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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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Show Of The Week

November 15, 2017

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The site will be on break all of next week, so I’m rolling out two recommendations today!

1)  My radio show, 101X Homegrown, is presenting a gig at The Swan Dive this Friday.  Indie poppers Shy Beast (formerly MCG) are throwing a party in celebration of the arrival of their new self titled EP, and they’ll be joined by Fort Never, Slomo Drags, Dossey, and Juan Pablo.  This is a rad, diverse local bill.  Come play.  Tix are $10.

2)  This one is actually next week!  On Monday (11/20) I highly recommend that you go and see Hazel English at Stubb’s Indoors.  Her Just Give In/Never Going Home is a fantastic indie pop album and one of my favorite releases of 2017.  I can only imagine that she’ll sound lovely in that room.  Tix are $12 in advance of the show, $15 the day of.  Julia Lucille will open.

CONTEST: I’ve got guest list spots for both shows to give away!  Just send me a note HERE.  Be sure to put the name of which show you want in the subject line!  I’ll pick a winner for each one on Friday!

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- Twin Peaks, A Giant Dog at the Mohawk
- The Hermits, The Nymphs, Atlas Maior, Barbarian at Cheer Up Charlies
- alt-J, Marian Hill at ACL Live at the Moody Theater
- Tegan & Sara at the Paramount Theater
- The Sun Machine, Lord Buffalo, Marijuana Sweet Tooth, Jesse Wooten & Friends at The Swan Dive
- Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie at Bass Concert Hal

Thursday:
- John Wesley Coleman lll, Dinner with Matt Gilchrest, Loteria, Warm Sugar at the Spiderhouse Ballroom
- Hidden Ritual, The Bad Signs, Teevee, Andy Grant at Hotel Vegas
- Lake of Fire, Shana Falana, Blushing, Angry Beige at Cheer Up Charlies
- alt-J, Marian Hill at ACL Live at the Moody Theater
- Tegan & Sara at the Paramount Theater
- Machine Girl, BLXPLTN, Whitey Vollmer at Barracuda
- Astrotheque, Hours Quiet, Obsolete Machines at the Mohawk

Friday:
- The Golden Boys at End of an Ear
- Lowin, Grape St., All Eyes, Dead Recipe at Hotel Vegas
- Sweet Spirit, Sugar Free All-Stars at Mueller Lake Park
- David Ramirez, Matthew Logan Vasquez, Small Houses at the Mohawk
- Wild Child, The Texas Gentlemen at the Scoot Inn
- Tori Amos, Scars on 45 at ACL Live at the Moody Theater

Saturday:
- The Golden Boys, Flesh Lights, Vertical Vice, Payton Andrew Green, DJ Baby Robots at Barracuda
- Deer Tick at the Mohawk
- Hovvdy, Caroline Says, Jana Horn at Cheer Up Charlies
- Wiretree, San Saba County at Lamberts
- Ani DiFranco, MILCK, Buddy Wakefield at Emo’s

Sunday:
- The Golden Boys, Nick Allison & The Players Lounge at The Little Darlin’
- Lord Buffalo at Waterloo Records
- Mayeux and Broussard, Sour Bridges, Harvest Thieves, Jonathan Terrell at the Scoot Inn

Monday:
- Christy Hays, Jolie Fink (of Mean Jolene), Sara Houser (of Lowin) at the Hole in the Wall
- Beach Slang, Dave Hause & The Mermaid, See Through Dresses at Barracuda

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Hazel English

March 30, 2017

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Back in October of last year I came across Make It Better, a song from newcomer Hazel English, and I instantly got hooked on it.  Since then I’ve been a big fan of hers, so of course I was pretty pumped when I got an email about her impending double EP, Just Give In/Never Going Home (due May 12 via Polyvinyl and Marathon Artists).  The former is a set of six new songs, and the latter is actually her EP from last year.  Neat!  Today I have the first single/video.  Can’t wait for more!  Enjoy.

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Top 50 Songs Of 2016: Part 4

December 1, 2016

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And the list continues on.  Enjoy.

Part 1 is HERE.
Part 2 is HERE.
Part 3 is HERE.

PS – I got a ton of take down notices, so you’ll have to listen via Spotify.

20)  :Thee Oh Seees – Plastic Plant:  Out of all the music that Thee Oh Sees released in 2016 (two albums worth, to be exact), this track is my favorite.  Total jam.

19)  :King Khan – Never Hold On:  The normally noisy King Khan contributed this gem to the soundtrack for The Invaders.  He should do more slow burners.

18)  :Hazel English – Make It Better:  Here’s one that I’ve been glued to since I first heart it.  There’s just something hypnotic about Hazel English.

17)  :Chook Race – Sometimes:  If you’re all about jangly pop, then this one from Chook Race is a must-listen for you.

16)  :Tangerine – Sunset:  This infectious pop tune from Tangerine is totally something that more people should have been yammering about in 2016.

15)  :Terry Malts – Used To Be:  I’ve jammed the hell out of this Terry Malts song.  Those guys sure know how to write a hook.

14)  :Lucy Dacus – I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore:  I believe this one from Lucy Dacus was actually put out in late 2015, but I didn’t catch it until the re-release this year.  So it counts!  Anyhow, it’s a stellar track that drips with sincerity.

13)  :Car Seat Headrest – Does It Feel Good (To Say Goodbye):  This song by Car Seat Headrest is from the soundtrack for a short film called Loudini.  It makes me want so sit on a porch somewhere with a bottle of whiskey.

12)  :Nothing – ACD (Abscessive Compulsive Disorder):  If you still need to get in some quality shoegazing before 2016 fully comes to a close, I highly recommend doing it with this Nothing song blasting in your headphones.

11)  :Fujiya And Miyagi – Serotonin Rushes:  You’re dead if you can listen to this Fujiya And Miyagi track and not want to dance or at least smile.

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Hazel English

October 27, 2016

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Only yesterday did I become aware of Oakland’s Hazel English, and I’m already borderline-obsessed.  Her songs are hypnotic, and I just get swept up in them.  Down below you’ll find her latest single in mp3 form, plus videos for every track off of her EP.  Expect to like all of it.  Enjoy.

:Hazel English – Make It Better:

The Never Going Home EP is available now via Bandcamp.

Bonus Videos:

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