Just to be safe I've waited until the final minute of 2011 to post my best of list for the year just in case somebody scored right before the buzzer. It goes without saying that this is by no means definitive or complete, but if you don't have these tapes, your cassette playing power is certainly diminished. In no particular order:

ALTERED GEE "European Gees" c69 (L'anumaux Tryst) - what a great surprise. This is a 19 year old kid making extreme chillout R&B/electro that completely tops every synth and drum machine album released this year. The fact that I seriously doubt this guy knows he's part of a trend makes it all the more enjoyable. Sample here but definitely purchase here.

RYLEY WALKER & DANIEL BACHMAN "Of Deathly Premonitions" c30 (Plustapes) - steel string guitar duets that definitely have the spook about them. There's plenty to love when both of these young fingerstyle acolytes get together. Some of the material also has an Indian influence. Listen here or buy here. Ryley's solo tape "The Evidence of Things Unseen" on Plustapes is no slouch either.

"Buried Goods" c28 (Not Not Fun) - for a band that doesn't even play live and probably isn't even really a "band," this tape is seriously great. Modern psychedelic music. Listen here.

VILLAGE OF SPACES CORNERS "Morning Nap" c46 (Turned Word) - lovely folk album from Village of Spaces, nee Uke of Spaces Corners County. A demo version of the fine "Alchemy and Trust" LP. The tape is sold out from the label, but you can score a copy from Second Layer in the UK if you've got the dough, or just buy the LP version (different recordings, same songs, plus it's got Michael Hurley on fiddle on one track!) from Turned Word.

TOMY GARM "This Eros" c90 (Creature King) - This is probably my favorite tape of the year. I just wrote about this last week, scroll down...write to theancientmainer@gmail.com for a copy.

R. STEVIE MOORE "Ariel Pink's Picks Vol.1" (Laughable Recordings RSM Cassette Club) - really fine compilation of tracks from out Moore's distinguished home recording career, compiled by Pink. Available as a free stream and maybe purchase a few places.

NUDE SUNRISE "Should Be" c62 (Spooky Town) - expansive and gritty rock, a la "Sister Ray." Still available from the label.

BRUCE HART "Music For Drawing" c31 (Not Not Fun) - Zach Phillips, keyboardist and songwriter for Blanche Blanche Blanche and man of many pseudonyms plays to the sci-fi soundtrack set and does it better than rest. Audio sample or purchase.

BLANCHE BLANCHE BLANCHE "Songs of..." c32 (Night People) - I'd be crazy not to include this one here as well. A spotty dubbing job mars the quality of this outstanding first effort from the Brattleboro, VT duo of Sarah Smith (vocals) and Zach Phillips (keys, vocals). The song writing takes front seat and arrives with the same kind of freshness that must have been felt when Truffaut and Godard released their first 12" chillwave singles in 1959 and 1960. Still available from Night People.

UNTITLED TAPE that I received while playing a show at Gay Gardens this Spring - not sure what this project is called but it's an exceptionally well done collection of skewed folk. email nathanrainer@verizon.net and tell him Cassette Gods sent you.

BLOOD STEREO "Tape Hiss For Brainwash" c30 (Feeding Tube) - now that I don't work for the label, am I allowed to finally sing it's praises on Cassette Gods? I hope so...this murky and frightening little number is a fine addition to Blood Stereo's catalog of twisted vocal and tape experimentation. Get it here.

LEFT BEHINDS "Recess At The Psych Ward" c9 - great muppet hardcore a la the first Meat Puppets LP. Go here and you'll figure it out.

BIG BLOOD "Dark Country Magic" (Don't Trust The Ruin) - anything from this Portland, ME duo is worth checking out. They have lots to listen to on the Free Music Archive, but you really should buy some of their releases for the beautiful hand printed packaging that comes with tons of inserts. Their "Dead Songs" LP on Time-Lag is one of my favorite records of recent memory.

PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED "Second Edition" & "The Flowers Of Romance" (Virgin) - finding sealed copies of these on cassette during the most recent Cave Bears/Knight Howls tour just about made my day. Thanks to the Cambridge In Your Ear!

that's all yolks.