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2013 Austin Essentials: Volume 1

November 25, 2013

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A couple of weeks back I was thinking about my annual Top 50 Songs/Top 25 Albums lists (expect those to start on 12/2), and it dawned on me that I should do something separate specifically for Austin.  So, I did.  There’s no particular ranking to anything in Austin Essentials, I just wanted to share with you some local stuff that I liked a lot this year.  There’s 45 entries (culled from a group of about 70-80) that are spread out over three 15-track volumes, so look for a post tomorrow and then another on Wednesday.  Enjoy.

By the way, if I had one goal for SOTO this year, it was to try and include more mentions for Austin artists.  Overall, I think we did a solid job, but there’s definitely room to improve.  Hit me up if you have any suggestions for us as we head into 2014.

: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.

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An Extended Quickdraw For Those Of You Not At SXSW

March 11, 2013

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SXSW began on Friday, and my original plan was to just put the site on break until it came to an end.   Over the weekend, though, I realized this idea was no fun for those of you not attending the festival, so here’s 10 tracks to listen to while we’re away.  Enjoy.

:The Appleseed Cast – Great Lake Derelict:  The Appleseed Cast are responsible for Low Level Owl, one of my favorite albums of all time, and because of that I’ll always be in their corner.  With that being said, I do legitimately dig this track.  The band will release Illumination Ritual on April 23 via Graveface Records.

:The Laughing – Disappear:  Here’s an Austin act that I’ve really started to pay attention to over the last six months or so.  They’ve got a big, layered pop sound that’s just hooky enough.  The Laughing are set to self release Oscillation at some point during the summer.

:She And Him  – Never Wanted Your Love:  Is anyone else surprised that this duo will be releasing their third full length?  I really thought it was just a “side” thing for the two of them.  In any case, this is another pleasant retro pop tune on their already high pile of pleasant retro pop tunes.  Volume 3 is due May 3 via Merge.

:Fol Chen – IOU:  The first song to be released off of Fol Chen’s new album was a fairly experimental effort that was far from being easily accessible, so I’m happy that this second track is a lot lighter.  You’re going to like it.  The False Alarms is due out March 19 via Asthmatic Kitty.

:Action Bronson – Morey Boogie Boards:  Producer Harry Fraud recently assembled a new mixtape, and this classy Action Bronson track is meant to convince us all to check it out.  I’m certainly in.  Join me, friends.  You can rumble around online and get Adrift now.

:Big Deal – In Your Car:  I really love that this duo continue to show that their next album isn’t going to have the sort of sound that makes you want to sit in a dark room by yourself.  Keep it loud, Big Deal.  June Gloom is expected out June 4 via Mute.

:Thee Oh Sees – Toe Cutter – Thumb Buster:  A week without a new track from Thee Oh Sees would be weird, so here it is.  Personally, I think it’s one of their more playful efforts.  I recommend a high volume.  Floating Coffin is due out April 16 via Castle Face Records.

:Wax Idols – When It Happens:  Can you believe this band is from Oakland?  Listening to this pop tune (that carries a far from sunny sound), I would have certainly guessed the UK.  How odd.  The mighty Slumberland Records will release Discipline & Desire on March 26.

:St Lucia – Before The Dive (Chvrches Remix):  I think we’re almost at that point where anything to do with Chvrches is a guaranteed win.  I mean, just listen to how they really make this electro-pop number bounce.

:Austra – Home:  A number of weeks back I saw this electronic-enthused band open for the XX, and I thought their set had some great moments.  I’m definitely looking forward to their sophomore LP.  Olympia is due June 18 via Domino.

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