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Top 25 Albums Of 2015: Part 1

December 10, 2015

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Now that I’ve completed my Top 50 Songs of 2015 list, it’s time to rundown my Top 25 Albums of the year.  Entries 15-11 are just down below.  Jump back tomorrow for the final 10 selections.  Enjoy.

PS – As always, this list is made up of stuff that I legit listened to a lot throughout the year.

25) Carly Rae Jepsen – E-MO-TION

There are a couple of tracks on Carly Rae Jepsen’s E-MO-TION that aren’t great, but overall it’s definitely one of the most fun albums that I came across in 2015.  If you’re into lady-led pop jams from the 80s/90s, you need to become one with CRJ’s latest LP.

:Carly Rae Jepsen – Let’s Get Lost:

24) Joanna Newsom – Divers

If Joanna Newsom’s Divers had come out earlier in the year, I think it might have ended up higher on my list.  Like her other efforts, this album is beautiful but dense, and it needs to be digested over lots of listens.  In another month or two I’ll be able to decide whether it’s really good or really great.

:Joanna Newsom – Leaving The City:

23) Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect

Protomartyr’s The Agent Intellect isn’t exactly what I would call an easily accessible rock album.  On the bright side, if you fully commit to it you get back a rather rewarding experience.

:Protomartyr – Why Does It Shake:

22) Desaparecidos – Payola

Payola is exactly what I wanted Desaparecidos to deliver on their sophomore effort – it’s loud, inspired, angry and crazy infectious.  Here’s hoping they don’t stick to the 13-years-between-albums thing that they currently have going on.

:Desaparecidos – City On The Hill:

21) Gal Pals – Velvet Rut

While it still bums me out that Gal Pals jumped from Austin to LA, I do like that the move got them to finally put out a debut full length.  Velvet Rut is 29 minutes of garage pop perfection.

:Gal Pals – Ex-Marionette:

20) Thee Oh Sees – Mutilator Defeated At Last

This is the fourth year in a row that Thee Oh Sees have managed to crack my Top 25 Albums list.  I don’t mind.  They make me want to be a louder person.

:Thee Oh Sees – Web:

19)  Sweet Spirit – Cokomo

I’ve jammed Sweet Spirit’s Cokomo a lot since it was released back in October.  It’s an upbeat listen that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

:Sweet Spirit – Baby When I Close My Eyes:

18) Joanna Gruesome – Peanut Butter

Joanna Gruesome‘s Peanut Butter is a completely schizo (but really fun) album.  They continue to be one of the best noise pop acts around.

:Joanna Gruesome – Honestly Do Yr Worst:

17) Sweet Talk – Double Perfect

Sweet Talk are one of the best bands in Austin, and Double Perfect is one of the year’s best straight up rock albums.  You need it.

:Sweet Talk – Witness:

16) White Reaper – White Reaper Does It Again

These fellas out of Kentucky really delivered the goods on their debut LP, White Reaper Does It Again.  It’s nothing but super catchy garage punk tunes.

:White Reaper – Make Me Wanna Die:

15) Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy

A 29-track, 93-minute rock opera from the one and only Titus Andronicus?  Yeah, there was never a chance that The Most Lamentable Tragedy wouldn’t be on this list.

:Titus Andronicus – Dimed Out:

14) Colleen Green – I Want To Grow Up

Colleen Green’s musings throughout I Want To Grow Up are both insightful and relatable.  Also, there isn’t a single track on it that isn’t catchy.

:Colleen Green – TV:

13) Leon Bridges – Coming Home

Leon Bridges pretty much owned 2015.  Coming Home is a warm, inviting effort, and it may just be the year’s most accessible album.

:Leon Bridges – River:

12) Speedy Ortiz – Foil Deer

Admittedly, it took me a little while to fully come around on Foil Deer.  I think I was expecting a simple extension of Major Arcana, but their sophomore LP is way more than that – it’s them really evolving, expanding their sound and becoming an overall better band.

:Speedy Ortiz – Raising The Skate:

11) Ratatat – Magnifique

I think Magnifique is Ratatat’s best album.  From start to finish it’s loaded with really interesting sounds, and all of the songs move incredibly well.  I left it on repeat a lot in 2015.

:Ratatat – Cream On Chrome:

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Stream This

February 20, 2015

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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 are released, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Screaming Females – Rose Mountain

Colleen Green – I Want To Grow Up
Dan Deacon – Gliss Riffer
Radical Dads – Universal Coolers
The King Khan And BBQ Show – Bad News Boys
Gal Pals – Velvet Rut
Diet Cig – Over Easy EP
THEESatisfaction – EarthEE
Torche – Restarter
Diamond Rugs – Cosmetics
Iron And Wine – Archive Series: Volume 1
Pearls – Pretend You’re Mine
Keath Mead – Sunday Dinner
Tall Tales And The Silver Lining – Tightropes
Hundred Waters – The Moon Rang Like A Bell (Remixed)
Public Service Broadcasting – The Race For Space

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Sleater-Kinney

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Stream This

February 13, 2015

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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 are released, so don’t wait too long to check them out.

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Jose Gonzalez – Vestiges & Claws

Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
A Place To Bury Strangers – Transfixiation
Grooms – Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair
Six Organs Of Admittance – Hexadic
Slultever – Almost Famous EP
Sonny And The Sunsets – Talent Night At The Ashram
Karen O – Live From Crush Palace
Phosphorescent – Live At The Music Hall
Pops Staples – Don’t Lose This
S. Carey – Supermoon EP
In Tall Buildings – Driver
Ibeyi – Self Titled
Carl Barat And The Jackals – Let It Reign
Adventures – Supersonic Home
Le Couleur – Dolce Desir
Tropics – Rapture
Divers – Hello Hello
The Amazing – Picture

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Doomtree

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Quickdraw: Grooms, Radical Dads, Cheatahs, Lowin, Gal Pals

January 20, 2015

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Grooms – Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair:  There’s a distinct Dismemberment Plan vibe all over this new one from Grooms, and that has me really excited about what else may be on their new album.  Comb The Feelings Through Your Hair is due out February 17 via Western Vinyl.

:Radical Dads – Don’t Go:  “Don’t you touch my dude!”  That’s the opening lyric here, and I think it’s hilarious.  As for the rest of the song, it’s high quality 90s-enthused indie rock, and I dig it.  Universal Coolers is due out February 24 via Old Flame.

:Cheatahs – Sunne:  According to the press release for this track, Cheatahs wanted a “bittersweet end-of-day feeling, as if the sun were setting” type of sound here.  Nailed it.  The Sunne EP is due out February 23 via Wichita Recordings.

:Lowin – Best Laid Plans:  Austin’s own Lowin came into existence about a year ago, and they’ve been a favorite of mine ever since.  That Sara Houser sure can sing.  Look for the band’s Royal Jelly EP on April 7.

:Gal Pals – Punisher:  Here’s a new single (the last one is here) from Gal Pals’ upcoming debut.  It’s delightfully raw and catchy as hell.  Velvet Rut is due out February 24 via Papercup Music.

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Quickdraw: While We Were Sleeping – Part 2

January 6, 2015

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Alright kids, I believe that with this post I’m all caught up now.  Hopefully you discover(ed) some cool stuff that you may have missed over the holiday break.  Enjoy.

:Modest Mouse – Lampshades On Fire:  This is one of those stellar Modest Mouse singles that reminds you why they’re so revered.  It’s anthemic, weird and infectious.  I really hope their new album is a great one.  Strangers To Ourselves will be out on March 3 via Epic Records.

:Spoon – Inside Out (Tycho Remix):  While I’m not sure it’s necessary to alter something as perfect as the original version of this Spoon track, I can’t deny that I dig what Tycho did with it.  The arrangement is now much more expansive.  This remix is a one-off, so download it while it’s here.

:The Julie Ruin – Blueberry Island:  For a moment I thought that Kathleen Hanna and The Julie Ruin had readied a new album, but this slick number is actually just a b-side from 2013′s Run Fast.  Oh well.  I’ll still take it!  The Blueberry Island 7″ is due out soon via Federal Prism.

:Guards – Nothing More:  Richie James Follin (brother of Cults’ Madeline Follin) sent me this new Guards track over the break.  I think it’s a wonderfully produced pop song, and I expect you to eat it right up.  Look for a new album from the band later this year.

:Male Bonding – Falling:  Here’s a fuzzy new one from Male Bonding, who have been largely MIA for the last few years.  No details on a new album (or tour) have been released, but it seems pretty likely that some sort of announcement is coming soon.  Fingers crossed, though.

:Gal Pals – Ex-Marionette:  It’s a bummer that Gal Pals are no longer in Austin (they’re now in LA), but at least they finally wrapped their debut album.  This first single is one super catchy piece of retro pop.  Velvet Rut is due out February 24 via Papercup Music.

:Moon Duo – Animal:  This new Moon Duo song isn’t exactly what I would call accessible, but you’ll probably still stick it on repeat since it’s a rather entrancing effort.  Have fun living in a psychedelic haze for a bit.   Shadow Of The Sun is due out March 3 via Sacred Bones.

:Conor Oberst – Sugar Street:  Conor Oberst just about puts me to sleep these days, so I have to admit I was pretty surprised when this track managed to hold my attention.  It sounds a lot like the stuff that originally made him worth paying attention to.  If you search around, you can probably find the Record Store Day Black Friday 7″ that this song resides on.

:The Suffers – Make Some Room:  My good pals The Suffers are ready to set loose an official EP, and you’re going to want it.  Unless, of course, you don’t like good soul music.  The Make Some Room EP is due out January 20.  See the band at Empire Control Room on January 23.

:Magna Carda – Juice:  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Magna Carda are one of Austin’s best acts.  You should really download their latest release, Like It Is, for FREE via Bandcamp and then spend the next week or eight blasting it as loud as you can.

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2013 Austin Essentials: Volume 3

November 27, 2013

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And now, before Thanksgiving consumes us all, I present to you the last part of my Austin Essentials (here are Volume 1 and 2).  Hopefully you’ve had fun.  If you didn’t, what the hell happened?  At any rate, I love you all.  Enjoy.

PS – Honorable mentions go to the Austin bands who just missed the cut (way too many to list) and to acts like The Couch, Dana Falconberry, and Letting Up Despite Great Faults who put out music last year but still had a great 2013.

: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.

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