I apologize for our lack of discipline on the “Best of 2011” series – we got a little sidetracked.  After a tough loss this weekend (still love you Kyle Williams), I’m gradually getting back in the swing of things. We continue with our Top 5 Artists of 2011 and will publish our Top 30 Tracks of 2011, starting on Monday.

Just like the past “Best of” categories, there were a variety of criteria that were used when picking these artists – Best releases/number of releases, tours/shows, influence on other artists, their respective genre/subgenre, and the EDM scene as a whole, etc.  In our opinion, here are the Top 5 Artists of 2011, accompanied by a brief explanation and an older or lesser known track of theirs.  Enjoy.

TOP 5 ARTISTS OF 2011



5. KASKADE | United States of America
Named the #1 DJ in America a few months ago, Kaskade also put out an attention-grabbing album in Fire & Ice. The album, which got to #4 on the list of iTunes Top Albums, features each track twice – 1 dance floor pounding “Fire” version, and 1 mellowed, cooled “Ice” version. Fire & Ice showed Kaskade’s diversity and range as a DJ, and according to the man himself, “represents the last ten years of [his] career.”

Download: Kaskade vs Alex Gaudino – I’ll Never Dream I’m In Love (Kaskade Mashup)
http://soundowl.com/embed/2oby

4. CALVIN HARRIS | Scotland
With “We Found Love,” it seems as though Calvin Harris is starting to go the way of David Guetta – MAINSTREAM. I’m not giving up on Calvin yet, though. It’s just too hard to ignore his barrage of top tier tracks. “Bounce,” “Awooga,” and “Feel So Close” were all huge parts of EDM’s 2011 and I find myself anxiously awaiting his third studio album, due out this year.  Make sure to show him some love at this year’s Coachella…

Download: Manufactured Superstars ft. Selina Albright – Serious (Calvin Harris Remix)
http://soundowl.com/embed/2obu

3. SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIA | Sweden
If you get these 3 perennial all-stars of house performing together, you’ve got yourself the undisputed most sought after EDM act in the world today. Impressive on any scale, the trio sold out Madison Square Garden in under 9 min and their Maquerade Motel in Miami (they also have their MM residency in Ibiza) during the WMC is starting to garner as much attention and hype as any show in the US this year (it’s rumored to have been expanded to two days).  Although their track release rate is about as slow as they come, they make up for it in production quality and main stage presence.

Download: Swedish House Mafia ft. Tinie Tempah – Miami 2 Ibiza (Sander Van Doorn Remix)
http://soundowl.com/embed/2og8

2. SKRILLEX | United States of America
Sonny’s 5 Grammy nominations alone should put him in the top 5, but awards aside, he really has burst on to the scene harder than anyone this year. His unmistakable sound has redefined dubstep and complextro as we know it and the little guy is just starting to realize all of his potential.  Like his music or not, he was a large, large part of 2011.

Download: Casxio – Seventeen (Skrillex Remix)
http://soundowl.com/embed/2oc0

1. AVICII | Sweden
The main reason why Avicii deserves this #1 ranking is not due to any specific feat. Yes, he did throw one of the biggest and most exclusive NYE parties in the US, and yes, he did produce some of the most lasting and monumental tracks of 2011. But the amount that he contributed to the general promotion of EDM music (specifically in the US)?  Second to none.

Download: Blessed (Avicii Edit) – Tom Hangs & Shermanology

http://soundowl.com/embed/2og5