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Top 25 Albums Of 2016

December 12, 2016

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Alright friends, here’s my full album list.  Unlike my Top 50 Songs of 2016, there are Austin acts here. As always, this isn’t some sort of “critical” list, it’s just the albums that I jammed the most this year.  Enjoy.

PS – Here’s a playlist of all the albums on Spotify!

25) Deftones – Gore

While I’ve always liked the Deftones, I haven’t legit loved an album of theirs since 2000′s PonyGore wrapped me up though – it’s really well crafted and features some great songs.  I went back to it often in 2016.

24) Nothing – Tired Of Tomorrow

At first I was slightly let down by Nothing’s sophomore effort, but after I spent some quality time with it I became pretty damn attached.  If you’re into shoegaze, then you need to listen to Tired Of Tomorrow.

23) Explosions In The Sky – The Wilderness

I love me some Explosions In The Sky.  By the way, my instrumental album rankings for 2016 go like this: 1) EITS’ The Wilderness, 2) Russian Circles’ Guidance and then 3) Mono’s Requiem For Hell.

22) Tancred – Out Of The Garden

There isn’t a song on Tancred’s Out Of The Garden that isn’t infectious.  Definitely a must-listen for fans of 90s indie/pop rock.

21) Thao And The Get Down Stay Down – A Man Alive

Thao continues to be one of my favorite singer/songwriters of all time.  I just connect with everything she churns out.

20) Bleached – Welcome The Worms

Bleached took a step away from surf rock on Welcome The Worms and it turned out to be a great move for them.  This album is so energetic.

19) Yung – A Youthful Dream

This kid – 22-year-old Mikkel Holm Silkjær – out of Denmark really impressed me with his debut as YungA Youthful Dream is noisy in all of the right ways.

18) A Giant Dog – Pile

Austin’s very own A Giant Dog have long been a favorite of mine, so I love that they totally crushed it on Pile, their debut for Merge Records.

17) Savages – Adore Life

I was obsessed with Savages’ Adore Life for the first few months of the year.  Eventually I was able to wiggle myself out of its intense pull, mostly.

16) Preoccupations – Self Titled

Just in case you forgot, Viet Cong is now Preoccupations.  In regards to their self titled effort, I love that the majority of it sounds like Interpol on artsy steroids.

15) Cross Record – Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi is a rather ethereal effort from Cross Record, a newer band out of Austin.  The whole thing is really damn good and it totally turned me into a big fan of theirs.

14) The Hotelier – Goodness

For those of you that love anthemic rock (with a dash of emo on top), here’s Goodness from The Hotelier.  I passionately rocked this album a lot in my car.

13) Frankie Cosmos – Next Thing

There isn’t a single song on Frankie Cosmos’ Next Thing that isn’t soaked in sincerity.  She has one of those voices that makes everything feel so very genuine.

12) Terry Malts – Lost At The Party

Any time Terry Malts put out an album, you can count on it being high up on my list.  They write super catchy stuff and in general are reliably awesome.

11) Cymbals Eat Guitars – Pretty Years

Pretty Years is one hell of an album.  At one point will the masses open up to Cymbals Eat Guitars?  Those guys should be playing huge rooms.

10) White Denim – Stiff

Stiff is another high quality set of jams from White Denim.  They remain a really big favorite of mine.

09) Whitney – Light Upon The Lake

Light Upon The Lake is quite possibly the most accessible album that I came across this year.  Seriously, there’s not a single track on Whitney’s debut that isn’t instantly likeable.

08) Basketball Shorts – Hot And Ready

Hot And Ready from Austin’s Basketball Shorts was a big go-to for me in 2016.  It’s 20-ish minutes of pop punk perfection.

07) Angel Olsen – My Woman

My Woman made me go from liking Angel Olsen to loving her.  What a next level effort.

06) Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book

For a while there, I only listened to Chance The Rapper’s Coloring Book.  It’s an inspired, energetic effort that features a lot of great songwriting.  It’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here.

05) Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo

Kanye’s The Life Of Pablo is a manic listen with a lot of layers.  He sure does have a lot going on in his head.

04) The Coathangers – Nosebleed Weekend

The Coathangers really hit a home run with Nosebleed Weekend.  It has a ton of great hooks and just the right amount of snarl.

03) Frank Ocean – Blonde

Frank Ocean’s Blonde is a hypnotic experience.  I’m not even sure how often I’ve listened to the entire thing after only intending to revisit one particular song.

02) Car Seat Headrest – Teens In Denial

They may not sound alike at all, but Car Seat Headrest’s Teens In Denials is like Frank Ocean’s Blonde – they’re both really hypnotic listens.  That Will Toledo is one hell of a songwriter.

01) White Lung – Paradise

Of all the EPs and LPs I listened to 2016, White Lung’s Paradise is the one that I jammed the most.  It’s loud and heavy and the best modern rock album I’ve come across in years. Congrats to the band for nailing it and grabbing the top spot on my list.

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Top 50 Songs Of 2016: Part 5

December 2, 2016

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Here’s the end of my “songs I liked a whole lot this year” list.  Enjoy.

PS – Just a reminder that there are no Austin acts to be found in any part of this list.  I’m going to be doing a two-part year-ender via 101X Homegrown (my radio show) that will detail my favorite local tracks.  Look for Part 1 to air on 12/11, and then Part 2 on 12/18.

Part 1 is HERE.
Part 2 is HERE.
Part 3 is HERE.
Part 4 is HERE.

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

10)  :P.O.S. – Wave (Featuring Moncelas Boston And Sophia Eris):  P.O.S. didn’t put out an album this year, but he did release a handful of singles.  This slick-sounding effort finished the year as my favorite of the bunch.

09)  :White Lung – Kiss Me When I Bleed:  White Lung’s Mish Barber-Way commands all with her vocal work in this heavy track that aims to pummel.  Turn it up.

08)  :Chance The Rapper – Angels (Featuring Saba):  Chance The Rapper and Saba are as pleasant as can be in this joyous track – it’s infectious stuff.

07)  :Whitney – Golden Days:  This song from Whitney was a big go-to for me every time I needed a breather in 2016.  It’s so damn accessible and laid back.

06)  :Coathangers – Squeeki Tiki:  Admittedly, a part of me couldn’t pass up the opportunity to put a squeaky toy-enhanced track in the top 10 of my year-end song list.  Also, it’s scuzzy and creative and perfect and deserving of everyone’s love.  Thanks for the jam, Coathangers!

05)  :Shura – What’s It Gonna Be?:  This one from Shura is easily my favorite straight up pop tune of 2016.  It may also be the winner of this year’s “song that John poorly sang-a-long to the most” award.

04)  :Cymbals Eat Guitars – Have a Heart:  If I were to rank out every Cymbals Eat Guitars song, I’d be tempted to put this one in the top spot.  What a track.

03)  :Frank Ocean – Solo:  This is one seriously hypnotic effort from Frank Ocean.  That fella is a hell of a crooner.

02)  :Angel Olsen – Shut Up Kiss Me:  Every time I hear this song I just want to high five Angel Olsen and go rollerskating.  I love the way she pulls no punches here.

01)  :Kanye West – Ultralight Beam:  Is this song absolutely ridiculous?  Yes.  I mean, it’s Kanye West, so of course it’s ridiculous.  It also happens to be amazing though, and I love it.  Definitely the song I blasted the most in 2016 … probably because it was the most ridiculous year ever and I needed the right song to accompany me through it.

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Show Of The Week

July 12, 2016

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As it currently stands, White Lung’s Paradise is my favorite album of 2016.  It’s loud and really well crafted and I just love the hell out of it.  This is why I’m rolling out my Show Of The Week column a day earlier than usual – I want to make sure that you go and see them at Sidewinder tomorrow night.  Also on the bill is Plague Vendor, who are currently out on the road in support of their recent release, Bloodsweat.  Be there, friends,  Seriously.

BONUS Show Recommendations:

Tonight:
- Weird Al Yankovic at Bass Concert Hall

Wednesday:
- Blues on the Green with Hayes Carll, Carson McHone at Zilker Park
- Laz3nby (Matt Hines), Shawn Jones (of Lovely Sparrows), Lindsay Verrill (of Little Mazarn) at the Mohawk
- Wildfires, Maryann, Greg Mullen, Spencer Garland, Blair Robbins at Hotel Vegas
- Bike Problems, Summertime Fun Band, Goat of All Texas at Cheer Up Charlies

Thursday:
- Esme Patterson, Winstons at The Sidewinder
- Hollow Trees, The Halfways, Moonwalks, Tinnarose at Hotel Vegas
- Purple, Emily Wolfe, The Ghost Wolves at Empire Control Room

Friday:
- Peligrosa at Empire Control Room
- Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic, DJ Zone, Homeboy Sandman, DJ Sosa at Barracuda

Saturday:
- Boogarins, Jean, Crocodile Tears at Hotel Vegas
- Hard Proof, John Doe, Jesse Dayton at the Continental Club

Sunday:
- A Celebration of Music by Queens of the Stone Age with members of Megafauna, The Midnight Stroll, Black Books, Emily Wolfe, Otis The Destroyer, My Education, Hooka Hey, The Boxing Lesson, Young Tongue, The Clouds Are Ghosts, Lowin, The Invincible Czars, The Warplanes, Bali Yaaah, Sister Fuzz, Future Humans and Dream Eater at the Mohawk

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White Lung

April 28, 2016

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Oh my.  Have you guys been paying attention to White Lung?  You may have caught their singles as I’ve been posting them, but have you been listening and noting just how awesome all of them have been?  If you ask me, they’re on the verge of releasing what might be the best rock album of 2016.  Get in on them now, people.  Below is their latest single.  I also included their two previous tunes.  Enjoy.

:White Lung – Below:

Paradise is due out May 6 via Domino.  The band will be at Sidewinder on July 13.

Bonus Videos:

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Quickdraw: White Lung, Nothing, Colleen Green, Moonface And Siinai, Haybaby

April 4, 2016

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Music!  Enjoy.

:White Lung – Kiss Me When I Bleed:  I’m really loving White Lung these days (check out their other recently released single here).  Their decision to move to a cleaner, more modern sound was smart.  Paradise is due out May 6 via Domino.  See the band at Sidewinder on July 13.

:Nothing – Eaten By Worms:  ”The song is very much about being in pain and dancing with the feverish curiosity of whether this life is anymore significant then what comes after or what came before. It’s very much about letting go.” – Domenic Palermo of Nothing.  Well there’s that.  Now take this slow burner and have a great Monday!  Tired Of Tomorrow is due out May 13 via Relapse.  See the band at Sidewinder on June 28.

:Colleen Green – Between The Lines:  Colleen Green has a new EP that she’s describing as being “Ramones-Core”.  I guess I hear that here?  Either way, I’m into it.  Colleen’s self titled EP will be out May 13 via Infinity Cat.

:Moonface and Siinai – Risto’s Riff:  Moonface (aka Spencer Krug from Wolf Parade) has teamed up with Finland’s own Siinai for a new full length.  This first single is a legit rocker, and I can’t wait to hear whatever else the two acts have cooked up.  My Best Human face is due out June 3 via Jagjaguwar.

:Haybaby – Joke-Rope:  Here’s a rad new one from Haybaby.  The more I listen to it, the more I fall in love with frontwoman Leslie Hong’s moody voice.  The Blood Harvest EP is due out April 29 via Tiny Engines.

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Quickdraw: White Lung, Nothing, Summer Cannibals, Parquet Courts, Wire

February 29, 2016

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Music!  Enjoy.

:White Lung – Hungry:  This new White Lung single weirded me out at first.  They’re usually so fierce, and this doesn’t even kind of make me feel like they want to burn down my house.  A cleaned up sound does fit them well though.  Paradise is due out May 6 via Domino.

:Nothing – Vertigo Flowers:  There’s a big wall of guitars on display here, and I’m all about it.  Nothing’s sophomore LP will definitely be a year-end favorite of mind if it has more of the same.  Tired Of Tomorrow is due out May 13 via Relapse.

:Summer Cannibals – Go Home:  Summer Cannibals’ front woman Jessica Boudreaux is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.  She’s just got a great voice (it’s kind of like a more punk rock version of Alicia Bognanno from Bully).  Full Of It is due out May 27 via Kill Rock Stars.

:Parquet Courts – Berlin Got Blurry:  “Nothing lasts but nearly everything lingers in life.”  What a line.  On another note, this is easily one of Parquet Courts most accessible tracks.  Human Performance is due out April 8 via Rough Trade.  The band will play Levitation in April/May.

:Wire – Nocturnal Koreans:  You have to give it up to Wire for the way they’re still trucking along and churning out quality tunes.  They started in 1976!  Nocturnal Koreans is due out April 29 via Pinkflag.

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Stream This

July 11, 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 ➡ Honeyblood – Self Titled

Genuine Leather – Losers
Landlady – Upright Behavior
Morrissey – World Peace Is None Of Your Business
Slow Club – Complete Surrender
Melted Toys – Self Titled
Sia – 1000 Forms Of Fear
Anand Wilder – Break Line The Music
Luluc – Passerby
Little Daylight – Hello Memory
Wunder Wunder – Everything Infinite
Trampled By Turtles – Wild Animals
Woman’s Hour – Conversations

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Interpol

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Stream This

June 13, 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 Lung – Deep Fantasy

Say Hi – Endless Wonder
Boris – Noise
The Antlers – Familiars
Sam Smith – In The Lonely Hour
Lower – Seek Warmer Climes
Alexis Taylor – Await Barbarians
Cerebral Ballzy – Jaded And Faded
Miniature Tigers – Cruel Runnings
Papertwin – Vox Humana EP
Lone – Reality Testing
Death Has No Dominion – Self Titled
Street Eaters – Blood, Muscles, Bones
DeGreaser – Rougher Squalor
Happyness – Weird Little Birthday

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
JJ

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Quickdraw: Polica, Braid, White Lung, Parquet Courts, Jess Williamson

May 19, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Polica – Raw Exit:  Polica would rather not just shelve Shulamith and move on, so they’ve rallied up a deluxe edition that contains a four-song EP called Raw Exit.  If you ask me, that’s a fairly clever way to remind people one last time that the album is out there.  The band will put out the expanded version of Shulamith on June 10 via Mom+Pop.

:Braid – Bang:  It’s been 16 years since Braid last put out a full length effort, but they seem to still have it.  Granted, that’s my impression after only hearing this emo gem.  I suppose there’s still a fairly good chance the album won’t be worth the wait.  Look for No Coast on July 8 via Topshelf.

:White Lung – Face Down:  For those of you that don’t like it when White Lung appear to be trying to melt your soul, I think you’ll dig this song.  It’s a rather catchy number that isn’t just an all-out assault on your ears.  Deep Fantasy is due out June 17 via Domino.

:Parquet Courts – Instant Disassembly:  There’s a part of me that wanted to cut the other songs in today’s post and only go with this impossibly honest seven-minuter.  I’m just about 100% convinced that it’s the best thing that Parquet Courts have ever churned out.  You can expect to get Sunbathing Animal on June 3 via What’s Your Rupture?/Mom + Pop.

:Jess Williamson – Snake Song:  When it comes to singer/songwriters in Austin, Jess Williamson is one of my favorites.  As you’ll see once you hit play on this song, her voice just has a way of sticking with you.  Jess’ split 7″ with RF Shannon will be released on June 17 via Punctum.

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Stream This

May 16, 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

ALBUM OF THE WEEK ➡ Pujol – Kludge

Conor Oberst – Upside Down Mountain
Little Dragon – Nabuma Rubberband
Jolie Holland – Wine Dark Sea
The Roots – And Then You Shoot Your Cousin
American Football – Self Titled (Deluxe Edition)
Yann Tierson – Infinity
Coldplay – Ghost Stories
Mimicking Birds – Eons
White Sea – In Cold Blood
Haley Bonar – Last War
Emma Ruth Rundle – Some Heavy Ocean
Copeland – Because I’m Worth It
Kitty – Impatiens

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Tycho

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Quickdraw: Equals, The Fresh And Onlys, White Lung, Mac DeMarco, Sharon Van Etten

March 18, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Equals – Conveyor:  Austin’s Equals have apparently readied a debut full length, and this wonderfully crafted and uplifting instrumental gem is the first song off it to be released. I’m rather anxious to hear more.  Tracts is due out May 6.

:The Fresh And Onlys – Bells Of Paonia:  I listened to this simplistic, but stunning pop tune twice yesterday and both times it made me regret not making time to see The Fresh And Onlys at SXSW.  Please forgive me, Tim Cohen.  Mexican Summer will release House Of Spirits on June 10.

:White Lung – Drown With The Monster:  White Lung have gone and signed to Domino, and to celebrate the occasion they’ve coughed up this song.  It’s just fierce enough to make me worry that the band will come and burn down my house.  Look for the Drown With The Monster 7″ on April 29.

:Mac DeMarco – Brother:  I was already looking forward to the new Mac DeMarco album, but this song has catapulted the impending release right into my castle keep.  I adore its somewhat psychedelic, slow burning ways.  Salad Days is due out April 1 via Captured Tracks.

:Sharon Van Etten – Taking Chances:  There’s something about Sharon Van Etten that just melts me.  Naturally, this means I can’t listen all the time, but she’s always worth it when I’m in the right mood.  The new album is called Are We There and it’s due out May 27 via Jagjaguwar.

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White Lung, Feral Future (Dan)

April 3, 2013

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After a short post-SXSW break I’m heading back out this weekend for more live music. Friday night at Beerland features White Lung with Feral Future and Brain Attack. It’s going to be a potent mix of Texas and Canadian punk rock. Like powerful weather fronts on a collision course, these bands are sure to produce some serious thunder and lightning. Meteorological metaphor for the win!

White Lung is a band on the rise. Their 2010 debut It’s the Evil earned them critical acclaim and their follow-up, Sorry, is sure to bring them more of the spotlight. The new album already snagged an 8.0 from Pitchfork and lead to a much coveted spot on the Pitchfork Festival bill in July. The band is known for its unique ability to churn out hard hitting yet melodic punk. They’re not unlike their Vancouver counterpoints Japandroids, but just with more of an early Hole or L7 bent. Come to the show and enjoy watching their dynamic lead singer Mish Way command the stage.

:White Lung – Bad Way:
:White Lung – Glue:
:White Lung – Take The Mirror:

One of the many things I love about Beerland is their an excellent pairing of local and touring bands. They found the perfect match for White Lung in Feral Future. This female fronted Austin four piece plays what has been referred to as “anarcho-punk” and they’ve garnered many comparisons to riot grrrl bands. However, their aggressive, anti-establishment lyrics also have much in common with some of the best British punk groups. Their debut EP, Come Out Swinging, is out now on Western Medical Records (also home to the incredible Crooked Bangs).

:Feral Future – Polygon:
:Feral Future – The Trigger:

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