I do my best to get out and see all the local music I can, and even more so to keep my ear to the proverbial train track to hear the newest and best out there in the local scene, but as it turns out, there are people who do a much better job of this than me, which makes this time of year my favorite for finding new and exciting local artists, as the flood of end-of-year lists hits the internets.  This is always my favorite way to find new artists, by listening to what others are listening to.  And I love lists.

I’m just simple like that.

So, for your convenience, I’m presenting to you my list of the top lists of 2011.  I’m not going to lie, there are a lot of bands on here that I’m not familiar with, but I will definitely be checking out soon.  And of course, I have to call out my friends and Debut supporters Calhoun, Bravo, Max!, Burning Hotels, The O’s, The Blurries, Menkena, and THe BAcksliders for their multiple mentions on this list.

Check out some of the artists below and find a new favorite band!

THE SYNAPTIC

Randall Brown of The Synaptic, a fantastic local music website, composed this list in apparently no particular order:

Burning Hotels – Burning Hotels

Maleveller – Maleveller

The Great Tyrant – There Is A Man In The House

Bravo, Max! – Dog’s Light

Calhoun – Heavy Sugar

The Nighty Nite – Dimples

Sarah Jaffe – The Way Sound Leaves A Room

True Widow – As High As The Highest Heavens And From the Center Of the Circumference Of The Earth

Here Holy Spain – Division

Descender – Dark Water

Find more of Randall’s lists over at thesynaptic.com.

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THE OBSERVER

Daniel Hopkins, an awesome music reviewer of The Observer assembled this list:

10. The Strange Boys – Live Music
On The Strange Boys’ third album, they’ve put their pop sensibility at the forefront, trading in the gritty sound of their previous efforts for a more listenable, warmer record.

9. Sundress – Sundress EP

The self-titled EP from Sundress represents a fresh start from a band that spent the last few years searching for its musical identity. Tight drum grooves, sunburned guitars and overwhelming psychedelia look to a bright future from this Denton act.

8. Seryn – This Is Where We Are

Seryn’s passionate performances translate nearly perfectly to tape on their full length debut. The album surges with musical swells, emotionally sung four-part harmonies and interesting poly-rhythms, making it a sort of prog-folk gem.

7. The O’s – Between The Two

On The O’s second full length record, the country/folk duo made up of John Pedigo and Taylor Young took a different approach to songwriting than they had in the past. The resulting record is the band’s best yet.

6. Burning Hotels – Burning Hotels

On their self-titled record, Burning Hotels were smart not to traipse back through the post-punk territory of their previous records. Instead, they’ve matured with a slower sound (even on the dancy first single “Beard”) and added more electronic elements

5. Old Snack - Everything Is Happening So Fast

The best song titles to come from a North Texas act are on Old Snack’s debut album Everything Is Happening So Fast. “The Man With The Golden Snack,” “Burt Reynolds IV” and “Sally Field’s Butt” are choice cuts on this energetic punk record.

4. Sailors With Wax Wings – Sailors With Wax Wings
Technically, this shouldn’t be on my list seeing as it came out in 2010, but I don’t really care. I came across it after reading an interview with singer R. Loren in a Frontrow piece just a few months ago. It reminds me of Slowdive’s Just For A Day, only much darker. Makes sense: Slowdive’s Simon Scott actually collaborated on this album.

3. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
It’s hard to deny Annie Clark’s brilliance. With each album she outdoes the previous one, and on her third record, Strange Mercy, the guitar performance and pop sensibility have never been better.

2. The Blurries – Paper Cuts
Out of nowhere this year, The Blurries went from being an OK band called Slider Pines to releasing this piece of gritty rock. The album is full of incredible hooks (the chorus of “Little Marie” is impossible to shake), beautiful melodies and precise and energetic musicianship.

1. Centro-Matic – Candidate Waltz
If someone asked me to choose the best band North Texas has to offer, I would choose Centro-Matic in a second. From the prolific mind of singer Will Johnson comes yet another brilliant work, one of the band’s best. Everything you could want in an album is here: top musicianship, great melody and energy, and Johnson narrates each song like a miniature novel. Not to mention that “Only In My Double Mind” is the band’s best single since 2004′s “Flashes And Cables.”

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THE LOCAL EDGE WITH MARK

Mark Schectman of The Local Edge With Mark on 102.1 is a friend of The Debut and the winner of this year’s Observer Music Award for Best Local Music Advocate.  So when he makes a list, I listen.  And here is his list (with sample songs to listen to on his website):

10. True Widow – As High As the Highest Heavens and from the Center to the Circumference of the Earth
9. Old Snack – Everything Is Happening So Fast

8. Fox and the Bird – Floating Feather

7. Sealion – Keep the Camera Rolling
6. Quaker City Night Hawks – Torquila, Torquila!

5. Bravo, Max! – Dog’s Light

4. Soviet – Doom

3. Seryn – This is Where We Are

2. Calhoun – Heavy Sugar
1. Burning Hotels – Burning Hotels

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THE GHOST OF BLIND LEMON

Not content to just give a top ten, Chris over at The Ghost of Blind Lemon ran down his top 40 singles of the year on his show on deepellumradio.com:
40.  “Get It on the Floor”, LehtMoJoe
39.   “Space Blanket”, Darstar
38.   “Good to Hear Your Voice”, Homespun Remedies
37.   “16 Candles”, Morning Elephant
36.   “Wired to Make Waves”, Nervous Curtains
35.   “Bonnie & Clyde”, Goodnight Ned
34.   “San Francisco”, Dead Beat Poetry
33.   “Fake Museum”, Raised by Tigers
32.   “Someone Else’s Blues”, Greg Schroeder
31.   “Steampunk Jetpack”, Sealion
30.   “Daylight”, El Cento
29.   “Eyes Get Bigger”, Oil Boom
28.   “So, Within”, Seryn
27.   “Tight Wound Gears”, Camille Cortinas
26.   “Wimbledon”, Soviet
25.   “I Know a Thing or Two (About You)”, Tweed EQ
24.   “Girl Watchin’”, The King Bucks
23.   “Dial M for Snack”, Old Snack
22.   “Open the Night”, One Red Martian
21.   “Nazarene”, Madison King
20.   “I’m Goin’ Nowhere”, The Chloes
19.   “On the Ground”, Rude King
18.   “When You Rest”, Sarah Jaffe
17.   “Fortune Teller”, Jessie Frye
16.   “to the 9′s”, hormones
15.   “Mine”, Emmeline
14.   “Low Wishes”, Air Review
13.   “Like a Charm”, Here Holy Spain
12.   “Father Abraham”, Analog Rebellion
11.   “German Chocolate Cake”, Bravo, Max!
10.   “Red Palomino”, The Demigs
9.   “Tryin’ to Have a Good Time”, The O’s
8.   “Turn on Your Radio”, THe BAcksliders
7.   “Schoolboy”, Kirby Brown
6.   “Skull Eyes”, True Widow
5.   “Set Me Free”, The Red 100′s
4.   “You Pressed the Crash Button”, Novaak
3.   “Never Too Late”, The Electro-Magnetics
2.   “With You I’ll Travel”, Menkena
1.   “Indian Melody”, Calhoun