Best Songs of 2011, Vol. VI – The Vaccines, Black Lips, Vetiver, Bon Iver, Beirut, Blackbird Blackbird, The Postelles, Jeff The Brotherhood
Even though 2011 is officially history, we still have plenty of ‘best of 2011′ music posts in the works to be published in the coming weeks. For the past couple of months, we’ve been digging through our post archives and putting together Best Songs of 2011 mixes by month. This installment is focused on the first month of summer – June 2011.
June of 2011 was an exciting month for new music, whether it was the riveting new album from The Vaccines, the latest drop from the Black Lips, the rocking new album from Vetiver or the game-changing self-titled LP from indie superstars, Bon Iver. As with each of the installments for the best songs of 2011, we start it all off with the top No. 1 songs for each week, as determined by IRC listeners.
The first No. 1 song for the month of June – as determined by the number of times listeners’ streamed and downloaded tracks we posted that week – goes to the spectacular lead single off The Vaccines‘ latest album, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? The enthralling, summertime-appropriate track, “If You Wanna,” just nudged out the band’s other single, “Norgaard,” which scored the No. 2 slot, making it a good week for The Vaccines – one of our favorite bands of 2011.
“If You Wanna” – The Vaccines from What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
“Norgaard” – The Vaccines from What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?
For the second week of June, the much anticipated new album from Black Lips, Arabia Mountain, saw the release of the first single, “Modern Art,” which beat out No. 2 and No. 3 tracks, by radar band, City and Colour, and breakout band, Almost Free, for the No. 1 spot. Listen to the entire Top 10 Songs list for the second week of June to hear tracks from Cults, The Postelles, Dawes and others. See more about those bands further down in this post.
By Week Three in June, the new single, “Can’t You Tell” from Vetiver‘s new album, The Errant Charm, took off like wild fire after we featured it in that week’s Best New Releases, capturing the No. 1 spot on the Top 10 Songs. Vetiver, who’ve definitely had their blogger and mainstream music press accolades over the past few years, beat out bands most “indie” lovers haven’t even heard of: 13& God, Last Dinosaurs, I Only Date Models, The Black Atlantic, Bodies of Water, and others. The Errant Charm is one of the best albums of 2011. No doubt.
Listen to all of the fabulous new tracks from that week’s Top 10 list – based on IRC listener’s favorite songs. Some of the other top tracks of that week are also posted further down in the second half of this long post (we sort of have a reputation for the long posts with lots of songs, and it turns out, people eat it up because it’s simple, loaded with great music and easily accessible.
We hate sites that make it so difficult to get to the music, or that make you click ten times to read one post, or that don’t make it easy to download free and legal MP3s (hint: right click on the song link; and click ‘Save As’). We didn’t want to do that. While including a few ads was a hot debate, and done reluctantly, the simple truth is there has to be a way to pay the costs to run the site, and trust us, the earnings from ads are not anywhere near what people might think.
During the fourth week of June, 2011, the most significant single of the entire month, if not the whole of summer, “Calgary,” from the genius minds of indie’s newest darlings, Bon Iver, rocketed easily to the No. 1 spot for the week, beating out the nearest competitors, Beirut and Peter Bjorn and John, who captured No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, with their latest singles. One of the cool things about this week’s Top 10 is the fact that the top two tracks are names of places – “Calgary,” and Beirut’s “East Harlem.”
Bon Iver catapulted out of the ‘indie’ realm, if you will, to worldwide recognition after they being nominated for a Grammy in 2007. It’s safe to say that the nucleus of Bon Iver, Justin Vernon, is one of the most accomplished songwriters and musicians of our time. In live performances, Vernon is joined by Michael Noyce, Sean Carey, and Matthew McCaughan.
In 2007, after spending three months in a cabin in the mountains writing and recording the brilliant For Emma, Forever Ago, Vernon self released the album to the world. Within weeks, Bon Iver was one of the hottest DIY musicians on indie blogs and music sites across the web. Within months, Vernon was being called a genius. The follow-up to the Grammy nominated For Emma, Forever Ago, the ironically self-titled sophomore album, Bon Iver, released in Week Four of June 2011, is easily one of the top five albums of the year.
“East Harlem” – Beirut from The Rip Tide – out August 30th
“Breaker Breaker” – Peter Bjorn and John from single
Because week one of June shared days with the end of May, we technically ended up with five Top 10 Songs list for the month. The last few days of June shared a music week with the days leading right up to July 4. For that week, the 2011 breakout band Blackbird Blackbird took the No. 1 spot with the drippy, syrupy chillwave track, “Sunspray,” totally appropriate for the end of June and beginning of July.
Another ‘really indie’ band, Black Whales, reached the No. 2 spot with their track “Lately,” and coming in at No. 3 was another relatively unknown band, Shabazz Palaces, followed at No. 4 by The Island of Misfit Toys. Remarkably, all of these tracks beat out the new single from Julian Casablancas (The Strokes) titled “Rave On” from the Buddy Holly tribute album, Rave On Buddy Holly. See more about these tracks further down in this post.
“Sunspray” – Blackbird Blackbird from Summer Heart
“Infinitum” – Shabazz Palaces from Black Up
Listen to the entire Top 10 Songs playlist for the last week of June, and part of the first week of July 2011.
The Other Top Tracks of June 2011: Kids on a Crime Spree, Robert Pollard, My Morning Jacket, Son Lux, The Postelles, The Coathangers and Many More
The following are some other best songs of the first week of June, including some of the Top 10 tracks. A surprise IRC hit from the band Mando Diao climbed up to take the No. 3 spot for that week. The Oakland Spector-ian band Kids on a Crime Spree broke out of obscurity in 2011 with the mini sugary hit, “Sweet Tooth,” that is such an infectious pop track you wish it wouldn’t end as soon as it does. Following KOACS, the one and only Robert Pollard rounded out the Top 5 with his lead single, “In A Circle” from the LP, Lord of the Birdcage.
“Dance with Somebody” – Mando Diao from Give Me Fire!
“Sweet Tooth” – Kids On a Crime Spree from We Love You So Bad
“In A Circle” – Robert Pollard from Lord of the Birdcage
The tracks for the Top 5 of Week One all came from that week’s Best New Releases. But there also a lot of other great tracks from that week that landed on the bottom half of the Top 10, including awesome songs from Seapony, Son Lux, and Miwa Gemini and Ocote Soul Sounds. It was a little bit surprising that the title track from My Morning Jacket’s latest album, Circuital, only reached No. 8.
Seapony delivers a Cults meets The Vaccines style of pure pop delight with “Dreaming,” and Son Lux delivers the Beach Boys-influenced experimental electronic pop of “Rising,” complete with orchestrated infusions, harmonic choruses, sound effects, flute interludes. Perhaps if “Rising” were a bit more engaging, and had a hook to it, it would have placed higher on the Top 10 Songs mix for the first week of June.
Listen to all the top ten songs for week one of June.
“Circuital” – My Morning Jacket from Circuital
“Dreaming” – Seapony from Go With Me
“Rising” – Son Lux from We Are Rising
Week Two – June 5 – June 11, 2011: The Wooden Birds, The Postelles, Ladybug Transistor, The Coathangers
The super duo The Postelles delivered one of the top summer songs of 2011 with the release of the single, “123 Stop” from their self-titled debut album. The bottom half of the Top 10 for the second week of June features some spectacular tracks from bands like The Rosebuds, Dawes, Ladybug Transistor, and The Coathangers.
While the Dawes’ track is a bit too country-ish to make it on our permanent MP3 playlists in iTunes, the tracks from longtime electro post punk band Ladybug Transistor, and the raw, garage rockers, The Coathangers - a new band added to the growing list of garage rockers – released their new album, Larceny & Old Lace, much to our delight in June and it almost immediately went into our ‘favorite albums of 2011′ playlist. We definitely would have liked to see The Postelles and The Coathangers a bit higher on the Top 10, but again, it’s our listeners who decide the weekly Top Ten Songs.
Listen to all of Week Two of June 2011′s Top 10 Songs.
Please note: The Top 10 Songs page – which contains literally hundreds of great songs from 2011 to download for free – will be moving to an archive page for 2011 so that we can start the 2012 Top 10 Songs lists, which will be coming soon. Also, you can access and download hundreds of songs from 2010′s Top 10 Songs page here.
Other posts published during Week Two include the weekly Best New Releases (with Black Lips, Givers, Arctic Monkeys) our coverage of the annual BFD Festival in Mt. View, California (adjacent to Google headquarters), featuring The Strokes, Snoop Dog, and, of course, Bonnaroo 2011. Here are some tracks from each post which you can see by clicking on the festival name link.
“Enzymes” – The Freelance Whales, single 12/10
Plus, that week we also presented our post-Sasquatch Festival coverage, highlighting Day Three, with observations and reports from the Sasquatch site in the badlands of central Washington state. Features music from Sasquatch headliners, including Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips, The Drums, Tokyo Police Club, Beach House, Yeasayer, and many others.
“Dramamine” – Modest Mouse from This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About (1996)
Week Three – June 2011: Last Dinosaurs, I Only Date Models, The Black Atlantic, Bodies of Work and More
The entire Top 10 Songs mixtape for the third week of June (June 12 – June 18) 2011 is one our favorite Top 10 mixes of the entire summer. It features an awesome variety of keeper tracks from spectacular bands that we guarantee most people have never heard of: the funky electro dance pop of 13 & God; the catchy, melodic post rock of “As Far As Your Concerned,” by an IRC Band You Gotta Hear, Brisbane, Australia’s Last Dinosaurs; the potential college radio hit, “This Ends Tomorrow,” from another IRC Band You Gotta Hear, Nottingham, England quartet I Only Date Models.
They were followed by the wonderfully mellow folk art song, “Fragile Meadow” by The Black Atlantic, from Groningen, Netherlands, plus, the London band, Bodies of Work, also connected with listeners thanks to the title track single from their EP, Flyers. Each of these bands were featured in our June 13th post, 7 Overseas Bands You Gotta Hear.
Earlier in this post, the No. 1 track for the third week of June, Vetiver’s “Can’t You Tell,” was highlighted, and again was just more evidence that IRC listeners – who pick the Top 10 songs each week by the number of downloads and streams – demonstrate a consistency of picking the best songs that we chose to post in any given week, often centered around the weekly and popular series, Best New Releases.
“As Far As Your Concerned” – Last Dinosaurs from Back From The Dead
“This Ends Tomorrow” – I Only Date Models from This Ends Tomorrow
“Fragile Meadow” – The Black Atlantic from Reverence for Fallen Trees
The response to the first two installments of 7 Bands You Gotta Hear was so strong that we are inclined to run a series of “7″ playlist mixes this year: 7 Bands, 7 Albums, 7 Songs, and so on. Aside from the obvious implications, there is just something magical about the number 7. Both I Only Date Models and The Black Atlantic had two songs in the week’s Top 10, which served as even more evidence that they were popular with IRC listeners. Many of the bands from the ’7 Bands’ series received their first significant, high visibility mention online via IRC.
Listen to the full Top 10 playlist for Week Three of June 2011 with additional tracks from I Only Date Models, Vetiver, Bodies of Work, The Black Atlantic and others. It’s such an awesome playlist, especially because it contains superb songs from bands almost no one has heard of it, which always makes it just that much more special.
Other posts during Week Three of June 2011 include:
Week Four & Five of June 2011: Butcher The Bar, Priory, Bobby, Diva, White Hills
For Week Four, there were the top three tracks from that week’s Top 10 Songs – Bon Iver, Beirut and Peter Bjorn and John - that we featured earlier in this post, and which were all tied to singles from albums that had dropped that week – easily, one of the best week’s of the year for people who dig atmospheric, experimental, introspective “indie” music. Other songs that made the fourth week’s Top 10 include other bands to take note of, including Butcher The Bar, Priory, and Bobby.
“Sore Spores” – Bobby from Bobby
Other posts for Week Four (June 19 – June 25):
For the final partial week of June until to the 4th of July, check out the Top 10 and these other posts: