Welcome to the first installment in our review of 2011 and all the crazy music that came along with it. We’ll be providing you with a post a day covering the best of everything EDM on the days leading up to 2012. We felt that it was only appropriate to start with our favorite podcasts and BBC Radio 1 Essential Mixes from the past year. Why? Well, a lot of the music we listen to and find comes straight from podcasts and mixes. We spend a lot of time listening to these, whether it be at work, at the gym, or on the road and look forward to new ones all the time. Here’s the top 5 podcasts from this year and if you’re not already downloading/subscribed to these, better get started.

Podcasts

1. Tiesto’s Club Life Podcast – Despite the fact that Mr. Tiesto spends every waking moment touring, producing, DJing, tweeting, collaborating, mixing, and God knows what else, he still makes time in his weekly schedule to produce this hour-long podcast (the actual show is two hours long but only hour 1 is available on iTunes). It is one of the all-time most popular music podcasts on iTunes and for good reason: Tiesto, just as he’s been unafraid to experiment with new sounds and genres this year, does not hold back in bringing you whatever good music he might feel like playing, regardless of what category it might fall into. Always a good podcast to work out to and discover some new music. [iTunes]

2. The Lazy Rich Show – The Canadian native may very well be the king of electro-house being that he runs his own label (Big Fish) which plays host to some major players and has had several massive hits this year (Better Wipe That Up, Protect Animals remix, Wildcat remix, etc.). Our favorite thing about Lazy Rich, however, has to be his monthly podcast. While some people might feel like two hours of hyphy electro is an overdose, if you’re looking to do anything of high intensity, this podcast undeniably fits the bill. Every show, he counts down his top 10 of the past month, plays a few other fun tracks, then features a one-hour guest mix by some of the biggest names in electro house (Darth & Vader, Revolvr, Spencer & Hill, Mord Fustang, etc.). Don’t sleep on this one. [iTunes]

3. Radio 538: Dance Department – Dutch DJ and radio host Dennis Ruyer brings us this weekly podcast which is a real treat if you’re looking to get away from the standard American diet of generic house, electro, and dubstep. While you will occasionally hear a track you know mixed in, mostly Mr. Ruyer exercises his knowledge and experience from years and years in the Dutch music industry and his connections throughout the EDM world to bring you funky, danceable house grooves plus a guest mix, usually by an international superstar DJ (Axwell, Deadmau5 and Avicii were all guests this year). If you’re looking to expand your tastes or discover some new artists and music, make Dance Department your first stop. [iTunes]

4. Trance Around The World (TATW) [iTunes, Streaming & Set Lists] – The Triumvirate of Trance and Progressive music have been on a tear lately and this year Above & Beyond have locked themselves among the greatest DJs in the world on DJ Mag’s Top 100 – ranking at #5. Each week these Englishmen bring us two hours of the latest and greatest in Trance and Progressive, which often revolves around their unique blend taken from tracks released on their own Anjunabeats label. No longer is Trance about 140bpm four-on-the-floor beats and uplifting vocals, but it’s now become standard fare to hear some wobbles and other elements of Electro-House on these podcasts (check out BT & Adam K’s “Tomahawk” if you don’t believe me). Thanks to TATW, we’ve been able to bring you tracks by awesome up-and-comers such as Arty and Mat Zo, as well as tracks by veterans such as Kyau & Albert, Ferry Corsten, and Above & Beyond themselves. Don’t judge a book by its cover – just because the word “Trance” is in the title does not mean that’s all you should expect to hear each week. Bring this one to the gym, on a long car ride, or to your study sessions and you won’t be disappointed.

5. Dada Life: The Podcast – The two kings of bananas, champagne and balls-to-the-wall party antics do these monthly podcasts, albeit usually a little off schedule. When the boys get time amidst their touring and producing, they put together these hour-long mixes featuring some of the biggest and most popular tracks in the house/electro scene over the past month. While these podcasts rarely showcase really new or obscure music, they do a great job at catching you up on anything you might have missed and it’s a guarantee that all the songs are quality. [iTunes]

You can find tons of other podcasts FOR FREE on the iTunes Music Store.

Essential Mixes

Pete Tong and his infamous program on BBC Radio 1 has completely taken the EDM world by storm and any artist would consider it a high honor to be asked to leave their two-hour mark on the history of the show. Many major artists today got their start years ago by releasing a mix through the show (think Benga, Rusko, and MSTRKRFT) and now the entire EDM world stays captivated to hear what artist Mr. Tong deems talented enough to take over a chunk of programming (even though it is in the wee hours of the morning) on the legendary BBC every week. Even though we haven’t listened to every one, here’s a list of some of the standout Essential Mixes from this year that you’re sure to enjoy.

1. Kaskade – In what we believe is, far and away, the best essential mix from this year, this superstar American DJ got his shot to show the world why he deserves to be one of the biggest names in house music EVER. His mix features a bunch of his own tunes, some of the biggest house tracks from this year and of all time, and he mixes it all together flawlessly. Even someone who doesn’t appreciate house music can appreciate how amazingly listenable this mix is. [Tracklist and Download on Kaskade’s SoundCloud]

2. Joker – This dubstep mogul from the UK just fucking delivers on this essential mix which features music all over the map. One of Joker’s specialties is hip-hop dub and while you’ll find quite a bit of that on here, there’s also plenty of slow sections featuring disco and funk music as well as other underground UK indie music that keeps you engaged throughout the entire set and balances the whole mix. Only expect more great things from this producer in 2012. [Tracklist and Download]

3. Laidback Luke – The Dutch mix king himself does his usual shenanigans by packing a full 64 tracks into his two-hour essential mix. That’s a lot, but it’s unsurprising given the skills this guy possesses in DJing. If you’ve ever had the chance to see him live, you know how this guy will keep you on your toes the entire time and never miss a beat, despite the fact that he picks and mixes a lot of his music on the fly. I’ll bet this mix was a first take, and it’s still utterly amazing. [Tracklist and Download on FreshNewTracks.com]

4. Pete Tong – That’s right… the host and longtime DJ Mr. Tong brought his own essential mix to the table this year and it features the kind of amazing music you’d expect from someone who’s been in the electronic music world for over 20 years and been collecting music from some of the best artists, known and unknown, that entire time. [Mediafire Download]

5. Martin Solveig – Well, it’s been a big year for Mr. Solveig. His single “Hello” went beyond viral and is now a household tune. His massive tour schedule brought him to some of the biggest festivals of the summer the world over and he was even nice enough to grace Denver and Boston with some amazing sets. This essential mix plays out like a top 40 mix of EDM music (including house, dubstep, electro and more) which isn’t such a bad thing when those songs include all the biggest tunes from Skrillex, Wolfgang Gartner, Boys Noize, Afrojack, Bassjackers, and the hit-maker himself. [Tracklist & Download on Chemical Jump]