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

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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: Winter Family's Tender, Pulsing "Shooting Stars"

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The Brooklyn duo Winter Family packs a two-ton punch with little more than meditative keyboard drifts and delicate vocals. A Crown Heights collaboration between Israeli vocalist Ruth Rosenthal and Parisian pianist Xavier Klaine, their second album Red Sugar (out now via Sub Rosa) is an intense meditation on the small things in the shadow of the big things. Winter Family's songs touch on topics like war and religious zealotry; the lyrics—English, French and Hebrew—are delivered in whispers and conversations in the candlelit cabaret vein of Nico or Diamanda Galas or Antony. Brittle pianos or velvety harmonium create twinkles and warmth—every track feels like it could crumble, presumably because the world can. Album highlight "Shooting Stars" includes tender divebombs of vocal drone that wrestle with microtones, and more haunting French segments where you can hear the glottals tossing around in her mouth over Klaine's curtain of piano pulse.


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