9 Bands: That Made Our Year So Far


Every Fourth of July, we present to you our favorite LPs and EPs of the year so far. This year, we are proud to bring you a cross-selection of talent from our entire staff. Enjoy these great Austin artists and let us know which ones we missed.

Emily Bell

Emily Bell’s powerful southern soul-rock voice is perfectly displayed in her debut album In Technicolor as a lovely blend of vintage rock-and-roll and southern anthems. “Back to the Way I Was” is a boot-stomping, girl-power number that fully captures the sense of place Bell strives to conjure. Her vibrant and powerful aesthetic continues throughout the album in songs like “Pusher Girl” and “Love Don’t Hold Your Breath,” and point to a kind of heartbreak and tenderness that often underlies her upbeat sound. This promising debut suggests that Bell has found a timeless and unique sound that gets to show off both her rock chick and feminine sides. – Bailey Cool

Mother Falcon

Have you ever wondered what beauty sounds like? Not something that sounds beautiful, but something that encapsulated the ideal of beauty. Mother Falcon come as close as anyone on their spring record, You Knew. Every soaring string hit, cross-gendered vocal harmony, and hushed melody only further celebrates the human condition. They use every one of their 15-20 pieces to weave an incomparably gorgeous sonic tableau, and they do so over foundations of fantastic songs. Just check “Pink Stallion,” “Sleep” or “Dirty Summer” for just a few of the highlights off this stellar record. Mother Falcon is crafting a sound that no one else right now, and it is beautiful. – Carter Delloro

Quiet Company

2013 is the year where Quiet Company has decided to tour non-stop and introduce themselves to the rest of the nation, turning people on to the heart-on-sleeve pop-rock that we here in Austin already adore. Fittingly the band decided to reach way back to their beginnings to make an introduction and not only re-released, but re-recorded their debut LP Shine Honesty. While not quite the transcendent experience that was 2011’s We Are All Where We Belong, A Dead Man on My Back: Shine Honesty Revisited is an excellent album that showcases how far the band has come and the great heights they’re still reaching for as they march forward. – Brian Audette

Good Field

Next time you listen to Good Field’s very good self-titled debut album (released in early February), listen for their secret weapon: bassist Michael McLeod. All of the musicians in the band are excellent, and frontman Paul Price writes fantastic songs that he delivers in a sublimely dry voice. On top of all that (or maybe underneath it, depending on your ear), McLeod’s bass lines pop and flow with a superb melodic ear. Hear the range and syncopation during lead single “Tell Me Ida” or the way the bass subtly crawls around the verses of “Our Roofless Home.” Consider it just another of the elements that slowly reveals itself on multiple listens from Good Field’s exquisitely-layered debut. – Carter Delloro

Bobby Jealousy

Easily one of the most exciting bands in Austin during 2013 has been Bobby Jealousy, whose February album, The Importance of Being Jealous, is a dramatic, hard-rockin’, summer-pop country-glam collection of songs. Some of the tracks on the record are rootsier, like “Bang Bang” or “Fall Asleep in Your Arms,” where husband and wife team Sabrina Ellis and Seth Gibbs sing to each other (including a few obscenities), and their chemistry is obvious. Other tracks feel much more glam-pop and rock-opera, such as “Falling on My Face,” which has a seemingly 80’s musical-inspired dance beat. Make sure to keep your eyes and ears on Bobby Jealousy, and catch their intense live show on Thursday, July 4th with the Whiskey Shivers and the McMercy Family Band at the Museum of Human Achievement. $4 and BYOB. – Brittany Bartos

The Boxing Lesson

Big Hits! was the moment I’ve been waiting for since we kicked off OVRLD back in February 2011 with an in-depth interview of The Boxing Lesson’s main collaborators, Paul Waclawsky and Jaylinn Davidson. It delivers on all of The Boxing Lesson’s promise by combining psych-rock theatrics, prog-rock epicness, and tight song structures. While a lot of attention will rightfully be paid to “Better Daze,” “Health is the New Drug” and “Endless Possibilities” (among others), consider penultimate track “Hawaiian Buffalo.” It’s a concise power-rocker in the style of 70’s David Bowie, with a hook that matches anything from Bowie’s glam period and a bridge that reflects his ever-present space inclinations. Big Hits! contains the footprints of classic rock all over it while sounding more contemporary and powerful than any of its influences. – Carter Delloro

Black Books

In January, five-piece Black Books released Aquarena, a precursor to their first full-length, self-titled album out now on iTunes. Described as a “bombast” of an EP by our editor, Carter Delloro, this carbonated, four-song sapphire engulfs all the abysmal feeling of Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova.” Compare every “sky,” “high,” and “landslide” of “Supernova” to the end of the painfully aware line “You’ve got your mother’s eyes sometimes” of the song “Favorite Place.” This song and single “The Big Idea” are featured on the full-length. Listen to the EP on Bandcamp. – Audrey Rodriguez


If you’ve only heard “Land of the Innocent” from Feathers’ May debut, reserve your judgment until your hear the rest of If All Now Here. While the lead single and opening track showcases the group’s talent for hooks and harmonies, it also lays the 80s retro sound on pretty heavily. Make sure you get to “Dark Matter,” with its layered synth arrangement over a skipping drum track (still my favorite track on this album). Lead singer Anastasia Dimou infuses the cold musical backing of “Familiar So Strange” with a seductive warmth that blossoms into a sweeping chorus. “Believe” and “Fire in the Night” bring a harder rock edge to Feathers’ music thanks to a powerful rhythm section. If All Now Here maintains one of the most consistent aesthetics of any record I’ve heard out of Austin this year (cold, heavy synths over head-bobbing beats), and there’s a depth of feeling and subtlety that elevate this record amongst the best Austin exports of the year. – Carter Delloro

Emily Wolfe

Following up her beautiful 2012 debut album, Director’s Notes, Emily Wolfe couldn’t wait more than a few months before sharing her next set of songs with us. Mechanical Hands is a better-produced, higher-energy affair than its predecessor, covering a lot of ground through its six tracks. Throughout, Wolfe sounds like Jenny Lewis singing Paul Simon lyrics over the music of the Generationals. Her upbeat songs are catchy and smooth – immediately accessible but still fresh. While songs like “Rabbit Cage” and “Howl” stand out for their artistry, lead track “Mechanical Hands” is the crown jewel of the bunch, and speaks to Wolfe’s determination to continue her artistic evolution. It’s done her well thus far. – Carter Delloro