Favourite songs of 2011: 10-1

Here’s part 2 of my favourite songs of 2011 list; each baby sprung from the loins of the musician to tickle my ears and awe my brain cells. This year, the only condition made was that only one song from each album would qualify, thus preventing my over-zealous love for The Antlers from overrunning the list. 20 to 11 can be found right over here. You can also scroll down and it should be tucked comfortably below this one.

Happy new year! Have a great 2012, everyone.

#10: James Blake - The Wilhelm Scream


#9: Monster Cat - The Courier

#8: Fleet Foxes - Grown Ocean


#7: Feist - Graveyard


#6: Radiohead - Separator

Sorry about the weird subtitling. For the full session, head over here.


#5: Youth Lagoon - Montana


#4: James Blake and Bon Iver - Fall Creek Boys’ Choir


#3: Bon Iver - Holocene


#2: The Antlers -  Hounds


#1: Wye Oak - Civilian

I’ve been Wye Oak obsessed ever since I first heard “Civilian” on KEXP. To quote a younger, less festive, and intensely less Christmas-hammed me,

The title track to their latest album Civilian is the standout in a collection of songs that’s punctuated by cool nonchalance and haunting clarity. The intense rumble in “Civilian” brews insecurities and discontent until the tension explodes in a flurry of guitar noise.

The rest of the list was difficult to form and rank, but “Civilian” emerged easily as number one. It sounds so sinister yet it is utterly sincere. She unveils her vulnerability and comes out stronger, braver and well, number one.

To listen to the studio version of the track or read the previous post on the song, click here.


(images via Monster Cat and Vibetothis)

"Train Song" by Bon Iver, Feist and Colin Stetson (Vashti Bunyan cover)

This Bon Iver/Feist/Colin Stetson cover of “Train Song”, the Vashti Bunyan song that has been making the rounds on TV as a Samsung commercial, is another example of a great live collaboration of indie heavyweights.

The tune’s been through a bunch of renditions, more notably Feist and DCFC head honcho Ben Gibbard’s contribution to the charity album Dark Was The Night, but this live version is my favourite of the lot, with Feist’s flawless vocals, the magical Justin Vernon touch and lots of romantic cooing.

Download the track via The Wounded Jukebox, and listen to Vashti Bunyan’s original here:


(image via rcrdlbl)

Islands in the Stream is a classic, whichever way you cut it.

Originally by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, Canadian band Constantines and Broken Social Scene alumni Leslie Feist have given the original a makeover, releasing the cover on a limited edition 7” vinyl in early 2008.

This version’s broody, and not to state the obvious, but it also doesn’t have the country twang in the vocals. Also, the original sounds cheerful and optimistic. After all these two people want to run away in a love frenzy. But this one has a different tone to it. It’s sulky and has a slow-burning intense love thing going on.

It also doesn’t have the tacky musical keyboard preset beat in the background like in the 1983 duet. This one’s got a very simple but prominent drum beat which is at the forefront of all the action, dominating the keyboards and the guitar which fill up the space in the background. I really like this unique little instrumental role reversal and it works very well to make the song sound more personal, like you’re in a small room with two people in front of you who want to run away in a love frenzy.

"Islands in the Stream" - Constantines and Feist (Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers cover)

Constantines: www.arts-crafts.ca/constantines
Feist: www.listentofeist.com