If you have been following the Best Songs of 2011 series, you know that we are in the midst of creating a total of 12 volumes of the best songs of 2011 – one for each month of the year. Unlike most ‘best songs’ lists, we are creating each volume chronologically by the month in which the songs were first featured on IRC.
So far, January, February and March have been completed (click the month to access each mixtape), and the number of visits to those mixes has been impressive – over 115,000 so far. The best songs are based on which tracks all of you listened to and downloaded the most for the month in question. Therefore, this is truly a Listeners’ Choice music series.
Now it’s time to highlight the month of April, which saw fantastic releases from artists and bands like The Kills, The Raveonettes, Panda Bear, Foo Fighters, Crystal Stilts, Wild Nothing, Arctic Monkeys, Beach Fossils, to name a few.
This first batch of tracks represents the four No. 1 weekly songs for April 2011. Not surprisingly, many of the albums from which the Best Songs of 2011 originate from will also appear in IRC’s Best Albums of 2011 series starting next month. The spectacular garage rock duo, The Kills, captured the first No. 1 song spot for April with the track, “Satellite.”
The No. 1 song for the second week of April easily went to “Surfer’s Hymn” off the long-awaited sophomore solo album from Panda Bear, Tomboy. For the third week of April, the lesser known band Tuneyards took the top slot with their single, “Bizness,” and the French Horn Rebellion prevailed in the last week of the month with their new track, “This Moment.”
– The Kills from Blood Pressures
Early April – The Kills, The Raveonettes, Scattered Trees, Maritime, Panda Bear, Foo Fighters, Crystal Stilts
The Kills are one of our favorite female/male garage rock duos. In fact, we can only hope they keep going well beyond the 10-year mark they achieved last year. While The White Stripes are officially disbanded, it’s easy for us to say that The Kills’ are our favorite still-active girl/guy rock duo. The Kills’ latest album, Blood Pressures, released last April, was one of our favorite albums of 2011 from the start, and eight months later (wow, Old Man Time, you move pretty fast for an old guy). It was no surprise that two of the songs from the LP were two of the top three songs for the first week of April.
And if that wasn’t enough for lovers of garage rock duos, the Danish duo The Raveonettes also dropped their latest album, Raven In The Grave, roughly the same time as The Kills. The fact that all the Top Ten Songs are picked by the number of plays and downloads makes the 10 list even more special. Other new singles from Scattered Trees, Maritime, Cold Cave, Glasvegas, Code Pie, and Wolf Ram Heart also made it into the Top Ten Songs, and thus the top songs for April 2011.
Scattered Trees are a band that crossed our radar early in 2011 with the lead track, “A Conversation About Death on New Years Eve,” not really because of the catchy title (we try to avoid falling for gimmicks), but the fact that it’s a great song by a band not many music lovers have heard of. Also, The Raveonettes second chart-ranking single, “Forget That You’re Young,” rounded out the Top 5 of the first full week of April’s Top Ten Songs mix. Click here to hear the other five tracks.
– Scattered Trees from
Maritime, Cold Cave, Glasvegas, Code Pie and Wolf Ram Heart.
April, Week Two: Panda Bear Release; Coachella and Record Store Day
April 10th – April 16th
This was a big week in music, in addition to Best New Releases from artists like Panda Bear, Foo Fighters and Crystal Stilts, there was the massive preparation that went into preparing and posting IRC’s guide to the 4th annual Record Store Day.
We literally reviewed many dozens, perhaps over one hundred, special RSD-only limited edition vinyls released by bands ranging from Radiohead and Foo Fighters to Foster The People and The Rolling Stones. And if all of that wasn’t exciting enough for music lovers, the second week of April was also all about Coachella, so it was another excuse to create a mixtape of some of our favorite artists at Coachella 2011. Read our mini-rant about the commercialization of music festivals at the end of this post. Notwithstanding, it was yet another outstanding year for Coachella; and each year, they’re getting better at every aspect of the festival, from the line-up to the sanitation – both are key to a festival’s success.
After a long, long wait for fans, Animal Collective founding member Noah Lennox (aka, Panda Bear), released his latest solo album, Tomboy, an LP that we’ve been enjoying considerably, and so have many of you. Therefore, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that two tracks we featured from Tomboy took the top spots, followed by Foo Fighters, Crystal Stilts, Ghost Heart, Holy Ghost, Agnes Obel, Mazes, The White Stripes and The Beastie Boys. All based on which songs you guys play and download the most for the week.
– Foo Fighters from
Listen to more Top Ten tracks for the week of April 10-16.
On the same Saturday that Coachella (get the Coachella mix) was in full swing, bands, labels and music lovers – especially vinyl collectors – were partaking in the fourth annual Record Store Day. Not only was it the largest RSD in as far as the number of participating record stores across the U.S. and around the world, RSD 2011 also saw more limited edition vinyls and other limited releases, from reissues to special imports and compilations to cover songs.
On Record Store Day, the iconic Beastie Boys, who helped bring hip-hop to a larger worldwide audience 20 years ago, released a new track, “Make Some Noise” from their latest album, Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2 (listen/download the full mix here). The track just barely missed the Top 10 list for that week. Another RSD single was the cheerily, upbeat indie pop of “Plastic Flowers” (from The Wake) by Beach Fossils limited edition vinyl that the band split with Wild Nothing.
“Plastic Flowers” (The Wake) – Beach Fossils from split vinyl Beach Fossils/Wild Nothing
“Gruesome Castle” (The Wake) – Wild Nothing from split vinyl Beach Fossils/Wild Nothing
– Arctic Monkeys from RSD single
April 17th – April 23rd
The Top Ten for the third week of April highlighted some talented new bands who elevated their profile, and expanded their fan base, with some note-worthy new albums from which originated standout singles, including the No. 1 track “Bizness” from Tuneyards, followed by The Head and the Heart‘s first significant single from the Subpop Records‘ re-released, self-titled debut, “Lost in My Mind.” They also took the No. 4 slot with another track from the album, “Chasing A Ghost.” In 2009, the Seattle band self-released their debut, and it caught on, selling some 10,000 copies in just a few months. It’s fair to say that The Head and the Heart, thanks in part to being scooped up by Subpop, really broke out as a serious indie folk-pop band in 2011.
Not far behind at No. 3 for the third week of April was the incredibly catchy, melodic indie pop-rock of I’m From Barcelona, a Swedish band which we have been enjoying since the 29 member band released their first EP and LP in 2006. Ever since then, the IFB collective has continued to turn out material which has evolved, and shown just how wonderfully eclectic the band’s music offerings are.
– I’m From Barcelona from Forever Today
For the final week of April, The French Horn Rebellion, a breakout band in 2011, grab the No. 1 spot, as featured with the other number one’s at the beginning of the post. Following closely behind at No. 2 was the newest irresistible single from Times New Viking, a band that is really one of our favorites to emerge over the past few years. Their track “Ever Falling In Love” from their album, Dancer Equired, was neck-and-neck with the FHR for the No. 1 spot, easily making it one of the best songs of the month. The band’s 2008 album, Rip It Off, one of our favorites of that year, received a 8 out of 10 from NME and even reached No. 17 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart. New York via Philadelphia indie rock band Matt Pond PA returns with somewhat of a new sound on their lead single, “Love To Get Used,” from the EP, Spring Fools, followed by another emerging 2011 band, Painted Palms and the ever-reliable The Globes.
Spring Fools EP– Matt Pond PA from
“All of Us” – Painted Palms from EP
“Stay Awake” – The Globes from Future Songs
More Singles from April – Cold Cave, Scattered Trees, Maritime, Cursed Arrows, Glasvegas
The Top Ten Songs lists are awesome – and visitor determined based on streams and downloads – but there are plenty of other great songs from April playlist mixes that don’t make the Top 10, but do make the Top 20 and Top 30 – if we were to expand the Top Ten. Of course, the first recommendation we’d make is to listen to more mixtapes from April if you enjoy the tracks featured so far in this special Best Songs of 2011, Vol. IV mixtape. In fact, you can access all April mixes below. But first, let’s check out more highlighted tracks from mixes for the first half of April. Some of these will surely include tracks that many of you have never heard before.
– Cold Cave from
– Scattered Trees from
…Many others coming up…still have May through December. Listen to and download Best Songs of 2011 – January through March.