Either a great way to catch up with some good songs you might have missed, or an excellent argument starter, the annual Fingertips list of favorite free and legal MP3s of the year is now online. If you’re visiting the site, you can access the entire list through one of the main “tabs.” For those accessing the site via RSS feed or email, I will be spending these last two weeks of the year presenting the favorites in two separate lists of 10.

To be considered for the list, songs had first of all to have been featured on Fingertips during the year 2011, and second of all must still be available as free and legal MP3s. You can download any or all of them right here the usual way, or listen via the play button if you happen to be reading this directly on the Fingertips site. If my snappy one-sentence song summaries leave you wanting more, you can read the original reviews by clicking on the date next to each band name, which is the date of the original Fingertips post.

I’ll start, as tradition has it, with the list presenting my numbers 11 through 20 favorites, but in reverse (for suspense, you see). Stand on your head if you prefer them in the proper order. Next week I’ll be back with the top 10.

20. “Last Dance” – Gabriel Kahane  (July 27)
Complex but rewarding art pop from the multi-talented singer/songwriter/composer.

19. “Old Friend” – Caveman  (August 11)
Brooklyn quintet delivers sweet, dreamy, driven indie pop.

18. “Civilian” – Wye Oak  (January 18)
Sneaky great noise/folk from an increasingly impressive Baltimore duo.

17. “Seeds We Sow” – Lindsey Buckingham  (September 22)
At once haunting and soothing. This guy is a rock legend for a reason.

16. “When You Go Down” – Gross Relations  (September 15)
Simultaneously bludgeony and melodic, just as it should be.

15. “Drop Names Not Bombs” – Louise Burns  (September 8)
Former teen-rock star reinvents herself, with a nod to the Boss.

14. “Sunset Sunrise” – Grace Jones  (June 9)
Still trippy after all these years.

13. “My Mistakes” – Eleanor Friedberger  (April 27)
Potent single with a casual bounce.

12. “Kick Me Where It Hurts” – The Booze  (February 17)
Totally convincing 21st-century update of late-’60s Stones sound.

11. “The Fox” – Niki and the Dove  (May 4)
Dark yet resplendent synth pop from Sweden.


Okay, that’s the second ten. If you like surprises, tune in next week for the top 10; if you need it all right now, you can go here, although be warned: you won’t get the incisive one-sentence summaries over on that page. I have to leave something for next week.



  1. Eugenia on Tuesday December 27, 2011

    Good list. 2-3 years ago I was listening to similar styles too, but these days I get my kick out of mostly electronic music. Not the club-style electronic, but rather “alternative electronic” or something. Check this one out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMku-GbafEg&hd=1


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