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
40. “The Shakes That You Make” by Dyslexic Postcards
We don’t know much about the Dyslexic Postcards as individuals, but the band’s obsession with boxing speaks volumes (DP is an excellent Facebook follow if you’re into songs about Joe Frazier and pictures of Roberto Duran). “Shakes That You Make” is rope-a-dope of a song, lulling the listener with an intro akin to Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World” before singer Joshua Xmas lands a rude right hook with the opening line, “I don’t know why you close your eyes when I try to fist you.”
39. “Digital Ghosts” by Meat
The schizoid side project of Ice Cream synthist Roy Neil Hunter, Meat released a nine-song, 11-minute collection via Roofless Records called Smoking Weed With Jesus. Meat’s abbreviated songs feature mindless humor, nasty, psychedelic noise, and fleeting nods to grunge, sludge, and post-punk that throw the band’s brief moments of intentionally buried pop clarity into high relief.
38. “Coke Dick” by Devalued
In just 54 seconds, Devalued’s “Coke Dick” amazingly evolves from an electro rock track into a blazing, screaming hardcore humdinger.
37. “Medicated” by Rolling Stoned
The first track off the Miami group’s debut album, Space Cake, “Medicated” sets the tone for Rolling Stoned’s cannabis-inspired, chill-inducing rap. Made up of MCs Marii Jane, Salazar, Shottie, and Joey Duz, Rolling Stoned is a fun-loving bunch, who, according to their bio, “are simply not weed rappers, they’re rappers who smoke a lot of weed.”
36. “Rifle in the Pocket” by Symbols
This track is a bit of low-rider witch house by the West Palm all-star grouping of DJ JJ Contramus and members of Bonnie Riot and the Band in Heaven.
35. “Yo Toad/Deepness” by Honey Train
Newcomers from Ft. Lauderdale, Honey Train ride an old style with authenticity and flare. Their digital, eight-track demo, 10/12/11, features a collection of scuzzy garage jams that could pass for obscure 1960s tracks on Little Steven’s Underground Garage show. Singer Davis Wheatley yelps and hiccups over “Yo Toad/Deepness” while the song delivers the expected muddy blues chords, a gingerly walking vibrating bass, and a drummer riding his cymbals like a stolen bicycle.
34. “Sunrise Blvd.” by This Heart Electric
Ricardo Guerrero — aka This Heart Electric — is one of Miami’s most industrious musicians, and his penchant for writing strong bedroom pop places him among the city’s most treasured songwriters. Layered with a perfect sheen of home-recorded hiss, “Sunrise Blvd.” is a surf-inflected, blinds-closed-on-a-gorgeous-day kind of track.
33. “The Strangler” by No Children
From a dirty four-song demo by Miami punk trio No Children, “The Strangler” drifts into early indie rock/power pop territory with distinguished punk rock vocals, surprising harmonies, inventive melodies within the confined punk structure, and strong transitions.
32. “Tammy” (live) by The Reactions
Short-lived but extremely important to the early Miami punk circuit, The Reactions disbanded after just two EP releases between 1980-81. Lucky for us, Cheap Rewards Records, based in Austin, Texas, has released a 17-track treasure trove of re-mastered Reactions material, including the bands two EPs and never-before-released demos and live tracks. “Tammy” was recorded live on Aug. 31, 1980, at the famed, now-defunct Hallandale punk rock hub The Agora Ballroom. To learn more about Cheap Rewards’ resurrection of The Reactions, check out our post from early November.
31. “Wastin’ It All” by Strange Brew
Lake Worth’s Strange Brew comprises bright-eyed, baby-faced stoners with collegiate obligations. If schooling doesn’t get in the way, it’s only a matter of time before this vintage rock quartet, led by singer and guitarist Brandon Norris, has its day in the sun.