2011 was the year of the “must hear” track. Whether they appeared as advance singles, album cuts or mix tape high points, the tracks below represent Stateside’s top picks by bands based in the U.S.A. Danny Brown - “Monopoly”: this standout track from the Detroit rapper’s breakout Mixtape, XXX, was produced by Quelle and features the year’s most surreal (and dirty) wordplay; and instant hip hop classic! St. Vincent -“Cruel”: first single from Strange Mercy showcases Annie Clark’s supple voice and elastic guitar; twisted pop that is perfectly played. Liturgy -“Veins of God”: 2011 was the year that indie rock’s obsession with black metal came to a head. Liturgy is based out of Brooklyn and does not worship Satan. Fleet Foxes -“Helplessness Blues”: gorgeous title track from the Seattle band; Stateside had the pleasure of seeing this performed live at the Pitchfork Music Festival. Paul Simon - “So Beautiful or So What”: another title track and great return to form for the veteran singer-songwriter. Girls -“Vomit”: a beautiful, aching song with a vile, disgusting title; San Francisco’s Girls continue to worship at the altar of Nirvana on their sophomore album, Father, Son, Holy Ghost. Smith Westerns -“Weekend”: young Chicago band discovers glam rock and Britpop to endlessly catchy result; bubblegum make-out music for the fashionable twenty-something in all of us. Battles -“My Machines”: killer cut from Gloss Drop marries math rock riffs to new wave icon Gary Numan’s eternally icy voice. Wild Flag -“Romance”: this Sleater-Kinney offshoot also features members of Helium and The Minders; “Romance” flirts with, and flails against, the notion of the “all-girl group.” The Black Keys -“Lonely Boy”: best straight-up rock n’ roll tune of the year; first single from the Akron, Ohio band’s winning album, El Camino.