Sorry I'm late! So as I was making this list, I realized nearly all of the bands I listed, I've gotten the chance to see play live either this year or previously. It made me realize how important seeing actual live music is. Had I not seen some of these acts, they may not be on the list.
Anyway, here they are. I was going to put up 40 songs but Peter beat me to it so I've got 11 for 2011.
Hope ya'll like them. - Kyle
1) The Water - "Future Nails" - from Future Nails Single
Last winter, my band did a really short tour. We played with these guys in Baltimore to a packed house and again in Brooklyn a few months later. The drummer proposed to his gf on stage at the show in Baltimore. These dudes are amazing musicians and super nice. It's just 2 guys and a ton of loopers and pedals. One dude plays guitar and drums and the other guitar and keys. They build these intense songs out of loops live and they're tight as hell. And they have a crazy homemade light show. They've got their 1st full length coming out in Feb. Very excited. Download a bunch of stuff for free here: http://thewater.bandcamp.com/
2) Ominous Black - "Remember, That in Order to Facilitate the Separation of Thought from Time We Chose to Create the Suffering That Lies Before Us. We Deserve it." - from Repressed Memories of the Collective Subconscious
Another band we played with in Philly and Brooklyn. Really dark interesting space metal with the craziest drum set I've ever seen. The songs go all over the place and they really feel like they're telling a story (that I don't understand). Get all their stuff now! http://oblack.bandcamp.com/
3) Angels of Light - "Praise your Name" - from New Mother
I love Swans but never tried out Michael Gira's solo act until just recently. Oh man! This is the first song on the first record. It's really pretty music that's really really dark.
4) Feist - "The Bad in Each Other" - from Metals
I feel like this is in kindred spirits to the Angels of Light song. I've always enjoyed a Fiest song here and there and her contributions to the Kings of Convenience albums are top notch but never got the same feeling I got from this song. The new album is great but this is the best. So many layers of cool instrumentation going on. Good winter music.
5) Low - "Especially Me" - from C'Mon
Low is one of my favorite bands, hands down. Their new album is great and "a return to form" in some ways. This song is the centerpiece of the album in my opinion. Beautiful and moving.
6) Psychic Paramount - "Intro / SP" - from II
I didn't know these guys when I saw them open for Maserati. They came out and just blasted into this song and grabbed everyone's attention (and made a few people leave). Frigging intense live show that you probably need to see to fully grasp.
7) Dub Trio - "Not for Nothing" - from Another Sound is Dying
I just got into these guys this year and I'm upset it took me so long. Again, I saw them live and the pull off some the craziest shit I've seen. All their stuff is great. They blend genres effortlessly that don't seem to fit without sounding cheesy. Also, the cover to this album has cats on it.
8) Cloudkicker - "Push it Way Up!" - from Beacons
My buddy Jeff sent me this. It's just one guy! He plays all the instruments himself in his apartment. I would love for him to turn this into a full band but that probably won't happen. This song has an amazing long build over a weird ass riff. So cool. http://cloudkicker.bandcamp.com/album/beacons
9) Grails - "Almost Grew My Hair" - from Deep Politics
Another of my favorites. Their new album is a bit of a departure but a very welcome one.
10) We Were Promised Jetpacks - "Roll Up Your Sleeves" - from These Four Walls
I wasn't originally going to include this but it's a fun song and I needed something more upbeat on the list. I saw these dudes last year and they we super fun but kind forgot about them until I listened to them this year.
11) 35007 - "Tsunami" - from Liquid
Wait for it… Holy crap! That's all.