favorites of the year

DJ Fundi's Favorites of 2015




Here's our annual list of the music that made us most happy over the past year!

Father John Misty “I Love You, Honeybear”
Laura Marling “Short Movie”
St. Germain “St. Germain”
Kurt Vile “b’lieve I’m goin down”
Hot Chip “Why Make Sense?”
D’Angelo “Black Messiah”
Courtney Barnett “Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometime I Just Sit”
Emancipator “Seven Seas”
Kendrick Lamar “To Pimp a Butterfly”
Circles Around the Sun “Interludes for the Dead”
Alabama Shakes “Sound and Color”

Honorable mentions: Wildlight, Four Tet, Erykah Badu, Wilco, Rising Appalachia, Random Rab, Built to Spill, Frameworks, Modest Mouse...

Love is the Future : 2015 Favorites by Moontrolling on Mixcloud


DJ Fundi's Favorites of 2012

An annual tradition amongst writers, listeners, geeks, headphone cosmonauts and fanatics everywhere —we humbly present to you The Podcast Cafe's list of favorite musics of 2012!
Click here for DJ Fundi's lists, videos and mixes from 2011 and earlier.)

Top Ten Albums/Artists:

The xx "Coexist"

Father John Misty "Fear Fun"

Andrew Bird "Break It Yourself / Hands of Glory"

Cat Power "Sun"

Horse Feathers "Cynic's New Year"

Damien Jurardo "Marapoqua"

Hot Chip "In Our Heads"

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis "The Heist"

Frank Ocean "Channel Orange"

The Lumineers "Ho Hey"

Download or stream a DJ Fundi mix of Favorite Albums & Artists 2012 at

Honorable Mentions:

Tallest Man on Earth "There's No Leaving Here"
Gary Clark Jr. "Blak and Blu"
Grizzly Bear "Shields"
Grateful Dead "So Glad You Made It" Spring 1990 Tour box set
Bill Frisell "Floratone II"
The Dirty Projectors "Sing Low Magellan"
Neil Young with Crazy Horse "Psychedelic Pill"
Josh Ritter "Bringing in the Darlings"
Dr. John "Locked Down"
Cody Chestnutt "Landing on a Hundred"

Special! DJ Playaduster's Favorite ELECTRONICA albums of 2012:

The Polish Ambassador "Superpowers"
Flying Lotus "Until the Silence Comes"
GRiZ "Mad Liberation"
Ricardo Villalobos "Dependent & Happy"
Andy Stott "Luxury Problems"
Four Tet "Pink"
Sugarpill "Space Foray"
UrSprung (Pantha du Prince),
Gladkill "Beta"
Brian Eno "Lux"
Sun:Monx "Power Salad"
Andreilien "Dub Iteration"
JoBOT "Until Tender"

Download or stream DJ Playaduster's dBMcasts featuring these artists and more on our sister site,


women of 2011

A few videos from three of the most ass-kickin’ female rock stars of the past year -- Enjoy!

another take on this inscrutable song:


DJ Fundi's favorites of 2011

It was a great year for music, one of the best I can remember in a long time, and so making this list was easy this year. The Top 10 were no-brainers to me. I’ve collected them here alongside cool videos that may have escaped your attention -- live footage, TV appearances, animation, general weirdness. You can hear a mix of music from nearly all of these artists in the episode “11-11-11” on our main Podcast Cafe channel. You can listen/watch a playlist of all these videos back-to-back by visiting http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL24098AC10069CAA0&feature=edit_ok and clicking on “Play All.” Enjoy!

Bon Iver "Bon Iver" -- expectations were sky high for the next utterances from Justin Vernon, and the troubadour from Wisconsin delivered a debut album that both stayed true to the emotional impact of his debut as well as charted new sonic territory. Highlights: Towers, Holocene, Wash., Perth. Here are my favorite albums and artists of the past year. It was hard to pick only 20 in what felt like an incredible year for music. I like the way electronic music is seeping its way in to nearly every existing form and genre of music, from folk to jazz to rock n roll. I guess this year’s list leans pretty heavily towards acoustic freak-folk Americana bands, not surprisingly.

Fleet Foxes "Helplessness Blues" -- another sophomore album burdened by expectations after a stunning out-of-nowhere debut, this release experimented with arrangements and instrumentation while deepening the lyrical content and crafting a lovely song suite about wrestling with one's (in)significance in the world. Highlights: Bedouin Dress, Sim Sala Bim, The Shrine/An Argument

The Decemberists "The King is Dead" -- this album probably got more play than any other in DJ Fundi's domain, and not only because it was dropped way back in January. the first great album of the year, it sounds especially rich and rocking on vinyl. excellent vocal harmony contributions from another rootsy band on the list, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings. Highlight: Down by the Water, June Hymn, Dear Avery

St. Vincent "Strange Mercy" -- I still haven't pinned down why, to my senses, Annie Clark is by far the sexiest rock n roll star on the scene. on this album, she finds the precarious balance between sweet and dangerous, innocent and wrathful, and she and her eruptive guitar ride that edge from first song to last. Highlights: Cheerleader, Strange Mercy, Year of the Tiger.

Tom Waits "Bad as Me" -- the growling, yelping carnival barker cum whiskey-soaked balladeer returns with his first proper album in 7 years and delivers an incredible collection of diverse, well-honed songs from Weird America. Highlights: all of it.

Wye Oak "Civilian" -- I never tired of rocking out the title track alone and at high volume, the scorching, corroded guitar solo giving me the goosebumps every time.

Radiohead "King of Limbs" -- we purchased this album on vinyl, like Radiohead records before it, and have marveled in the complex, overlayered, dense, shifting intricacies of the music, which clearly favors the drums and bass for creating their most rhythmic yet abstract sound yet. Highlights: Lotus Flower, Codex, Give up the Ghost, Separator.

James Blake self-titled -- this album and artist were one of the more overhyped musical stories of the year, but this record, as it invents a new melodic post-dubstep sound with each track, carried great emotional impact and incredible bass drops. Highlight: Limit to Your Love, The Wilhelm Scream.

Wilco "The Whole Love" -- a return to the more edgy, experimental sounds of Americana fusion from albums of the late 1990s, and a solid collection of smart songs with deft musical playfulness and propulsion on every track. Highlights: opening and closing tracks

Gillian Welch “Harrow and the Harvest" -- Gillian and David's musical formula hasn't changed much since their first album in 1996, but they do what they do so well that it suits us just fine. their slow morphine-drip pacing, the way their voices harmonize so naturally, the spiderweb picking solos, the wistful, sepia-toned lyrics….all of it blends together perfectly on this melancholic collection of plaintive dirges. Highlights: The Way it Will Be, Silver Dagger, How the Whole Thing Ends, Hard Times, The Way It Goes….all of it!

Here’s a YouTube playlist where you can stream all of the above videos and more favorites from 2011 -- click “play all” and enjoy!

Runners up--more great music!

Beastie Boys "Hot Sauce Committee"
Kate Bush "The Director's Cut" and "50 Words for Snow"
Nicholas Jaar "Space is only Noise"
Yo-Yo Ma "Goat Rodeo Sessions"
My Morning Jacket "Circuital"
Welder "Flourescence"
Ballaké Sissoko & Vincent Segal “Chamber Music”
tUnE-yArDs “W H O K I L L”
Tinariwen "Tassilli"
Bill Frisell "All We Are Saying…”
Lost in the Trees "All Alone in an Empty House"
SBTRKT self-titled
The Head and the Heart self-titled
Little Dragon “Ritual Union”

Happy listening and we look forward to another year of discovering and sharing new music with you in 2012!

internationally renowned boaster's favorites of 2011

The clerks at the house of irb have been steadily working through the submission for 2011's best of list. These efforts have been more difficult than in past years and as a result we have had to call in additional resources to handle the influx of goodness. Further, a mis-delivered pallet of Galo boxed wine has resulted in a significant drop in productivity. That coupled with our office manager disappearing for 3 days has left us screeching in at the last moment with our official list. In no particular order except for the first 3.....

Portugal, the man: In the Mountain, In the Cloud. If this was the only new album for 2011 I would have called it a great year. This year's Miike Snow + MGMT.

Tegan and Sara: Get Along. Not new material yet so refreshing and full of energy. I've possibly already overplayed this one.

Radiohead: The King of Limbs. Familiar but different. Always epic.

tUne-yArDs: WHOKILL. Loved Gangsta when it came out and the full release help up to that standard. A very welcome departure from everything else out there.

Tinariwen: Tassilli. makes sense that people leaving in the desert would come up with such simple yet rich sounds.

Beirut: Rip Tide. No big departures which is good. I love everything they do.

The Kills: Blood Pressures. As this came out earlier in the year I had forgotten how great it was. Several re-listens have me back on board in a big way.

The Drums: Portamento. 2 yr running on my top list. I think it is OK to like happy music with quirky lyrics.

Ryan Adams: Ashes & Fire. There were several alt country artists catching me this year but this was the best.

The Antlers: Burst Apart. So much good music to boast to this year.

Could've been on the list: Wild Flag, M83, Lykki Ki, head and the heart, Shabazz Palaces, Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter,Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside......

Also, in the category of not new but new to me:
Joan as Police Woman: The deep field.

And with that, we here at the house of irb wish you all a pleasant afternoon regardless of the time you read this.


Keeney's Favorites of 2010

Here's my list along with a playlist of selected tracks from this top 20:
(in reverse order)

1 Yeasayer Odd Blood
2 LCD Soundsystem This is Happening
3 Ok Go Of the Blue Colour of the Sky
4 Ray Lamontagne & the Pariah Dogs God Willin' & The Creek Wont Rise
5 Hot Chip One Life Stand
6 Vampire Weekend Contra
7 The Black Keys Brothers
8 Johnny Cash American VI: Ain't No Grave
9 Belle & Sebastian Belle & Sebastian Write about Love
10 Kings of Leon Come Around Sundown
11 Rogue Wave Permalight
12 Jimi Hendrix Valleys of Neptune
13 Eminem Recovery
14 Broken Bells Broken Bells
15 B.O.B. B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray
16 The National High Violet
17 Band of Horses Infinite Arms
18 Spoon Transference
19 Arcade Fire The Suburbs
20 MGMT Congratulations

A couple thoughts....I've become more mainstream for sure....perhaps its due to KEXP not being clear at my home, perhaps its due my reliance on Rhapsody for my choice for tunes(whereby I lazily settle for latest/greatest or playlists I created ages ago) and perhaps I am just getting softer.
Regardless, YeaSayer/LCD were hands down the best of the year....I don't know what it is about Yeasayer but they are like some sorta mixed cocktail with a few pills thrown in, you have no idea on ingredients but it just works.  Ray/Vampire Weekend followed up with solid releases, not as good as prior, but solid with an S.  Same can be said for Kings of Leon, Black Keys, Belle & Sebastian, The National, Band of Horses, MGMT.....all producing good albums that way not be as strong as their previous releases but solid enough to hit this list.

Johnny Cash & Hendrix both jumped in as I found a re-found appreciation for their music and these albums in particular.   Not something I think of first to play, but good.
Saw both Eminem and B.o.B at VMAs this year and have to admit these two albums were my guilty pleasures of the year.   

internationally renowned boaster's favorites of 2010

As much as I was underwhelmed with 2009's new releases, 2010 has been crazy good, good enough for two strong years.  It's been fun and impossible to try to keep up with everything that is going on right now.  I'm loving the noise/post punk resurgence as well as the 80's throwback.   What is really exciting is that so many of the top albums are first releases.  Already looking forward to the follow up releases in 2011.  Maybe the only negative for me is the lack of world beats on my list.  It is probably more due to my exposure than actual music produced.   I trust the BWS will turn in many good nuggets here.

Anyway,  here is my master list, broken down by genre and  with the top ten in bold.  The list is so solid that in a different frame of mind I could easily pick ten others.

Old School DJ
Cut Chemist - The Audience's listening
dan le sac - the logic of chance
gorilaz -plastic beach

Folk or other music that I listen to when sad or drunk or wearing handmade leather shoes
Isobela Campbell and Mark Lanegan - hawk
Ray LaMontagne - God willing..
the tallest man on earth - the wild hunt
bob dylan -the bootleg series
frightened rabbit -winter of mixed drinks

With the masses
broken bells -
deerhunter -halcyon digest
arcade fire -suburbs
mgmt - congratulations
spoon -transference

titus andronicus - the monitor
The Dead Weather - sea of cowards

the black keys -brothers

post punk
surfer blood -astro coast
sleigh bells -treats
cloud nothings - turning on
The soft pack  - the soft pack

asmara all stars - eritrea's got soul

British glam or similar
magic bullets - magic bullets
the drums - the drums
caribou  - swim

girl talk -all day
Massive Attack - heligoland
lcd soundsystem - this is happening

gotan project -tango 3.0

DJ Fundi's Favorite Music of 2010

Top 5

Tipper "Broken Soul Jamboree"

Bonobo "Black Sands"

Black Keys "Brothers"

The Tallest Man on Earth "The Wild Hunt/Sometimes the Blues…"

Beats Antique "Blind Threshold"

The Next 5

Janelle Monae "The ArchAndroid"

Sufjan Stevens "All Delighted People/The Age of Adz"

The Roots "How I Got Over"

Four Tet "There Is Love In You"

Spoon "Transference"

The next 10 -- honorable mentions

Josh Ritter "So Runs the World Away"

Bassekuo Kouyate "I Speak Fula"
Easy Star All-Stars "Dubber Side of the Moon"

Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah Dogs "God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise"

Erykah Badu "New Amerykah Part 2"
Quantic "Dog With a Rope"

Cowboy Junkies "Renmin Park"

The Broken Bells self-titled
Big Boi "Sir Luscious Left Foot"

Neil Young "Le Noise"

Awesomest songs of the year

Cee-Lo Green's "Fuck You"

The Tallest Man on Earth's "The Dreamer"

Janelle Monae's "Tightrope"

Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah Dogs "God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise"

Sade's "Soldier of Love"

Big Boi's "Shutterbug"

Awesomest videos of the year

Erykah Badu's "Jump Up in the Air & Stay There"

Flying Lotus' "MmmmmmmHmmmmmmm"

and here's all the videos in one long playlist where you can listem to them all in one long sesh without ever getting off the couch:


The Podcast Cafe's Favorite Music of 2009

Top 10 Favorite Albums of 2009
The xx, Phoenix, Iron & Wine, Miike Smith, Neko Case & the Japandroids receive valuable multiple vote-points in annual renowned world-famous poll of the SBWS tastemakers -- Nirvana roars back, P. Jam snoozes and Big Debate over Wilco (The Album)

DJ Fundi:

Fever Ray's "Fever Ray"
Welder's "Vines and Streams"
The xx's "xx"
Heyoka's "Gate Code"
Cymbals Eat Guitars' "Why There Are Mountains"
The Cave Singers' "Welcome Joy"
Built to Spill's "There is No Enemy"
Dirty Projectors' "Bitte Orca"
Tinariwen's "Imidiwan"
ill.gates' "Autopirate"

A mix of genres served in good proportion: electronica/whomp/dub (4), guitar rock (2), weird folk (1), avant-garde pop (2) and African (1). Very pleased with each one of these and expect to listen to them for the ages. Most of the artists are brand new to me, so maybe I'm still in the honeymoon phase? Built to Spill is the only oldie but goodie to me, and I was stoked to hear Doug & Co. roar back with a solid album full of beauty, heartache and soaring guitar solos.

Honorable mentions:

Sonic Youth's "The Eternal"
"5: 5 Years of Hyperdub" compilation
Andras Schiff's "Bach: Six Partitas"
Neko Case's "Middle Cyclone"
DJ/Rupture's "Solar Life Raft"
Nosaj Thing's "Drift"
The Mountain Goats' "The Life of the World to Come"
Iron & Wine's "Around the Well"
Yim Yames "Tribute To George Harrison"
Bon Iver "Blood Bank"
"Dark was the Night" compilation

Most Disappointing:

Pearl Jam's "Backspacer"
To my ears, the blandest and most predictable album they've ever made -- I tried very hard to like it. Still love the boys but most of this this just sounds limp and plodding and too predictable. Instead of Backspacer, check out the band playing ferociously in peak form in 1994 at Wolfgang's Vault -- one of the best, most energetic and passionate rock performances ever, methinks.
Wilco's "Wilco (The Album)"
Not a bad album per se, only that Wilco has set the bar so damn high for themselves and I was over this one after 2 or 3 listens.
Bob Dylan "Together Through Life"
Ditto Dylan -- the first average album after a decade of amazing late-period releases.

Listen to a free podcast featuring much of the music listed above on the
main Podcast Cafe episodes page.

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Dub Marcus "K-Pop" Keeney:

Top 15 in somewhat order -- (parenthese is a good track to check out)

The xx - The xx - (crystalized)
Julian Casablancas - Phrazes for the Young (Out of the blue)
Japandroids - Post-Nothing (The boys are leaving town)
Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Lisztomania)
Bombay Bicycle Club - I had the blues but shook them loose (What If)
St. Vincent - Actor - (marrow)
Wilco - Wilco (wilco - the song)
Tegan and Sara - Sainthood  -(alligator)
The Avett Brothers -   I and Love and You- (I and Love and You)
Neko Case - Middle Cyclone   (this tornado loves you)
The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love (The Hazards of Love Pt1)
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion  - (My Girls)
Miike Snow - Miike Snow   (animal)
U2 - No Line on the Horizon (Magnificent)
Vieux Farka Toure - Fondo    (sarama)
Honorable mention

The Big Pink, Atlas Sound, Amadou & Mariam, brakesbrakesbrakes, Robyn Hitchcock (Live in NY I often dream of trains)
Couple comments
Japandroids is just pure post-punk, there is just something about this album that makes we want to grab a smashing stick and go to work, but not with anger, rather pure joy and a smile on my face.
The Decemberists album deserves the full listen with headphones, not single tracks, for it is what I would dub Storybook Folk at its best. 
Animal Collective is somewhere between ...And you will know us by the trail of the dead...and pink floyd.  So many layers in their songs I get lost and love it.
The Avett Brothers - Many of you know my long standing obstinance to country (and hesh too but that is a different story) but this album is just great song writing, plus I am a sucker for a banjo (The January Wedding.)
Neko Case has now entered my pantheon of female singers that make me swoon.  She is a mix of Tracy Thorn and Margo Timmins.
Phoenix - admitedly I am a little tired of this album nowadays, but I couldn't get enough when this first came out early in the year. Great pop that makes my bouncing leg step it up a notch.
Bombay Bicycle Club - ditto - these guys have to be fantastic live. 
Miike Snow - where they hell did they come from? Some Nordic country that Dille will have to affirm but do give them a listen, I promise you will want to stand up and march.
U2 - I know Bono's crooning can be a bit much but there are a number of tracks on this album that harken back to the glory days (Joshua Tree) mostly due to the Edge.  Definitely my guilty pleasure of the year.
Vieux Farka Toure - just like his father, this reverb fender hypnotizes me and is pure brilliance in my opinion.

Don't take my word on any of this, listen for yourself:

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The Internationally Renowned Boaster:

This has been a tricky year to come up with a top 10. There are tons of really good new releases but none that I felt were far and away better than the rest. The most epic of all was the Nirvana live album. Even some that are in my top 10 I don't see being on my regular rotation like so many top 10's in the past.  As evidence to this point, in the KEXP top 90.3 albums of the decade only two were from 2009.  Some of my favorite '09 releases do not even qualify as new albums (one live, two  b-side comps and one EP).   I even went back through many of the "consensus" top albums to make sure I wasn't just in some strange socialistic music rut where everything is equal. I still don't get the fascination with Merriweather post pavilion.  Very few releases were completely solid from the first song to the last.  Too many had what I would call filler. Another example, Mos Def's "Ecstatic" has some great songs but also has some pure cheese. Anyway, before you call bullshit on my entire "2009 -the year of parody" theory, have a gander at what wheat I have separated from the chaff, in no specific order:
Japandroids - post nothing (I new it was special when 80% of the people I turned on to it hated it.)
Julian Plenti - Julian Plenti is....Skyscraper
The xx-xx
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Its Blitz
Nirvana - Live at Redding (this I will be listening to for the rest of my life)
Iron and Wine - Around the Well
Shabazz Palaces - Of Light
Staff Bebda Bilili - Tres Tres fort
Amadou and Miriam - Welcome to Mali
Miike Snow -Miike Snow
Modest Mouse - No One's First and You're Last
I am not going to give any honorable mentions as that could include countless credible albums. I will say that I do agree with K-Pop that the Decemberists latest is worthy, specifically the "Wanting Comes In Waves" track. 
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UPDATE: late entry by Mr. Kevin Koga
Steinski-What Does it All Mean
James Pants-Welcome
El Michels Affair-Enter the 37th Chamber
Major Lazer- Guns Don’t Kill People Lazers Do
Ben Sollee- Learning to Bend
K’Naan- album
Diplo- Decent Work for Decent Pay
Raphael Saadiq- The Way I See It
Common- Universal Mind Control
Tom Waits- Glitter and Doom

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Did we miss anything? Leave
your favorite albums of 2009 in the comments. Peace.

Best Albums of the Decade

NPR's music team has posted a provocative list of their "50 Most Important Albums of the 2000s", with different critics of diferent genres weighing in, hence the rock albums alongside classical alongside jazz (reviews and samples from the albums are found here). Note that these picks aren't the BEST of the 2000s, but instead representative of some important trend or defining moment in music over the past decade. I am very happy to see several non-obvious choices on their list by artists that have inspired, challenged and sustained me over the past decade: Burial, Bon Iver, The Bad Plus, Iron & Wine, Yo-Yo Ma. Radiohead is the only band with two albums on the list -- can you guess which two?

Carey Brownstein's Monitor Mix blog at NPR has
a lot of thoughtful essays, quizzes, timelines and whatnot about the past 10 years of music too.

I'm also enjoying studying the lists of
"The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s" over at Pitchfork -- I always get a bunch of new musical leads to track down reading their various staff lists of this and that. They also rate the worst album covers and best musical videos of 2009.

Favorite albums of 2007

what did the SBWS pod consider to be the very best, most fresh music of the year?
click on to find out...

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