Here are a few things you might have missed to come out of last year. Do yourself a favor and give them all a quick listen. All the links below will open the tunes in Spotify. If you don't use Spotify at least a little bit, quit being an idiot.

Wooden Shjips wins my award for Most Improved in 2011. They've finally put together a bunch of listenable tunes without sacrificing the psych drone that has been their "thing" for years. Not coincidentally, it's also the first recording they've done in a proper studio. Personal note: "Lazy Bones" made me stop trying to quit smoking.

Wooden Shjips - West

I'm not the first nerd to gush about "Awesome Tapes from Africa", so I won't. Just go to it. This release from Na Hawa Doumbia is the first put out by the aforementioned blog's in-house label. If you have more than a passing interest in Afrobeat, you should stay tuned.

Na Hawa Doumbia

"Chrysalis Records" is one of my favorite new tunes of the year. The rest of the record is worth a listen if you're into that sort of thing, but the Reggaeton-style late backbeat in 'Chrysalis' kills me every time. (see also this)

"Something About April" Is one of my favorite records of the year, and something I will write much more about later on.