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Top 25 Albums Of 2017

December 6, 2017

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Here are the albums I listened to the most this year.  Enjoy.

25) Alvvays – Antisocialites

Antisocialites is a catchy, occasionally infectious collection of tunes from Alvvays.  Definitely a worthy follow-up to their self titled debut.

24) Julien Baker – Turn Out The Lights

Julien Baker’s Turn Out The Lights isn’t exactly an easy listen, but it’s worth the effort.

23) Wolf Parade – Cry Cry Cry

Cry Cry Cry might be my favorite Wolf Parade album.

22) Growl – Won’t You

Austin’s own Growl really hit a home run with the indie pop-leaning Won’t You.

21) Alex Lahey – I Love You Like A Brother

Alex Lahey is an anthem-making machine.

20) Molly Burch – Please Be Mine

Please Be Mine is proof that Molly Burch is one of Austin’s best artists.

19) The Courtneys – The Courtneys II

The Courtneys sophomore effort has a whole slew of very catchy tracks.

18) SZA – Ctrl

SZA’s Ctrl is one of the best R&B albums I’ve heard in a long time.

17) White Reaper – The World’s Best American Band

White Reaper always rip it up.  The World’s Best American Band is their most complete effort to date.

16) Taylor Swift – Reputation

Reputation is no 1989, but it is a super solid effort.  Few have hooks like Taylor Swift.

15) LCD Soundsystem – American Dream

American Dream is a really nice comeback album for LCD Soundsystem.

14) Walker Lukens – Tell It To The Judge

The Jim Eno-produced Tell It To The Judge is one of my favorite albums to come out of Austin in 2017.  Nicely done, Walker Lukens.

13) The xx – I See You

Admittedly, I wasn’t a big fan of The xx’s I See You when I first heard it, but I came around (real hard) after experiencing the songs live.

12) Mount Eerie – A Crow Looked At Me

Mount Eerie’s A Crow Looked At Me is a devastating album.  I can’t even believe I listened to it as much as I did this year.  Guess that just goes to show how well done it is.

11) Hazel English – Just Give In/Never Going Home

I got lost in Hazel English’s hazy Just Give In/Never Going Home quite a lot in 2017.

10) Japanese Breakfast – Soft Sounds From Another Planet

Soft Sounds From Another Planet is so fantastic that it has made me a Japanese Breakfast fan forever.

09) Spoon – Hot Thoughts

Hot Thoughts is Spoon not giving a whole lot of fucks, and I like it alot.

08) Jay Som – Everybody Works

I don’t do any sort of “best new artist” award here at SOTO, but if I did it would go to Jay Som for the excellent Everybody Works.

07) Gang Of Youths – Go Farther In Lightness

I just recently (maybe a month ago) got into Gang Of Youths’ Go Farther In The Lightness, but it’s had such an big impact on me that I had to give it a high spot on this list.  Just amazing stuff.

06) Waxahatchee – Out In The Storm

If I were sorting this list by number of play-throughs, Waxahatchee’s Out In The Storm would probably land in the top spot.  It’s such a great indie rock album.

05) St. Vincent – Masseducation

Somehow Masseducation is simultaneously St. Vincent’s weirdest and most accessible album.  I love it.

04) The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

The War On Drugs just keep getting better and better.  A Deeper Understanding is a real attention-grabber.

03) Protomartyr – Relatives In Descent

Protomartyr dialed back the intensity just a bit for Relatives In Descent, and it resulted in an album that I have yet to get enough of.

02) Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

Come on.  It’s Kendrick Lamar.  This guy is currently unstoppable.

01) The National – Sleep Well Beast

I’ve always liked, not loved The National, so it’s wild to me that their Sleep Well Beast ended up being my favorite album of 2017.  Here I am though, declaring all my love for it.  If you haven’t spent any time with it, be sure you fix that real fast.  It’s one of those efforts that just swallows you up whole.

For the heck of it, here are five albums that almost made my Top 25.

Bully – Losing
Conor Oberst – Salutations
Do Make Say Think – Stubborn Persistent Illusions
Jay-Z – 4:44
Why? – Moh Lhean

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Top 50 Songs Of 2017

December 5, 2017

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Well look at that, here are my Top 50 Songs of 2017.  Enjoy.

50) Jamiroquai – Automaton

Jamiroquai still got it, man.

49) Matthew Logan Vasquez

I jammed this Matthew Logan Vasquez (of Delta Spirit fame) track on my radio show, 101X Homegrown, a lot this year. It’s fierce.

48) Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Matter Of Time

I miss Sharon Jones.

47) Sheer Mag – Just Can’t Get Enough

Pure retro goodness here by Sheer Mag.

46) Weaves – Walkaway

Weaves churned out a really nice low key anthem here.

45) Filthy Friends – Any Kind Of Crowd

Corin Tucker sounds adorable in this Filthy Friends song.

44) Julien Baker – Appointments

Sad! Classic Julien Baker.

43) Wiretree – Let Me In

I love this sweet little number by Austin’s own Wiretree.

42) Hazel English – Fix

What a wonderfully hazy pop tune by Hazel English.

41) Mogwai – Eternal Panther

Somehow the best song that Mogwai put out this year isn’t on the album they released.

40) Alyeska – Stones

This 90s indie rock throwback from Alyeska is fantastic.

39) Land Of Talk – Loving

It’s so good to have Elizabeth Powell back in action as Land Of Talk.

38) The Kills – Desperado (Rhianna Cover)

The Kills really make this Rhianna track their own.

37) Why? – Proactive Evolution

I’ll never tire of Why?. This is one of my favorite songs by them.

36) The Octopus Project – Small Hundred

This song by The Octopus Project always makes me want to get up and move.

35) Fujiya & Miyagi – Solitaire

Another year, another infectious jam by Fujiya & Miyagi.

34) Carly Rae Jepsen – Cut To The Feeling

Can’t stop Carly.

33) The Courtneys – Silver Velvet

This is the catchiest song on The Courtneys’ album of really catchy songs.

32) Growl – New Sincerity.

Here’s some jangly pop perfection by Austin’s Growl.

31) Kane Strang – Oh So You’re Off I See

I revisited this slightly weird Kane Strang track a lot in 2017.

30) Beth Ditto – Oo La La

Beth Ditto really goes for it here.

29) Sports – Making It Right

This is a charming pop tune from Sports.

28) Wolf Parade – You’re Dreaming

Wolf Parade with a legit ear-pleaser.

27) Ought – These 3 Things

Ought went new wave here. Good move!

26) Waxahatchee – Never Been Wrong

Indie rock perfection by Waxahatchee.

25) The Rural Alberta Advantage – Toughen Up

The Rural Alberta Advantage made a big time jump back onto my radar with this song.

24) Screaming Females – Black Moon

I can’t wait for the new Screaming Females album. This first single is so damn good.

23) Protomartyr – Don’t Go to Anacita

Intense but great. Protomartyr are the best.

22) Sweet Spirit – The Power

What a big track by Austin’s Sweet Spirit.

21) Perfume Genius – Slip Sway

This is one of Perfume Genius’ best songs.

20) Spook School – Less Than Perfect

Spook School are as catchy as can be here.

19) Rhye – Taste

This Rhye track has an immaculate sound.

18) Jay Som – Baybee

Hazy, dancey, perfect stuff here by Jay Som.

17) Walker Lukens – Don’t Want To Be Lonely (Don’t Want To Leave You Alone)

Here’s a total ear-worm from Austin’s Walker Lukens.

16) The Blow – Get Up

This song from The Blow is a rambly as can be, but I love it.

15) LCD Soundsystem – Call The Police

The best song on LCD Soundsystem’s comeback album.

14) Diet Cig – Barf Day

The line “I know that you’re sorry, I just don’t care” will forever make me smirk. Thanks for that, Diet Cig.

13) Molly Burch – Wrong For You

It’s just about impossible to not love this retro-leaning effort from Austin’s own Molly Burch.

12) Lo Tom – Overboard

David Bazan is so good in this Lo Tom tune. I love his voice.

11) Football, etc. – Save

This track from Austin’s Football, etc. has an early 2000s indie rock vibe that I really dig.

10) The War On Drugs – Holding On

Headphones + this track from The War On Drugs = my happy place.

09) The Coathangers – Captain’s Dead

The Coathangers are on a real roll right now. This song is a blast.

08) Spoon – Do I Have To Talk You Into It

I love how loose Spoon sound here.

07) White Reaper – Judy French

So infectious. White Reaper continue to be big favorites of mine.

06) Alex Lahey – Every Day’s The Weekend

My favorite song from 2017 to sing-a-long to. Alex Lahey sure knows how to write an anthem.

05) The National – The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness

Heavy but accessible. Great track by The National.

04) SZA – Supermodel

I spent a couple of months obsessed with this SZA song. It’s so dramatic.

03) Kendrick Lamar – Humble

It was impossible to escape this Kendrick Lamar song in 2017. I didn’t mind.

02) St. Vincent – Los Ageless

St. Vincent is rather aggressive here, and it’s awesome.

01) Alvvays – In Undertow

This was practically my default song this year. It’s perfect. Thanks, Alvvays!

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Alvvays

August 21, 2017

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I have heard Alvvays’ upcoming album, Antisocialites, and I can tell you that it’s really good.  Make sure you snatch it up when it gets released on September 8.  Also, if you’re in Austin, go and see them at the Mohawk on October 17.  For right now though, just listen to the catchy third single.  Enjoy.

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Alvvays

July 27, 2017

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In unsurprising news, Alvvays’ new single (here’s the previous one) is a total ear-pleaser.  Check it out below, then remind yourself that their second full length, Antisocialites, is due out September 8 and that they’ll be playing the Mohawk on October 17.  Enjoy.

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Alvvays

June 12, 2017

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I spent most of my Sunday bundled up and wondering if I had the flu, so today when I got up and surprisingly felt fine, I made it my goal to find something pleasant to kick off this week with.  Nailed it!  The new Alvvays single is very easy on the ears (and rather Camera Obscura-like).  The band’s sophomore album, Antisocialites, is due out September 8 via Polyvinyl.  Also, they’ll be playing the Mohawk on October 17.  Enjoy.

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Top 50 Songs Of 2014: Part 2

December 2, 2014

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Boom.  Here’s part two of my Top 50 Songs of 2014.  If you missed the first installment, check it out here.  The other parts will arrive each day this week!  Enjoy.

40)  :Braid – No Coast:  It was the arrival of this anthemic track that pushed me from curious to excited about Braid reuniting for a new full length (their first in 16 years).  From No Coast.

39)  :Eternal Summers – Gouge:  I’ve had this shoegazey number on repeat for just about the entirety of 2014.  I definitely think it’s Eternal Summers’ best song (so far).  From The Drop Beneath.

38)  :Letting Up Despite Great Faults – Wrapped:  This fantastic slice of dream pop is from one of my favorite bands in Austin, Letting Up Despite Great Faults.  It’ll make you dance (and maybe cry a little).  From Neon.

37)  :Mas Ysa – Shame:  Thomas Arseneault (aka Mas Ysa) churns out some really interesting stuff.  For instance, this synthy gem is somehow both very calculated and super raw.  From The Worth EP.

36)  :Alvvays – Archie, Marry Me:  Sure, Alvvays is a pretty silly name, but that doesn’t mean this song isn’t one of the best lo-fi pop efforts of the year.  From the band’s self titled album.

35)  :Pillar Point – Eyeballs:  I’m not sure that Scott Reitherman (formerly of Throw Me The Statue and now the main brain behind Pillar Point) has ever made a song that I didn’t like.  The guy sure knows how to craft quality pop music.  From the band’s self titled album.

34)  :Cymbals Eat Guitars – Chambers:  If you’ve ever wanted to hear Cymbals Eat Guitars as a full-on accessible rock act, then this is the song you’ve been looking for.  It’s a good sound for them.  From Lose.

33)  :Ariel Pink – Put Your Number In My Phone:  When it comes to Ariel Pink, I’m always impressed with the way he’s able to craft that one single every release that’s a total ear-pleaser.  I think he does it on purpose so it’s easier to dive into the bizarro creations that usually fill out his albums.  From Pom Pom.

32)  :Sylvan Esso – Coffee:  For a while I thought MS MR’s fancy remix of this track was unbeatable, but in the end I found myself partial to the minimalistic sound of Sylvan Esso’s original take.  From the band’s self titled album.

31)  :Weaves – Shithole:  Every time I listen to this song I immediately want to travel back to the 90s so that I can be angsty about having to exist in the 90s.  Thanks for that, Weaves.  From the Shithole single.

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Stream This

August 1, 2014

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Please note that the majority of the streams expire as soon as the albums come out, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Spoon – They Want My Soul

Spider Bags – Frozen Letter
The Rosebuds – Sand + Silence
Willis Earl Beal – Experiments In Time
Naomi Punk – Television Man
Twin Peaks – Wild Onion
Christopher Denny – If The Roses Don’t Kill Us
Mozart’s Sister – Being
The Number Ones – Self Titled
Adult Jazz – Gist Is
EDJ – Self Titled
Amanda X – Amnesia
Alison May – Loved/Dark

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Karen O

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Stream This

July 18, 2014

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From the depths of the SOTO inbox, I present to you your weekly serving of the latest and greatest album streams and videos.  Enjoy.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Please note that the majority of the streams expire as soon as the albums come out, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ White Fence – For The Recently Found Innocent

Alvvays – Self Titled
PS I Love You – For Those Who Stay
Weird Al – Mandatory Fun
My Brightest Diamond – None More Than You EP
La Roux – Trouble In Paradise
The Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads
Liam Betson – The Cover Of Hunter
Dikembe – Mediumship
Sugar Stems – Only Come Out At Night
Freeman – Self Titled
Got A Girl – I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff Now
Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again
Field Mouse – Hold Still Life

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Saint Pepsi

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Quickdraw: Gold Bears, Alvvays, Tearjerker, Movement, Lykke Li

April 28, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Gold Bears – For You:  This Gold Bears song has quickly become one of my favorites of 2014.  I love how jangly, catchy and enthusiastic it is.  Be sure to crank the volume before you hit the play button.  The never terrible Slumberland will put out Dalliance in June.

:Alvvays – Archie, Marry Me:  Here’s a track from Alvvays, the latest addition to Polyvinyl’s always interesting roster.  It’s a total lo-fi pop gem, and I’m looking forward to hearing more from the Toronto-based act.  The band’s debut album will be out at some point later this year.

:Tearjerker – You Can:  For those of you on the hunt for a song to get lost in today, look no further than this Tearjerker effort.  The way that it softly glides along is an absolute treat.  Headphones are highly recommended!  The band will release the Hiding EP on May 20 SQE.

:Movement – Ivory:  There’s plenty at work in this track from Movement that’s pretty great – R&B-style vocals, a totally danceable arrangement – but it really soars for me when the 80s-esque guitar solo kicks in.  It’s just so damn well done.  A self titled EP is set to be released on May 6 via Modular Recordings.

:Lykke Li – Gunshot:  While I really like Lykke Li, it’s definitely taken until this song to make me excited for her upcoming album.  The other singles were strictly ballads, and I just think she’s at her best when there’s more of an anthemic edge to her sound.  You’ll be able to pick up I Never Learn on May 6 via Atlantic.

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