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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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White Reaper

July 24, 2017

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I’ve got a fiery one today.  It’s White Reaper covering Deep Purple’s Highway Star for Amazon Music’s Open Road, a compilation that’s due out on August 4 and features 30 songs for your next road trip.  Be sure to listen to this one with the volume way up.  Enjoy.


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White Reaper

February 28, 2017

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Here’s hoping you’re ready to spend the day air guitaring and strutting around, because that’s exactly what the new track from White Reaper is going to inspire you to do.  I’m now feeling rather sure that their upcoming album, The World’s Greatest American Band (due April 7 via Polyvinyl), is going to be a great one.  Enjoy.

PS – You should listen to their previous single. It’s also rad.

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White Reaper

January 31, 2017

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First of all, I love that White Reaper’s upcoming album is called The World’s Best American Band (due April 7 via Polyvinyl).  That’s pretty damn clever.  Secondly, the first single off of the LP just might be the best track in the band’s quickly expanding catalog. Good luck getting it out of your head.  Enjoy.

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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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Quickdraw: Wavves + Cloud Nothings, White Reaper, Low, Mas Ysa, Keeper

June 29, 2015

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Wavves + Cloud Nothings – No Life For Me:  Over the weekend Ghost Ramp set free the previously announced album from Nathan Williams (Wavves) and Dylan Baldi (Cloud Nothings).  I haven’t had a chance to listen to the whole thing yet, but this sloppy, hooky track has me excited to dive into it.  No Life For Me is available now via Bandcamp.

:White Reaper – Pills:  Here’s the latest infectious single from White Reaper.  I just got sent their debut LP, and as soon as I have a chance I’m cracking it open and listening to it for forever (well, maybe not for-ev-er).  White Reaper Does It Again is due out July 17 via Polyvinyl.

:Low – No Comprende:  20+ year vets Low have put together a new full length.  This first single is pretty much what you’d expect from the band, but that’s hardly a bad thing.  Ones And Sixes is due out September 11 via Sub Pop.

:Mas Ysa – Arrows:  It’s kind of weird to hear Mas Ysa’s vulnerable voice/songwriting/everything over a club-ready arrangement, but it works.  Seraph is due out July 24 via Downtown Records.  See him at Red 7 on July 17.

:Keeper – Next To Me:  I just got around to discovering this track from Austin’s own Keeper.  It’s an R&B-inspired effort that’s been slickly produced, and I think it’s fantastic.  Moonhigh is expected out later this year via Freshmoon.

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White Reaper

June 2, 2015

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Here I am once again throwing White Reaper at you.  This time though (if you haven’t already, of course), you’re totally going to listen to me and board their bandwagon.  I really think they’re one of the most promising young acts out there right now, and I will be very surprised if their upcoming LP isn’t one that should be consumed by all.  Below is their latest single.  It’s just as infectious as all the others.  Enjoy.

:White Reaper – Sheila:

White Reaper Does It Again is due out July 17 via Polyvinyl.

Bonus Video:

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Quickdraw: White Reaper, Mac DeMarco, Haelos, Mas Ysa, Astronautalis

May 14, 2015

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Music!  Enjoy.

:White Reaper – I Don’t Think She Cares:  I need all of you to hurry up and jump on the White Reaper bandwagon.  They’re too rad to not be getting talked about all the time.  As for this new single, it is, of course, fiercely infectious.  White Reaper Does It Again is due out July 17 via Polyvinyl.

:Mac DeMarco – The Way You’d Love Her:  This breezy throwback from Mac DeMarco is such an ear pleaser.  I suspect that I won’t be taking it off repeat anytime soon.  The Another One mini-LP is due out August 7 via Captured Tracks.  See Mac at Stubb’s on October 20.

:Haelos – Earth Not Above:  Yesterday I came across this song by Haelos in my inbox and quickly fell for it.  I like that it’s big, well crafted and kind of moody.  The Earth Not Above EP is due out June 1 via Matador.

:Mas Ysa – Margarita:  Thomas Arsenault (aka Mas Ysa) is currently a big favorite of mine.  I love his semi-quaky vocal style and I think his arrangements are stellar.  This new track is a stunner.  Seraph is due out June 24 via Downtown Records.  See Thomas at Red 7 on July 17.

:Astronautalis – Papillon:  “It ain’t a fucking party if you do it every night.”  Astronautalis is a good dude (or at least seems to be) with a good message.  I’ll support that any day.   This one is an outtake, so grab it while you can.

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White Reaper

April 9, 2015

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Kentucky’s White Reaper have announced that they’ve readied a full length follow-up to the excellent EP that they released last year.  If you ask me, I think the band is essentially the epitome of infectious, and I really can’t wait to spin their debut album a good zillion times.  Below you’ll find their raucous new single.  Enjoy.

:White Reaper – Make Me Wanna Die:

White Reaper Does It Again is due out July 17 via Polyvinyl.

Bonus Video:

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Top 50 Songs Of 2014: Part 1

December 1, 2014

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Hey there, let’s begin running down my Top 50 Songs of 2014 (there will be one part each day through this Friday).  As is always the case, the list is comprised of music I’ve shared here at SOTO throughout the year.  Enjoy.

PS – If you missed my 2014 Austin Essentials, all three of those volumes are now on one page right HERE.

50)  :Lana Del Rey – West Coast:  Yeah yeah, I know, Lana Del Rey has big lips and no one (publicly) likes her, but I don’t care, this Dan Auerbach-produced track is great.  Total smokey, moody goodness.  From Ultaviolence.

49)  :Slow Magic – Hold Still:  This one from Slow Magic features what’s probably my favorite “wait for it” moment of 2014.  If the final 30 seconds don’t make you want to move, then you might be dead.  From How To Run Away.

48)  :Joanna Gruesome – Psykick Espionage:  Noisy and infectious.  That’s definitely the best way to describe this track from the one and only Joanna Gruesome.  From the band’s split 7″ with Perfect Pussy.

47)  :White Reaper – Half Bad:  There’s so much energy and enthusiasm packed into this ripper from White Reaper that it’s become one of my go-tos for whenever I need a pick-me-up.  From the band’s self titled EP.

46)  :Sleater-Kinney – Bury Our Friends:  Sleater-Kinney are back and they’ve still got it!  Not that I’m in any way surprised, of course – Corin, Carrie and Janet are pure magic when they’re together.  From No Cities To Love.

45)  :Perfume Genius – Queen:  While I didn’t find Perfume Genius’ latest album to be for me, I do love this song.  It’s a powerful listen that grabs you and never lets go.  From Too Bright.

44)  :How To Dress Well – Repeat Pleasure:  This impeccably crafted track is no & It Was You, but I do think it’s the most accessible that Tom Krell (aka How To Dress Well) has ever been.  From What Is This Heart.

43)  :Sophie – Lemonade:  Of all the songs that will appear on my Top 50 list, this pop blip from Sophie is the one I expect to divide people the most.  It’s a weird and obnoxious earworm.  From the Lemonade/Hard single.

42)  :New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers:  There was a stretch this year where I just about wore out this gloriously upbeat track from New Pornographers.  Talk about power pop perfection.  From Brill Bruisers.

41)  :Terry Malts – Let You In:  Another year, another fuzzed out track from Terry Malts that’s really difficult to get out of my head.  Things could be worse, I suppose.  From the Insides EP.

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Stream This

June 20, 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 ➡ A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Sea When Absent

How To Dress Well – What Is This Heart?
Lana Del Rey – Ultraviolence
Total Control – Typical System
Black Bananas – Electric Brick Wall
Brownout – Brown Sabbath
Phox – Self Titled
Circulatory System – Mosaics Within Mosaics
Mastodon – Once More ‘Round The Sun
The Knife – Shaken Up Versions
Austra – Habitat EP
Peter Matthew Bauer – Liberation!
White Reaper – Self Titled EP
The Range Of Light Wilderness – Self Titled
Donovan Blanc – Self Titled EP
Island Boy – Basic Instincts

MUSIC VIDEOS

⬆ VIDEO OF THE WEEK ⬆
Lana Del Rey

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Quickdraw: White Reaper, A Sunny Day In Glasgow, Merchandise, JJ, Tijuana Panthers

June 2, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:White Reaper – Cool:  I’m quickly becoming a big fan of White Reaper.  They really know how to write a hook.  Also, I get the impression they can rip up a room, so I’m very much looking forward to July 2, when they’ll be in Austin to rock Holy Mountain.  The band will put out a self titled EP on June 24 via Polyvinyl.

:A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Bye Bye Big Ocean (The End):  And with the arrival of this masterfully crafted gem, A Sunny Day In Glasgow are 3/3 when it comes to singles for their upcoming album.  I can’t wait to hear the rest of it.  Look for Sea When Absent on June 24 via Lefse.  They play the Mohawk on July 21.

:Merchandise – Little Killer:  Despite the fact that Merchandise have put out a handful of albums, this rad piece of pop marks my first experience with then.  Who has some other song recommendations?  Tell me!  The band will release After The End on August 24 via 4AD.

:JJ – All White Everything:  “Bitches get in trouble” is a line that gets dropped near the end of this track, and every time I hear it I can’t help but chuckle.  Not many can keep shit real while sounding classy, so good on JJV will be released on August 19 via Secretly Canadian.

:Tijuana Panthers – NOBO:  This is one slinky number from Tijuana Panthers.  If you happened to skip work today in favor of hanging out on a porch somewhere, then you’re going to love this song.  Wayne Interest is set to be released on June 3 via Innovative Leisure.

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Quickdraw: Total Control, White Reaper, Antemasque, OBN IIIs, Lone

April 14, 2014

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Music!  Enjoy.

:Total Control – Flesh War:  For those of you that don’t know, Total Control is lead by Mikey Young (Eddie Current Suppression Ring) and Dan Stewart (UV Race).  This post-punk gem is off their upcoming LP, which will more than likely be rad.  Look for Typical System to be released on June 24 via Iron Lung Records.

:White Reaper – Half Bad:  Here’s a new one from Kentucky’s White Reaper, who recently joined the Polyvinyl roster.  It’s one of the better garage rock songs I’ve come across so far in 2014.  The band will release a self titled EP on June 24.

:Antemasque – People Forget:  The Mars Volta may be done, but Omar and Cedric haven’t given up on working with each other.  They’re now together as Antemasque, and they sound energized and inspired.  I most definitely approve.  No word yet on an official release.

:OBN IIIs – Worries:  If you weren’t already excited about the new OBN IIIs album, then this swagger-filled track should get you there.  Orville Bateman Neeley III and his pals just continue to be one of Austin’s best bands..  Third Time To Harm will arrive on May 27 via Tic Tac Totally.

:Lone – 2 Is 8:  I’m not at all familiar with Lone, but apparently he’s about to put out his fifth album.  Talk about missing the boat, right?.  At any rate, this laid back number makes for a soothing listen, and I like it a lot.  Reality Testing is expected out on June 17 via R&S Records.

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