the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Top ten tracks of 2011

Last night I was browsing Pitchfork’s Top 100 Tracks of 2011 and came across a song by a 17-yr-old artist from London named Archy Marshall (now known as King Krule). I was not expecting to see what I saw or hear what I heard, and I’m just taking personal, selfish satisfaction that the Universe produced a human who could write this music.

Hate runs through my blood
Well, my tongue was in love
But my heart always left above
I’ve gotta be leaving now
I thought I’d never be shot down
But girl, I’m black and blue
So beaten down for you
Well, I’m beaten down and blue

Don’t break away
I’ll waste away
Don’t break away

I went back through what I listened to this year and thought I’d compile a list of my favorite ten songs. I could just list every single track from The National’s High Violet, but that was released last year so it doesn’t count. But that album soared through more speakers than any other this year. Specifically this song:

And here we go:

10. Lykke Li, “Get Some”

9. The Antlers, “I Don’t Want Love”

8. Diamond Rings, “Something Else”

7. John Maus, “Believer”

6. Cults, “Abducted”

5. Bon Iver, “Holocene”

4. PJ Harvey, “The Words That Maketh Murder”

3. Youth Lagoon, “Cannons”

2. Apparat, “Black Water”

1. Radiohead, “Codex”

Share your favorites in the comments.

  • Lauren3

    2011/12/14 at 1:33 pm

    Dude, I shoulda been more patient! I just commented on your last post with a band I think you’ll like.

    Wye Oak released an album this year called “Civilian.” I think you (and all the rest of you!) will like it. Would check out the title track first.

  • Lauren3

    2011/12/14 at 1:49 pm

    AH! And “Circuital” by My Morning Jacket!

    That album will give ANYBODY a boner, male or female.

  • Daddy Scratches

    2011/12/14 at 1:52 pm

    The just-released Trent Reznor (a.k.a. Nine Inch Nails) & Atticus Ross score for “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” is my current love affair.

    I also discovered Skrillex this year. Excellent for running/working out. It’s like a performance-enhancing drug mixed with crack cocaine and Red Bull, served up in audio form.

  • Lauren3

    2011/12/14 at 2:05 pm

    AHHHH one more, one more. Can you tell I very much enjoy discussing music?

    Heather, this is going to either make you go, “Why the fuck would she think I would like this?” or “YEAH, THIS MA NEW JAM!”

    It’s Lissie’s cover of a Kid Cudi song, “Pursuit of Happiness”:

  • HeatherTOO

    2011/12/14 at 2:25 pm

    I saw the National this weekend and they closed with “Terrible Love.” It was fantastic!

    The recent song I can’t get out of my head is “Cough syrup” by Young the Giant.

  • LittleBlueWorld

    2011/12/14 at 3:38 pm

    Just one song?

    “Barton Hollow” by the Civil Wars. But if I got to pick more than one, I’d put their whole damn album on there. Fantastic.

  • honeydunce

    2011/12/14 at 3:53 pm

    Heather, I recommend checking out Frightened Rabbit, if you haven’t already. Especially the songs “I Feel Better” and “Footshooter.”

  • MeetMeAtMikesPip

    2011/12/14 at 4:23 pm

    Hey Heather! I really love this track by local Melbourne guy Lost Animal : :
    Great piano, vocals and lyrics! x Pip

  • Verity W

    2011/12/15 at 12:35 am

    I don’t know if you’ve any way of seeing some of this content in the states, but judging by the songs above, it might be worth you checking out Jools Holland’s show “later” which is on the BBC. The website is here: with videos of stuff people who’ve been on this year and beyond. I saw Lykke Li and PJ Harvey on there for sure this year and there’s always something new that grabs your interest on there. I’ve downloaded a load of artists after seeing them on Jools.

  • LauraMott

    2011/12/15 at 4:47 am

    Don’t know if Ed Sheeran has crossed the pond to the USA yet, but I strongly recommend checking him out.
    Debut single “The A Team” makes me cry!!!

  • catesin

    2011/12/15 at 5:31 am

    Art of Almost on Wilco’s new album, The Whole Love. My family and I are living in Germany for a semester & one of the highlights of our trip was a Wilco show. We drove 2 hrs each way on the frightening autobahn to see the show in Frankfurt & it would have been totally worth it if Art of Almost was the only song they played. It is just epic live. Jeff Tweedy is a god.

  • The Bellsie

    2011/12/15 at 6:23 am


    If you like pitchfork (and all their snarkiness), you should check out RSL ( They are a fantastic music blog in Boston and Ryan (the creator and editor) is going be be the first music blogger with his own TV show. It’s starting in January.

    😉 Jill

  • The Bellsie

    2011/12/15 at 6:26 am

    …oh and anything on Tom Thumbs new album.

  • katebou

    2011/12/15 at 10:01 am

    Every year I made a favorites mix to give to friends with a box of holiday cookies. Here’s the 2011 edition:

    01. Bury us Alive by Starfucker
    02. Santa Fe by Beirut
    03. Origins by Tennis
    04. Lonely Boy by The Black Keys
    05. Electric Band by Wild Flag
    06. Get Away by Yuck
    07. Puppet to the Man by Kurt Vile
    08. Where Are You by J Mascis
    09. Swim Club by The Cave Singers
    10. Golden Age by Beach Fossils

    PS: The National is the best ever. Just saw them two nights in a row at the Neptune in Seattle — here’s a video of their perfect last song:

  • andieeast

    2011/12/15 at 1:14 pm

    Number one, that Kid Krule song is amazing. Totally amazing. Thank you for posting. I immensely enjoyed it.

    And to other commentators: Wye Oak, I really like, Civil Wars want to learn more, and very inpressed by Katebou’s list. You guys rock.

    Some of my faves:

    Bill Callahan – Riding for the Feeling
    Rural Alberta – Two Lovers
    Tune-Yards – Powa
    Charles Bradley – Lovin’ You Baby
    Wild Flag – Endless Talk
    Timber Timbre – Black Water
    Jessica Lea Mayfield – Trouble
    Diego Garcia – All Eyes on You
    Danger Mouse & Daniel Luppini – The Matador Has Fallen
    Fleet Foxes – Grown Ocean

    And I love reading all your posts and looking them up online!

  • missalysss

    2011/12/16 at 7:34 am

    Ray LaMontagne – Trouble (the album) and The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound (the album), though the title tracks are great too. Bon Iver is my very favorite. “Rosyln”, by Bon Iver and St. Vincent, is unbelievably haunting, in a good way. St. Vincent’s album “Marry Me” is pretty awesome too. I could do this all day!

  • arirock

    2011/12/16 at 11:56 am

    Gold Leaves: “Cruel and Kind”

  • spren83

    2011/12/16 at 2:08 pm

    Ramona Falls – “I Say Fever”

  • texasrockgirl

    2011/12/17 at 9:50 am

    Check out The Middle East’s song “Blood”.
    I just heard it for the first time last night when I watched the movie “Crazy, Stupid, Love”.
    By the way, the movie was surprisingly good too.

  • NicoleC

    2011/12/17 at 9:11 pm

    My husband just recently got an e-mail about booking Diamond Rings. Saw him at SWSX in Austin. I like that dude. I like his make-up. And his tight jeans.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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