Very Best of 2011: Playlists of Pop, Dubstep and Festive Music by Drowned in Sound

Drowned in Sound

Each month, Spotify invites Sean Adams, founder of influential London-based website Drowned in Sound, to compile a playlist of his picks, skewed toward the independent music championed by the website’s informed staff and irreverent community. Here’s his round-up of the year…

Yes, it really is that time of year. Christmas is very nearly upon us and the magazine racks are stuffed with ‘best of the year’ covers and filled with pages of lists, lists and more lists. Websites are no different, with top albums, favourite singles and silly prizes being awarded for all kinds of tenuous ‘of the year’ things. This month’s blog features some of my picks of the year-end lists, with hopefully something to please most tastes… 

It’s DiSmas!!! – a very Xmas

There’s no month-as-a-playlist this month, due to the annual December drought of decent releases. However, here’s one I made a few years ago… It features everything festive from Sufjan Stevens’ version of ‘Jingle Bells’ to Nat King Cole via a song from Low’s brilliant Christmas record, a Tom Waits song about a hooker, Tori Amos singing ‘Emmanuel’ and, er, Mariah Carey and Blink-182. If something on this four hour playlist doesn’t make you feel a teeny bit festive, well, you’re probably dead inside.

Drowned in November 2011

November was a busy month and I somehow forgot to send this playlist over. November’s selection featured a track from the bit bonkers but rather brilliant David Lynch (yeah, the famous Twin Peaks director) album with Karen O on vocals plus an equally nutty song with a child talking about licking frogs from the M83 album, and plenty more besides. 

DiS User-Generated Tips for 2012

We asked our community who they think might do well next year, and here’s a selection of new music for you to plough through, featuring names you might begin to spot on festival bills and may be hearing on the radio before too long. I’ll admit the first few are the ones I’m tipping to will do well in 2012. 


Here’s my songs of the year mixtape, which features most of what I’ve loved this year, most of which has featured on my monthly playlists, which you’ll compiled below. 

More Best of 2011 Playlists 

DiS’ Favourite Albums of 2011 – Sampler – a taste of Drowned in Sound’s albums of the year. Full list of DiS’ 75 favourite albums of 2011, plus commentary can be found here.

Drowned in Sound Top 120 Singles 2011 – Wendy Roby does a column for DiS every week. She’s listened to over 3000 singles this year and these were her favourites. Click here to watch all the videos and read her fascinating thoughts on many of these tracks

P4K Songs of 2011 – Our US friends over at Pitchfork have also done their songs of the year, which includes the likes of M83, EMA, Cold Cave, Charli XCX, Jamie xx, Toro Y Moi and more… 

S/FJ: 2011 BEST OF – The New Yorker’s pop music critic shares his picks of the year.

DiS Does Pop 2011 Playlist – The Best Pop Songs of 2011… according to DiS pop columnist Robert Leedham. His end of year column for us is well worth a read, especially if you’re looking for last minute gifts, including a Britney jacket for a dog!

Basstard tracks of 2011 – this was submitted by one of our users, who described it as a mix of the “sons of drum n’ bass: dubstep, bass music, wonky and all that stuff” and features the likes of Burial, SBTRKT and a brilliant Nathan Fake remix of Radiohead. 

2011: Best of Electronic/Dance/Bass – a 250+ track dance-floor adventure, which was submitted in our songs of the year thread.

Two Thousand and Eleven Cats – this was also made by DiSser meowington, and it features a dizzying mix of Minaj, Katy Perry, ‘A Real Hero’ from the Drive soundtrack and Bon Iver. 

2011 – if you’re of a somewhat noizer persuasion, this selection by ClamingToBeOnTele includes Mogwai, Battles, Russian Circles and Morbid Angel. 

Thrash Hits Slaylist: Our Albums of 2011 – about 100 times louder that that, is this ‘slaylist‘ full of the year’s best metal from the chaps at Thrash Hits.

A Year of Playlists for the Spotify Blog

Drowned in November 2011

Drowned in October 2011

Drowned in September 2011

Drowned in August 2011 

Drowned in July 2011 

Drowned in June 2011

Drowned in May 2011

Drowned in April 2011

Drowned in March 2011

Drowned in February 2011

Drowned in January 2011

…and that’s yer lot for two thousand and eleven. Check back in January, Sean promises that he has heaps of great records lined up to kick-start the year already.