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2013 Austin Essentials

Below you’ll find 45 Austin artists that had great years! Get to reading and listening.  Enjoy.

:The Black Angels – Evil Things:  While I’m a big fan of The Black Angels’ early albums, I don’t have an issue with them continuing to move away from being heavy and droney.  Probably because I can only stare at my ceiling fan for so long each day.  Find The Black Angels on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Gal Pals – Earthquake:  If you ask me, Gal Pals are just as good as La Sera, Splinters, La Luz, and any of the other lady-lead garage pop acts that are scattered around the globe.  By the way, who can help me convince them to put together an album already?  Find Gal Pals on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Sweet Talk – Microphone:  Sweet Talk remind of the pop rock that I loved when I was a teenager.  This track requires a loud volume and you enthusiastically singing-a-long.  Find Sweet Talk on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Bobby Jealousy – Bang Bang:  Because Sabrina Ellis is just that good, here she is with her other band, the always catchy Bobby Jealousy.  They played ACL this year, which is just straight up awesome.  Find Bobby Jealousy on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Octopus Project – Whitby:  Personally, I think that Fever Forms is The Octopus Project’s best album.  They’ve really honed their experimental ways and the material coming by way of their leap forward is just undeniably good.  Find The Octopus Project on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Magna Carda – Shoes $ Money:  I recently mentioned to SOTO’s resident rap guru Leah Manners that I didn’t get around to much local hip hop in 2013, and she promptly scolded me and then sent this track so that I would know exactly what I had been missing out on.  Lesson fucking learned.  Find Magna Carda on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Black And White Years – Little One:  I don’t really know what to expect from The Black And White Years’ next album, Strange Figurines, but I know that I’m looking forward to it solely because of this inspired electro pop number.  Find The Black And White Years on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Mother Falcon – Dirty Summer:  You can argue you about it if you want, but the fact of the matter is that all 419 members of Mother Falcon really know how to make a pretty sounding song.  They released the unsurprisingly well crafted You Knew this summer.  Find Mother Falcon on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Feverbones – Breaking Even:  I need to start talking about Feverbones more, as I really do think they’re crafting some of Austin’s most interesting indie rock.  For proof, see the self titled EP they put out earlier this year.  Find Feverbones on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Roger Sellers – Sincere:  Now matter what style of music he’s playing, Roger Sellers always seems to effortlessly pull it off.  It’s okay if you want to scream “talented bastard” and then shake your fist at the sky.  Find Roger Sellers on FB here, and buy his music here.

:Holy Wave – Star Stamp:  I fully expect Holy Wave to garner a slew of new fans in 2014.  This single is as accessible as they’ve ever been, and I have a feeling that their new album, Relax, will be the first great psych rock release of the year.  Find Holy Wave on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Mole People – Searching The Streets:  The Mole People are a whirlwind of psychedelia, and that’s fine by me.  This song in particular reminds me of the kind of music that Slumberland often puts out.  Find The Mole People on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Preservation – Still Be Your Friend:  The Preservation pretty much nail it by referring to their approach as “cosmic American music from heart.”  By the way, kudos to them for earning spots at KGSR’s Blues on the Green and ACL.  Find The Preservation on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Bill Callahan – Small Plane:  I’ve yet to give Bill Callahan’s Dream River a thorough listen, and that’s just silly of me.  At least I’ve spent a good chunk of time with this beautiful track, though.  Find Bill Callahan’s fan page on FB here, and buy his music here.

:Reservations – That Road We Traveled Down:  Jana Horn’s stellar voice not only leads Reservations, but I also seem to just wander along behind it. I hope their debut full length arrives in the first part of 2014.  Find Reservations on FB here, and buy their music here.

:American Sharks – XVI:  No matter how much fun you’re having, American Sharks always seem to be having more. I love that about them.  Find American Sharks on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Mirror Travel – Mexico:  It’s been a bumpy road for Mirror Travel, but now they can totally high five themselves because their long awaited full length turned out great.  If you haven’t already, pick up the psych-enthused Mexico.   Find Mirror Travel on FB here, and buy their music here.

:White Denim – At Night In Dreams:  It’s no secret that White Denim are my favorite band in Austin.  They’re just stellar and you should listen to them all the time.  As for their new album, Corsicana Lemonade, it’s them doing a nice job of continuing to expand their sound.  Find White Denim on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Growl – Abbreviations:  In the corner of Growl’s Bandcamp page there’s some text that describes how they’re a “band making solid indie rock.”  That’s true.  Well, except for the solid part.  I think they’re actually making really good indie rock.  Find Growl on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Tele Novella – No Excalibur:  Tele Novella features former members of Agent Ribbons and Voxtrot, and they have a rather charming pop sound.  I can’t wait for them to put out an album.  By the way, the band has another single called Don’t Be A Stranger that’s pretty good.  Find Tele Novella on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Wild Child – Crazy Bird:  This song has never failed to put a skip in my step.  It’s such an endearing little tune, and I can’t imagine anyone not liking it at least a little.  Find Wild Child on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Black Books – Favorite Place:  There’s a lot to like on Black Books’ largely dreamy self titled debut, but this song is by far my favorite on the album.  It’s just the right amount of heavy.  Find Black Books on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Sorne – Ego Altar: Sorne aren’t exactly what I would describe as overly accessible, but they do have some really interesting material. You just have to give them a few listens so that your brain can accept how intense of an act they can be. Find Sorne on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Zoltars – Evelyn:  The Zoltars are lo-fi, minimalistic, and very good.  This year they put out the Live Like Dragons EP and a full length titled Walking Through The Dark.  I recommend seeking out both efforts.  Find The Zoltars on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Pharaohs – Prettiest Girl:  Recently, Pharaohs’ Moan was reworked a bit and then put out by Burger City Rock N Roll.  That means you’ve been given a second chance to snatch it up.  Do so if you like really catchy jams.  Find Pharaohs on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Pollen – AR AK:  Pollen haven’t been around long, but that doesn’t mean they’re not ready for any attention you’re willing to throw their way.  Watch out for them and their garage rock ways in 2014.  Find Pollen on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Other Lovers – New:  I came across this folk pop anthem about a month ago and have been liking it every since.  Other Lovers’ EP, Born To Party/Born To Be Old, is a little all over the place, but it’s certainly worth your time.  Find Other Lovers on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Frank Smith – Chewing Glass:  First of all (and hopefully for the last time), Frank Smith is a band and not a single guy.  Secondly, this is a very clean sounding, focused rock track, and I dig it.  Find Frank Smith on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Shearwater – I Luv The Valley OH!! (Xiu Xiu Cover):  As a follow-up to last year’s Animal Joy, Shearwater assembled a collection of covers titled Fellow Travelers.  The nifty effort consists of Jonathan Meiburg and Co. doing song by bands they’ve toured with over the years.  Find Shearwater on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Okkervil River – It Was My Season:  On every Okkervil River album there’s always one song that I can never get enough of, and this was it on The Silver Gymnasium.  The damn thing is just immaculate.  Find Okkervil River on FB here, and buy their music here.

:A Giant Dog – All I Wanted:  Sabrina Ellis is one of Austin’s most dynamic singers, and there isn’t a single song on A Giant Dog’s Bone where her enthusiasm doesn’t shine through.  This pop punk gem is my favorite track on the album.  Find A Giant Dog on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Grape St – A Date With You:  Harlem’s indefinite hiatus has now formed three great bands – Lace Curtains, Daytona, and Grape St.  If you dig this song, then definitely pick up the album A Date With You.  All of the other tracks on it are just as catchy.   Find Grape St on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Laughing – Disappear:  The Laughing kind of dropped off the planet for a while, but this year they made their return via Oscillation, a 10-track effort that features some really nice pop rock tunes.  Find The Laughing on FB here, and buy their music here.

:The Sour Notes – Do What May:  The Sour Notes may be great friends of mine, but I can honestly say they’re listed here because they earned it.  They’re one of Austin’s hardest working bands and their upcoming album, Do What May, is a really solid prog pop effort.  Find The Sour Notes on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Borrisokane – Amelia Fucking Earhart (A.F.E.):  For those of you who like your pop music to have an experimental side to it, there’s Borrisokane’s Murdering Teeth EP.  I think it’s one of the more quirky (in a good way, of course) listens to come out of Austin in 2013.  Find Borrisokane on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Love Inks – Time:  Love Inks are a quality act, but they don’t seem to have the biggest of followings in Austin.  We should figure out a way to change that.  The band’s album, Generation Club, is a must if you like minimalist pop.  Find Love Inks on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Whiite Walls – Easy Love:  When I wanted something dancey this summer I either tossed on Daft Punk’s Get Lucky or Whiite Walls’ Easy Love.  You can’t listen to it and not want to move.  Here’s hoping the band doesn’t take too long to put out an official effort.  Find Whiite Walls on FB here.

:Knifight – In The Fire:  Their name makes them sound like a punk band, but they’re actually more of a New Order/Future Islands type – dark and synthy.  Their debut, Dark Voices, is an intense but good listen. Find Knifight on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Zorch – We All Die Young:  I love this track.  It’s wild and raw and should only be listened to at the sort of volume that makes your neighbors angry.  Find Zorch on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Boyfrndz – Water Weight:  Boyfrndz are one of Austin’s better experimental rock acts, and I thought they did a good job of proving that on their Natures EP.  Find Boyfrndz on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Major Major Major – Scream Queen:  I was a late adopter of this track, but once I did I couldn’t seem to get it out of my head.  Talk about infectious.  If we’re lucky, the duo will wrap their EP sooner rather than later.  Find Major Major Major on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Genuine Leather – Head Wound:  Chris Galis (from the Gorgeous Hands) heads up this breezy pop act.  Viper (Found A Good Place For My Love) is the other single that the band put out this year, and it’s also worth your time.  Find Genuine Leather on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Royal Forest – Goldwallpaper:  Over the years Royal Forest have really become a fine pop band.  If for some reason you didn’t check out Spillway, then seek it out.  It’s a nice listen. Find Royal Forest on FB here, and buy their music here.

:Walker Lukens – Dear Someone:  Walker Lukens somewhat recently made the jump from NYC to Austin, and I’m happy that he did.  The guy knows how to write a good pop song.  Find Walker Lukens on FB here, and buy his music here.

:Yum – Take My Blue:  Yum just sort of popped onto my radar one day over the summer, and ever since then I’ve been a big fan.  Their album, Take My Blue, has a lot on it that plays like a lighter version of Warpaint.  Find Yum on FB here, and buy their music here.