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2016.5 // our favorite songs of the year (so far)

2016.5 SONGS

Following yesterday's albums of the year post, here are our favorite songs from the first half of 2016. Check the list below, and keep up with our running songs of 2016 spotify playlist, which we're updating just about every week.

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Filed Under: , , , , , Category: mp3, news, video

2016.5 // our favorite albums of the year (so far)

ALBUMS OF 2016.5

As we approach the midway point of what has been an overwhelming year for new music, here's the ever-evolving list of our favorite records of (roughly) the first half of 2016. Favorite songs of the year (SO FAR) coming later this week:

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our 10 favorite remixes of 2015

GvsB REMIXES 2015

As our lists grow more and more arbitrary, we present our favorite remixes of 2015. Increasingly rare is the remix that adds to and/or outshines the original, becoming its own essential jam in the process, as opposed to just another fleeting and ultimately forgettable PR gimmick. We feel like these accomplished that:

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Filed Under: , , , , , Category: featured, mp3, remix

The 21 Best Videos of 2015

GvsB VIDEOS OF 2015

No one cares about your label's video budget in 2015. The music vids that we found most moving and memorable this year were, in most cases, simple (with a few glossy and/or cinematic exceptions), powerful, often self-directed visual interpretations of our favorite songs. Also featuring one brilliant video made of found footage that seems to have been effectively scrubbed from the internet forever. Here are our favorite music videos of the year:

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GORILLA VS. BEAR’S SONGS OF 2015

SONGS 2015

Following last week's Albums of 2015 list, here are our favorite songs of the year: we went deeper than ever this time out, and while 111 tracks might seem like a lot to love in any given 12 month span, I feel like the list is a pretty accurate representation of just how unreal 2015 has been for new music. Featuring multiple entries from Grimes, Jamie xx, Young Thug, Kendrick Lamar, Chromatics, Erykah Badu, Beach House, TOPS, and Cindy Lee, and spanning from underground Russian dance music and soaring Norwegian pop to incendiary west coast rap and inspired Texas soul, and just about everywhere in between. Check out the full list below, right after you hit play on that nearly 7-hour-long Spotify playlist:

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top 5 Young Thug songs of 2015

YOUNG_THUG

Nothing more subjective than picking your favorite Young Thug song in a year when the absurdly prolific rapper seemed to release a new mixtape, collab, or random-ass potential hit every week, so here are our personal top 5, at least until ThuggaXWapp drops (spoiler: at least 4 of these will be on our songs of 2015 list). No wrong answers in this case, so let us know what your list looks like, and if you're one of the last people on the planet still unable to get into Thugger — shout out to our SiriusXM show listeners — maybe this is a start? Polaroid of Young Thug and his daughter by Faith Silva.

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GORILLA VS. BEAR’S ALBUMS OF 2015

GvsB ALBUMS OF 2015

We feel pretty confident proclaiming 2015 the best year for new music this decade, and we'd even go so far as to say it's been arguably our favorite year in the history of this site. So many stars seemed to serendipitously align this year — our 10th as a blog — for sounds that veered right into our own personal, sometimes insular little lane: the triumphant return of Grimes; the improbable meteoric rise of Leon Bridges from seemingly out of nowhere (i.e., right here in our own backyard); a sweet, thoroughly relatable, '90s-hip-hop-inspired record from Panda Bear (our favorite artist); two Beach House albums in the span of two months; D'Angelo with probably the best show we've seen since the last time he rolled through town 15 years ago; Grouper started a pop group; the summer of Jamie xx; and on and on. If 2015 had seen the release of Dear Tommy and new music from Shabazz Palaces or Burial (all still possible, I suppose), our blog might have imploded.

With all of that said, I still feel like we went as deep as ever this year, and as always, there were some genuinely incredible hidden gems to uncover if you spent a little time digging. Let us know how your year went as you check the full list of our 50 favorite records of the year, and lose yourself in our nearly 3-hour-long spotify playlist:

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gorilla vs. bear’s songs of 2012

GORILLA VS BEAR SONGS OF 2012

With 2012 (and possibly humanity as we know it) nearing its end, we give you our 100 favorite songs of the year. This is always the best list to make, and we enjoy seeing your choices, so leave those too if you'd like. While you take it all in, hit play on this ridiculous 5+ hour Spotify playlist featuring (nearly) every song on the list. Check the full top 100 + download our 2012 year-end mix, then take it for a night drive, after the jump...

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Filed Under: , , , , , Category: best of, classics, featured, mixes, mp3, news

gorilla vs. bear’s albums of 2009

album_09

Our favorites from an exceptional year:

25 pisces | a lovely sight
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24 ganglians | monster head room
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23 the mantles | the mantles
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22 st. vincent | actor
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21 cass mccombs | catacombs
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20 atlas sound | logos
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19 washed out | high times
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18 night control | death control
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17 phoenix | wolfgang amadeus phoenix
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16 nirvana | live at reading

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15 the mayfair set | young one

The Mayfair Set is the collaborative effort between Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls and Mike Sniper of Blank Dogs, which, as we said back in February, combines "Blank Dogs' dark, Joy Division-like baritone with DDG's bright, shimmering, '60s informed vocal melodies" to create something haunting and warm. Not technically an LP, but label-of-the-year contenders Captured Tracks + Woodsist compiled the group's stellar debut 7" single and 12" Young One EP onto one beautifully packaged cd, so here it is.

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14 mountain man | mountain man

Stunning folk from Vermont trio Mountain Man. At times almost unnervingly stark, fragile, and intimate, with unreal vocal harmonies that are both soaring and devastating at once. Look for a 10" in early 2010 on Underwater Peoples.

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13 nite jewel | good evening

Ghostly bedroom disco from L.A.'s Ramona Gonzalez. Like a lot of this "hypnagogic pop" steez, it may feel a bit slight to some upon first listen, but melted cassette-deck aesthetics aside, Nite Jewel's infectious pop songs are pretty undeniable. Also of note: Dâm-Funk is a fan, and has promised something called NITE-FUNK in the near future.

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12 memory tapes | seek magic

Gorgeous melancholy pop from the inhumanly prolific and consistent Dayve Hawk, and Seek Magic is arguably only the second best thing he released this year. The record plays like a hazy, recurring lucid dream, eliciting all of the familiar warmth and sadness of a very tangible but impossible-to-place nostalgia.

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11 neon indian | psychic chasms

A record that spawned a competition among major pubs, blogs, and "people" to coin a genre title that, in the end, largely seemed to overshadow the music itself, and what this record really was -- a thoroughly mature, detailed and crafty dance pop gem that graced us with a handful of the year's most memorable jams. Look for a release from Palomo's other project early next year.

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10 fever ray | fever ray

The solo debut from Karin Dreijer Andersson feels both icier and more claustrophobic than Silent Shout, yet somehow manages to remain considerably more accessible than the Knife's 2006 masterpiece. Chalk it up to Dreijer's ability to create brooding, hauntingly creepy soundscapes that are still entirely entrancing and infectious (inviting, even). The videos helped, too.

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09 jj | no. 2

Sunny, blissed-out Swedish pop that borders on new age/easy-listening/adult contemporary (they even crib the lyrics and melody from a Taylor Dayne jam on album standout "Me & Dean") from enigmatic Swedes JJ, but with a playfully subversive spirit not unlike their bros in the Tough Alliance. Unless jj is TTA with a female lead, which seems plausible. Also, they managed to one-up Weezy, and made a classic corny '70s sitcom theme sound super dreamy.

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08 girls | album

We've been more or less obsessed with this band for nearly the past two years, since first hearing the lovelorn but wearily hopeful instant classic "Hellhole Ratrace" well before the backstory of Christopher Owens became a thing of legend. The long-awaited full-length delivers on all the promise of that first single and then some: perfect '50s pop melodies, heart-wrenching storytelling, and a rarefied heart-on-sleeve romanticism that very few can pull off.

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07 smith westerns | smith westerns

The first of two bands of teenagers to appear in our top 10, Chicago's Smith Westerns' make earnest, irresistibly catchy pop songs (about girls), but with a legit, beyond-their-years glam-psych soul that sets them apart from the rest of their "garage"-y peers. And their best song isn't even on the record, so we're obviously psyched to see where these kids go next.

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06 the sandwitches | how to make ambient sadcake

The Sandwitches' stylistically diverse debut full-length has earned the group comparisons to the Carter Family, Stevie Nicks, Loretta Lynn, and assorted '60s girl groups. Or as one commenter put it, "1960s Detroit meets 1909 Tennessee hill country." Anyway, yeah, the record feels at times like a jukebox full of dusty long-forgotten 45s, but as we mentioned in our initial appraisal, the band maintains an easy, totally natural cohesiveness throughout that makes How To Make Ambient Sadcake an endlessly enjoyable listen. The best album of the year that no one seems to be talking about.

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05 the xx | xx

Pitchfork took their version of a thinly veiled shot at us (and bloggers in general) for being into London youngsters the xx early on, only to turn around and bestow their coveted Best New Music tag upon the record less than a month later. Moving on, the moral of that story is this: if you think you don't like the xx, listen again. The band displays an uncanny ability to seamlessly and tastefully incorporate their influences -- namely, dubstep, R&B, Young Marble Giants-esque minimalism, and um, Chris Isaak -- but it's their astoundingly mature songcraft matched with a precocious sense of space and restraint that make this a special debut.

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04 animal collective | merriweather post pavilion

I'm not sure there's much left to be said about this one. With the feverishly anticipated/debated/praised/hated Merriweather Post Pavilion, Animal Collective set the tone for the year by crafting a near flawless avant-pop record that transcended itself and paved the road for countless imitators, as great records tend to do.

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03 grizzly bear | veckatimest

Grizzly Bear's follow-up to the universally beloved Yellow House is such a staggering and dense leap forward, it's not hard to get lost in the textures and effortless nuances that ultimately make this such an essential work. It's easy to take this for granted in a year when it seemed like pretentious art-school noodling was often lauded as some kind of groundbreaking genius, but, let's face it, Veckatimest made its mark naturally and gracefully, with songs that will inevitably endure the test of time.

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02 white denim | fits

No need to belabor our devotion to this band and record any further. You might not feel White Denim and what they do, and that's ok. But on the incredibly eclectic Fits, WD drew from a deep well of influences -- from Funkadelic to vintage psych to Stevie Wonder and beyond -- and in the process blew our minds with their effortless, perpetual shape-shifting and masterful songwriting. For me, not only one of the best of the year, but one of the decade's finest.

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01 raekwon | only built 4 cuban linx pt. II

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Check David's list after the jump...

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Filed Under: , , , Category: news

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