Clearly, based on the name of our site, we’re always down to represent Austin, and while I feel like releases were down in the city this year, there was tons of great stuff to be devoured. Rather than rank and file our friends; we’re just here to uplift the scene, and maybe remind you of some Texas music that might have (it shouldn’t!) slipped under your radar. Black Pumas got the deserved love, but there’s tons bubbling beneath the surface. I mostly broke it into labels, as they’re the heart and soul of this city. Comes with a fancy playlist.
I know they were never a Black Fret band, and not sure about any Austin Music Awards, but Spray Paint (even when no longer living in Austin) have been one of the best rock groups with their tentacles in our unfair city. They’ve been quiet, and had taken a hiatus of sorts as members relocated. Nonetheless, they’re returning, and do so with this emphatic single that doesn’t seem to abide by any rules set forth. There’s this sense of foreboding on this tune, like something dark is on the horizon; the drums have this nervous energy, the vocals are delivered in this cavernous manner…a warning to listeners. In the last two minutes the band jump into experimental noise arena, with what seems like a faint heartbeat barely audible in the far off distance. Again, one of the greatest acts to come out of Austin in the last 10 years (or more), and now they’ll release Into the Country on October 25th via 12XU.
If you’re looking for a new Austin supergroup to adore, then Plax is the latest to cull members from various bands to form a new entity; they’re spawned from members of Skeleton, OBN IIIs, Spray Paint and Sweet Talk (all bands we enjoy!). Their sound is a fast paced bit of post-punk, fueled by the semi-growl of Victor Ziolkowski. This song is spastic and jittery in all the right places, while the quick drum work gives a sense of pace to the tune. The band will release Clean Feeling on Super Secret Records on August 11th.
It’s that time of year when we all throw arbitrary numbers at you, trying to convince you that our tastes are the best. But, I’m going to try taking a slightly different approach this year, giving you just a list of great Austin records that came out this year, but with no numbers or anything. These are just the LPs that connected with me in some way or another throughout 2015. There’s no particular order, just a bunch of records you should probably own. Also, I added some helpful BUY links for you to take you right to where you can get the goods. Just take my word for it and go buy those things.
Sweet Talk – Double Perfect
Stephen Svacina takes on our mundane world, turns it into catchy pop punk, and leaves it memorable. Recommended for those who like high energy tunes that you’ll remember for the rest of your times. BUY
Reservations – Taking Time
‘To be honest.’ some records hit all the right notes, and hit home. The full length debut by Jana Horn and Reservations is just that. Well-crafted, sincere. A joy of orchestrated indie folk. BUY
Lochness Mobsters – War Tuna
Immediate disclaimer. I helped put this record out. These boys take on the modern Austin cliche of garage-psych and turn it into a sweaty party that’s been proven to rile up audiences, then flip the world upside down by breaking into Beastie Boys. Too good. BUY
Video – The Entertainers
Snarling rock n’ roll, no holds barred. I mean come on, you can’t discard the fact that Third Man Records had a hand in getting these tracks out. People are taking notice. BUY
The Zoltars – s/t
Jared is another of Austin’s artists that probably doesn’t get nearly the amount of credit that he deserves, crafting some of the best guitar pop. Pop songs like the one’s on this album aren’t written every day, and when they are, they last in your memory forever. BUY
Stiletto Feels – The Big Fist
Geoff Earle makes good on his promise to get everyone grooving, while still supplying enough grit to make it important. One of the most diverse in sound to come out of the city; you’re bouncing to electronic elements before guitars jump in to guarantee that this is more than just a programmed, laptop affair. BUY
Grape St. – Wallpaper
Another batch of hooks. Another batch of songs from Curtis O’Mara. If you know me, you know I’ll never get tired of listening to his work. Some guys just get you. BUY
Spray Paint – Dopers
I have to apologize to Spray Paint, as this is the only record of theirs that’s going to make it onto my list this year. Maybe people are tired of these guys, but how can you look away when they’re just continuing to release solid album after solid album. It should say a lot that even when they’re so prolific, they never seem to leave you with a track that you can throwaway. BUY
Single Lash – s/t
Lurking beneath the belly of Austin’s rock n’ roll scene is a slowly blossoming shoegaze/indiepop scene. There’s this dense coat of atmosphere coating the album, making it perfect for those who seek darkness reinforced by standard pop structures. BUY
BOAN – Mentiras
If I were still into making mixed CDs for people, “Babylon” would be one of the opening moments; it’s perfect in both it’s simplicity and its construction. One of the few electronic Austin acts that really matter. BUY
Xetas – The Redeemer
How do you take the tenacity and fuel of a great live band, then capture it on tape? Well, Xetas did it, and you’ll be remiss for skipping over the record. BUY
Institute – Catharsis
A few years ago everyone was raging about The Men. That was fair, but if you’re looking for solid rock n’ roll, I hate to tell you that Institute does it better. Catharsis is one of those albums that seems timeless from the moment you press play; it sounds familiar, yet the songs brim with attitude and execution that you’re not going to find in many scenes. BUY
Good Field – Future Me
Indie rock is only sustainable when it’s executed perfectly. These guys nailed it on this go round, giving us the “Business.” Smells like Spoon, sounds like awesome. BUY
Abram Shook – Landscape Dream
Guys. Abram Shook. How many times do we have to tell you. ABRAM SHOOK! Another perfect collection of songs. BUY
People in Austin, aside from myself, have got to be tired of hearing about Spray Paint. They’re probably one of Austin’s hardest working bands, at least in so far as studio work goes…they’re already prepping their second LP of the year, harkening back to the band’s output of 2013. This new single plods along with angular discordant guitars stabbing in your speakers in a repetitive fashion, while the rest of the track rises and falls within the space left between the vocals and those guitar sounds. Dopers has 8 new tracks to be released by Monofonus Press on October 23rd.
Yea I know this track is already blowing up in internet land, but it’s required we throw some proper love to our local scene. Sometimes, all you’ve got to do to make it to the weekend is turn on some loud jams and blast there and ATX’s Spray Paint have got you covered. Not only do they have this new track, “Thrash Master” for you, but they’ve also announced that they’re putting another album out pretty soon called Dopers (October 23rd). The track below is a riot and a half, a swirling dark wave punk cyclone that spins quickly, verging just on the brink of out of control, but in the best way. Take a listen and feel ready to kick the rest of the week straight in the teeth!
Well, it didn’t take long for the lads in Spray Paint to rack up another set up tunes for listeners. Last year they releases Clean Blood, Regular Acid, and now they’re prepping Punters on a Barge. It looks set to sound rather similar to their last effort, with a driving percussive march and spoken vocal delivery. There’s some guitar ringing here to propel the songs forward, though I’d gladly take a little bit more…just to really amp the barrage of noise one gets in their live-setting. The LP is super-limited, at least at this point, so head over to Homeless Vinyl and pre-order before the album’s June 1st release.
There’s really too many shows to narrow it down to two or three best bets. We’ve got friends band playing left and right, so all we can do is encourage you to attend some sort of musical event…even if its just for a bit. Without further adieu, here’s a list of rad shows you could hit up.
In a week with several great local releases (Zoltars/Quiet Company included), you’ve got to show up tonight to catch the ballsy rock display that Xetas continuously bring to the stage. The work they’ve put into The Redeemer completely catches their live energy, harnessing it into a ball of fury that’s ready to destroy your Apple headphones; you’ll likely want to hear this record on the best stereo possible. Go out to Hotel Vegas tonight, as they band will be joined by other local heavy-hitters, Spray Paint, Carl Sagan’s Skate Shoes and New China. And if you can’t make it out to the show, grab the album from 12XU; you won’t be let down, I swear it.
It’s that time of year when we all toss up our arbitrary lists of what we think is best, and seeing as we’re based here in Austin, we opted to go with our Top 15 Austin Albums first. Why 15? Well, there were a lot of great releases all over the place, covering different styles, and appealing to our different writers. Sure, the list isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t reflect singles and EPs, as that could get entirely too crazy. I included links to the labels so you can buy these albums from the hard-working folks in our town. Also…there are two releases on our label, but I have no qualms about that; I didn’t set out to put out a bad LP, so obviously, they’re going to be in here. And without further meaningless words…here’s the best records from Austin that you should already own!