They might be new to us, but many of our favorite discoveries of 2011 have one foot solidly planted in musical history. But the blues, grunge, 20th-century classical, string-laden jazz, industrial metal and shoegaze traditions in which these musicians play don't keep them from pushing their sounds forward. At some point in 2011, each of our picks gave us something new to fall in love with. At the end of the year, we're happy to offer a little gift from each of them to you.
Download a track from each artist below and explore all of our picks for the best music of 2011.