As the sun sets on the first month of 2011 hopefully a few will still indulge me in my annually late look back at the year just gone. Now in its 6th edition (2005,2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009) it should like all “best ofs” be taken with a pinch of salt. I dont even agree with half the placings but if you think Im retyping 200 numbers again…

Ask me tomorrow what my favourites are and ill have changed my mind or remembered a classic that somehow escaped my thoughts. Loving a piece of music depends so much on where you hear it, whats happening in your life or who you’re with. There are tracks that only feature because they seem to work particularly well when played repeatedly at volume while pummelling up the M6 late at night.
Its a personal selection at pray to my whims, if Im in love ill overload the chart with slush, break my heart and ive a terrible weakness for Country and Western. Quite what putting an experimental Norwegian Jazz collective at No.1 says on that front is probably best glossed over.

Hopefully somewhere among this ridiculously long list there might be one artist you’d never heard before but will go on to love in 2011. Regardless of their order everyone of these 200 pieces of music has something very special about it.

Visit the Music Like Dirt page on Facebook to tell me just how wrong my selections are or what tunes Ive criminally overlooked? Theres also Twitter or the comments section of this page.

Theres a ZIP featuring some of the music featured here or listen to all the tracks on the Hype Machine. (I tried Spotify but it only had about 45 of the tracks).

1. JAGA JAZZIST – “Toccata

Jaga Jazzist – Twitter / Facebook / Website

Watch: Jaga Jazzist perform a dogma version of “Toccata” in Tønsberg’s grand church, Tønsberg Domkirke (below)


But we are ash, we are books
Coffee stained and overlooked

The Indelicates – Twitter / Facebook / Website / Shop

“All Matter”

So what is love? (What is it)

Bilal – Twitter / Facebook / Soundcloud / Website /
Listen to the original version – Robert Glasper (feat. Bilal) “All Matter”

“To Something (feat. Rox)”

“try, try again, maybe we can start it over, like a record at the end”
The buzz around Obaro Ejimiwe aka Ghostpoet built slowly but inevitably in 2010. His soft, sleepy, dulcet tones first came to my attention via blogging stalwarts Cubikmusik & Jus’Likemusic, then in February at The Worldwide Awards his performance was so packed, security had to enact a strict policy of one in, one out (unfortunately I never got beyond out).
Gilles Peterson was just one of the people spellbound by Ghost’s everyday tales, sonorous delivery and mix of wonky beats, hiphop & electronica, snapping him up for his Brownswood imprint.
To Something”, his unofficial mix of Fourtet’s “She Just Likes To Fight” featuring another up-and-comer Rox is a new high watermark. Absolutely beautiful. Count the days to his debut album.

GhostPoet – Twitter / Facebook / Blog / Soundcloud
Listen: The Sound Of Strangers FREE EP
Watch: “Cash & Carry Me Home” (Video) – The first big Ghostpoet single!
Read: Ghostpoet tells Cubikmusik about the acts that have most influenced him.

“Best of Times”

go on and listen when they tell that these are your best years, don’t let anyone protect your ears, it’s best that you hear what they don’t want you to hear, it’s better to have pressure from peers then not have peers.”

Sage Francis – Twitter / Facebook

“Ride (feat Ludacris)”

I can do it up and down, I can do circles
To him I’m a gymnist, This one is my circus

Ciara – Twitter / Facebook

“Pacha On Acid (Original Mix)”

Afrojack – Twitter / Facebook

“Rolling In The Deep”
The scars of your love, remind me of us.
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all

Adele – Twitter / Facebook
Watch: “Daydreamer” Live on Jools Holland
“Rolling in the deep” – Slightly odd video featuring a room filled with cups of water, a dancer flicking talcumn powder and Adele unable to get out of a chair.

“Love Lust”

Oh, lust only grows like anger and revenge or beauty comes and goes but love stays until the end

King Charles – Twitter / Facebook / Blog
Watch: Love Lust (Video) / Cover of Billy Joel “We Didnt Start The Fire”

“Love conversation”

Youuuuuuuu… are so very precious to me

Jose James – Soundcloud / Facebook / Website

“Human Eyeballs On Toast”

Feathers and a cage too small
Chemicals that make us tall

Peter Broderick – Facebook / Website / Flickr
Watch: “Human Eyeballs On Toast” Video of Studio Recording

“Lewis Takes Off His Shirt”

What I have is what you need
And I’m never gonna give it to you

Owen’s trademark looped violin and vocals given extra oomph by the Czech Symphonic Orchestra.

Owen Pallett – Twitter / Website / Soundcloud
Download: FREE Export EP
Watch: “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt” – Suitably bizarre video

“Dancing On My Own”

Somebody said you got a new friend
Does she love you better than I can?

Robyn – Twitter / Facebook / Soundcloud
Watch: “Dancing On My Own”

“Great Britain (Akira the Don vs. Joey2Tits Remix)”

And we’re so so bitter, we never got over when Marathon got renamed Snickers

In a flagrant abuse of the one song per artist rule I’m opting for three Akira The Don related tracks at No.14.

Back in May Akira’s website went up in smoke after his ATD 23 Streetfighter tribute mixtape was declared “The Best Gaming Mixtape You’ll Ever Hear” by the ludicrously popular gaming site In the name of adding to the buzz, my dulcet tones could be heard on Hype Machine Radio enthusing about standout track “Be Brave”. Shortly afterwards an unholy alliance of MLD and ATD’s twitter followers propelled the tune to the top of the Hype Machine chart.

14. AKIRA THE DON – “Be Brave”

All I need a beat and sample
I hit it and it goes pop… example

No best of the year would be complete without an entry from Polarbear, this year its as a guest on Akira’s all done in a day LP. Listen to more here, and he’ll also be guesting on “Concrete Pigeon” from Sound Of Rums new album.

Finally a quick mention for PolarBear’s AfroBear side project, this month a few new demos popped up on Polars Soundcloud page.

Akira The Don – The No.1 artist site in the world / Twitter
Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip – Facebook / Twitter (Dan / Scroobius)

15. GIDEON CONN – “Wildfire”
Money fucks money and money is sexy

Gideon Conn – Facebook / Twitter / Website

“Butterfly Crab Walk (feat. Riddla)”

If you’re drinkin’ Tennants, you need to sober up

Roots Manuva – Twitter / Facebook / BananaKlan
WrongTom – Twitter / Website / Soundcloud

Watch: Music Like Dirt talks to Wrong Tom about the album and heads to the launch party

Read: Tony McDermott talks about his classic Greensleeves sleeve designs – Must read
WrongTom selects 10 all time favourite tracks for CMU Weekly

“Shutterbug (Feat. Cutty)”

Now party people in the club it’s time to cut a rug
And throw the deuce up in the sky just for the shutterbuggs

Big Boi – Twitter / Facebook / Website
Watch: “Shutterbug”s excellent video

“The Load (“Get a wind thing for the mic” live on a rooftop version)”

I will not ever take this for granted, I am forever in your hands

James Mathe – Twitter / Facebook / Soundcloud
James Mathe – “Pallyacho (Home Demo)” (MP3)


You, You, You, You, You, You, You, You, You (repeat)

Gold Panda – Twitter / Facebook / Soundcloud

“Vaisakhi Mela”

Jasjot Singh Ghuman – Facebook

“Speak Her Sex (Feat. Nikkiya)”

Every night my little box, these speakers sexin me

YelaWolf – Facebook / Twitter / Website

“Natural Light”

I found a picture from before the fight, we’re in natural light
And youre sitting on my lap like everythings alrigh

Sun Kil Moon – Website

“Scooter Singh (feat Ash King)”

Definitely Southall sovereign status, more than Shadow from Gladiators

Caravan Crookz – Twitter / Facebook / Scooter Singh Appreciation club / Website
Download: Free track “Jason DONovan” from their website

“Somebody To Love Me (feat. Boy George) (Holy Ghost remix)”

In a couple of weeks you can tell all the freaks how you carried my body home

Mark Ronson – Twitter / Facebook
Watch: “Somebody to Love Me (Video)”


You look so lovely as you stand there

Bleeding Heart Narrative – Twitter / Facebook / Soundcloud / Blog
Watch: “Perun” (Video)

“No Tears To Cry (Leo Zero Remix)”

If you don’t want to see me fall
Turn your face to the wall

Every generation has a Weller song to call its own whether its by The Jam, Style Council or the Modfather’s “Wildwood” era. The glorious 8 minute Northern Soul swirl of Leo Zero’s “No Tears To Cry” remix may just be the track that bewitches a fresh generation.
Leo Zero’s Dub Psychedelic Series previously sprinkled magic onto 70′s Bowie, and his Weller mix is a subtle triumph. On Soundcloud Leo was modest about his input “I can’t take credit for any of the parts! – I just did a beef-up and added some drums… the original is actually constructed with a lot of separate samples, I was very surprised when I cracked it open – it sounds so live, I thought it was all original“.

He was also understandably excited to be offered the chance to work on Weller’s material:

“A remix for Paul Weller that was a real honour ( and a lot of fun) to do. I think of this sound as what was going on at Blackpool’s Mecca Ballroom on the Northern Soul scene – slightly disco-fied…. but this track also reminds me of Neil Diamond and Glen Campbell – it’s a truly great song, and I was literally jumping round the studio with excitement when I first heard it! It was one thing to land a Paul Weller mix after being a fan for so long, but then to find out it was for such a belter of a song was mindblowing”.

Leo’s work is always unbelievably good, for further proof download his remix of Lissie here, and Patrick Wolf’s new one (below)

“Limit To Your Love”

So carelessly there, is it truth or dare
There’s a limit to your care

James Blake – Twitter / Facebook
Watch: “Limit To Your Love” (Video) / Feist’s original version of “Limit To Your Love”

“I Need A Dollar”

Please mister boss man, I need this job more than you know
But he gave me my last paycheck and he sent me on out the door

Aloe Blacc – Twitter / Facebook / StonesThrow Records (loads of videos & downloads)
Watch: “I Need A Dollar” (Video)

“Permanent Midnight”
Blakula” an imaginary soundtrack to the tale of a black vampire born in Haiti, hibernated in Transylvania and defrosted in New York City in 1977. Its nothing to do with the 1972 Blacula (with a c) film which had its own collectable blaxsploitation soundtrack.
Theres an amusing backstory of Blakula’s adventures on the New York scene, writing poems with Burroughs, jamming with Miles and the Velvet Underground, shaking a canister for Basquiat and his tail feather with Warhol.

The album takes in rock, prog, disco, jazz but melds it all into one glorious voodoo funk soup that the Italian duo Simon Maccari and Andrea Bellentani aka The Diaphanoids should be justly proud.

Blakula – Myspace / Buy
Listen to Sergio Rizzolo’s unofficial extended disco edit of another album highlight “Miss Morgue”

30. BENIN CITY – “The Beat (Live @ E4 Underbelly)

A live favourite, and the perfect blend of old style Hip-Hop with a little Go-Go – its like Shady Grove are back on stage. The Beat sounds very very nice.

Benin City – Twitter / Facebook

“This Is A Lull”

A slice of pure pop dance so blissful that Kylie herself would crawl over hot coals to get her mitts on it. “This Is A Lull” would fit daytime Radio 1 perfectly, but equally it’s pulsing synths and 80′s snare hits make it more than cool enough for the trendier dancefloor.
It works even better when twinned with one of Run Toto Runs inventive videos – this time its all trippy motion effects (watch below). To show how they created it, the director Christopher Poole has released footage of the band performing to a super slowed down version of the tune, which when sped creates the otherworldly effect. Watch Rachel singing deliberately sloooowwwlllyyyy here.

Run Toto Run – Facebook / Twitter / Soundcloud

“Getting Nowhere (feat. John Legend)”

I keep using my energy
Pushing and shoving my way to please

Magnetic Man – Facebook / Website / Twitter (Scream / Benga / Artwork)
Watch: “Getting Nowhere” (Lord Of The Rings meets KIDulthood – odd video)



Arp – Arpsounds / Myspace


The musical equivalent of sunshine, The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble returned with a devastatingly brilliant free download of the Outkast coveringSpottie” from their new EP. They’re safe in the knowledge that anyone who listens will be compelled to buy the full EP (if not their entire back catalogue). See them live if you have a chance.

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – Twitter / Website
Watch: Heritage EP Video

“Tell ‘Em”

Sleigh Bells – Twitter / Facebook
Watch: Excellent fan made “Tell ‘Em” (Video)

“Valse Dans L’Ombre”

An ipod inspired musical version of attention deficit disorder killed my album listening habits – Twitter, Facebook, MP3′s by the thousand, iplayer, youtube… Its hard enough to hold my attention for one song, let alone a whole LP!

Mondkopf’sGalaxy Of Nowhere was one of a handful of exceptions in 2010. An album I can listen to from track 1 to 12 without my finger even hovering over “next” – ridiculous though that problem is.

Perhaps the 23 year old Parisian just ticks all the right boxes for me? Eno influences, crunching beats, large synths but most of all wonderfully BIG orchestration! Lovely.

Mondkopf – Twitter / Facebook / Lastfm / Music blog
As a bonus grab Mondkopf’s remix of one of my favourite tracks of 09 by Wolf Parade. Its huge and free from those people at RCDLB who get their mitts on all the best tunes, damn them.

37. LION D
“Nah Like Da Way Deh”

To make it look like a global conspiracy, to hold the people down and keep them in poverty

London born but now living in Italy (from where his mum hails) Lion D’s “Nah Like Da Way Deh” is a bitter pill of social commentary wrapped up in the sweetest summer reggae coating. Wind down the car windows and sing along to the likes of “To make it look like a global conspiracy, to hold the people down and keep them in poverty“.

Its also two tunes for the price of one as 2 and a half minutes in the vocals disappear and it heads off on a glorious 4 minute sax led instrumental excursion! If you like this be sure to check out his debut long player “Burning Melody“.

Lion D – Twitter / Facebook / Buy

“Losing Sleep (Instrumental)” (MP3)

Edwyn Collins – Twitter / Facebook / Website
Watch: “Losing Sleep” (Video)

“Clap Hands”

The goose drank wine, The monkey chew tobacco on the streetcar line
The line broke, the monkey got choked. And they all went to heaven in a little rowing boat

Clap Hands (Video) pilfers its lyrics from the 1965 Shirley Ellis hit “Clapping Song” (which itself borrowed from an old nursery rhyme). Musically its a world away from Shirley (Youtube) with a huge squelching synth throb, Jones’ vocal clicks and a generally ominous tone. Not a skipping rope in sight but fantastic nevertheless.

Denis Jones – Facebook / Website / Buy
Watch: “Clap Hands” (Video)

“Hurry Up and Wait”

I’m flawed just like all of us, and I never pray but keep yelling that god is ominous

Nocando – Twitter / Facebook /
Download: El-P Remix feat. Nocando
Watch: “2 Track Mind (feat. BusDriver)” (Video) / “Wow” – Who doesnt love hip-hop love songs?

“What wouldn’t I do” (MP3)

What wouldnt I do for a woman like you?

Strayfolk is an americana constellation found on the south-west and western seafront of Sweden.

Strayfolk – Website
FREE download of “What Wouldnt I do” + interview at Bad Panda
Listen: More from members of Strayfolk on the Swedish Music blog

“Forever Lost”

Pretty Lights – Twitter / Facebook
Download: Grab the brilliant “Spilling Over Every Side” & “Glowing in The Darkest Night” EP’s for FREE on the Pretty Lights site.

“Hold You (feat. Foxy Brown)”

Gyal me wann fi hold yuh, put me arms right around yuh
Gyal you give me the tightest hold me eva get inna my life

Gyptian – Twitter / Facebook
Watch: “Hold You” (Video)


Actress – Twitter
Actress (Darren Cunningham) picks his favourite records of 2010

“Never Heard Nothin'”

Im deep inside of you, but you feel nothing

Galapaghost – Soundcloud / Facebook
Download: “Runnin'” EP for Free.


Baths – Twitter / Facebook / Website /
Watch: “Lovely Bloodflow” (Video) / A fan with lights on his fingers

“Bury Pts. 1 + 3”

I’m from Bury, as in Bourrée
A French composition, On a fluted instrument

The Fall – Fall Online / Mark E Smith interview
Watch: “Bury Pts 2+4” (Video)

“Pickled Spider”

Mr Scruff – Twitter / Facebook / Website / Soundcloud
Watch: “Pickled Spider” (Video)


“Simply Beautiful”

George Lenton – Tons more music on Soundcloud

“She’s Gone (Oneohtrix Point Never Remix)”

Gonjasufi – Twitter / Facebook / Tumblr / Website

Read 51-100 in the top 200 here