It’s been a crazy year, and a depressing year, so perhaps we all retreated more into our record collections to seek out that fleeting joy. On my end, I spent a lot of time running/walking in the ‘burbs, so these are the records that played the most in my life…thus they are my Favorite Albums of 2020. The validity means little to anyone other than myself, but since you stop by, perhaps come by and check out my list!
And, just an FYI…there are 30 bands, and I linked back to Bandcamp pages so you can buy directly from the artists…except that one band because apparently they’re too cool…even though that album rips.
Seeing as we’re based in Austin, born and raise and what not, we feel a special affinity for our music scene, which has been hit really hard this year. But, let’s celebrate the music that came out, despite the difficulties we all faced. So, here’s our Top Releases from the ATX scene. And still staying away from numbering things, as this feels like telling one friend you like them more than your other friend…and I’m just excited all these great artists live nearby and were able to put their art into the world in this shit year.
Just in case you haven’t heeded my previous warning, you’re going to want to get to know Xetas this year, if they’re not already on your rock n’ roll radar. They’ve got a new video from their forthcoming The Cypher, and I’m freaking in love with this jam. It opens interestingly, with these jagged chords kind of building this nervous tension; it’s juxtaposed by the calm delivery of Kana’s voice, which quickly turns into an explosive howl as the band meets for the chorus. I think my favorite moment comes around the 2:03 mark with the line “have you ever watched the mountain range, change.” The full album is out next Friday via 12XU.
We here at ATH have been waiting to hear what was in store when Xetas much anticipated new LP was announced. Today the whole world gets to hear the power the band brandish with the new of the Cypher. Immediately, there’s this dangerous energy with the rhythm section crafting a steady stomp while the riffs knife their way in and out of the tune. The vocal delivery is almost a call to action in the way its delivered…save for the chorus which brings in just the slightest hint of pop sensibility to the band’s sound. It all fades into a wall of crashing noise, drawing the song to a close. It’s energetic, touching on hardcore and punk, while building in some insatiable hooks; this could be the record that blows the rest of you out of the water. The Cypher drops on January 24th via 12XU.
This is a tough list, as there’s a bevy of great music within the confines of our fair city. We’ve even had our hand in putting out some great releases this year…though I can’t include them as I fear the wrath of nepotism.
Plus, it’s nice to see what everyone else is up to around these parts.
In what’s been a pretty productive year for Austin music, Xetas‘ recently released The Tower LP has risen near the top of those releases. They just released a pretty Austin-centric video for the album’s title track, and it’s worthy of your time this morning. I love the fact that the band are giving love to all their friends and supporters, while doing it with one of the album’s standout tracks. This is exactly what a rock n’ roll band should sound like, so enjoy the video and grab the LP from 12XU if you know what’s good for you.
I could go on and on about how important Xetas isto the Austin sound. I could tell you just how tragic it would be if people overlook The Tower simply because it has the power to tear through your speakers. All I’m going to say is that you need to lay down whatever you’re doing, turn the stereo up and just let yourself listen to the entirety of this LP. Start to finish, this is one of the most impressive pieces I’ve heard in this city in some time. It comes out via 12XU on Friday, with an in-store appearance at Waterloo Records.
Just before the storm, 12XU Records announced the release of The Tower, the brand new Xetas LP, and as our anticipation builds, we get another great single. The band smash through your speakers from the get-go, pulling back just a touch to let Kana steal the show with a calm vocal delivery. Emphatically, they throw out a catchy burst around the 1.20 mark, then settle back into the song’s groove. For me, I think the most impressive bit of this tune is the band’s ability to stretch it over 5 minutes, and still have the energy and excitement the song with which the song began. New album drops on April 14th.
Admittedly, Austin’s music scene has gotten a great deal of ridiculous music out there, but I don’t think it’s prepared the world for Xetas (who should already be a household name). From the moment it kicks in, the band aim to hit you with that animalistic rock n’ roll; they perfectly capture their tenacious live energy…one of the most forceful performers in the ATX scene. But, what I really love comes at the 1.13 and 2.51 marks, as they turn into this powerful chorus that brings about a noisier ode to pop punk. It pretty much seals the deal…this band is ready to take on everyone. Look for The Tower on April 14th via 12XU.
I’d love to go on a diatribe on how Austin music’s scene isn’t dying, but I think all you need to is just listen to the compilations put together this year: Austin Slack Capital, Flavor Sound Class of 2016…and now Dillo Milk 2. That last one will be released soon, and features this brand new Xetas track…which hasn’t been played live…and according to the band, isn’t slated for their next LP. It doesn’t matter, as it’s now out there, and it’s so fucking good. I mean, the chorus has this natural ferocity that can perhaps only best be compared to the band’s live set. And the continuous maneuvering, almost off-kilter swagger kind of makes the rest of rock n’ roll seem boring. Sorry folks…but with songs like this coming out left and right…rock n’ roll’s spirit is very much alive in Austin.