20 Dec
Henry Rollins, The Weeknd, James Blake, Charlie Sheen, SBTRKT, DJ Mehdi, plenty of mixtapes & more

Time for the fourth edition of our Best Of 2011 retrospective series (after ART, BOOKS & STYLE), where we look back on the LIAS Year In Music. Frankly none of these lists are easy — we can trim each down to about 20 but then cutting them down to 10 means we gotta chop some heads Marie Antoinette-style. So, heads be chopped! But all of the Top 10 made the list for different reasons — most because the music was just too damn good to ignore, others because they were artists we’ve worshiped for years, or simply because their mixtape made us want to bump up the system at Headquarters to 11. So with that being said, we offer our LIAS Year In Music for 2011…


 LIAS Top 10 Music Posts Of 2011:

10. Fugazi + Wu Tang Clan = “Wugazi: 13 Chambers” Mixtape

Wu Tang acapellas laced over cut up Fugazi instrumentals? Need we say more…? OK, not only is Wugazi: 13 Chambers — the fruits of emcee & producer Cecil Otter and Minneapolis musician & producer Swiss Andy — a fantastic idea, but the execution is skilled and precise. A brilliant mixtape concept blending two of the greatest musical artists of the modern era.


9. Charlie Sheen + Dirt Nasty + 2 Live Crew = Chain Swangaz “Steak & Mash Potatoes” Video

Was Chain Swangaz “Steak & Mash Potatoes” one of the best songs of the year? No, but Dirt Nasty & producer Jack Splash certainly captured the year’s zeitgeist with the video. Starring a freshly tiger blood-minted mid-meltdown Charlie Sheen (as well as 2 Live Crew’s Brother Marquis), “Steak & Mash Potatoes” was basically the music video equivalent of a date with Sheen himself: dirty, obnoxious, offensive to 95% of the country, slightly frightening and ultimately hilarious. We could’ve gone with that Charlie Sheen dubstep remix video, but I think Chain Swangaz win out.


8. DJ Mehdi “Loukoums” J Dilla Homage Mix

In the world of dance music, there was no greater loss this year than that of DJ Mehdi (Rest In Peace). As an homage to the late Ed Banger Records stalwart, label boss Busy P posted this mix Mehdi made back in 2006 as an homage to the late great Dilla. Consider it an homage-within-an-homage. Titled Loukoums, the mix was non-produced and un-mixed by DJ Mehdi, who wrote the following. “Based on the DONUTS album concept, these are demos, out-takes and unreleased gems from various records I worked on before and during the making of LUCKY BOY, my next album. Stuff comes from MEGALOPOLIS, 113 DEGRES and SHEITAN soundtrack mainly, but some is older too. Hope you enjoy these rough mixes and un-polished sounds, as I pay hommage to ‘one of the greatest minds to ever make beats,’ Mr James Yancey, better known as JAY DEE, also know as DILLA.” – Mehdi, 2006

Hit the Jump to read continue reading #s 7-1 of the Year In Music: The Top 10 Mixtapes, Interviews & Mashups Of 2011. And don’t forget to follow LIAS on Twitter or Facebook

7. Radio Soulwax “Pin-Ups” Mixtape/Video

The Belgian brothers Dewaele, the mad sampling geniuses behind Soulwax and 2ManyDJs, dropped another of their beloved Radio Soulwax mixes. And this one, aptly titled Pin-Ups, takes a very visually erotic slant — matching the music with over 850 vintage vinyl album covers of the music therein. The result is an aurally and visually pleasing smorgasbord of disco hotness… no wonder the girls love their Soulwax…


6. James Blake vs Drake Mashup Mixtape

Perhaps our most debated entry, the mashups of James Blake with Drake create a wonderfully moody half-hour mix — props to Philly producers Bombé & Mr. Caribbean for blending the otherwise disparate artists into one seamless set. Give it a peep, and if you like download the James Drake mixtape for free…


5. Revenge Of the Teddybears: The Return Of Sweden’s Bloodthirsty Hitmaking Predators

Our interview with Teddybears’ Klas Åhlund as they prepared for the American release of Devils Music ran the gamut from him listing his favorite 5 hardcore albums of the 1980s to waxing nostalgic about his time in the studio with Iggy Pop (wearing only one flip-flop, naturally). It was one of the more interesting Q&As we’ve done all year — music or otherwise.


4. SBTRKT “BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix”

In our eyes, SBTRKT can do little wrong — and his Essential Mix was one of the best sets all year. It starts off a bit slow & ambient, with Thom Yorke singing over the music. Then around the 20-minute mark it starts picking up and in its 2-hour lifespan runs through 2-step, garage, old skool, house… just all over the place… in a good way…


3. The World According To Henry Rollins: the Lost In a Supermarket Interview

Resident hooligan Matt Hanrahan sat down with Henry Rollins and discussed his tour dates with Dinosaur Jr., the pleasures of turning 50 years old, and what Mr. Punk Rock really thinks about watching Mick Jagger sing “Satisfaction” (it ain’t good). Another great interview. And if he had the chance to give a band one single piece of advice, what would it be…? Read the Q&A to find out…


2. The Weeknd “Thursday” Mixtape

Undoubtedly one of our favorite new acts, highly secretive future R&B/slow-step crooner The Weeknd dropped his Thursday mixtape back in August. The followup to the justifiably hyped House of Balloons (which also came out in 2011) the Toronto-based The Weeknd (aka Abel Tesfaye) has managed to keep a very low profile despite much scrutiny — including plenty of love from another Toronto rapper (see #6). The 3rd installation of his announced mixtape trilogy, Echoes of Silence, was supposed drop this autumn, but still no word. Wonder if a major label has snapped up rights yet…?


1. Joy Division Documentary

This was a no brainer. Filmmaker Grant Gee directed the succinctly named Joy Division documentary which for the first time features full participation by all living members of Joy Division, now known of course as New Order: Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris. Also offering their perspectives on the band and that sooty era of English/Manchester history is Throbbing Gristle frontman Genesis P. Orridge, the late Factory Records owner Tony Wilson, iconic Factory Records graphic artist Peter Saville and photographer Anton Corbijn, who directed the excellent Ian Curtis biopic Control. But perhaps most interesting is the participation of Belgian journalist Annik Honoré, who for the first time ever speaks publicly about her notorious relationship with Ian Curtis. Gee has compellingly combined never-before-seen live performance footage, personal photos, period films and newly discovered audiotapes to create a highly engrossing 90-minute documentary that fleshes out a larger, more detailed and accurate essence of that seminal time and place, and of a band that despite its short lifespan influenced generations of bands. For Joy Division fans it is a must-see, and for music heads in general it is well worth part of your evening. You can see the entire documentary online, or buy the DVD.



Leave a Reply