With a great year of South Florida music coming to a close, thanks to stellar output by music makers in Miami, Broward, and Palm Beach, we decided to put together a list of our favorite 50 songs released for the first time in 2011. The list dwarfs last year’s 15-song compilation, which says more about the burgeoning tri-county music scene than it does about our curatorial ambition. We’ll be posting 10 songs at a time on this page until we hit numero uno later this month. Until then, hit play. — William Alton, editor of the Miami Music Guide
50. “Subject to Change” by the Anthropologists of Nosy Mangabe
Shameless nerds or blissfully unaware of their nerdom (in which case, sorry), the Anthropologists of Nosy Mangabe are a promising baroque pop quintet. Having released a few singles that showcase a refined musical background, ANM toe a dangerous line between cute technicality and sophisticated novelty pop. Bands like Ra Ra Riot and The Dirty Projectors (you can make a case for Amanda Palmer’s vaudevillian style) have proven there’s room for classicism in modern pop and indie rock, so it will be interesting to see just how creative ANM can get. [Update: True to its title, the song has gone missing.]
49. “Fast Forward” by Palette Town
A jazzy prog track by newish Miami quartet Palette Town, “Fast Forward” falls somewhere between Jaguar Love and Deerhoof. With Palette Town promising a forthcoming EP on their Facebook page, it’ll be interesting to see if they can build on this.
48. “Rawhide” by The Gun Hoes
Miami may be approaching critical mass when it comes to surf-inspired psychedelic garage rock, but it doesn’t mean we can ignore The Gun Hoes. Releasing their self-titled full-length debut this year, the Hollywood duo of Gabe Miranda and Anthony Hernandez delivered 11 like-minded, able-bodied scuzzy tracks worth drinking your booze to.
47. “2012” by Young Circles
A blues-rock band with gadgetry, Young Circles did a better job of getting in the press this year than they did of editing their tracks. While most of the songs on their Jungle Habits, the band’s debut LP, are slow to develop, “2012” gets to the point quickly and delivers the Miami trio’s most promising punch.
46. “Suburban Ring-A-Ling” by Sirens and Sealions
With this song off of Sirens and Sealions‘ self-titled album, released in September, the adorable Miami sextet gets my vote for best use of the universal doorbell melody.
45. “This Is Your Life” by The Chris Alvy Band
Chris Alvy bears the trend-bucking ethos of his label home, Forward Motion Records. Like Austin, TX, alt rockers Fastball in the late ’90s, The Chris Alvy Band carries on as an alt-rock outfit with a penchant toward power pop. The CAB delivered a solid late-year release with Art Noise, an album built on melodic power chords and harmonized vocals. Alvy shamelessly wears his influences on his sleeve, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that “This Is Your Life” instantly smacks of The Beatles’ “Day Tripper” on speed while the song’s first major shift, which occurs just 27 seconds in, has Forward Motion label head Fernando Perdomo’s melodic touch all over it.
44. “After Friday’s Blackness” by Pocket of Lollipops
This husband and wife duo, one of 13 local acts on our Nevermind tribute album, make uncomfortable D.I.Y. music fun. A minimalist folk-punk dirge, “After Friday’s Blackness” finds the enchanting Maite Urrechaga doing her best Kim Gordon impression while hubby Tony Kapel channels the casual talk-sing commentary of D. Boon, especially when he drops the line: “It’s days like this that expose who we really are”.
43. “Black Birds” by ArtOfficial
It’s no easy task mixing hip hop and jazz funk without sounding cornball, but ArtOfficial delivers the goods with “Black Birds”, off of the album Vitamins and Minerals, a track that wouldn’t feel so out of place on a Black Star album.
42. “Formal Matters” by Entresol (Kabuki Iron Colors Remix)
Kabuki Iron Colors is, according to his Facebook page, “a time traveling space wizard” who covers “the span of past and future music history.” The man behind the blue, star-patterned robe is Psychic Mirrors frontman Ryan de Grandy, and, in this remix, he adds his signature vintage funk padding to this twitchy electropop jam by Entresol. Warning: You might fail a drug test after listening.
41. “Cynicism” by Antics
While Explosions in the Sky might have spawned an army of shitty post-rock copycats, Antics does a remarkable job of making the dense ambient sound its own. It’s common and all too easy for long-form rock to bore listeners to sleep, but Antics avoids that pitfall with “Cynicism”, a track off of the band’s six-track EP, Make It Good For The Cameras, that showcases singer Kris Alvarez’s muscly pipes.