Who Said Don’t Look Back? More ‘Best In Music’ From 2011

Happy New Year world! We continue our look back at 2011 in music…

Alex Espinosa, our newest member on the Music Services team, gives us a look at his favorite albums from 2011 which includes a few Latin artists you may not have heard of. Disfruten!

The Black Keys – El Camino (Nonesuch)
For having just two members as their core, this blues rock band from Akron, Ohio put the crunch in dirty blues rock.  Their seventh release titled “El Camino” was such a surprise to me from the start that I couldn’t wait until I heard every track.  With the first single “Lonely Boy” that has this guitar riff and analog synth sound at the start; I immediately wanted more.  El Camino delivers especially with my favorite on the album “Run Right Back”.  This song has not only sex appeal but that dirty, kick the dirt type of sound that gives the Keys a swagger like the days of Bowie and T-Rex. Listen to “Run Right Back” here

Hello Seahorse – Lejos, No Tan Lejos (Nacional Records)
Mexico’s indie sensation, Hello Seahorse latest release titled “Lejos, No Tan Lejos” which translates to “Far, not that Far” is a record that creeps up on you with Denise Gutierrez hypnotic operatic voice and soft synth sounds.  This follow up to their Latin Grammy nominated “Bestia” shows that Latin electronic music is on the rise. Listen to ‘Perla Blanca’

Radiohead – King of Lambs (TBD Records)
Thom York and gang keep on churning out hit album after hit album.  Ever since I heard the first chords to “Creep” off their debut album “Pablo Honey”, I’ve been a fan and when they decided to experiment with electronic beats later in there career, I became even a bigger fan.  With the “King of Lambs” being their eighth release, you would think that the hoopla on this band would die; not so!!! With songs like the haunting “Give up the Ghost” that has York looping his own voice, not once or twice but three times, keeps fans still amazed by this brilliant five piece from Oxfordshire, England. Listen to ‘Give Up the Ghost’

Bon Iver – Bon Iver (Jagjahuwar)
I’m not a huge fan of folk music but when a friend suggested I go with him to see this singer-songwriter Justin Vernon play live at a cemetery, I couldn’t resist.  The performance which was to be a sunrise show at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles on a Sunday of all days had lumps and tears on almost everyone’s faces with his haunting voice.  I was instantly captivated with everything Vernon and his band Bon Iver after witnessing this event.  With Bon Ivers’ latest and self-titled release, you almost feel the heartache he feels with the lush sounds of his acoustic guitar.  Every time I listen to “Holocene” it reminds me of that day in the cemetery where it seemed like everyone involved was in a hypnotic state.

Watch the video for ‘Holocene’ from Bon Iver’s self-titled album.

[youtube http://youtu.be/TWcyIpul8OE]

Siddhartha – Naufrago (Bubler Sounds)
Mexico’s Siddhartha first started out as a drummer for Latin Rock band “Zoe” before venturing out to produce and perform as a solo artist.  His latest release titled “Naufrago” has an indie element to it with a Latin electronic edge.  This artist whom is not well known yet will make a huge impact in the every growing Latin scene if he keeps on releasing songs like “naufrago” which has this melody with just the right drum and synth sound that when closing your eyes, you can almost think of the classic indie band “Ocean Blue”.

Watch the video for “Náufrago”

[youtube http://youtu.be/xgyJsfXkD_4]

Babasonicos – A Proposito (Universal Musica Argentina)
Argentinean rock band Babasonicos, which formed in the early 90s has been progressing with each release like a fine aged wine.   With a running time of 40 minutes, their latest release from this Latin electro pop quintet is not only intelligent pop music but a creative masterpiece for them. Watch the video for ‘Muñeco De Haiti’ here

Atlas Sound – Parallax (Beggars/4AD)
When Bradford Cox of Deerhunter decided to dabble with his side project Atlas Sound, people thought he was crazy as Deerhunter was on the rise.  With his latest release “Parallax”, Cox has had his best writing effort to date.  Right from the first track “The Shakes” with the haunting guitar licks, one thinks of a David Lynch film; At least I do…

Listen to “The Shakes” here

Le Baron – Esplendor (Sony Music Mexico)
Having Sonic Youth and Arctic Monkeys as influences is not a bad thing if your Argentinean band Le Baron.  With an original sound and eclectic arrangements, this quartet is destined for success.  With the exposure of the L.A. Latin Alternative scene in full effect as well as a stint at SXSW next year, Le Baron’s release “Explendor” not only surprised me with its subtle synth sounds but also with their keen ear to what their peers are experimenting with in technology. Watch the video for ‘Velicdad M’ here or listen to ‘Velocidead M’ here 

The Horrors – Skying (Beggars/XL)
With a name like “The Horrors”, how could you not be intrigued to hear what this English band from Southend on Sea sound like.  Back in 2009, there was buzz going around about their live show at SXSW, which had people lined up around the corner to get into.  With their latest release “Skying” which had been delayed for some time, the saying “Good things come to those who wait” was hit right on the money. With resemblance to The Chameleons and The Psychedelic Furs, this release is everything closet Goths dream about.

Watch the video for “Skying”

[youtube http://youtu.be/iD3aKGcmEew]

Javiera Mena – Mena (Union Del Sur)
Javiera Alejandra Mena Carrasco of Chile started her career at the tender age of 17.  With the Chilean indie music scene taking flight in 2001, she dove right in with her synthesized electronic sound. With her second release, simply titled “Mena” she discovers the pop scene while still craving that electronic sound that so many in her hometown fell in love with. With a disco-euro pop sound on her first single “Luz de Piedra de Luna”, and the addictive beat and salsa drums banging, you’d expect a mirrored ball to drop down from the ceiling while dancing. Listen to ‘Luz De Piedra De Luna’ here