Before we get started, allow me to address a few topics related to year-end lists.
CAVEAT #1: I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again because it bears repeating. These are not the “best” albums of 2013 because such a thing does not exist. There is no best, there are only favorites based upon our respective biases. Honest acceptance of subjectivity is better than the false pretense of objectivity. People can be disinterested, maybe, but no one is ever objective. Thus, “favorite” records of 2013. Learn it, know it, live it.
CAVEAT #2: Sometimes I like a record, but I don’t Top 10 like it. That doesn’t mean I think it’s shitty, it just may be missing something that I want. For example, you can focus all you want on lyrics, production matters, sound matters, and an album’s gotta have dynamics. If a record sounds clean and glossy, or if those brooding folk songs all start running together and sounding alike, I’m probably not gonna pay attention for that long. Or, it could be that your favorite record needs time to grow on me. Which brings me to …
CAVEAT #3: The Top 10 of any year is a moving target. This is my Top 10 as of December 2013. Ask me again in 6 months, 3 years, or a decade and it’ll probably be different. Some records will age well, some will age poorly, and some records I haven’t even heard yet. Besides, I tend to obsess over specific records and bands, so the time I could be spending with your fave, I’m probably researching who played second guitar on an out-of-print 10″ single.
OK, preamble completed, let’s get to work.
1. Bobby Jealousy – The Importance Of Being Jealous
OK, so the cover’s goofy/creepy, but don’t let that dissuade you from the music, which is a joyous, big-hearted, occasionally drunken fun fest that embraces glam pop, light soul, punk, and even country. But, Bobby Jealousy is in the top spot because frontwoman/songwriter*, Sabrina Ellis, is a Texas goddamn tornado. She’s a wailing badass of a singer who commands the stage with a playful sexual intensity that I’ve previously compared to PJ Harvey, but could also be a pop variation on the Kim Shattuck school of super fuzz big Muff.
* Singer/songwriter is technically accurate, but that implies a folkieness that ain’t fucking happening
Bobby Jealousy – You’re Gonna Miss Me
The Importance Of Being Jealous
CD Baby (DL only)
“You’re Gonna Miss Me” combines two flavors in the Bobby J dirtpop gumbo. It starts out as the kind of torch song that Sabrina sings so effortlessly (“Take Me On,” “This Knife”), but then transforms into a fist pumping, shit-kicking rocker. Basically, it goes from Neko Case to Slobberbone. I love how Sabrina hits the high harmonies with herself, while husband, bassist, and co-conspirator, Seth Gibbs, screams underneath as if he were a voice in her head like a subconscious call-and-response. This song actually reminds me of how Maria McKee took a soul song like “You Gotta Sin To Get Saved” and rearranged it to be a, well, pile-driving, shit-kicking rocker. (Check out Keeps Me Wonderin’ What Might’ve Been to pick up what I’m putting down).
Bobby Jealousy – Fall Asleep In Your Arms
The Importance Of Being Jealous
CD Baby (DL only)
“While I would love to make love to you
There are a few things I must see to
When you are clothed and you are fed
Then maybe I’ll worry about getting you in my bed”
And just when you thought I was all about the wang dang sweet heyo, in wobbles heartfelt vulnerability. Sure, it’s more of Bobby J’s hilariously disguised foulmouthery, but it’s in the service of a very sweet sentiment. Love the harmonies between Gibbs (low) and former guitarist Brian Patterson (high) in the bridge. Apparently, “Fall Asleep” is one of many sad bastard country songs Seth has written over the years.
If the country-influenced songs are different than what the group offered on its first album, they’re not necessarily new territory, at least for Gibbs. Before dating Ellis, he was writing country songs, “a whole album of sad country songs,” he said. Ellis said the music helped spark their relationship. “He had written this romantic album about getting his heart ripped out. I was working at Casino El Camino and was in the kitchen by myself all day. I would listen to this country album all day long until 5:30.”
–Peter Mongillo, Austin 360, February 11, 2013
Bobby Jealousy – The Agreement
The Importance Of Being Jealous
CD Baby (DL only)
“Promise not to fake it
A heart can’t really break
It just grows another layer
With every disguise that it puts on
Put it on, take it off, get it on”
The most obvious selling point of “The Agreement” is Sabrina’s soaring vocals, but there’s plenty that works here, most notably the Gibbs/Harlow rhythm section. While Seth carries the melody on a funky bassline, Adam drums around it, a shifty 4/4 that incorporates press rolls and accents that pull against the bass and melody. Meanwhile, a muted rhythm guitar (probably Patterson and panned left) doubles the melody, offering occasional counterpoint riffs that echo a Stax-style horn section (panned right). Add to this Patterson’s falsetto harmony (panned right) and what sounds like a doubled Sabrina harmonizing with herself and you have multiple voices and instruments weaving together without stepping on each other’s toes. All that in a mere 1:58.
Bonus Bobby – Lance And Sarah
Bandcamp (DL only)
In order to fund The Importance Of Being Jealous, Bobby Jealousy commissioned songs for an EP to be released the same day: February 14 aka Valentine’s Day. “Lance And Sarah” was 1 of 8 songs cut for this project, a love song about me and my now-fiancée. OK, so it’s not Dylan circa ’65, but it’s a sweet, endearing effort and means a lot to both of us. I’m pretty sure Sarah’s favorite line is, “Sometimes we make each other laugh/’Cause I’ve been a jerk” because she’s convinced that was written about me. (SPOILER ALERT: It was.) My favorite line is, “Made us a future and a little plan/But we were not afraid” because it’s also biographical. That “little plan” is named Lucinda and she was born 10 days after the LP and EP were released. Thanks Bobby J!
2. A Giant Dog – Bone
“The influence punk rock had on us carries on into what we’re doing now,” agrees Andy Bauer.
–Kevin Curtin, Austin Chronicle, February 15, 2003
Sabrina Ellis’ OTHER band could’ve easily been #1, and in fact, spent some time there in early drafts of this list. When I called her a wailing badass above, it was with the knowledge that she wasn’t only commandeering the soul-pop funwagon in Bobby J, but she was also throwing down the scuzz-punk gauntlet in A Giant Dog. Produced by longtime Spoon collaborator, Mike McCarthy, Bone features 13 short-and-sweet blasts from the garage, with only 1 song topping 3 minutes (“Ghostcest,” below). The majority of tracks are between 2:00-2:30, so this album plays out like a badass collection of singles. If you like The Ramones or Misfits, A Giant Dog is your friend.
Keep in mind, you don’t make #2 on The Adios Lounge’s Year-End Cavalcade of Punch-Drunk Love without being a cohesive unit. How about a round of drinks for the giant dogs?
A Giant Dog – Nature
Bandcamp (DL only)
Sabrina Ellis – lead vocal
Andrew Cashen – guitar, vocals, piano, co-songwriter
Andy Bauer – guitar
>Graham Low – bass
Orville Neeley – drums, harmonica
“Nature” has 3 elements that keep me coming back. 1) It obliquely references my home state of California.
“There’s a place where ocean meets the land
Sky is blue there, the ground is made of sand
“There are canyons with their red, red walls descending into waterfalls
The fucking eagles (Eagles?) with their mating calls”
2) It juxtaposes mundane middle class concerns with scenes of actual deprivation.
“In the ghetto the hungry children play
In the meadow I spend a lazy day
Barefoot children in Bombay
But I ain’t gonna cry and hurt no more”
3) Finally, it has one of the great kiss off choruses of this or any other year.
“SO, GO FUCK YOURSELF!”
And if you tsk-tsk like a schoolmarm, solemnly lamenting the death of songwriting, this chorus is my counterargument. Why so serious, bro?
A Giant Dog – Ghostcest
Bandcamp (DL only)
Fine, you want a lyric to wrap your brain around? I think this song is about an incestuous relationship that may or may not have been consensual and the narrator has been dead for five years. I’m not saying that’s DEFINITELY what it’s about, but the title is “Ghostcest.” That might be a subtle clue.
All your troubles will come after you
Find another to enslave
Tell your mouth to run away with truth
Take your secrets to the grave
Five years gone, still I long for living hands and chances passed
Hear me when you close your eyes
Feel me even though I’ve died
And when you grow old, we’ll have our time
I’ve included this track because it’s a stylistic 180 on Bone, but deftly shows that a more expansive songwriting palette is at play. And if you’re again finger-wagging, this time about inappropriate subject matter, this is why Sabrina is not only my 2013 MVP, but my MVP 2 years running. She goes all out with Iggy-like fervor and gives not one fuck about your repressed middle class . Her songs, both here with Andrew Cashen and in Bobby J with Seth Gibbs, are about the basics: laughing, drinking, fucking, and fighting. There’s abandon and joy in both bands and it’s infectious like the best music.
A Giant Dog – Nutria
Beerland, Austin, TX
October 4, 2013
AGD in their element, on stage in front of ecstatic, drunken Beerlanders who are not only feeding off the energy of the band, but the band is feeding off of them. Of course, this sort of performance is poo-pooed by the cognoscenti. Every year, Top 10 lists are dominated by sober, mostly humorless records that are overranked for the same reason movies about the Holocaust automatically get Oscar consideration. Earnest and serious = critical respect. There’s nothing better — and in some ways harder to pull off — than joyous, frenzied rocking done well. Does anybody remember laughter? I guess not.
3. Gleeson – Gleeson II
Gleeson II is easily one of my favorite albums of 2013, an ambitious double vinyl/double CD epic that is also loosely conceptual. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a dark album, but it clearly chronicles the end of a relationship, with several songs immersed in self-hate, alcohol poisoning, and the frustrations of stupid love. Or, as I like to call it, Saturday. By the end of the album, the narrator — if the album could be said to have a narrator — learns that being alone is not only acceptable, he’s probably better off that way.
There’s another thematic conceit on Gleeson II, but it’s musical, not lyrical. The album is a perfect distillation of the Almost There (Records) aesthetic. I hear the melodic rock of Moonlight Towers, the angular nerd rock of Mandible, the orchestrated pop of Tammany Hall Machine, the slo-mo folk-rock of Milton Mapes, and above all, the Mats-inspired, Chilton-to-Bell kung fu fistpump that is Grand Champeen. These were all Austin bands that appeared on the Turn comps and it’s pretty awesome to see how Ty (Chandler) incorporated these various influences into his own songwriting. And by incorporated I mean filling out Gleeson’s core lineup of he and the Rauls with (Michael) Crow and Channing Lewis from Champeen and Joel Mullins from Tammany Hall Machine.
—Gleeson: Breaking Out of the Fog, October 27, 2013
Gleeson – Better On My Own
“Better On My Own” is the album’s thematic climax and a flat-out great rock song in the Champeen (by way of Soul Asylum) tradition. Crow’s deceptively brilliant guitar lead rides over the piano, bass, and drums in a way that echoes The Jayhawks circa Tomorrow The Green Grass (“Miss Williams Guitar”). Additionally, Crow also throws down a sweet fiddle solo from 2:09-2:23 that seems like it floated in from a Gourds record (“Ghosts Of Hallelujah”). All in all, a triumphant way to close out a killer record.
—Gleeson: Breaking Out of the Fog, October 27, 2013
Gleeson – Smothered In Hugs [Guided By Voices]
While the Austin scene makes up much of the Gleeson II genome, it didn’t emerge in a Texas-sized vacuum. There are Beatles references, Queen references (or maybe ELO?), and a pair of covers, neither of which have Austin origins. The first is “Blue Moon” by Big Star, ethereally sung by guest vocalist, Jim Fredley. This is the other cover, a fuzz-toned piece of magic filled with Vitamin B1000.
4. Bremen Riot – PM Magazine
What are the odds that 2 of my Top 4 albums prominently feature Grand Champeen and yet neither album is an actual Champeen release? Bremen Riot is a collaboration between the ‘Peen and one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Mike Nicolai. They first played together 10 years ago — October 15, 2003, to be precise — so PM Magazine has been a decade in the making.
Bremen Riot – Ruthless
“Too late to the cities we came
We were ruthless, unbroken, and profane
We were swinging in the branches in refusal to be tamed
And we jumped in ass and ankles to the flames”
“Ruthless” fuses Nicolai’s brilliant dystopian poetry to the Champeen indie rock buzzsaw, with what seems to be a deliberate nod to The Replacements‘ “IOU.” In fact, if you go back and read the Adios Lounge post, Where’s the Place at the Table for Folks Like Us?, which showcases the Mats, Slobberbone, and Glossary, I think you’ll agree that “Ruthless” would fit right in. I can’t decide what I like best: Alex Livingstone’s wandering bassline, Crow’s filthy guitar solo, or Nicolai birthing the phrase “we jumped in ass and ankles to the flames.” So much win.
Bremen Riot – Land Of 1000 Dancing Pills
“I suppose I would feel worse, if I weren’t so heavily medicated.”
–David St. Hubbins, This Is Spinal Tap
Musically, “Dancing Pills” sounds like a de facto sequel to “Fakin’ It,” the final track on Champeen’s 2003 album, The One That Brought You. Lyrically, the song is a furious screed against Big Pharma, who create pills then invent afflictions that require you to take those pills. Too fat? Take a pill. Too sad? Take a pill. Dick and/or vagina not working? Take a pill. Thus is created a nation of prescription junkies under the guise of “giving people what they want.” You probably would’ve noticed this were you not pilled to the gills on Paxil and Effexor.
Fun fact: PM Magazine was digitally mastered by none other than Seth Gibbs of Bobby Jealousy at his own Superpop Studio in Austin.
5. Baptist Generals – Jackleg Devotional To The Heart
It’s been 10 years since the last Baptist Generals album — 2003’s No Silver/No Gold — and like their previous efforts, Jackleg Devotional To The Heart is a meditative and idiosyncratic album that plays hard to get. Also, people tend to either love or hate Chris Flemmons’ voice. I love it. He sounds like an alternate universe Ozzy who forsook metal in favor of mercurial, introspective folk-rock. Jackleg feels like his concept album about a guy who gets his heart ripped out, turns bitter, but then comes back around to hopefulness and love. I could be totally off-base on this interpretation, but since it fits my own life’s narrative, I’m just gonna go ahead run with it. Several months ago on Facebook, Brent Best of Slobberbone — a fellow Denton, Texan, by the way — remarked that Jackleg is the tits. I responded that this album is so tits it could star in a Russ Meyer movie.
While the album is a unified whole, a few tracks stand out. “Dog That Bit You” sounds like In A Priest Driven Ambulance-era Flaming Lips mutating Bowie‘s “Heroes,” with a stinging Tele serving as the song’s nerve center. “Floating” opens with a slow build of noise that 180s into a beautiful ballad, which then doubles back into more noise. Seeing it live was a revelation and not in an obvious “check out my rad solos” kinda way. Finally, their cover of The Bee Gees‘ obscure “Morning Of My Life” is heartbreakingly gorgeous and completely eclipses the original.
Baptist Generals – Morning Of My Life [Bee Gees]
Jackleg Devotional To The Heart
“In the morning of my life
The minutes take so long to drift away
Please be patient with your life
It’s only morning and you’re still to live your day“
Baptist Generals on KEXP
Sub Pop Silver Jubilee
July 13, 2013
Snow On The FM
Fly Candy Harvest
6. Teen Getaway – Hits And Missives
“Like the big bad wolf in granny’s clothing, Teen Getaway uses the beginning of the first track on H&M to lure the listener in with spacey melodies and Janet Simpson’s sultry voice. Leading them to believe all is well before revealing their true intentions of repeatedly smacking the listener in the ear holes with loud fuzzy guitar driven music that teeters on the line of genius and insanity.”
–Chris Martin, Atlanta Live Music Examiner, December 3, 2013
Teen Getaway – Cold Weather’d Walls
Hits And Missives
I love the above description because it’s EXACTLY how I felt. The first 50 seconds of “Cold Weather’d Walls” suggested that I was hearing the same ol’ safe and boring chick pop that the hipsters go gaga over. Boy, was I wrong. What I love about Teen Getaway is that they have that indie pop sound as a benchmark, but it’s filtered through racks of distortion pedals and a heavy, fluid rhythm section. They call it “bubblegum skronk” and that sounds about right. It’s a combination that sounds directly descended from classic early-to-mid ’90s indie rock like GBV, Bettie Serveert, and Built To Spill.
The band features the singing, songwriting, and guitar playing of Janet Simpson (bubblegum) and Jim Fahy (skronk). Simpson’s voice actually bears a resemblance to Kelly Smith (formerly Kneiser) of Glossary, and it’s my understanding that both bands go way, way back. This connection makes perfect sense when you consider that Hits And Missives was issued on This Is American Music, the enterprising record label that helped release Glossary’s recent bit of yuletide hilarity, “A Very Glossary Christmas.”
Teen Getaway – Explode!
Hits And Missives
Fahy leads the charge on this melodic rocker, but the whole band is locked in tight, especially Andy Sizemore on bass and Spencer Shoults on drums. Simpson’s background “oohs” are a nice touch as are her Chrissie Hynde-esque punctuations on the “Any minute”* bridge at 1:49. In fact, that stuttering turnaround — which you first hear between :48-:59 — seems like a direct homage to a similar section of “Tattooed Love Boys,” only one of the 2-3 best Pretenders songs ever.
* Many thanks to Teen Getaway for clearing up my lyrical confusion!
7. Oblivians – Desperation
There ain’t no way to know
How life will treat you, so
Let’s rock ‘n’ roll as we get old
We will before too long
–“I’ll Be Gone”
The Oblivians are part of a recent phenomenon whereby bands who peaked or broke up in the 1980s or ’90s released an album in the 20-teens that stands with the best of their previous work. There was Superchunk in 2010, Redd Kross, Mission Of Burma, Bob Mould, and Off! in 2012, and this year it’s The Oblivians, who broke up in 1998 after 3 albums and numerous singles and EPs. Stripped down rock ‘n’ roll rooted in the garage is a tirelessly restorative base of operations, but it rises above the generic when you can add the songwriting of Greg Cartwright. Best known as the leader of Reigning Sound, Cartwright again bridges the gap between Ramones/Cramps/Nuggets punk rock and a Sam Cooke/Brill Building classic pop sensibility.
Of course, fellow Oblivians, Eric Friedhl and Jack Yarber are part of the magic as well, the three musicians basically trading vocals, instruments, and songwriting responsibilities. Friedhl might be best known as the head honcho of Goner Records, the badass record label and brick-and-mortar wrecka stow in Memphis. If you get nothing else from the label, track down Reigning Sound‘s fantastic (and meta) Live At Goner Records LP. It’s a fantastic bulldozer of a performance that covers a few RS classics, Carl Perkins, and Sam The Sham And The Pharoahs. And while Yarber is best known for his pair of collaborations with Cartwright — The Oblivians and Compulsive Gamblers — don’t sleep on The Cool Jerks, his killer collaboration with Dave Boyer and Forrest Hewes of The Neckbones. Desperation cleans those same greasy, three-chord plates in Memphis. Get you some.
Oblivians – I’ll Be Gone
Oblivians on KEXP
July 12, 2013
Lovin’ Cup [Paul Butterfield Blues Band]
You Better Behave
8. Superchunk – I Hate Music
The first time I heard I Hate Music I was shocked by how cold it left me. I didn’t hate it, but it seemed like a tremendous disappointment next to the revelation that was Majesty Shredding. However, as I returned to the album over the next few months, I was equally shocked by how much I liked each song. I’d play the album and say to myself, “Hmmm, ‘Overflows’ is better than I remember. ‘Low F’ is better than I remember. ‘Out Of The Sun’ is better than I remember.” Before I knew it, I’d run out of album and there wasn’t a song I disliked. In retrospect, I think I was responding to the production, which IS a step down from Majesty, though I’m not sure why. Both albums were essentially recorded, mixed, and mastered by the same group of people, so who the hell knows. Whatever the case, God bless Superchunk. They’re still up in the tallest tree, throwing things down at me.
Superchunk – Void
I Hate Music
“Void” isn’t my favorite song on I Hate Music, but the video is so funny, I can’t NOT link to it. You get the comedy stylings of the great Jon Benjamin (Bob’s Burgers, Archer), Jon Glaser (Delocated, Parks And Recreation), and drummer Jon Wurster (The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling … RIP). But, everyone and everything works in this classic vid. Enjoy.
Superchunk on KEXP
Bumbershoot Music Lounge
September 2, 2013
Trees Of Barcelona
Learned To Surf
Me & You & Jackie Mittoo
Skip Steps 1 & 3
Out Of The Sun
Detroit Has A Skyline
9. Dexateens – Sunsphere EP
The Dexateens hail from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, homeboys from my one-time stomping grounds. And there’s plenty of stomping to be had on Sunsphere. In fact, pound for pound, it could be their most heavy-hitting (and fully representative) release since 2005’s Red Dust Rising. It’s dixie-fried punk, the sound of kids who grew up on Skynyrd AND Black Flag, but with just enough twangy folk to give the recording real depth. The Dexateens are like a leaner, tighter Drive-By Truckers, with better singing and equally evocative songwriting. This comparison is especially apt considering the bassist for the DBTs is Dexateens bassist, Smilin’ Matt Patton.
Apparently, Sunsphere was recorded in 2009 with famed producer/guitarist, Tim Kerr (Big Boys, Jack O’Fire, Monkeywrench). Kerr actually produced The Dexateens’ self-titled debut (2004) and Red Dust Rising, so their relationship goes way back. He was smart enough to keep the arrangements stripped down and straightforward, giving space to the three singer/guitarists — Main ‘Teen, Elliott McPherson, Brad Armstrong, and Lee Bains III — but allowing the Patton-Brian Gosdin rhythm section to lay down the heavy groove. McPherson wrote 6 of the EP’s 8 songs, with Armstrong contributing the quiet “Broken Objects” and Bains dropping the glory firing “(Do The) Crawl.”
So much to love about this video beyond the song itself, though make no mistake, “Come On Strong” brings CJ Mosley levels of whupass. There’s highlights of Alabama’s win against Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M on September 14, including AJ McCarron‘s beautiful back-shoulder fade to Kevin Norwood. There’s Nick Saban telling sideline reporter, Tracy Wolfson, that they’re playing on a triangle, not a rectangle, because HE’S TOO BUSY COACHING AND RECRUITING TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR STUPID SHAPES!!! Finally, there’s Phyllis from Mulga screeching at that sociopathic clown act, Paul Finebaum. I can only imagine how Phyllis reacted after the Iron Bowl shitshow*. If she was anything like me she looked like Jack Nicholson at the end of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, broken and mute and waiting for a big Indian to provide the sweet release of death.
* In the interests of fairness, Bains is an Auburn grad, so at least 1 Dexateen was happy with the outcome of that game. But, let us never speak of it again. Aaaand here come the tears …
Dexateens – Sunsphere Promo
“Lovin’ my enemies don’t feel so right
Lovin’ my enemies feels like another fight with vengeance
Oh, sweet vengeance, feels all right”
Love this promo video from Cornelius Chapel Records about the making of Sunsphere. For what it’s worth, I was torn on whether to include this record because I’m not sure it’s appropriate to include EPs in a list of albums of the year. The main reason is that they’re not competing on a level playing field. EPs only need to be good for 4-5 songs, which is much easier than sustaining excellence over the course of 11-12 songs. But, that’s where it gets tricky. Sunsphere has 8 songs that last 25 minutes, so it’s close enough to a short LP that I went ahead and included it. Just to be fair, below is a list of my favorite EPs and such from this year, so if you’re inclined toward short-form releases, check those out.
10. Overseas – S/T
I was pretty sure I was gonna enjoy Overseas simply due to the involvement of Will Johnson (Centro-Matic, South San Gabriel). I’ve been a huge fan of his work since first hearing Centro’s All The Falsest Hearts Can Try album back in 2000. What I didn’t expect was to be so impressed by David Bazan (Pedro The Lion). I’ve never been a particularly big fan of his catalog, but damn if his warm baritone and songwriting doesn’t anchor this record. Meanwhile, Matt and Bubba Kadane (Bedhead, The New Year), are consummate role players throughout, helping to fill out the songs with guitars, bass, keyboards, whatever it takes.
Overseas – Came With The Frame
Spare arrangement with LOTS of room to move around — true of the whole album, really — “Frame” features lots of quality contributions: Bazan’s understated vocal melody and vocal harmonies with Johnson, Will’s minimal, but thunderous drum sound (a totally underrated drummer), and that spacey guitar line that sounds like it wandered in off an early ’90s Flaming Lips record. Like the Baptist Generals, Overseas uses space and breadth as a secondary instrument. Actually, like the Generals, 3/4 of Overseas was based in the greater Denton/Dallas area, so maybe that connection is less coincidental than at first glance.
Overseas at Soundcheck
August 1, 2013
Only :28, but I wanted to include this way-too-brief excerpt to showcase what I love about Will’s drum sound and the band’s drony mystique. Only a hint of flavor, but worth it.
T FOR TEXAS, T FOR TENNESSEE
Before we get to my second level records and favorite EPs, I thought it would be instructive to isolate my Top 10 by geography. Where exactly are my favorite bands coming from and what does that say about the Adios Lounge? Well, here you go:
1. Bobby Jealousy – Austin, TX
2. A Giant Dog – Austin, TX
3. Gleeson – Austin/San Antonio, TX
4. Bremen Riot – Austin, TX
5. Baptist Generals – Denton, TX
6. Teen Getaway – Birmingham, AL
7. Oblivians – Memphis, TN
8. Superchunk – Chapel Hill, NC
9. Dexateens – Tuscaloosa, AL
10 Overseas – 3 members from TX, 1 from Seattle, WA
Pretty good year for Austin, eh? If you include the Baptist Generals, the Top 5 are all located on a 300 mile stretch of the I-35 corridor. The funniest thing is the Top 9 are all located in BBQ hotspots. What can I say? I’m a caveman. A literate caveman, but a caveman nonetheless. Another way of looking at this list is that all my favorite music came from red states. The irony here is that only 3 of the next 10 (Isbell, Son Volt, and Dorado) meet that same requirement. Weird. Bifurcated down the political center. And yes, I just wanted to use the word ‘bifurcated.’
The Men – New Moon
Big Eyes – Almost Famous
Joel RL Phelps & The Downer Trio – Gala
Bottomless Pit – Shade Perennial
Jason Isbell – Southeastern
Son Volt – Honky Tonk
FIDLAR – Fidlar
David Bowie – The Next Day
Bettie Serveert – Oh Mayhem
Dorado – Anger Hunger Love And The Fear Of Death
EPs & SUCH
Lydia Loveless – Boy Crazy
Orwells – Other Voices
Bobby Jealousy – Philanthropy
Will Johnson – Chapel Session [Friends & Fuel music blog]
Mike Nicolai – Wreck Of The Good Ship Lollipop (Live & Radio: 1999-2010) [Tour CD]