Top Singles of 2011
1. Andy Stott Passed Me By 2×12″
2. Leather Sterile 7″
3. Andy Stott We Stay Together 2×12″
4. Burial Street Halo 12″
5. The Haxan Cloak Observatory EP 12″
6. Dum Dum Girls He Gets Me High 12″
7. Jon Convex Convexations EP 12″
8. Holy Other With U 12″
9. Darkside Darkside EP 10″
10. Shackleton Fireworks 2×12″
11. Crazy Spirit Remastered Demo 12″
12. Regis In A Syrian Tongue 12″
13. Yves De May Counting Triggers 2×12″
14. Shackleton Deadman 12″
15. Martyn Masks / Viper 12″
16. Holy Balm Hand Over Fire / Strange Water 7″
17. Protect-U World Music 12″
18. Wolfgang Voigt Kafkatrax 1.1 12″
19. Silent Servant Hypnosis in the Modern Age 12″
20. Raime Hennail 12″

Honorable Mention:
Actress Rainy Dub 12″
Innergaze Shadow Disco 12″
The Soft Moon Total Decay EP 12″
Leather Wretch 7″
Hoax Hoax 7″

Top Albums of 2011
1. Iceage New Brigade
2. Morphosis What Have We Learned
3. Royal Headache Royal Headache
4. Kitchen’s Floor Look Forward to Nothing
5. James Blake James Blake
6. Ford & Lopatin Channel Pressure
7. Nicolas Jaar Space Is Only Noise
8. The Field Looping State of Mind
9. Total Control Henge Beat
10. Prurient Bermuda Drain
11. ASAP Rocky LiveLoveA$AP
12. Tin Man Perfume
13. Call Back the Giants The Rising
14. Psychedelic Horseshit Laced
15. Lil Wayne Tha Carter IV
16. Luomo Plus
17. John Maus We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves
18. Cold Cave Cherish the Light Years
19. Pinch & Shackleton Pinch & Shackleton
20. The Weeknd House of Balloons

Honorable Mention:
Rank/Xerox Rank/Xerox
Folded Shirt Folded Shirt
Emptyset Demiurge
Antonym Revile
OBN IIIs The One and Only

Lots of great records came out in 2011, and these are my favorites. Gotta hand it to the full-lengths – competition was far stiffer than the singles, if primarily because a lot of great albums came out this year. It was tough choosing the number-one spot for each category (the Morphosis and Royal Headache albums were indispensable, as was Leather’s Sterile 7″), but after some solid contemplation, and a whole lot of reflection, I’ve concluded that Iceage and Andy Stott made the records that impacted me the most this year.

Andy Stott Passed Me By 2×12″ (Modern Love)
Both of Andy Stott’s double 12″ EPs shook me to my core this year, as he stepped away from the familiar patterns of bass-heavy dubstep toward a new sound – something entirely his own. Passed Me By, the first of the two, came out on top, though – there are some truly incomprehensible moments here, and the demonic vocals on “Execution” still freak me out. It’s a slow, gnarly, and often quite evil EP, as if your favorite dub techno records were waterboarded and this is the resulting recording. One October night, I was out on the street, and a teenager came up and threatened me, telling me he had a loaded gun in his pocket. I shrugged it off, and made it to my car unscathed, turning my radio back on, mid-Passed Me By, as I drove away. It was the perfect soundtrack to the realization that I very well could’ve been shot and killed, the mix of fear and adrenaline building up as my brain processed what had just happened. You don’t need to get mugged to enjoy Andy Stott, but his music certainly amplifies that thrilling, frightening sensation.

Iceage New Brigade (Escho / Dais / What’s Your Rupture?)
I know, just what you wanted, another internet music-critic going off about Iceage. I didn’t pay close attention, but what, there was the initial hype, and then the backlash, and then some more hype, and then a re-re-pressing, and then another backlash, and now no one cares? They have probably broken up and already booked their Coachella reunion gig by the time this is published. If you can’t get outside of the indie world’s hype-fueled echo chamber, I’m putting the blame on you, as Iceage’s New Brigade is a truly fantastic debut album. I don’t care if they made it just for me, or if they become the next Green Day, Iceage have managed to meld these disparate influences (youthful snot, gothic melodrama, melodic punk rock, gritty noise) into a sound that couldn’t be mistaken for anyone else. I’ve heard them compared to The Wedding Present, Crisis, Mars and black metal, and while I don’t necessarily support any or all of those, it’s a great band that can pull people in so many directions at once. Plus, songs like “Broken Bone” and “Remember” have been etched indelibly into my brain at this point. They’re young, and very well might break up before another record ever comes together; I have already made peace with that fact, as New Brigade is a more substantial offering than most other bands could ever hope to create.