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Top 25 Albums Of 2013: Part 2

December 12, 2013

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Here’s another 10 of my favorite albums of 2013.  Jump back tomorrow for the top five on my list!  Enjoy.

15) Polica – Shulamith

If you’re pessimistic and happen to remember how high my expectations were for Polica’s Shulamith, then you might look at this “middle of the pack” placement and call the album a disappointment.  Believe me though, that would be silly.  Lots of great tracks to be had on this one.

:Polica – Chain My Name:

14) The Mantles – Long Enough To Leave

If I had things my way, everyone would start including the Mantles in the first wave of bands that roll out of their mouth whenever the Bay Area comes up in conversation.  Long Enough To Leave is loaded with very catchy retro pop tunes.

:The Mantles – Hello:

13) The Octopus Project – Fever Forms

The Octopus Project have long been a solid act, but I think Fever Forms is proof that they’re actually a great one.  I’m excited to see where they go from here.

:The Octopus Project – Whitby:

12) Diarrhea Planet – I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

Only one album in 2013 actually made me want to throw up rock horns in a non-ironic way, and it was Diarrhea Planet’s I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams.  Listen loud.

:Diarrhea Planet – Separations:

11) Haim – Days Are Gone

The girls in Haim have been making music for most of their lives, so of course Days Are Gone is packed with some of 2013′s better crafted pop songs.  On another note, this album is a sing-a-long lovers dream.

:Haim – The Wire:

10) A Giant Dog – Bone

Pop punk is fun stuff, but I usually wear the albums out and then promptly shuffle on to something else.  This didn’t happen with A Giant Dog’s Bone though, the songs are too good to just let go of.

:A Giant Dog – All I Wanted:

09) Kanye West – Yeezus

Kanye West’s Yeezus is such an intense album that I can’t listen to it on a regular basis.  With that being said, I think it’s a stellar piece of work from one of the biggest, most interesting pop stars on the planet.

:Kanye West – New Slaves:

08) Thee Oh Sees – Floating Coffin

Thee Oh Sees release so much music that I always move on to whatever new thing they’re doing instead of allowing the “old” effort to settle.  Floating Coffin managed to hook me though, and I plan on jamming the gloriously kinetic album for years to come.

:Thee Oh Sees – Maze Francier:

07) FIDLAR – Self Titled

FIDLAR seem like an act that could fizzle out at any moment, so I’ve been loving them while I can.  Their self titled debut is as catchy and loud as I hoped it would be when the band first popped up on my radar last year.

:FIDLAR – Cheap Beer:

06) Sigur Ros – Kveikur

I didn’t think Sigur Ros had a bombastic post rock album in them at this point, but Kveikur is just that.  If their last few efforts were too far out in left field for you, then this one should win you back.

:Sigur Ros – Kveikur:

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Stream This

September 6, 2013

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Terry Malts – Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere
Holy Ghost! – Dynamics
Body/Head – Coming Apart
Man Man – On Oni Pond
Delorean – Apar
Mum – Smilewound
Jacuzzi Boys – Self Titled
Windhand – Soma
Janelle Monae – The Electric Lady
Arctic Monkeys – AM
Willis Earl Beal – Nobody Knows
Potty Mouth – Hell Bent
The Weekend – Kiss Land
Infinity Shred – Sanctuary
ARMS – EP2
Grooms – Infinity Caller
Imaginary People – Self Titled
Pink Frost – Sundowning
Surf City – We Knew It Was Not Going To Be Like This
Mrs. Magician – B-Sides
The Orwells – Who Needs You EP

VIDEOS

Sleigh Bells will put out Bitter Rivals on October 8 via Mom + Pop.  They play Stubb’s on October 27.

Black Joe Lewis put out Electric Slave last week via Vagrant.

Crystal Stilts’s Nature Noir is due out September 17 via Sacred Bones.

Kelley Stoltz will release Double Exposure on September 24 via Third Man Records.

SISU will put out Blood Tears on September 17 via Mono Prism Records.

FIDLAR have a tour-only split 7″ with The Orwells.  Get one when they play ACL in October.

Holograms just put out Forever via Captured Tracks.

Team Spirit’s self titled EP is out now on VICE/WBR.

Empire Of The Sun put out Ice On The Dune earlier this year via Astralwerks.

Tricky’s False Idols is available now.

Heliotropes’s A Constant Sea is out now on Manimal/Frenchkiss Label Group.

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Quickdraw: American Sharks, The Orwells, FIDLAR, Crystal Antlers, Chelsea Wolfe

July 25, 2013

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Today’s music doesn’t believe in curfews.  Enjoy.

:American Sharks – XVI:  Much of my 2013 has seen buzz for Austin’s American Sharks, and this power kick to the face of a song makes it easy to understand why.  I can’t wait to see them on Friday when they open for the Sword at Red 7.  The band will release their self titled debut in September via The End Records.

:The Orwells – Who Needs You:  There’s plenty to like about this year’s ACL lineup, but The Orwells are one band in particular that I’m actually anxious to see.  I know “infectious” is a word that’s super over-used these days, but it’s pretty much the best way to describe these guys.  The Who Needs You EP, which is their second release of 2013, is due September 10 via East End/Canvasback.

:FIDLAR – Awkward:  I actually posted this song last year, but FIDLAR have resurrected it for a tour-only split 7″ with The Orwells.  The guest spot from Kate Nash is gone, and it’s sporting a cleaner sound.  I think I like it more than the original.  The band is also playing ACL.

:Crystal Antlers – Rattlesnake:  I’ve long appreciated Crystal Antlers, but this song is so good that now I’m wondering if I should have been giving them even more attention.  Talk about inspired stuff.  The will release the Rattlesnake single on September 24 via Innovative Leisure.  A full length is expected at some point.

:Chelsea Wolfe – We Hit A Wall:  This is a really intense track.  I dig it, and I won’t be surprised if I end up spending a good chunk of time with Chelsea’s upcoming LP.  Pain Is Beauty is due out September 3 via Sargent House.  She will play the Mohawk on September 6.

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Stream This

March 8, 2013

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

The Mary Onettes – Hit The Waves
Bill Baird – Spring Break Of The Soul
Ulfur – White Mountain
Golden Grrrls – Self Titled
Phosphorescent – Muchacho

VIDEOS

Chvrches will release the Recover EP on March 26.

Fear Of Men recently released Early Fragments via Kanine Records.

FIDLAR just recently released their debut via Mom + Pop.

Psychic Twin’s Strangers 7″ is available now via Polyvinyl.

Ten Kens will release Namesake on May 21.

The Soft Moon’s Zeros is out now on Captured Tracks.

Mister Lies’ Mowgli is currently available via Lefse.

Phoenix will release Bankrupt! on April 22.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra released II earlier this year on Jagjaguwar.

Buke And Gase’s General Dome is available now.

Metz’s self titled debut is out now on Sub Pop.

Beach House released Bloom last year.

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Stream This

January 25, 2013

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

On And On – Give In
Speck Mountain – Badwater
Gold Panda – Trust EP
Ducktails – The Flower Lane
The Ruby Suns – Christopher
Bleeding Rainbow – Yeah Right
Ex Cops – True Hallucinations
Tomahawk – Oddfellows

VIDEOS

FIDLAR just released their self titled album on Mom + Pop.

Nightlands released Oak Island via Secretly Canadian this week.  They play the Mohawk on March 6.

Lee Fields brought in Lady for this acoustic number.

This is s German version of Moon Duo’s I Can See.

Crystal Castles will play the Austin Music Hall on April 21.  The Sad Eyes single will be out February 18.

Ultraista will play on Jimmy Fallon this Tuesday.

Nite Jewel’s One Second Of Love is available now via Secretly Canadian.

Sin Fang will release Flowers on February 19 via Morr Music.

PAWS will play SXSW.  Cokefloat! is out now on FatCat.

Shout Out Louds will release Optica on February 26.  They’ll also be at SXSW.

This is Club 8′s first new music since 2010.

A Thing Called Divine Fits is out now.

Widowspeak put out Almanac this week via Captured Tracks.

Iceage will release You’re Nothing on February 19 via Matador.

Minus The Bear’s Infinity Overheard is out now on Dangerbird Records.

Menahan Street Band’s The Crossing is available now via Daptone Records.

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Stream This

January 18, 2013

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Pillowfight – Self Titled
FIDLAR – Self Titled
Ra Ra Riot – Beta Love
He’s My Brother She’s My Sister – Nobody Dances In This Town
Big Harp – Chain Letters
Toro Y Moi – Anything In Return
Mystical Weapons – Self Titled
The Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law
Parquet Courts – Light Up Gold
Widowspeak – Almanac
Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace And Magic

VIDEOS

J. Mascis is set to appear on Portlandia on January 25.

Dan Deacon is heading out on tour.  See the dates here.

Now Now are hitting the road with a variety of acts, including Minus The Bear, Bob Mould, and Circa Survive.

Dead Leaf Echo will release Thought & Language on March 5.

Ty Segall will play the Mohawk on January 25.  Register to win a pair of tickets here.

Suuns will put out Images du Futur on March 5.

PAPA will release a full length at some point this year.

Woods is heading out on tour in Australia and New Zealand.  See the dates here.

Western Medication will release The Painted World 7″ via Jeffrey Drag Records on January 29.

Johnny Marr will put out The Messenger on February 26.

My Education’s A Drink For All My Friends is out now.

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Top 50 Songs Of 2012: Part 3

November 28, 2012

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On the off-chance that you weren’t paying attention throughout any part of 2012, then know that I have you covered.  Below you’ll find the third part of my Top 50 Songs Of 2012.  In case you’re curious, I chose the songs from the 400+ tracks that I shared around here throughout the last 11 months.  Enjoy.

30)  :Lace Curtains – Bedroom Honesty:  For a song that sounds so wonderfully casual and inviting, it’s brutally upfront about quite a few things.  I love it.  From The Garden Of Joy And The Well Of Loneliness.

29)  :Three Mile Pilot – Long Way Up:  It doesn’t seem plausible for a band to take a decade-long break and then come back as good as ever, but 3MP are currently in the middle of doing just that.  For proof, give this indie rock effort a listen.  From the Maps EP.

28)  :Ceremony – Hysteria:  There isn’t anything about this punch to the soul that doesn’t make me want to set something on fire, and I appreciate that greatly.  From Zoo.

27)  :FIDLAR – Got No Money:  These guys have so many rad songs that make me want to thrash around, and yet it was this catchy little pop number that I couldn’t escape all year.  Variety is good, friends.  From the Don’t Try EP.

26)  :Yellow Ostrich – Marathon Runner:  Vocal loops, a good chorus, and just the right amount of rock – that’s the Yellow Ostrich formula, and in songs like this one, it works very well.  From Strange Land.

25)  :Rubblebucket – Oooh Wa:  This band’s name makes them sound like some sort of wild punk outfit, but as you’ll see in this shimmering track, they’re actually a really good indie pop act.  From the Oversaturated EP.

24)  :Felix – Oh Thee 73:  Listening to this duo snark their way through this intricate number has been one of my favorite parts of 2012.  From Oh Holy Motar.

23)  :How To Dress Well – & It Was U:  90s R&B isn’t something I can claim as my thing, but if it’s coming from How To Dress Well?  Well, then that is entirely me.  I wish I had a good dance move for whenever this comes on.  From Total Loss.

22)  :Reptar – Sebastian:  Reptar are a bizarre ray of sunshine for me.  The vocals live out in left field, but the music is gloriously upbeat.  I’ve been singing this one all year.  From Body Faucet.

21)  :Dan Deacon – Lots:  My favorite thing about Dan Deacon is that even if you can’t figure out what the hell he’s trying to do, he has songs like this one that you get into simply because they’re so kinetic.  If I ran, I’d totally run to this.  From America.

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Stream This

November 2, 2012

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The SOTO inbox is always full of cool stuff that never gets to see the light of day on the actual site, and I’d like to change that.  So, every Friday I’ll be posting the best album streams and videos that were sent my way during the week.  Take a scroll and find something worth remembering.

FULL ALBUM STREAMS

Writer – Brotherface
Indian Handcrafts – Civil Disobedience For Losers
Lindstrom – Smalhans
Parakeet – Shonen Hearts
Dofish – I’d Rather Disappear Than Stay The Same
Menahan Street Band – The Crossing

VIDEOS

Dark Dark Dark released Who Needs Who last month via Supply And Demand Records.

Das Racist put out Relax last year, but this is a new video.

Laetitia Sadler is about to kick off a European tour.  Silencio is out now.

Tamaryn’s Tender New Signs is available now.  She plays Red 7 on November 17.

Clare And The Reasons have an album titled KR-51 that’s out now.

The Antlers sent over an email that simply said “James Case-Leal created this beautiful video for Drift Dive and we want to share it with you.”

Sky Ferreira’s Ghost EP is out now via Capitol Records.

Gangi put out Gesture Is last month.

DZ Deathrays’ debut, Bloodstreams, is available now.

The Calm Blue Sea recently released Arrivals And Departures.  Check out their Sound Samples entry.

Runner is out now via Thrill Jockey.  The Sea And Cake play the Mohawk on November 14.

Titus Andronicus just recently released Local Business.

This track is off of Feist’s Metals.

Ben Gibbard just put out Former Lives via Barsuk.  He’s out on tour now.

Melody’s Echo Chamber have a self titled album that was released back in September.

My Education will release A Drink For All My Friends on November 27.  They play the ND on November 30.

Melt is available now.  Young Magic is currently out on tour with Purity Ring, and they both play the Mohawk on January 22.

Fidlar will release their debut album on January 22nd via Mom+Pop.

Andrew Bird’s Hands of Glory is out now via Mom+Pop.

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10 Artists You Need To See At Fun Fun Fun Fest

October 29, 2012

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Fun Fun Fun Fest takes over Auditorium Shores this weekend, and I’m pumped.  Like every year, the festival is packed with a large variety of acts that must been seen.  Refused, Santigold, Explosions In The Sky, Run DMC – these are just a few of the big names that will be delighting the masses.  As I noted, though, the lineup is stacked, and that means there will also be quite a bit of good music going on during the afternoon.  Below you’ll find the 10 bands that I think you should head out early to see.  Enjoy.

PS – Tickets are still available!  Also, the FFF Nites are going to be killer.  Check out the list of acts here.  The shows are free if you have a Fun Fun Fun Fest wristband.

Japandroids

Celebration Rock is quite possibly the best rock release of the year, and I know these two guys put on a great show.  Combine those two things with the rowdy attitude (from the artist and the crowd) that tends to come with the Black Stage, and it’s possible that the world will catch on fire.  I can’t wait to see what happens.

:Japandroids – The Nights Of Wine And Roses:

Japandroids play the Black Stage at 4:20pm on Sunday.

Icona Pop

This pop duo put out one of the year’s catchiest tracks, and they’re riding a fairly large wave of buzz.  Time to see if they’re worth all the attention.  I’m hoping they are, as it could make for a really entertaining show.

:Icona Pop – I Love It:

Icona Pop play the Blue Stage at 1:50pm on Friday.

Bleached

I saw this band at SXSW, and I came away fairly impressed.  Their sound is of the simple, straightforward retro pop variety, but they work it and put on an upbeat show that will surely play well amongst the chaos of Fun Fun Fun Fest.

:Bleached – Searching Through The Past:

Bleached play the Orange Stage at 2:10pm on Sunday.

Fidlar

This list isn’t in any particular order, but if it was I’d probably put Fidlar near the top of it.  They’ve released so many good songs in 2012, and I must hear them all live.  Or, if anything, I at least want to hold a drink high in the air as the band plays Cheap Beer.

:Fidlar – Cheap Beer:

Fidlar play the Black Stage at 1:05pm on Friday.

Baauer

To be honest, I don’t know much about this act.  I can only say that Harlem Shake is one hell of a banger, and I have to see how the crowd handles it.  I predict a dance party that will be spoken of for years to come.

:Baauer – Harlem Shake:

Baauer plays the Blue Stage at 1:45pm on Sunday.

Yellow Ostrich

This band has been mentioned so many times around here that I’m sure you already had plans to see them.  RIGHT?  If for some crazy reason you didn’t, be sure to go.  They have a large handful of stellar songs in their repertoire, and I always find their live sets to be very good.

:Yellow Ostrich – Marathon Runner:

Yellow Ostrich play the Orange Stage at 12:30pm on Friday.

Fang Island

I’ve been wanting to see these guys play for a long time.  Their recorded stuff is full of energy, and they seem like a band that will own the festival setting and do something fun.

:Fang Island – Asunder:

Fang Island play the Orange Stage at 1:35pm on Sunday.

The Helio Sequence

I imagine that many of you are already very aware of the Helio Sequence, but they’re playing so early in the day that I wanted to make sure to highlight them.  Also, their latest album, Negotiations, is a good one, and I can’t wait to hear the new songs live.

:The Helio Sequence – Hall Of Mirrors:

The Helio Sequence play the Orange Stage at 2:10pm on Saturday.

Astronautalis

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this guy twice, and both times I wanted to find him after his set and give him the best high five possible.  He’s an absolute blast, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he came out of Fun Fun Fun Fest with a new legion of fans.

:Astronautalis – Dimitri Mendeleev:

Astronautalis plays the Blue Stage at 4:55pm on Friday.

Torche

I’ve grown to like Torche because of their most recent album, Harmonicraft.  They do catchy, anthemic metal tunes that are fun to sing-a-long to, and I expect they’ll make for a nice change of pace on the Black Stage.

:Torche – Letting Go:

Torche play the Black Stage at 2:15pm on Friday.

HONORABLE MENTION – The Midgetmen

Because sometimes the world is just crazy enough that covering Weird Al’s Dare To Be Stupid will land you a spot at a large festival.  Nailed it!  I’m super excited for these local guys to be playing (and kicking off, actually) Fun Fun Fun Fest.  I’ve seem them do the aforementioned covers before, and they’re actually pretty good.

On a related note, tomorrow I’ll be premiering a downloadable track and a full stream of the Midgetmen’s cover of Dare To Be Stupid!  Be sure to drop by and check it out.

The Midgetmen play the Yellow Stage on Friday at 11:50am.

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Quickdraw: Menahan Street Band, Ducktails, Legendary Wings, Fidlar, Still Corners

October 16, 2012

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Today’s music likes its coffee without cream.  Enjoy.

:Menahan Street Band – Lights Out:  While I love the fact that this group of soul geniuses have readied a new album, I hate that their tour with Charles Bradley doesn’t feature a stop in Austin.  Oh well.  At least I have you.  The band will release The Crossing on October 30 via Dunham/Daptone Records.

:Ducktails – The Flower Lane:  I don’t think I realized how long this Matt Mondanile-lead act has been around.  They’re about to put out their fourth full length!  That’s just sort of blowing my mind.  At any rate, this laid back pop tune is the first track to be released off their new effort, which is titled The Flower Lane and is due January 29 via Domino.

:Legendary Wings – Paper Roses:  Dirtnap Records is home to some of the best pop punk that Earth has to offer, and this band is one of their most recent signings.  You’re going to dig them.  Making Paper Roses just came out last week.  Go pick up a copy or three!

:Fidlar – Awwwkwarrrddd (Featuring Kate Nash):  Once this year is all said and done, it’s going to be very difficult to not put all of Fidlar’s 2012 tunes in my top song list.  The band just doesn’t know how to do anything bad.  This is a random single, so download it while you can.

:Still Corners – Fireflies:  This is a really pretty pop track that I probably should have posted a few weeks back.  Better late than never, right?  Still Corners are said to be working on their next full length, which will be out sometime next year on the almighty Sub Pop.

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FIDLAR

September 6, 2012

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FIDLAR have been pretty much killing it throughout 2012, and I can’t wait to see them at Fun Fun Fun Fest.  The guys are all energy, and I don’t think there’s a single song in their catalog that doesn’t have an infectious hook.  Today I’m featuring a new one, which will supposedly be on the full length that’s coming out on Mom + Pop early next year.  Enjoy!

:FIDLAR – Cheap Beer:  Here you’ll get to experience one of those catchy hooks I was talking about.  Also, plenty of fury.  On a related note, I was recently at a bar where a guy scolded me on the beer I had chosen.  I’m dedicating this track to him.

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