Audible Treats' Best of 2011 - Hip-Hop & Indie Rock
Courtesy Audible Treats.
With the closing of 2011 comes end-of-the-year lists. We at Audible Treats would love for you to consider some of our most successful campaigns for your top tens, twenties, and hundreds. Below, we present to you our short list in alphabetical order. First, we have 14 of our top hip-hop projects listed, followed by 5 of our top indie rock and electronic projects:
1) A.Dd+ - When Pigs Fly (independant release) March 28th, 2011
"Like A Mug" http://media.audibletreats.com/A.Dd+-Likeamug_Ft_Sore_Losers.mp3
/> Assets: http://www.audibletreats.com/download/addplus/
Buy link: http://addplus.bandcamp.com/album/when-pigs-fly
A.Dd+ ("aye-dee-dee"), the Dallas duo of rappers Paris Pershun and Slim Gravy, took the rap world by storm when their debut album, When Pigs Fly, was released this spring and offered to fans as a free download. Produced entirely by Picnictyme, who doubles as part of Erykah Badu's Cannabinoids crew, the LP has drawn the duo high acclaim, with leading alternative weekly Dallas Observer hailing the album as "The best rap album Dallas has ever seen, front to back." National attention has poured in similar, with XXL Magazine including the duo in their coveted Chairman's Choice column.
- The only hip-hop act invited to perform at the Dallas Observer Music Awards ceremony.
- Dallas Observer: "The best rap album that Dallas has ever seen, front to back."
- Jeff Weiss:"ADd+ admit that they're not stars, but they probably should be. This is the sound of two dudes rapping for people to take notice. And you should."
- KevinNottingham.com: "When Pigs Fly is an illustration of the duo's versatility... Whether you are looking for something that jams in the truck, gets the club jumping or makes your brain spin, chances are you can find it in this project."
2) Big Pooh - Dirty Pretty Things (For Members Only) November 1st, 2011
"They Say" http://media.audibletreats.com/Big_Pooh-They_Say_Ft_Choklate.mp3
Album Download: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/dirty-pretty-things-deluxe/id472879530
With his sophomore solo LP, Dirty Pretty Things, former Little Brother member Big Pooh has firmly positioned himself to be himself a solo artist to be reckoned with. Over the years, Pooh has seen how much hip-hop and the business of music has changed - he's ridden the music industry rollercoaster for nearly a decade - and with Dirty Pretty Things Pooh stripped away the smoke and mirrors, offering listeners his most open, honest work to date, a project that has earned accolades from XXL Magazine, HipHopDX.com, AOL's TheBoombox.com, PrefixMag.com, and more.
- Dirty Pretty Things received XL-rated review from XXL Magazine.
- Complex Magazine: "He's sounding as determined and focused as ever."
- Smoking Section: "They Say" is as aggressive as it gets with Pooh taking on any and everybody, including naysayers, former friends and anybody not on his team."
3) DaVinci - Feast Or Famine (SWTBRDS) August 24th, 2011
EP Download: http://davinci.swtbrds.com/
In 2010, DaVinci caught listeners off guard with The Day The Turf Stood Still, a solo debut that earned the San Francisco emcee overwhelming praise. In 2011, DaVinci raised the bar again, with his eight-track Feast Or Famine EP, a project that continues to examine the crossroads of success, street corner hustles, and the far-reaching gentrification of his beloved Fillmore District neighborhood, with praise pouring in from outlets including Pitchfork.com, The FADER, SPIN, HipHopDX.com, and more.
- Touring with Freddie Gibbs to close out 2011. Covered by Pitchfork, The FADER, SPIN, SF Weekly, and more.
- Fader: "[DaVinci] has a point and an emotional thrust behind that point... it's pretty enviable."
- Pitchfork: "DaVinci's expressionless vocals help balance the emotive content of his words and the immediacy of the production, packing a wistful emotional punch."
- SF Weekly: "With guest appearances from such local notables as DJ Platurn, Roach Gigz, and Nio tha Gift, Feast or Famine is probably DaVinci's strongest work yet. His gravelly flows are smooth and imaginative, the beats are fresh and engrossing, and none of the tracks on this eight-song EP overstay their welcome."
4) DELS - GOB (Big Dada) April 5th, 2011
Buy link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/gob-bonus-video-version/id429686137
From London by way of Ipswich, Ninja Tune / Big Dada graphic designer and rapper DELS used 2011 to breathe new life into the music world. UK publication The Times has called DELS "The future of UK hip-hop," and with his debut album, GOB, he proved why. His two singles "Shapeshift" and "Trumpalump" blew up on the UK airwaves, and his fresh take on hip-hop and art – DELS created his album's artwork and offered direction on his own videos – has led him to work with the likes of Joe Goddard of Hot Chip, and David Andrew Sitek of TV On The Radio, while earning accolades from MTV UK, Drowned In Sound, The Observer, and more.
- DELS supported DOOM on his UK tour, and has gigged across London and the UK with his four piece band, featuring Elan Tamara. Made stateside debut at CMJ 2011.
- MTV: "Redefining UK Hip Hop."
- Observer: "Tracks that court the unexpected and dare to evolve beyond mere beats...Terrific"
- Q: "A record that confounds expectations on every level. An exhilarating debut"
5) Hollywood FLOSS - One Fan At A Time (Square Root) September 28th, 2011
"Attack Of Hollywood" http://media.audibletreats.com/Hollywood_FLOSS-Attack_Of_Hollywood_Redux.mp3
/> Assets: http://www.audibletreats.com/download/hollywood_floss/
Mix-tape Download: http://www.djbooth.net/index/mixtapes/entry/hollywood-floss-one-fan
Over the past two years there has been an exciting new movement bubbling in the underground of Houston's hip-hop scene, and in 2011 Hollywood FLOSS has further proven to be one of a select few artists at the forefront of that movement. This fall, FLOSS released his latest solo LP, One Fan At A Time, an album that pitted the emcee's witty lyrics and slick wordplay atop driving, soulful production. The album continues to earn accolades from outlets including XXL Magazine, Houston Press, DJBooth.net, PotholesInMyBlog.com, and more.
- Nominated by the Houston Press for Best Songwriter in 2011.
- PotHolesInMyBlog.com: "Houston, Texas' Hollywood FLOSS is of a rare breed... One Fan At A Time is an honest, direct project from the young rhymer who's absolutely due for a bigger audience."
6) Icebird - The Abandoned Lullaby (RJ's Electrical Connections) October 11th, 2011
"Going And Going And Going" http://media.audibletreats.com/Icebird-Going_And_Going_And_Going.mp3
Buy link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-abandoned-lullaby/id465263614
Icebird, the pairing of producer rjd2 and singer-songwriter Aaron Livingston, released their debut album, The Abandoned Lullaby to much acclaim. The two originally worked together for "Crumbs Off The Table," a song from rj's Colossus album, and the result had the two itching to work together again - and expanding upon their genre-bending sensibilities once they did. The Abandoned Lullaby ranges from psychedelic soul to rock, with many stops along the way, and earned the duo positive reviews from SPIN, Pitchfork.com, AllMusic.com, PopMatters.com, HipHopDX.com, Metromix, and more.
- The Abandoned Lullaby is hailed as rjd2's strongest work in recent years.
- Pitchfork: "If there's been a better two-man indie-funk producer/singer superduo to come out of the woodwork since 'Crazy' dropped, I must have missed it."
- SPIN: "...give Icebird a chance. The arrangements sound dynamic -- no beat loops here -- from the twinkling keyboards and bluesy guitar blasts of "Gun for Hire" to the subtle xylophone plinks on "King Tut."
- Metromix: "RJD2's impeccable production and arrangements come as no surprise, but the relatively unknown Livingston is a revelation, a cerebral soul shouter in the vein of Van Hunt and Cee Lo who keeps standout tracks like "King Tut" refreshingly weird."
7) J*Davey - New Designer Drug (ILLAV8R) November 22nd, 2011
"Whatchalookin@ / Kill 4 Fun" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPAvMqDL9tA
Album Download: www.jdaveybaby.com
Following a long-awaited release from Warner Bros., it's quite possible that 2011 has been the busiest and most rewarding year of J*Davey's career thus far. Following a long-awaited release from their major label deal, singer Jack Davey and producer Brook D'Leau formed their own label imprint, ILLAV8R, and began to release free music through their The Great Mistapes EP series, while embarking on a variety of small tours around the world with fellow creatives Prince, Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, and more. All of this has culminated with the November release of New Designer Drug, a fully formed and developed LP – released guerilla-style, as part of an accompanying digital booklet – that showcases the full range of J*Davey's eclectic, boundary pushing sound.
- J*DaVeY's unconventional release of New Designer Drug, plus the mp3's, will be made available as part of the accompanying digital booklet that includes lyrics, pictures, and insight as to why J*DaVeY fans have had to wait almost four years to hear this album.
- SPIN: "This Los Angeles duo specializes in baby-making music for 22nd century robots."
- LA Weekly (cover story for their annual Beautiful People issue 2011): "LA's most funkdafied and fashionable fusionists."
8) Moe Green - Lion Heart EP (Interdependent Media) June 28th
"Extra, Extra" http://media.audibletreats.com/Moe_Green-Extra_Extra.mp3
Buy link: http://www.freeonsmash.com/exclusives/lionheart/
2011 proved to be another productive year for Moe Green. In June, the Vallejo, California, native released Lionheart, the follow-up EP to last year's Rocky Maivia: Non-Title Match mixtape, with the EP spawning a series of fan-favorite singles, including "All The Money In The World," and "Extra Extra." The EP earned Moe his first national TV nod, with an appearance on MTV2 Sucker Free, while XXL Magazine, which featured Moe with Show & Prove column in 2010, exclaimed Moe as an artist "well worth keeping an eye on."
- Moe Green featured on MTV2's Sucker Free, performed alongside Stalley, Kendrick Lamar, Dom Kennedy, and others.
- XXL Magazine: "Based on Lionheart and the progress it illustrates, Moe Green is well worth keeping an eye on."
- PopMatters.com: "With a prize like Rocky Maivia: Non-Title Match under his belt, be prepared to see Green go the distance."
9) Ol Dirty Bastard- Return To The 36 Chambers: Dirty Version (Get On Down) September 22nd, 2011
Buy link: http://www.getondown.com/
Ol' Dirty Bastard's Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version, is one of the seminal albums in hip-hop history, a debut from the larger-than-life emcee who was truly ahead of its time - and one that continues to inform and influence the landscape of rap music over 15 years later. Paying homage is burgeoning label Get On Down, who is offering a deluxe wallet box set containing a re-mastered version of the original album, plus, a second disc full of remixes, a capellas, instrumentals, and other rarities, in addition to a number of value-added goodies, including a vintage "On Tour" poster, extended artwork, promotional sticker, detailed liner notes, and an exclusive billfold wallet, where you will be able to put your complimentary laminated Ol' Dirty Bastard food stamp card.
- Album re-issue includes extended artwork, posters, and never-before-heard music and remixes.
10) Rapid Ric - What It Dew (Dew Music Group) April 5th, 2011
Album download: http://www.whutitdew.com/
Splitting his time between Houston and Austin, DJ/producer, Rapid Ric released his debut album Whut It Dew this summer, a project overflowing with a who's-who of Houston and southern rap royalty. Produced entirely by Ric, features include Lil Boosie, Devin The Dude, Chamillionaire, Lil' Keke, Slim Thug, Killer Mike, Lil' Flip, Z-Ro, Killa Kyleon, Bushwick Bill, Dorrough Music, and more, all trading verses and hooks atop Ric's soulful, instrument-heavy production.
- Has toured the world as the DJ for Slim Thug, official tour DJ for Chamillionaire.
- DayAndADream.com "It certainly changes the perception of Rapid Ric and moves him into the category of underrated producers rather than his well worn underrated mixtape DJ title."
- The Austin Chronicles: "DJ Rapid Ric and his Whut It Dew mixtapes served as some of the strongest links between the two cities' hip-hop scenes."
- PeaceMagazine.com: "His instrument-heavy beats that both show off Ric's diversity while managing to stay true to the Country Rap Tunes sound from an earlier Texas era that has inspired Ric's work."
11) Roach Gigz -Bitch I'm A Player (Town Thizzness) July 20th, 2011
"F A Chorus" http://media.audibletreats.com/Roach_Gigz-F_A_Chorus.mp3
Download Link: http://www.roachgigz.com/
Roach Gigz began 2011 releasing Roachy Balboa 2, the final chapter in his Roachy Balboa mixtape series, and a project that spawned the single "Can I Rap," which now boasts over 900,000 YouTube views. Closing the year in equally strong fashion, the Bay Area rapper released his debut EP, Bitch, I'm A Player, a project that has earned Roach accolades from the New York Times, Pitchfork.com, The Fader, Stereogum.com, VICE, MTV2 Sucker Free, and more.
- Embarking on first headline tour this January. Covered by The New York Times, The FADER, Pitchfork, and more.
- FADER: "Here's to the new age of rap. And Roach Gigz. Who is Awesome."
- NY Times: "B!tch, I'm a Player (Goomba/Thizz City) is his best and most consistent release since last year's booming, goofy "Roachy Balboa" mixtape."
- Pitchfork: "Roach's new Bitch I'm A Player EP is a lot of fun... a nice little portrait of a rapper dizzily in love with the art of rapping, and with the places that his gift can take him."
12) SL Jones - The Number 23 (M.A.D.E. Entertainment) May 23rd, 2011
"Paper Cuts" http://media.audibletreats.com/SL_Jones-Paper_Cuts.mp3
Download Link: http://music.sljonesmusic.com/album/the-number-23-editors-cut
SL Jones has been on a roll in the second half of 2011, with three releases since May, and that run has been highlighted by The Number 23: Editor's Cut, the slimmed-down re-release of SL's Don Cannon-hosted mixtape released earlier this year. The project includes features from Pill, Trae Tha Truth, Killer Mike, Waka Flocka Flame, Yo Gotti, and more, while the likes of Lex Luger, Don Cannon, and Shawty Redd handled production, and the accolades have come aplenty from outlets including MTV News, MTV2 Sucker Free, Complex, XXL Magazine, The FADER, HipHopDX.com, and more.
- Mixtape includes features and production from Killer Mike, Waka Flocka Flame, Trae Tha Truth, Pill, Yo Gotti, Lex Luger, Don Cannon, Shawty Redd, and more.
- XXL Magazine: "SL Jones isn't your stereotypically lyrically lacking Southern rapper, and his range is on display throughout [The Number 23]...SL shows he has versatility."
- HipHopDX.com: "[SL Jones] is finally prepared to come into his own as one of the year's most polished and intuitive rappers."
- The Fader: "Jonesy...we ride for you."
13) Zakee - Assimilations (Green Owl Records/Warner Music) September 13, 2011
"Dope Girl" http://media.audibletreats.com/ZAKEE-Dope_Girl.mp3
Buy link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/assimilations/id456471364
ZAKEE, a Philadelphia-born singer, rapper, songwriter, and producer, has spent recent years collaborating with the likes of M.I.A., Rye Rye, and The Very Best, earning accolades from outlets including Dazed & Confused, AOL Spinner, and others. This fall, ZAKEE released his latest album, Assimilations, a diverse, 11-track offering that mixes hip-hop, indie, afro-beat, and electronic influences, and has spawned a host of ultra-singles, including "Dope Girl," "Glory," and others.
- Has worked with M.I.A., Rye-Rye, and The Very Best.
- Dazed & Confused Magazine: With funked up vocals and rolling bass, "Assimilations" has a dense swagger with escapist, soaring melodies and an experimental pop vision that is unlike anything Zakee has created before.
- Huffington Post: "His set is next level, setting a high bar for the other acts."
14) Zion i and The Grouch - Heroes In The Healing Of The Nation (Z&G Music) March 22,2011
"Rockit Man" Ft. Silk-E: http://www.audibletreats.com/download/zionithegrouch/
Buy Link: http://zioniandthegrouch.com/store/index.html
If nothing else, 2011 marked the return of the supergroup, and not to be forgotten in that mix are underground and indie favorites Zion I & The Grouch. This past spring, the trio released their sophomore album, Heroes In The Healing Of The Nation, a project that included features from Freeway, Fashawn, and more. The album earned group accolades from HipHopDX.com and others, while also spawning the 36-city Healing Of The Nation Tour, with Z&G donating a percentage of ticket sales to a variety of non-profit organizations in each city.
- Headlined 36-city almost sold-out nationwide tour in support of album release and donated percentage of ticket sales to over a dozen different local charities.
- The Boston Phoenix:"Grouch and Zumbi march over naked nuggets to extoll the bittersweet beauty in both underground rap and general mundanity, and to illustrate struggles with everything from fame and hypocrisy to veganism. This album absolutely trumps their 2006 tandem project, Heroes in the City of Dope"
- HipHopDX.com: "Heroes In The Healing Of The Nation is proof that in a world where social, financial and natural devastation linger on our minds, there's still someone out there who sees the glass half-full."
Best Albums Indie:
1) Ace Reporter -Untouched And Arrived EP (independent release) Winter, 2011
"Lean Honey Lean": http://media.audibletreats.com/Ace_Reporter-Lean_Honey_Lean.mp3
Download Link: http://acereporter.bandcamp.com/album/untouched-and-arrived-ep
Chris Snyder, better known as Ace Reporter, first broke out with his Harvard formed indie-rock band The States back in 2002. After going their separate ways in 2009, Snyder came up with the fascinating idea to release a new song, every day, for the entire year of 2010, officially birthing Ace Reporter. Using those songs, Ace Reporter released four EP's - broken up into indie-rock, acoustic, electro, and a remix album - and fittingly distributed them under the 365 Project EP's moniker.
- Released four EP's in 2011, pulling tracks from his threesixfive project, an initiative where the singer-songwriter recorded one song each day for a year.
- Kaiser Chiefs: "But listen, we couldn't exclude this little gem. For a man who created an original song for everyday of 2010 you'd think he'd be a little short on ideas, but think again..."
- Pop'Stache: "To say Ace Reporter had a busy 2010 is an understatement on the shoulders of his impressive if not unbelievable New Year's resolve."
2) Brown Shoe - The Gift Horse (independent release) October 18th, 2011
"Colt Rider" http://media.audibletreats.com/Brown_Shoe-Colt_Rider.mp3
Buy link: http://brownshoe1.bandcamp.com/
Releasing The Gift Horse in October, Brown Shoe - four brothers and a close friend - managed to create one of the most intimate and telling albums of the year. Detailing the falling out of personal relationships, the sickness that band member Ryan Baggely went through while recording and reoccurring sleepless nights, Brown Shoe wear their hearts on their sleeves, holding little back.
- Covered by Consequence of Sound, My Old Kentucky Blog, Ear Milk, AOL Music, and more.
- Nylon: "Taking cues from Coldplay and Band of Horses, these four cute brothers and their equally cute friend make soaring rock music ripe for emotional movie montages."
- PopMatters.com: "Brown Shoe creates intricate, huge, pop songs, glacially moving things with arena-rock heft behind them."
- Magnet Magazine: "Expressing heartache and loss through grand, daring musical compositions, "Diving Bell" is a song that's easy to play over and over again."
3) Headless Horseman- HDLSS EP (independent release) Winter, 2011
Buy link: http://headlesshorseman.bandcamp.com/
Already known for their uncanny original tracks, Headless Horseman released a series of remixes throughout the year that proved to be the ultimate definition of what a remix should be. Taking on indie acts like Blackbird Blackbird, Chairlift and French-pop musician ETYL, Headless Horseman warped said songs into a maniacal escape from musical conventions, while never leaving their visions of beauty too far behind.
- Stereogum named "Band to Watch."
- Honorable mention in the L Magazine's "8 Bands You Need to Hear."
- Stereogum: "At first blush, there's something almost grating about New York-via-Allentown duo Headless Horseman - the music's warped, claustrophobic, Chimpmunk-y, sorta strange. After you let it sink in for a few seconds, it's also sharp, smart, and full of unavoidable hooks... there is something shadowy and haunted about their approach "[Band to Watch, November].
- L Magazine: "The opening song on this, yup, five-track EP, is a glitch-pop surge paralleling the giddier side of Broken Social Scene. From there, it goes into an acid-washed ballad with atmospheric whooshes, as if Woods were prone to playing lullabies. " [The Eight Best Brooklyn Records You Probably Didn't Hear, from the Best of 2010 issue, December]
- NY Press: "Judging from Headless Horseman's breadth of sound and a new track, Fareed Sajan and Conner O'Neill have the potential and ambition to become infamous in their own right. "
4) Lightouts - The Eloise Suite (PUSH Productions) August 29th, 2011
"The Eloise Suite" http://media.audibletreats.com/Lightouts-The_Eloise_Suite.mp3
Buy link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/see-clear-single/id424702429
Hailing from Gowanus, Brooklyn, 2011 saw the first releases from the fuzz-rock duo known as Lightouts. Keeping their 80's and 90's influences in check while creating a sound that is entirely their own, Lightouts released the boisterous maxi-single "The Eloise Suite." Coming backed with an unforgettable cover of LCD Soundsystem's "All I Want" that segues into David Bowie's "Heroes," Lightouts offer a refreshing sound filled with noise and incomparable energy.
- Syncs with Nissan, Keds, American Eagle, and ESPN.
- Radio play on KROQ and 25+ national stations.
- Covered by Prefix, Consequence of Sound, Magnet Magazine, AOL Music, and more.
- My Old Kentucy Blog: "...a Gowanus-based duo that sounds a little like what JAMC might sound like with Robert Smith fronting. And if you listen real close, you'll hear an honest to goodness guitar solo. Chain me down, Martha!."
- Impose: "...Lightouts make tunes the way all the gods of rock used to..."
- PrefixMag: "Lightouts is a throwback to the joyous, left-of-the-dial guitar rock of the bygone early Nineties."
5) Sandman Viper Command - Everybody See This (Audio Blood) April 2009
"Strawberry Quick" http://media.audibletreats.com/Sandmand_Viper_Command-Strawberry_Quick.mp3
Buy link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/everybody-see-this/id316407974
Not many bands have been as successful as Sandman Viper Command at mixing the sweet with the sour, the soft with the hard. But as SVC has shown with singles "Strawberry Quick," "Rough Love," and "The Metal I've Spent," there are many sides to the band, each being terribly proficient. Right as things appear to wind down on "Rough Love," a gut-wrenching guitar solo breaks out, best exemplifying the impressively bi-polar personality of the band.
- Released debut album Everybody See This to critical acclaim; performed with Devo, Wavves, Titus Andronicus.
- Hamilton View: "Sandman Viper Command conjures up references to Sloan - but in away that is still fresh... for a debut recording, this is a standout on so many levels... the band to watch in 2010"
- CitizenDick.com: "Strawberry Quick" presents a band with quite a bit of range, and the young group is poised to make a bigger dent in the scene.
Thank you so much for your continued support throughout the year!
The Audible Treats fam: Michelle McDevitt, Gavin Rhodes, Dan Friedman, Chris Brancato, Dory Greenberg, Cody Watson, Khary Durgans, Lamont Harper, Kyle Scott, and Mochi the wonder pooch!
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