Club Fonograma's Best Songs of 2011 (100-71)

100. Daniel Maloso - "Hijos de José"
Monterrey DJ and self-proclaimed disco caveman Daniel Maloso stands on the ephemeral viaduct between a disco performer and a disco auteur. It’s this stance of Maloso as a sort of middleman that makes him such an interesting (if circumstantial) character in dance music. Because, really, with all the artists moving away from the all-comprehensive and universal magnetism of the genre, when Daniel Maloso sighs that “we are all sons of José,” we’re back to family business all over again. - Reyes

99. Lê Almeida -
“Eles estão na minha rua” ♫♫♫
Brazili's youth-rushed Lê Almeida, lives the lo-fi style life like very few know how to. “Eles estão na minha rua” is an extract from his debut full-length record, a track that finds Almeida in his most structured moment yet. Beyond the noise revivalist sound, he definitely shares the lo-fi aesthetic and the urgency to tell stories in very short timings. This song breaks most of those principles. Like some of his fellow Latin American lo-fiers there are tropical flairs embedded with the sound, so often confused as psychedelic. - Reyes

98. Super Guachin -
"Me fume el fichin"
Commodore 64 chiptunes, cumbia villera, folk archetypes and Tommy gun dubstep comprise the juicy premise of Argentine audiovisual duo Super Guachin. With this caliber of embeddable intellect, the duo is making a fair attempt to fill generational gaps by referencing the application and cultural awareness of portable and game consoles in the modern man. “Me Fume El Fichin” shows just how evocative the duo is with programmable and interactive media, while letting everyone know they are also pop futurists. - Reyes

97. Michael Mike -
"Lo que a vos el amor"
You might think disco nights are the same all around the world, but South American disco nights are frivolous to say the least. Everyone finds in disco the excuse to embrace the flesh and the fetish. "Lo que vos el amor" is a fully disavowed pop song about that "flaca" we all know and about the screams of today’s "glitching." The pulse by which Michael Mike's songs are born is a menace, they melt the minute they push the buttons, and turn melody into glassy and all-around wax. - Reyes

96. Hey Chica! - "Lo que nadie ve" ♫♫♫
The title track from Hey Chica's debut album takes their internal conflictions into feverish dreaminess. Hey Chica! builds a spectrum of harmonious grasp to tell a story of restrained sadness. When the girls sing "no creo que ella sea tan especial," the song's acid honesty provides answers. In searching for happiness the band first suggests a revolution, later on they give silence a try, then they finish the war asking for a magical assortment. Almost as sprawling as The Postmarks, and almost as seductive as Warpaint, Hey Chica’s expansive musical gears are admirable. - Reyes

95. The Beets -
"Friends of Friends" ♫♫♫
Some may unwisely peg them as always sounding the same, however, the band’s charm lies precisely in their capacity to draw listeners into their surreal and absurd world. There is a disconcerting authenticity and simplicity about them that perhaps only their live shows can reveal. The accelerated, almost uncanny singl-along "Friends of Friends" is a standout among an eerie-weird collection that just happens to be The Beet's very best so far. - Martin-Saoudi

94. Chucha Santamaria y Usted -
"Fiebre Tropical"
When trying to grasp the highly stylized ecosphere of Chucha Santamaría y Usted, understanding the fundamental and ultra contrasting elements of noir (as a brutal mood rather than a genre) comes in handy. Knockout single “Fiesta Tropical” fulfills the premise of the duo employing dualistic noir haze as if it were part of their negotiating terms to find sonic mantra. The track is happy catchy on the surface and wildly contemplative in the backdrop, just like the tropical fever they so ecstatically warn us about. - Reyes

93. Niña - "Banzai" ♫♫♫
No Mexican band sounds as nostalgic and cheerful as Niña. A handful of thoughts come to mind whenever they put out a new song: how they’re a pop machine of ear-snagging tunes, how they manage to turn any topic into an anthem, and how everything leads us to the realization that Niña is one of those rare cult bands that will be remembered for both their songs and the generational software they’ve built into us. “Banzai” is the kind of generational monolith that encodes itself into a pop song. More than an easy-to-groove pessimistic song, “Banzai” is the emancipation of internal conflict. - Reyes

92. Hernán Martínez y Las Estrellas –
“Habeas Corpus”
At first glance, it seems like the occasional catchy pop song, but repeating spins will leave your eyes swelling from such splendor. This track has all the commonalities of the burning-the-bridges vernacular and goes from dust to melodic gold through chord successions, drum summation, and its flawless accentuation. “Habeas Corpus” pushes itself into your soul as a small orchestra that triumphs because of its absorbent normality and feet-on-the-ground freshness. - Reyes

91. Los Macuanos feat. Lucrecia Dalt - "Pasado y Presente" ♫♫♫
We've been salivating over Los Macuanos' first album since we started this blog, but as long as they keep releasing tracks like "Pasado y Presente" we'll always keep our fountain of body fluids at their grace. The ethereal vignette surrounding this track is one of emotional discharge, like the haunted corridor that eventually pours out the pain from past tragic love tales. Los Macuanos crafted a whispering, infernal bolero in which Colombian singer Lucrecia Dalt had no trouble diving in. - Reyes

90. Sonora -"La Selva" ♫♫♫
Content-wise, if 2011 taught us anything, it was to start taking U.S. acts more seriously. Sonora's sound clashing constellations kept us synced to every one of his moves - from his Reinas/diva series, to his most original work. The San Antonio-based producer had shown signs of a skillful articulation, but never this eloquent. "La Selva" is like the true airbender - one that stomps in tribal dub and flies sky high alongside fireworks. Yes, this may strike some as digital rain, but when it comes to digital environments, no song kept it this avant and this human. - Reyes

89. Torreblanca - "Lobo" ♫♫♫
Torreblanca, as a full ensemble. “Lobo” is the contribution of every member in this project at their best; check out that immediately grabbing menacing saxophone opening, Andrea Balency’s dominion of accordion, the last blissful thirty seconds where the whole band double pace. Still, Juan Manuel steals the show with his vocal delivery. He sounds agitated, even kinda sexy narrating his tale about new found freedom by looking into the moon to metamorphose during nights, converting this transformation exercise in his way out of daily social convention practices like religion and politics. - Coyotzi

88. Quiero Club -
"Qué hacer en caso de o
ír voces" ♫♫♫
The Monterrey band has found itself a new home. Mexico City, nowadays, seems like one of the only relatively narco-free zones of the country. But the Quiero Club’s sensibilities don’t seem to have been altered by the change of scenery. This new track is a comforting celebration for those moments where the simple and extraordinary get a bit too overwhelming to handle. “QHECDOV” is obscure in its title, confronting in its music and, ultimately, as uplifting as Quiero Club’s picture-ready symmetrical formation. - Reyes

87. Mr. Racoon -
"Acceso a la playa púb
lica" ♫♫♫
The promotional cut off Mr. Racoon's Alterablesperanza excels greatly as your typical '90s alt-rock frenetic piece. For a moment you get under the impression that Roberto Polo is one of those musicians capable of creating something great and unique out of such familiar grounds and that he’s actually skillfull enough to embrace pop cues so effortlessly that he manages to blur the line between revisionist and self-defining songwriter. - Lestruhaut

86. Ximena Sariñana - "Shine Down"
She might still have a lot of work to do lyrically, but musically Sariñana is exploring some truly fascinating sounds and, though I, like many of you, sometimes wish she would return to her jazz roots, I’m still excited to see where she takes her “new” pop career.“Shine Down” is undeniably the best single in Ximena's sophomore album. The dreamy chimes, skittish guitar melody, and slightly frustrated-sounding, yet steady percussion clash spectacularly, still allowing the vocals to float effortlessly above the commotion. - Méndez

85. 107 Faunos -
"El tigre de las facultades"
On their latest EP, the kids from La Plata, known for their petite songs, surprisingly go over the 3-minute mark twice, delivering what’s clearly some of their most laid-back and least amateurish songs in their rising profile. "El tigre de las facultades" is an anthem-striking single off what’s perhaps their most adult record yet, one that’s still packed with that youthful energy, yet is also a lot more paced and developed in its execution and overall structure. - Lestruhaut

84. Violeta Castillo - "Mi Cárcel" ♫♫♫
How many times did you shout "*31416" this year? In Castillo's double-sided miniature wonderland, "Mi Cárcel" stands as its most developed number. Violeta's sharp craftsmanship is truly haunting. Presenting top-notch production by Tucumán’s psych-poppers, Monoambiente (Castillo’s favorite band), this is a provoking song that draws spectacular sophistication in the instruments it utilizes. Unlike most of her tracks that start and end over a breath, “Mi Cárcel” (featuring Tagliapietra's choruses) prevails as an addictive tune that, in a perfect world, would've translated into a crossover radio hit. - Coyotzi

83. Marian Ruzzi & Sr. Amable -
"Una pieza más"
When we heard Marian Ruzzi and Sr. Amable were making music together we couldn’t help but to raise some eyebrows. They might share their native place of origin (Chihuahua, Mexico), but they couldn’t be more apart when it comes to music taste. With both artists growing into their craft and senses, we knew they would make an interesting collaboration, but never expected something this good. “Una Pieza Más” is a galloping and up-the-ante slice of glass-eyed pop. A song that is as fragile as it is muscular. - Reyes

82.Pájaro Sin Alas –
“Alfombra Mágica Mental” ♫♫♫
This is a disrupting voyage to an unstable, insecure mind. “Alfombra Mágica Mental” is built over Madlib’s “Sitar Ride,” smartly utilizing the sample as the base of the song, constantly repeating it but constructing tension and anxiety as it progresses by adding melancholy and tragedy in strategic moments. “Me elevo gracias a tus alas,” the singer wishes he’d admit to his muse. This quote also directly, and probably unconsciously, makes reference to his artistic name and proves how personal this project is. - Coyotzi

81. Los Mundos - "El sol no sabe" ♫♫♫
“It’s just that I can’t wait to see your face again,” claim Mexico’s newcomers Los Mundos in a climatic state of angst and clouded strings. "El Sol No Sabe" reveals Luis Angel Martinez (Piyama Party) and Alejandro "Chivo" Elizando (En Ventura) as two dudes with a certain affinity for tragedy themes, taking the shock factor out of them and making them feel habitual in an ultimately deviant world. Kids, at your next picnic, obey Los Mundos: bring your guitar, tooth paste, some temporary tattoos and please, use sunblock. - Beriot

80. Gloria Estefan - "Wepa"
Those of you who think that Estefan cannot be relevant in today’s dance scene, have you even heard “Wepa”? Because, like Julianne Escobedo Shepherd once tweeted, “if you ain’t fuckin with ‘Wepa,’ I ain’t fuckin with you.” This dance jam for the working class features some intense percussion (even her voice feels like part of the rhythm section sometimes) and bright trombone, along with a ton of other sounds like whistles and sirens that will make you dizzy in the best way. I’m not even that mad about the Pitbull remix like I’m mad about most things involving Pitbull. - Méndez

79. Poliedro -
"Sweet Home Everywhere"
As contemplative as the landscape of its artwork and as punching as its boxing champ. When listening to this pastiche it's hard not to link it to Blake's "Limit to your love." Others have their own theories: Jean-Stephane Beriot’s said, “it’s like Devendra Banhart passed out on layers,” while Andrew Casillas points out it's “like Algodon Egipcio, but veiled in more mystery.” Poliedro takes this piece to a sort of limbo, pushing everything to their elemental core and, eventually, using those elements in a march-like parade. - Reyes

78. La Ola Que Quería Ser Chau
“Ojala que este verano no nos maten!” ♫♫♫
This was the last of many home-recorded hits by La Ola before walking into a proper studio to record their much-anticipated debut LP. It's pop candy for hotheaded people. Also, a celebration of the band's quirky ideals of youth and its messed up notions on existentialism. In this track, Migue accomplished what he's been searching for in the last couple of years: to sound shamelessly (and seamlessly) catchy, enough to afford of an exclamation point. - Beriot

77. Colateral Soundtrack feat. Apache O'Raspi - "Me enamoro cuando" ♫♫♫
Based on Angelica Maria's classic "Cuando Me Enamoro." Edgar Mota provides provides the spaceships, while Apache O'Raspi’s otherworldly voice guides the listener through a blissful escape into an idyllic reverie. It would be easy to designate Mota’s work in Colateral Soundtrack as a Mexican iteration of hypnagogic pop, especially in light of his involvement in Los Amparito. A trite categorization, to be sure, as Mota forges a work that coheres into a unique realm of ephemeral phantasmagoria that is wholly its own. - Torres

76. Al Cruzar La Calle -
"Asuntos Internos"
Linda Sjöquist calls herself an adolescent dreamer with too much time on her hands and an out-of-tune guitar. “Asuntos Internos” says she’s a whole lot more. It's not even two minutes long, but feels like a colossal response to the eternal dilemma of “what a girl wants.” She wants someone to kiss, someone to hug, someone who can read her Julio Cortazar poems, and of course, someone to bring her coffee to her bed every morning. Is that too much to ask? - Reyes

75. Varias Artistas:
Isol - "No importa tu edad" ♫♫♫
If you were to play our entire countdown at your next family reunion, "No importa tu edad" might dissolve all family feuds (especially if trouble comes from generational negligence). Heck, it might lead to some group hugs. We're also looking at one of the most motherly songs to come our way in a long time. Thankfully, Lucas Marti isn't into sermons. This might have an obsolete feel to it, but this thing is as rebel as those heart-wrenching classics by Jeanette. Because, really, not even classic metal is as action-calling and compassionate. - Reyes

74. Caravana - "Sigue Sus Ojos" ♫♫♫
Think of Argentine filmmakers Lisandro Alonso or Lucrecia Martel and how they’re able to frame emotional depth by painting their characters and landscape at equal density. Rodrigo Santi does that extremely well with music. “Sigue Sus Ojos” is the finest example of a pop narrative working under coats of countryside garments. Felicia Morales’ gorgeous vocal contribution here is only the last slice ricocheting towards absolute pop resonance. - Reyes

73. Fakuta - "Aeropuerto" ♫♫♫
The highly anticipated Al Vuelo did not disappoint. Its closing number, "Aeropuerto" (with all its rumbling sparks and peeling tropicalia) rounds up a deeply moving conceptual album that ascends and descends without any fear. This is the jam the cool kids should be dancing to at the next High School prom after party. It's a ballad, a love letter, and a disco catalyst. But above all, it's a dreamlike assortment towards pop progression. - Reyes

72. Neon Indian - "Fallout" ♫♫♫
Whenever we’re hoping for a tailor-made sequencing number, we know we can always count on Alan Palomo. “Fallout” is no exception. As Blanca Méndez describes it, this is a plea to forget (and it comes with acid chords that will melt something in you). It is whimsical in its anticipation, slowly transcends into a summer jam, and fades away in subtle chops. It might not be a veins-cutter like “Should Have Taken Acid With You” or as catchy as “Deadbeat Summer,” but it welcomes Palomo back to his field. - Reyes

71. Aeiou - "Vivimos in. L.A." ♫♫♫
Juan Son and Simon Pace's first single as Aeiou is a bold and round celebration on its way to the zeitgeist. The first part of the song is like escaping from a city by jumping on a gull’s back (like in The Rescuers), and the second half is a sort of response to JLo’s “Jenny From The Block.” As random as that description might sound, it’s actually pretty appropriate. The call-and-response inner chorus “Oh, yeah!, Oh, si!” is like a cheering crowd for the inner spirit, and the whole “Don’t Call me Mijo… call me Papito (from the Block)" take the song straight to the alleys of Los Angeles. - Reyes