Download Generation: Yes In My Backyard's Best Local Music Of 2011, An 80-Minute Mix Of NYC's Greatest Hits This Year

Tami "Making Friendz" Hart.
For New York City, 2011 was the year local musicians proved that RSS feeds didn't kill old-school ideals like "scene" or "community." Every great band seemed to come tied to three or four like-minded bands you could love for the same reasons, often on the same bill. Maybe we read (and wrote) enough trend pieces to believe it ourselves. Maybe bands are just using Facebook connections to write the narrative before writers could. Maybe retromania has led us to think everything is back in a big way?

Don't get too excited. Bloggos still continued to rally deep and hard around the cleverest, firstiest mash-ups of hypester runoff micro-genres (good luck in 2012, A$AP Rocky, Light Asylum, CREEP and Caveman). But while so many jockeyed for positions and pixels, larger stories emerged that felt refreshingly like the street-level phonecall-and-flyer scenes of yore. As, I wrote in SPIN the new hip-hop fraternity of Das Racist, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire, Action Bronson, Despot and a newly keyed up El-P represent the most energizing force in New York indie-rap since Def Jux's heyday. And as I wrote in the Voice, a beercan-ducking, sweat-gushing, feedback-obsessed swarm of new pigfuck bands have been laying waste to 285 Kent, including The Men, White Suns, Pygmy Shrews and Pop. 1280. Often pushing the boundaries of what modern metalheads can play and wear, there was a downright onslaught of forward-thinking, critically acclaimed extreme metal releases (Liturgy, Tombs, Krallice, Hull, Batillus), which helped turn New York into the most important metal scene in the country for maybe the first time ever. Hell, if record labels still had the money to fly people out here, they'd be swarming!

Below, the 2011 edition of our annual Yes In My Backyard mixtape—this year's encompasses 18 tracks, over nearly 80 minutes—which collects this year's greatest music from New York City.

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Download: Songs From Greg Fox's Side Projects, The Psych Quartet Guardian Alien And The Squelchy GDFX

This week, wiry drummer Greg Fox announced that he was quitting black metal nirvana-seekers Liturgy, leaving the mega-buzzed art-rockers without one of Brooklyn's fiercest, blurstiest spasmotrons. Eager to explore other musical endeavors, Fox is blasting full-speed ahead with two side projects. First, is his free-form heavy-psych quartet Guardian Alien, which seems to explore similarly transcendent plains at Liturgy, but at a far slower, uglier, weirder pace. Guardian's open fields of bliss owe to the expansive, exploratory, slow-building work of bands like Acid Mothers Temple or Gong, all played with Lightning Bolt levels of aggression. Their upcoming vinyl debut is due on Swill Children, and we have a excerpt of Side A, a 23-minute ritual recorded at Shea Stadium that owes a little to Tuvan throat singing, Boredoms spirit-jamming and the unhinged vocals of Alex Drewchin, who caterwauls like an acid-tripping Diamanda Galas.

Fox's electronic side-project GDFX is also ramping up its circuits for some extra action, a colorful mix of 8-bit sputtering, blackened squelch and ecstatic funshine. His debut vinyl release, One Thing (just out via Impose; the cover's at left), is 40 minutes of marble madness, skipping and sputtering Casio squiggles fighting for air in a disco nightmare. Album highlight "Pipedream" has the clinical squish of electronic purists like Mark Fell or Oval, but ultimately settles into a head-knocking groove like Hot 97 on Mars.

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