Tag Archives: Austra

HIGH ROTATION 2011 – My best o’ the year mix

5 Feb

It’s 2012! Time to take stock of the past year and determine which artists and bands contributed most to my love of music and my optimism for future tunes. Though 2012 is upon us, I’m still tying up loose ends from 2011. I managed to get my High Rotation done in time for Christmas but I’m a bit late with posting it online. I actually had two versions this year, which I try never to do, but I ran out of listening time and made V1 too quickly. Of course then I end up regretting taking specific tracks off, and putting other tracks on, but that’s another story.

It always happens this way. In December I’m met with a deluge of tracks/albums/mixtapes to sift through because all the “Best of” lists come out and I don’t want to miss anything important. But I always do. Case and point: Pretty Lights and Phantogram had great albums in 2010 and I didn’t know till recently! Gah!

Nevermind. It irritates me when other people are full of regrets so I won’t indulge in this too much. Suffice it to say that I’m happy to know what I know when I know about it.

For those who aren’t aware, my High Rotation is a tracklist containing a selection of my highest-played songs that squeaks in just under 80 mins. Keep in mind these are my fave tracks of the year. For fave albums, see below “Top Ten Albums of 2011.”

I like to make this mix each year for two reasons: 1.) I can’t stand when people say there’s no new, good music anymore. There is! So much more than you or I will ever know. 2.) I love to listen to and talk about music, so if I spread this love via the Internet or CD, then we will have even more to bond over!

So let’s get started.

Here are the Top Ten Albums of 2011 – According to me:

(And yes, they are in a specific order)

Note: The Artists’ name links to their web page; the album name links to their album on iTunes, if available.

1.) Austra Feel it Break (Deluxe Edition)

In a word: Supernatural

Perfect for: Transcending time and space inside your head. Elevating life’s simple doldrums to the ranks of gods and superheroes. Lightning bolts! Thunder clouds! Crashing waves! Life cannot be boring set to this otherworldly, epic score.  The Deluxe Version includes the most beautiful rendition of Roy Orbison’s Crying that I’ve ever heard, and this is coming from a huge fan of Mullholland Drive. Best of the year for sure.

2.) M83 Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

In a word: Creative

Perfect for: Coming up with new ideas. Put this on while making things and you’ll be quite surprised at what you turn out. Listen to Raconte-moi une histoire and try not to create something new and interesting. I dare you! The entire album vibrates with a high, fevered emotional pitch. Oh, and Midnight City is the best song of 2011 — full stop.

3.) SBTRKT – SBTRKT

In a word: Party

Perfect for: Shakin’ alla whatcha got. I went to Burning Man in 2011 and was totally overwhelmed by the massive amount of electronic music I took in all day, every day, for seven days straight. I would get on and off the various art cars, grinning from ear to ear, but still wishing for something a little different in terms of music. If SBTRKT had an art car there, I would’ve never gotten off.

4.) Pretty Lights I Know the Truth (single)

In a word: Confident

Perfect for: Getting. Shit. Done. Whether it’s asking for something you want, telling some crazy bitch to eff off, sticking up for yourself at work, or thoughtfully articulating your boundaries to a friend — put this track on and you will have no fear. Or better yet, “no mercy.”

5.) Kurt Vile Smoke Ring for my Halo

In a word: Affection

Perfect for: Sitting alone, thinking about the people you love and why you love them: their idiosyncratic tics; the way their eyes crinkle at the corners when they smile; their pitch of their voice that is totally distinctive; the way they look when the sun hits their face. Put this on and think about who you love, and why. Then tell them.

6.) Bon Iver Bon Iver

In a word: Relaxation

Perfect for: Clearing the cobwebs outta your brain, or visiting the spa inside your mind. It feels like recumbent relaxation with cucumbers on your eyes while a lovely person gives you a foot massage. Self-pampering at it’s finest.

7.) Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues

In two words: Growth and reflection

Perfect for: Pondering your unique place in the world. Reaching a new level of self-awareness. Getting older and realizing this eternal struggle comes with the priceless gift of inner wisdom. Ah!

8.) The Weeknd – House of Balloons

In a word: Sensual

Perfect for: Seeking out sensory pleasures when you know they’re bad for you. Sort of like a random hook-up with an ex, or staying out too late when you know you have stuff to do the next day. You’ll pay, but dammit it was fun at the time.

9.) Elite Gymnastics Ruin

In a word: Daydream

Perfect for: Zoning out on cars or buses, watching the world whiz by while your thoughts float back and forth. Or dancing by yourself at 4 am after everybody’s left the party, staring at your sparkly toenail polish and wondering how it all got to be so complicated.

10.) Mexicans with Guns Ceremony

In a word: Progress

Perfect for: Taking disparate things and meshing them together to create something new and brilliant. Also perfect for reneging on past statements like, “I don’t listen to dubstep.” When I say something like this out loud I usually end up taking it back soon after. Thank goodness!

Also check out this guy’s crazy/disturbing videos based on Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain. Some seriously twisted stuff.

In four words: GO BUY THESE PLEEZ!

To conclude, here’s mixtape of Smalltown DJs’ best tracks of 2011. Suuuper good beats up in herr, and a host of new songs for me to obsess over! I’m loving Don’t Move by Phantogram.

Also, this nguzunguzu mix tape is soooooooooooo goooood:

It’s gonna be a good year.

First two photos taken by Kate Semrau; second photo edited by me, featuring Steph Bowen.

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