Here’s the first of two installments of my favorite songs of 2011. Again, these aren’t THE tops, they’re only MY tops! Part two will be posted on Friday, so you can have two full days to lick your chops in anticipation of my full Top 20 mix of the year. Stay tuned.
11. Teddybears feat. Robyn / “Cardiac Arrest”
Album: Devil’s Music
My favorite Swedish pop star teams up with my favorite Swedish electro band to make the best song to do aerobics to this year.
12. The Mountain Goats / “High Hawk Season”
Album: All Eternals Deck
I love it when John Darnielle goes a capella. Oh hell, I love it when John Darnielle does just about anything. (Follow @mountain_goats on Twitter and see what I mean.)
13. Shannon & The Clams / “Baby Don’t Do It”
Album: Sleep Talk
Label: 1-2-3-4 Go!
I fished this album out of the KFSR reject bin this past spring based on the awesome album cover alone, and I discovered an awesome garage band in the process.
14. The Quiet Americans / “Be Alone”
Album: Medicine – EP
Sounds great bumping out of my car stereo on cassette tape, plus Luke Giffen made a sweetly affecting homemade video to go with.
15. Leftover Cuties / “Lost in the Sea”
Album: Places to Go
Label: self released
Old-timey and charming jazz/folk out of a Venice Beach speakeasy. They’re a new favorite of my friend Eldon Daetweiler.
16. J Mascis / “Not Enough”
Album: Several Shades of Why
Label: Sub Pop
In which the frontman of an important indie rock band makes a solo acoustic rock record and it actually sounds legit.
17. PJ Harvey / “Written on the Forehead”
Album: Let England Shake
This is my favorite new PJ Harvey song since “This is Love” blew me away more than ten years ago.
18. House of Wolves / “ ’50s”
Album: Fold in the Wind
Label: self released
This SoCal bedroom musician knows how to make orchestration translate into elegiac goodness. Bon Iver, who?
19. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks / “Senator”
Album: Mirror Traffic
Oh S.M., you so fonny. I love it when you get all political.
20. Dale Stewart / “Governator”
Album: Water Wars
Fresno punk rock icon had to rewrite the lyrics to this song after Arnold Schwarzenegger’s secret love child was revealed. It’s a terrific song, either version.