Friday Top 5: Emerging Austin Artists 2014

2014 Austin BannerThose in Austin have surely taken note that the Austin music scene seems to have been on a high as of late, and 2014 is starting to look just as good for our local community.  We wanted to take a little time out of your day to harp on some new acts, or acts that we expect huge things from in the upcoming year.  They’re numbered in no particular order, just the five artists to look into. Feel free to disagree, and add on to this list so we know who else to keep an eye on. I completely expect a few of these artists to emerge beyond Austin and make some pretty heavy national waves as well.

1) Jess Williamson – If you have been reading the pages of our site over the last month, you’ve surely noticed our adoration for Jess.  But, as of right now, she’s one of the hottest tickets in town.  She’s the complete package at the moment: she’s easy on the eyes, which is always nice, but her songs are pretty incredible.  Be it the lyrical playfulness or the careful picking of her banjo/guitar, you’ll find yourself wrapped inside of her musical web, happy to have been caught up in such moving music.  I’ve seen her several times, and whether she’s got a band to add the finishing touches live, or she’s playing by herself, she’s always captivating.  Everyone in town seems to have her name on their lips, and we couldn’t be happier for her. Her album Native State will be out on January 28th.


2) Big Bill – RayRay brought this band to our attention last year, and I had left my decision up in the air until I managed to catch the group live.  They’re energetic, filled with hooks, but sort of sloppy in an endearing sort of way.  They’ve also got a great sense of humor about what they’re doing, which you’ll get if you listen to A Hard Day’s Bill, their EP from 2013. At the moment, they’re playing as much as they can, continuing to build their name as a live force you’ll need to catch in 2013.  Word on the streets is that they’re also recording a new EP, so look for that in 2014.


3) Abram Shook – Abram is perhaps one of my personal favorites on this here list.  He’s been playing music in our town for quite some time, most notably with his old project The Great Nostalgic.  After changing line-ups on several occasions, I think Abram made the right decision to go it on his own.  He’s signed on with local label Western Vinyl to release his new album, Sun Marquee.  It’s a pretty incredible listen, with a huge range of influences and styles.  I think after years of toiling, he’s finally reached the place we always expected him to go, and we’re happy to see people outside of Austin are finally taking notice of his talent.


4) Tele Novella – Just looking at who makes up this group makes Tele Novella a no-brainer.  Combining the songwriting talents of Agent Ribbons and Voxtrot members, you’ve got a band on hand that’s pretty much guaranteed to enthrall audiences. They’ve picked up the pace lately, playing several shows, as well as releasing a new single that pretty much booked their spot on this list.  It’s definitely the softer vein of pop music, which is precisely the kind that seems to warm the hearts of those here at ATH.  We expect the group to work hard, grow the name, and hopefully release a full-length in 2014, which already has a spot reserved for them on our 2014 Austin list.

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5) Jonly Bonly – I feel like I had to put something with a real good edge on this list, and nothing seems more fitting for an artist to watch than Jonly Bonly.  The band is made up of Jason Smith of OBN IIIS and Steven Svacina of Sweet Talk (both acts we adore), so you know those looking for something that blends pop, garage, punk, and blues will be truly happy.  I hear bits of Parquet Courts in a few of the singles I’ve heard, but I know both songwriters have really extensive tastes, so there’s no telling where the music will go, but just having those two together is a huge force to be reckoned with in our local scene. Word on the street is that they’ll be going in to the studio soon to record an LP; I expect it to be a huge part of our rotation in 2014.


Now, we don’t want people to feel left out, but these are artists that have recently come to the top of the crop in Austin.  There are, however, several great bands we’ve supported for a long time that we expect to also have good years. She Sir will release a new album on Shelflife. Shivery Shakes debut LP will be out.  Sour Notes have a record ready.  And I hear Pharaohs have the whole next record written. So stay tuned to these here pages so we can keep you informed on the scene as it continues to grow.

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