into Black" that will be a good introduction, plus their video for "Videotapes". If you dig these I'd grab the rest of the record. Good stuff!

MP3: Videotapes - Blouse

MP3: Into Black - Blouse

Matthew Dear :: Headcage

Free new Matthew Dear track?? Hell yes! Mr. Dear has a new EP Headcage out January 17th on Ghostly Intl and he's offering the title track "Headcage" as a free download. I for one am a taker. It continues in the tradition of his great last album 'Black City'. Dark electronic deliciousness. Check it out below.

Matthew Dear - Headcage by ghostly

Snow Patrol :: Fallen Empires

How I loved Snow Patrol's 2003 album 'Final Straw'. So many great tracks on that. "Chocolate", "Run", "Gleaming Auction", I burned the heck out of that album. I since lost touch with them, but I've always had a soft spot for the lead singer's voice. Fast forward to 2012 and they will be releasing new album 'Fallen Empires' on January 10th. They have a video for the single "Called Out in the Dark" that will be featured on the upcoming album and I'm digging it. Maybe I'll give them a second chance. We shall see.

Called Out In The Dark by Snow Patrol

Air :: Seven Stars (Featuring Victoria Legrand)

I was super excited to see that French electronic band Air is finally back with a new album! Fans of the art house/indie film industry will know that Air are masters of the soundtrack with their gem of an album they did for Sofia Coppola's Virgin Suicides a while back. Now they are back with whats shaping up to be a gorgeous soundscape for a hand-painted, full colour re-release of the famous 1902 silent film La Voyage Dans La Lune! Really excited for this one! They have given us a preview with an early release of the albums track "Seven Stars", which features the vocals of Beach House's lead lady Victoria Legrand, that make it all the more hauntingly beautiful and epic. This, the bands 7th album, which shares the title of the film La Voyage Dans La Lune is due for a February 6, 2012 release. For now, enjoy the streamable version of "Seven Stars" below.

Meridian :: Magic

Got sent this great soulful pop track/video "Magic" from Brooklyn, NY duo Meridian. Great track that has already gotten many plays from me. Excited to have them on our radar so wanted to share the love. If you like what you hear it's a free download. Now that sounds even better. Enjoy!

Magic by Meridiansound