Six Albums You Should Have Listened To In 2011

One of my email subscribers, Sandy, asked me recently, “What are your biggest influences? What are you currently listening to?” I hate to just give short answers to music related questions as personal as this one! Furthermore as I was looking at what I was listening to and matching it up with some of my favorite artists, I realized that a lot of music came out this year that I’ve enjoyed all year long. Let’s take a look in no particular order.


Wick-it the Instigator – The Brothers of Chico Dusty

Ok, there is a particular order. I mention this one first because it was actually released in December of 2010. But it’s so good. I listened to it a lot in 2011. Wick-it the Instigator‘s mashup album of Big Boi’s Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Sons of Chico Dusty & The Black Keys’ Brothers. Deservedly, it went viral on the internet. I hope you grab this one right away.


Emancipator – Remixes

This was the sleeper hit of the year. I was addicted to this album for several months. I already liked Emancipator. This remix album added a lot of punch to his more vibed out tracks. As I type this, I’m inspired to start listening to this AGAIN. haha. Emancipator has been one of my favorite discoveries from Pandora. I even tried to remix/mashup one of his songs by the way.


DJ Shadow – The Less You Know, The Better

This was Shadow’s first studio release in years! When I talk about DJ Shadow today, people are very quick to point out that he’ll never release another record like Endtroducing. Ok, fine. Then, they tell me that he’s lost it. But come on. He was way ahead of everyone when he released The Outsider in 2006. Admittedly, I didn’t get it at first when that album came out. But now I look around, there’s all this bass music. I keep thinking, oh I’ve heard this before! I digress. So, Shadow tried to go back to his “roots” with The Less You Know, The Better. Here’s a great interview about it. I liked this record a lot. It reminded me of the UNKLE – Psyence Fiction album because it was super diverse. I listened to this over and over. You should have, too.


Mutemath – Odd Soul

Some of you know that I’m a longtime die-hard Mutemath fan. (I even got to open for Mutemath back in the day.) This is Mutemath’s best record. Great songwriting in the lyrics, melodies, & rhythm. This actually came out on the same day as DJ Shadow record. Yet, I was more excited about this one! It’s the perfect record for them. I don’t know how they top it. it’s a great pure rock album without a lot of the electronic and sample elements that I’m used to hearing. Actually, you’d think I would like it less because of that. But I love what they did. They were all over the place with the styles. I hope that since now they’ve proven themselves musically (as if they needed to), they can bring back all the samples and electronic stuff and make something ridiculous. But enough speculation, Listen to Odd Soul. If you haven’t already, you should have. Oh by the way, I entered their Odd Soul remix contest. I didn’t win; but I liked what I did. Download Odd Soul (Quiet Entertainer Remix)


BSBD – Noir

This album deserves its own blog entry. The reason I don’t: I’m not a music reviewer and don’t want to be known as a music reviewer. I don’t want thousands of rappers and bands sending me their music. But let me tell you. In my opinion, this is the best record that came out in 2011. It’s definitely my favorite. I don’t know what kind of genre you’d tag for Blue Sky Black Death. I know they are hip hop producers. However, the Noir album is kind of a shoegaze electronica triphop soundtrack-esque record. I’ve listened to this record the most. Every time I listen to it, I have a new favorite track. Every time I re-listen to a track, I discover a new element that I hadn’t noticed. It’s like reading the Bible. Yes, it’s a religious experience when I listen to this record. Is it kind of silly to talk this way about music? It’s just a record, right? If you feel that way, you probably need to leave my site right now. And then you need to go listen to Noir. You should have been listening all year long.


Quiet Entertainer – Q-Gaze

Shameless plug! I did my first ever mixtape EP this year! It’s called Q-Gaze. I mixed together some of the artists I listed here and a few others. You definitely need to grab that. It’s a free download. Get it here.

Like I said, I’m not a music reviewer. I’m more of a sharer. I’m just sharing music that I like. Through that mixtape and through this blog. I hope you took some time to listen. What records would you have put on this list for 2011? Let me know in the comments.

How To Take Over The Internet And Make It Look Easy

I definitely didn’t want to be the only one who hadn’t blogged about this. Last week, Wick-It the Instigator dropped his new mixtape: The Brothers of Chico Dusty, a mashup record of The Black Keys & Big Boi. I hope you’ve heard it by now. If not, listen below.


It’s been only a week since it was released, but now it’s everywhere. I’ve seen it on just about every music blog that I’ve ever heard of plus a few more. Long time readers know that I have mentioned Wick-It on this blog before. But I have to mention him again. This new record is a case study for how to get attention to yourself and your music. Once again, I want to quote Justin Boland over at Audible Hype. He poses the question “Is Touring Really Necessary…?” then he lists the 5 Core Ingredients for Success Without Touring. Please go read the entire blog entry I just linked. Now, you can’t neglect your live show either, but Justin’s ingredient list is below.

1. Great Music
2. Easily Accessable
3. Prolific Output
4. Evangelist Fans
5. Low Overhead

What Wick-It has done with his career aligns with this perfectly. He had a great mixtape for free download. If you went to his soundcloud or the mashville bandcamp page, you could easily get even more music. His fans have been the ones pushing it to different blogs beyond regular word of mouth. He spent nothing on marketing, and did it in a home studio (which you kind of have to have anyway if you’re a DJ/producer).

It’s been surreal to sit back and see all of the attention that the mixtape has gotten for Wick-It. I’m proud though. And it’s a teachable moment to all musicians, artists, bands, & DJs…even bloggers, actually. Including myself, I think all of us can learn from Wick-It’s example (& Justin’s blueprint) if we want to take over the internet with our music. Wick-It made it look so easy, but it took a lot of hard work to build the overnight splash.

What can we do in the new year to follow this example?