Top 10 Austin Albums Of 2009

1204top5coverWe thought about this long and hard, thinking over our favorite releases from bands located in Austin over the last year.  Blood was spilled, jabs were thrown, but overall, we feel like we got our hands around the best releases that we feel epitomized the Austin scene in 2009.  Don’t forget, we’re particular to our tastes, so while you may disagree, we reserve the right to stand by these ten acts and their albums from 09′.  Follow the jump for full list.

idealsoulmart10. Ideal Soul Mart – s/t

Ever wonder who that band is that seem to always be in the opening slot of almost every local bill in town?  Well that’d be Ideal Soul Mart.  This band is easily the least well known on our list and we really hope to change that in 2010.  These guys have created an impressive and risk taking debut album that has gotten many spins on our itunes and ipods.  You’d also be hard pressed to find a better local tune this year than “Wrk”.

builtbysnow_mega9. Built by Snow – Mega

You have to give it up to these guys.  They began the year working hard, playing all over town in the wake of this release. It’s a combination of hooks and Space Invaders; it will stick in your head regardless of what you’re into.  “All the Weird Kids Know” encompasses the band’s sound, with stuttering quick lyric delivery atop keyboards, all built around a hand-clapping chorus.

goldenbear_everest8. Golden Bear – Everest EP

Golden Bear is a band that has been on our radar for years and we really think they deserve more credit in the local music scene.  Already with 2 full length albums under their belts, The Everest EP sees a band expanding on their old sound and maturing as musicians.  We’ve really enjoyed the grungy guitar sounds and pop melodies Golden Bear have created with their new EP.  Definitely make some time to check out these veteran local boys.

blackjoelewis_name7. Black Joe Lewis – Tell Em What Yer Name Is

How do we tell you something you don’t already know about Black Joe Lewis?  You got us.  All we know is that his popularity burst all over Austin this year, earning him a nice slot at ACL.  No one is happier to see you successful Black Joe than us, so here’s to you and a killer 2010.

balmorhea_alliswild6. Balmorhea – All is Wild, All is Silent

Hands down, this album deserves loads of accolades.  Their show at the Austin Ballet earlier this year was one of our favorite moments as they clearly demonstrated their capacity for creativity in the realm of predominantly instrumental music.  Get ready Austin, this band will be your favorite for years.

franticclam_anatomica5. Frantic Clam – Anatomica EP

On the strength of two EPs, Frantic Clam has done a lot to win us over at Austin Town Hall.  We know that songwriter Zach has had difficult times in the past, but when he released this stomping EP, it was clear that the sun was starting to poke its head into his life.  It’s like Blitzen Trapper if they wanted to be a touch catchier, thrown into the Jackalope back in the days of the gutterpunks.

billcallahan_sometimesiwish4. Bill Callahan – Sometimes I Wish I Were an Eagle

You’ve heard of Smog haven’t you? Well, Austin is lucky to have the quirky folk troubadour call himself one of our own.  This is his second album under his given name, and you won’t be let down by a single song on this record.  For a guy that’s been at it for so long, you have to be grateful he lives in town, munching on Tex-Mex whilst writing great songs such as these.

strangeboys_andgirls3. The Strange Boys – and Girls Club

The blogosphere has been all over this band for a long time, and we can’t really argue with our esteemed Internet colleagues.  Their blues influenced stompers win you over, all the while making you want to swing dance with your lover.  “Heard You Wanna Beat Me Up” has to be one of the best songs to come out this year, and that’s in the whole world!

olapodrida_bellyofthelion2. Ola Podrida – Belly of the Lion

Fresh off his score from Gentlemen Broncos, David Wingo swept back into town, moving back for what we can only hope is a more permanent residency.  He’s been quietly making a name for himself with wooded folk numbers that live on the steps of your best friends porch.  Expect a big year from David in 2010, as he wrapped up 2009 with one hell of an album.

thegreatnostalgic_st1. The Great Nostalgic – s/t

Where do you begin with this album?  Do you make comparisons to popular indie bands, or do you tell about the album telling a story from start to finish.  How about we just tell you that this is one of the most exciting bands, and albums, that came out this year?  If that’s not good enough for you, head to Waterloo Records and grab a copy of this for yourself; we know you’ll see all the promise and beauty that we saw when we first spun this on the record player, and the next 300 times we spun it, as once isn’t nearly enough.


  • Great list, but I would’ve put Built By Snow higher (top 5 for sure).

    Two albums that should be in any Austin top 10 this year: ‘Live Forever’ by The Dear Ears and ‘Aguilas and Cobras’ by Brownout. In the category of Beatles-influenced piano-pop/rock, The Deaf Ears definitely owned that category with their debut album. Brownout’s album is too epic and funky to not get blog love.

    The Great Nostalgic is a solid choice for #1. I raved about it when it came out. Check it out:

  • @Ajay.

    Thanks for the comment my man.

    We really like the BBS record, but I think it came out sooooo long ago we don’t really listen to it much anymore. Hasn’t really stodd the test of time I guess.

    To be honest, not familiar with The Dear Ears. Got any music you could send our way? I am also not a big fan of Brownout. Just my own opinion.

    True dat. I hope Great Nostalgic start getting some love outside of town.

  • You forgot Scott H. Biram, Something’s Wrong/Lost Forever

  • @RayRay

    You can stream The Deaf Ears’ entire album here:

    My favorite songs are probably “You Tell Tara”, “All in the Family” and “Army of Wit”.

  • Good call with The Great Nostalgic. Such a good sound.

    I think that Ume with their Sunshower EP deserve some recognition.

  • Sorry Whitman was unable to release anything in 2009, we were very busy pretending to be productive. We hope you will enjoy the audio offering of our new double single 7″ vinyl in 2010.

    You can pre-order your copy today at:

    Also available on ITunes in late Jan.

    We might have an LP by 2012.


  • Whoa, yeah! Hard to believe the Ume EP came out this year. Definitely one of my favs local or otherwise.

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