The Austin Music Community’s Best of 2017 Picks Pt. 1

Last year we started a tradition of reaching out to people in the Austin music community to find out what their favorite music was, globally and locally. We’re continuing that this year but we got so many responses we’ve decided to publish it in installments throughout the week. Here’s the first batch! And be sure to also check out our staff selections for best albums, songs, videos and photos!

Lauren Burton
(Vocalist and guitarist in Lola Tried)

Lola Tried

Top 5 Songs of 2017: 

1. Sweet Spirit “The Power”

Obviously the power anthem of the year. I listen to it before every show, really loud, in my car or house while I’m getting ready. Sabrina Ellis and Andrew Cashen are a dream team of writers.

2. Lizzo “Truth Hurts”

WOW absolutely one of my favorite discoveries this year. The samples on this track are fantastic and it’s a solid song the entire way through. Another one I like to listen to before playing a show because she’s so damn on top of the world and the vocals are so well done. Her live show is incredible, too.

3. Looming “Down”

I’ve been looking forward to the new Looming record for a long time now, and this is definitely my favorite track off of it. It’s aggressive, catchy, and hard hitting.

4.  Julien Baker “Turn Out the Lights”

I can’t get past Julien Baker’s presence in everything she does. It’s so raw and so close and her lyrics are incredibly relatable. She makes me cry every time I listen to her.

Top 5 Albums of 2017

1. A Giant Dog Toy

I’ve been seeing this band since I was 18 years old, and Sabrina would let me watch right by the stage before they even had a record out. This band is my favorite band, ever, and hearing their newest release simply confirms that. From their cover of Sparks’ “Angst in my Pants” to their single “Photograph,” each song is just brimming with energy and every time I listen to this record I explode. Sabrina Ellis and Andrew Cashen are geniuses.

2. Bully Losing

This band continues to impress me on multiple levels. They’re loud and thrashy but have melodic moments as well. They are definitely a huge inspiration to my band. Their guitarist and singer, Alicia Bognanno, is so talented and writes really really great riffs. This record has inspired me to start playing more lead parts. She writes really really hooky stuff. This record is great to blast really really loudly at a party.  Just some really solid rock n roll.

3. Waxahatchee Out in the Storm

I could go on about how much I love Katie Crutchfield. Waxahatchee’s first record was so inspirational for me and helped me grow as a musician. I really love this newest release because it’s a much heavier side of them, anchored in fuzzy guitar tones and faster tempos. My favorite song on that record is probably “Sparks Fly?” I don’t know, they’re all so great. The record flows really well too, and it’s really well structured. Can’t wait to see her play it live.

4. Regrettes Feel your Feelings Fool!

Hot dang I’m so glad I found out about this band. This record is FANTASTIC, their harmonies are so good and it packs a punch. My favorite track off of it is “Seashore.” It’s super bratty, super riffy, and all kinds of melodic. The way they construct each song is so different, too! “A Living Human Girl” is such a good track as well. Love this band. Just girls singing about stuff that pisses them off. It’s cathartic for sure.

5. Lemuria Recreational Hate

I’ve been in love with Lemuria since I was 18 years old. They are so melodic and poppy, but still had heavy roots that you could hear flow out in every record they came out with. I was so excited to hear they came out with a new record, Recreational Hate. It’s so different from any Lemuria record I’ve heard; I really, really enjoy it.

Top 5 Albums by Austin Artists

1. Sweet Spirit St. Mojo

Wow, this record was such a blast. It’s a party jam all the way through, it’s loud, it’s rowdy, and the harmonies are fantastic. My favorite tracks on this record are “Sweet Jesus” and “The Power.” “Pamela” is a close runner up simply because it’s really fun to scream “WHY WOULD YOU HIDE YOUR WHITE LEGS FROM EVERYONE” at the top of your lungs. Also, Pamela Anderson is chill I guess.

2. Xetas The Tower

I was recently introduced to Xetas this year after playing a show with them and being completely blown away. Their new record, The Tower, is so damn heavy in the best way. “The Gaze” is my absolute favorite song on it, the dueling vocals are everything on this track. Definitely worth a listen.

3. Poly Action Baby’s First Rock and Roll

I’ve been watching Ray Garza put this record together since we started playing together in Lola Tried. To see a friend release something like this, ESPECIALLY when it’s a really solid record, is such a great feeling. I really enjoy putting this record on at parties and stuff. The album art is fantastic and my favorite track is “Outta Tune.” Absolutely a solid listen for fans of Wilco!!!

4. TOMA Aroma

This record is a solid jam, and watching TOMA play live is always such a delight. The songs are really quite catchy and I love the dynamics in each track. Willie Johnson is a great frontman as well, and that voice could soothe even the crankiest crying baby. Good job, boys.

5. Go Fever Go Fever

Acey Monaro knows how to write a damn good pop song. Go Fever are a blast to watch, and their surf-pop vibes always make me feel good. I’m so glad they released a record this year, it’s absolutely worth a listen.

Favorite Austin Music Video of 2017

Sweet Spirit “Pamela”

The slow motion butt-slap at the beginning is the icing on the cake.

Favorite Austin Show of 2017

Probably A Giant Dog’s record release at Hotel Vegas. My back still hasn’t healed from all of the crowdsurfing.

Music Resolution for the new year:

Listen to quieter things. Try writing quieter songs. I get so focused on playing loud and fast that I forget about how fun it can be to write delicately and quietly, and let the absence of sound fill some space on a track.

Jason McNeely
(Hotel Vegas and Barracuda impresario)

Jason McNeely

Top 5 Songs of 2017 

1. Ultimate Painting “Dust on My Eyes”

2. Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile “Over Everything”

3. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever “Sick Bug”

4. Johnny Jewel and Saoirse Ronan “Tell Me”

5. Sharon Van Etten “I’m Giving Up On You”

Top 5 Albums of 2017 

1. Slowdive Slowdive

2. Kelley Stoltz Que Aura 

3. Johnny Jewel Windswept 

4. Protomartyr Relatives in Descent

5. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever The French Press

Top 5 Songs by Austin Artists: 

Molly Burch “Wrong For You”

Hovvdy “Late”

Roky Moon “When You Were Young”

Trouble Boys “I Don’t Care”

Julian Neel “American Bingo”

Top 5 Albums by Austin Artists: 

Knife in the Water Reproduction

Molly Burch Please Be Mine

Institute Subordination

The Reputations Begging For More

Leather Girls Leather Girls

Favorite Austin Music Video of 2017: 

A Giant Dog “Roller Coaster”

Favorite Austin Show of 2017 

Kikagaku Moyo/ Soft Healer/ Hidden Ritual at Scottish Rite Temple Monday May 22nd 2017

Your music resolution for the New Year 

Less Drama, More Music

Kaleb Asplund 

(Karaoke Underground KJ, member of The Spoils, Math Patrol)

Karaoke Underground

Top 5 Songs of 2017

Broen “<3”

Norwegian art-pop group hits all my buttons with this stilted electro slow jam.

Susanne Sundfør “The Sound Of War”

Devastating avant-folk portrait of the death and destruction dealt from faceless modern machines.

Idles “Well Done”

Sarcastic UK post-punk/noise-rock, think McLusky.

Juana Molina “Cosoco”

Argentine experimental pop, hypnotically propulsive, the clear standout on all-around excellent Halo.

Obnox “You”

Heavy and rough beats with outstanding horn riffs made this a danceable standout on Obnox’s typically noisy Niggative Approach.

Top 5 Albums of 2017

1. Susanne Sundfør Music for People in Trouble

It’s a complete 180 from 2015’s dark pop classic Ten Love Songs, but this set of sparse, intimate introspection is equally beautiful.

2. Spoon Hot Thoughts

Immersed in Prince and Bowie/Eno records, Spoon embrace their influences and deliver a thoroughly modern piece of perfection.

3. Mount Eerie A Crow Looked at Me

It feels unfair to list a record that I could never listen to more than three consecutive songs from, but at least half the time I thought about what to play this year I first made a mental check to see if I was ready for this overwhelmingly vulnerable album about death.

4. Idles Brutalism

Loud, funny and thoughtful, angry and full of conviction, this is one hell of a post-punk debut.

5. Noveller A Pink Sunset for No One

Percussionless soundscapes that still bounce somewhere between Neu! and John Carpenter, the 8th solo album from Brooklyn-based guitarist (and former KVRX DJ!) Sarah Lipstate is disarmingly fun in a way that feels both grand and rebellious for an artist so strongly tied to terms like ambient and drone.

Top 5 Songs by Austin Artists

Pleasure Venom “In Heat”

The Seize EP as a whole is a step up from Hunt, this is just the rawest and roughest of the excellent bunch.

Super Thief “Full Metal Nixon”

You can’t face the facts, but I know what you feed on” – Politics in America.

Stretch Panic “You Can’t Stay”

Pseudo-spooky twee pop that sparkles irresistibly, can’t wait for a full-length.

XETAS “The Machine”

The anthem of the year for that “fuck it, I’m done” feeling.

Magna Carda “Back Then”

Low-key but determined, Megz Kelli’s great narrative pushes forward.

Top 5 Albums by Austin Artists

Super Thief Stuck

Fully accomplished noise rock, but also seems like they’re just coming into their own.

Unknown Relatives Lagniappe Per Capita

My favorite local discovery of the year, their fourth release reminds me a lot of my ’90s indie favorites.

Vampyre Hot Ears

Heavy and fun hardcore grooves with a little math-rock thrown in, some great new songs and a couple favorites.

Honeyrude The Color Blue

Great dream-pop, the hazy melody of “Flowers” is a direct hit.

Suspirians Ti Bon Ange

Heavy post-punk, the keyboards complement the sound perfectly.

Favorite Austin Show of 2017

Austin Jukebox #7 with Rocket From The Tombs, ST 37 and Will Courtney on May 19 was incredible. The opportunity to hear all those classic songs played at Beerland was the kind of special event that continues to make me love living in Austin.

Your music resolution for the New Year

Book more benefit shows with the Karaoke Underground.

Paige Renee Berry

(Poster artist, back up vocalist in Tyler Jordan and the Negative Space)

Top 5 Songs of 2017

Hip-hop really killed the game this year. Zero apologies about how obnoxious I (still) get every time I hear “Bodak Yellow” on the radio, screaming about “bloody shoes” like I didn’t just scrape together change to go to P.Terry’s. I took a dance class to learn choreography to Bad and Boujee at Austin Ballet. Glad y’all didn’t witness that. 

Kendrick Lamar “Humble”

Migos “Bad and Boujee”

Big Thief “Mythological Beauty”

Cardi B “Bodak Yellow”

Cherry Glazerr “Told You I’d Be With The Guys”

Top 5 Albums of 2017

High notes:

Honestly drop what you’re doing and listen to Ctrl. SZA’s voice. The features. The dang CONTENT. Whoa. 

Pretty sure Big Thief will just be on every list I ever make from now until forever. Buck and Adrianne are not only incredible musicians, they’re seriously good humans. If you somehow missed the hype, sleep on this no longer. 

I can’t believe I didn’t meet Lindsey Verrill sooner. Holy shit. This lady is a mover and a shaker and her music soaked into my bones late this year. She also makes gorgeous visual art. Go see Little Mazarn immediately if you want to see an actual glowing banjo and feel whole again. 

SZA Ctrl

Kendrick Lamar DAMN.

Big Thief Capacity

The War On Drugs A Deeper Understanding

Little Mazarn Little Mazarn

Top 5 Songs by Austin Artists

Hey guys, if you’re reading this can you make this show happen? My body is ready. 

Tres Oui “Fall Back”

Little Mazarn “My Love is All Around You”

Caroline Says “Winter is Cold”

The Stacks “Chicon”

Tyler Jordan & The Negative Space “First Crossing”

Top 5 Albums by Austin Artists

I am lucky enough to know these folks to varying degrees and damn I feel so proud. Being a working musician is so fucking hard, which feels like such an obvious statement but I feel a big ol’ swell of pride for all the effort these guys put into making beautiful and meaningful art. 

The Stacks Wasted Nostalgia

Little Mazarn Little Mazarn

Big Bill Stand By Your Bill

Caroline Says 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong

Carry Illinois Garage Sale

Favorite Austin Music Video of 2017

Amy Rosalyn “Precipice”

A literal feast for your dang eyeballs to perfectly complement this hauntingly beautiful song. Seriously breathtaking. Amy, you KILLED it!! 

Favorite Austin Show of 2017

The Hootenanny House SXSW Showcase 

Make sure you stay tuned for all the happenings at The Hootenanny House. It’s basically all your fave musicians in a garage and you don’t have to pay  $5 for a LoneStar. House shows are the future, dood!

Your music resolution for the New Year


Write more and do a collab with some of my talented music franns. Keep designin’ show posters and explore new ways to visually represent all the sweet tunes!


(hip hop artist)

Top 5 Songs of 2017

Kendrick Lamar “Feel”

I love the production and the vulnerability he comes with here. “Feel like I ain’t feeling you all.

Yelawolf “Row Your Boat”

Probably my favorite of the year, Yela kills the hook and his rhyme scheme begins the next line with the word that ended the prior. Dope concept overall.

A Perfect Circle “The Doomed”

A Perfect Circle’s best song to date, I love all the change ups and of course Maynard comes with it. I’m lying, “3 Libras” is lovely!

Big K.R.I.T “Mixed Messages”

Gotta love this concept and the way he pulled it off with the melody, makes this another forever listen.

Buddy “Find Me”

Such a well written song and the visual is one of the year’s best imo this guy is the future. 

Top 5 Albums of 2017

Kendrick Lamar DAMN.

Another classic by kdot. He’s such a compelling artist. Every piece of work he releases is thought provoking in a new way while still being him.

Yelawolf Trial By Fire

My favorite album of the year. I love this sound he’s going for back to his prior album love story, as well as the intimacy in his lyrics “And he couldn’t afford it either but he did it anyhow/And I was a thousand dollar smile

Big K.R.I.T. 4eva is a mighty long time

Krizzle is in his creative stride with this one, I love the rejuvenation in his tone and the ever changing production.

Jay-Z 4:44

Always great when a rapper gets personal in my opinion. “The story of OJ” is the hook of Jays’ career.

Sertified See Ya Soon 

There is no stopping my bro Sertified right now. He is a hit machine and he only continues to pile up with this album.

Top 5 Songs by Austin Artists

Sertified “On The Go”

One of the best songs outta Austin right now period.

$outh$ide Hippie “Summertime on the Southside”

I love this ode to the Southside of Austin, another amazing vibe by my bro Cham.

Y2 “Cee Lo”

Another hit from Y2, elite bars over a ridiculous beat. Y2 is constantly in rotation on my phone.

Jake Lloyd “Ms. Compton”

The visual takes this song to another level. It’s also very empowering for my woman haha. Jake Lloyd is so refreshing. and Dowrong “Proven Wrong”

Always love me some League shit, S and Dowrong killed this song and I love the hook melody.

Favorite Austin Music Video of 2017

Sertified “On The Go

Favorite Austin Show of 2017

Raekwon at Antones. Getting to open with Sertified was a huge honor, Wu-Tang Clan is one of my biggest influences.

Your music resolution for the New Year

To release this upcoming album produced by Black Davinci soon. Stay consistent while learning the business more thoroughly. Continue spreading good energy.