Top Ten Austin Albums of 2012
It’s that time of year folks, when we here at Austin Town Hall try to convince you that we know what’s what in the world of music. We’re starting things off with our list of Top Ten Austin Albums of 2012. We purposefully left out EPs, just focusing on the Album as a whole, since that’s our favorite form of media. Before you read this, please know that this is just the expressed OPINION of ours, and you’re definitely cool to disagree. Let us know your thoughts, and make sure your favorite Austin bands send us their hits in 2013!
10. Low Times – Low Times
This group is one of our favorite acts around at the moment, and their self-titled LP demonstrated the ability to bring their energetic live sets into the studio. We couldn’t be happier to call this band one of our own, and if you take a liking to the tunes, check out the group’s other project, Eets Feats.
9. Dana Falconberry – Leelanau
This is possibly one of the longer records of the year to come out of Austin, and I’m glad that it gives you time to listen to the continued progress of Dana Falconberry. It’s spritely folk tunes with beautiful arrangements that emphasize the spectacular power behind Dana’s voice. Her star is rising fast here in the heart of Texas.
8. Balmorhea – Stranger
Yep, these are the epic songs you’ve come to expect from the band, carefully crafted and arranged to perfection. There’s a reason so many people have fawned over them for so long…it’s a quiet beauty, perfect for anytime of the year.
7. The Calm Blue Sea – Arrivals & Departures
Personally, I couldn’t be more happy for these four dudes. Long have they lived in the shadows of fellow soundscapists, EITS, but with this effort, they’ve stepped out of that shadow bringing bombast and a craftsmanship all their own. Their live sets alone warrant them a must see, and with this new record, they’ve added more to the fold.
Out of the possible ashes of Harlem comes one of the catchiest and most enjoyable live bands. They’ve put all that energy into the studio, and, not surprisingly, proved a huge success. If you’re looking for sing-a-long hooks with hints of debauchery and good times, then you need to consider yourself a Grape Street fan.
5. The Eastern Sea – Plague
What do you get when you combine the ambling works of Balmorhea and insightful poetry? You get Plague, the best record to date from The Eastern Sea. Each listen unveils a different texture or a different layer, and each spin will only draw you into the story more. This is a truly special listen for those searching for majestically sprawling pop.
4. OBN IIIS – OBNS IIIS
Heck yes! We here at ATH have been waiting to get our ears pummeled by OBN IIIs. They’re one of the most exciting live acts, if not the most exciting one. You take bits of the Rolling Stones fueled by whiskey and Lone Star and you get one heck of a record that’s going to piss off your neighbors and bring a smile to your face.
3. Deep Time – Deep Time
Art rock succeeds again! After switching from Yellow Fever to Deep Time you can rest assured that nothing much has changed for the group; they’re still excelling at what they’ve always been able to do. For me, the recording is what sold me on this record. Jennifer’s voice never sounded so strong, and the band sounds tighter than ever, helping to assure fans that art and rock can succeed safely together.
2. Letting Up Despite Great Faults – Untogether
After returning from LA, the group set to work on this piece of shoegaze pop. I love the sound of the guitars ringing in the foreground just before the drums kick in on opening track, “Visions.” It’s energetic, yet there’s an underlying softness that allows for the internal harmonies to warm your heart. Sometimes you want to tap your feet, sometimes your reflective, but you’re always going to enjoy this album.
1. Literature - Arab Spring
Just before they left the fold of Austin, we helped put this record out by Literature. They were a much under-appreciated act, easily crafting catchy tracks that walked the line between punk rock and indie pop. You can call me a homer for picking this record after having backed it financially, but I challenge you to find a record from Austin this year that never fails to impress from listen to listen. Each song can stand alone as a single, but as a whole, this is a record built to last.
Feel free to argue with us, as we really do value your opinion as well. Sorry we couldn’t include all the great acts that released records this year, but these happened to be the ones we spun the most on our record players. And if 2012 is anything to judge by, then 2013 is going to be even better with new music from the likes of Tiger Waves, Residual Kid, Ola Podrida and many many more rumored to be in the works.