Friday Top 5: Austin Artists to Watch in 2012
Usually the year begins in January, but I typically don’t get my musical gears started until after SXSW. So I started thinking about the Austin scene, and honestly, I think it’s really struggling right now (and I don’t quite know who to blame). But, I wanted to give a shout out to five bands that I think are going to make a huge impact this year in Austin and/or Texas, at least that’s what I’m hoping to see from them. These aren’t in any particular order, so just go with it, and if you see that one of these bands is playing…do Austin a favor and actually go watch them play. Oh, and we included one Houston act because they’re here all the time and we love them. Deal with it.
Given, these dudes have been around in Austin in some form or another (Harlem) for quite some time, but recently they have really started to pick up the pace, at least in regards to more shows and releasing more tracks online. There’s definitely a bit of a jangle to the group’s sound, but a certain warmth lurks beneath the production. Personally, I think they always put on a great show worthy of getting you to stomp your feet and sing-a-long. Seems like only a matter of time before these guys get big all over-especially if they put a record out.
If you’ve followed these pages over the last several months then you’re surely aware of my adoration for Tiger Waves, which only increased when I saw them live. Honestly, I expected them to be a bit more experimental live, but the fact that they weren’t mae them all the more appealing. Clearly, they’ve taken their influences, tightened things up within the band, and created an incredible sound that for me blends bits of the Beach Boys, Shins, Nada Surf–then touches on the experimental. Plus, they’re probably one of Austin’s youngest up-and-comers, so the fact that they will grown and improve only makes them more promising…so get out and watch these dudes.
I’m backing this quartet as one of my favorite groups in Austin, period. Still, they’re growing their name, and things should get crazy once they release Arab Spring (the first record on ATH Records). It’s already got a huge following on-line from the likes of Pains of Being Pure at Heart, not to mention others. The best way I can describe the band is that they’re a more pop-centric Exploding Hearts, combining bits of punk and jangle-pop to create an infectious debut record that everyone in Austin will be clamoring for in 2012.
There’s very little out there at the moment about Orthy, other than it’s the project of one of the founding members of Learning Secrets, so that alone is important for the local scene. I caught the group at SXSW, and while their recorded material sounds a lot like bedroom electronic pop, the live set sort of resembled what I always hoped New Order sounded like live. They’re creating tracks you can move to and sing to, which isn’t necessarily anything new, but the way they pulled it off during SXSW leads me to believe they’re going to have a huge 2012.
RayRay handpicked these guys to kick off our party, and we’d officially like to apologize for not including them in our year end list of 2011, as they quietly released a self-titled CD that’s been playing ever since we finally got our hands on it. It’s pretty straight-forward guitar pop, but there’s a nice little hazy bent on the vocals. Their live sets will definitely do more than capture your ears, they’ll blow you away and have you begging for one more song. They’re set to go into the studio and record some tracks this summer, but hit them up now and show them so love all over Texas (they’re from Houston).
This of course isn’t the end all be all list, as I’m sure I haven’t seen or heard all the bands that our town has to offer, but these are just my personal favorites. I’d like to encourage you all to get out there and see these acts, as well as others, as local shows just don’t seem to get the love and respect they deserve. If I’m missing an act or two, let me know, as I honestly can’t make it out to everything. And if these aren’t enough great bands, below are some other standouts that had late 2011 releases or just missed the cut for our 2012 love:
Whitman (our friends) will be releasing their new album, Weekends. Western Ghost House released Kaleidoscope Tower in December, and it’s FREE (we reccommend donations). The Shivery Shakes just tossed out an excellent EP. I’m digging the Zoltars Should I Try Once More.