The Austin Music Community’s Best of 2017 Picks Pt. 3

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, you can read the first part here and the second part here. Today we continue with a line-up including local record label heads, pop stars, producers and more! And be sure to also check out our staff selections for best albums, songs, videos and photos!

Ben Crowley

(Brainwavve, Feedback Alliance)

Top 5 Songs of 2017

Moses Sumney “Don’t Bother Calling”

Like letting the waves wash in, slow. Perfect vocal harmonies.

Eureka The Butcher “Know Time For Anything”

Does a thing, changes, does a thing, changes. It’s like a murder mystery movie in a song, where’s it going next? Fire.

Jonwayne “These Words Are Everything” 

Boom bap with no hooks, all money.

Fever Ray “Wanna Sip”

A perfect banger, Fever Ray style.

Bjork “Arisen My Senses” 

Prime time Bjork x Arca, what else is there to say.

Top 5 Albums of 2017

Jonwayne Rap Album 2

This record hit me up hard having friends my age now going through substance abuse problems. Every song is good, a surprisingly emotional ride for a hip-hop record, and ends with a boom bap banger.

Moses Sumney Aromanticism

The biggest surprise for me in 2017. I’ve seen Moses Sumney open for Sufjan Stevens and James Blake, but I didn’t start listening to his record until actually a few weeks ago now. This is more like a tie for my favorite record of the year. I love every track from beginning to end. I’m a sucker for the vocal harmonies, and the simple vocal lines in some of the songs too.

Eureka the Butcher !Eureka!

I got a lot of satisfaction out of this record, my favorite beat record of the year hands down.

Fever Ray Plunge

This felt like a Knife record, and I really liked it because of that. Catchy electro pop mixed with the usual dose of weirdo noise.

Bjork Utopia

I know this will take a minute to really get into, but it gets the benefit of the doubt because it’s Bjork x Arca. At first glance, I do love the production but it’s not as attention grabbing as some of her previous records. The weird alien sound loops are awesome, and I really enjoy a few songs off of it, I know the rest will come in time.

Top 5 Songs by Austin Artists

Lizarazo “Facts Machine (ft. Black DaVinci)”

A perfect balance of Lizarazo’s beat wizardry and Promise’s (aka Black DaVinci’s) stellar wordsmithing.

Primary Mystical Experience “My Design”

Groovy, love the vocal melodies, end of song synth lead brings me back to 8-Bit nostalgia.

Hikes “Onset”*

One of my favorite Hikes songs of all time.

Click-Clack “Worldwideweb” (prod cop boy)

Gotta have Click-Clack on this list somewhere! My favorite track he’s put out this year.

Palm Daze “Controls” 

A synth hook like I’ve never heard before, vocals layed out over it non-abrasive, decension into madness.

Top 5 Albums by Austin Artists

Primary Mystical Experience Life

A record I’d been anticipating for a long time, and not a bit of it disappointed. Jared Marshall has a way not only with his instrumentation, but he can also sing his ass off.

Vegetable Kingdom Singularity

A record built of singles he released a couple years ago and then took down. Was great to be able to hear all these songs again and in concession.

Willing An Exercise In…

Beats are catchy, words catch me more. Absolutely one of my favorite hip-hop records of the year, wish it was longer.

Hikes Lilt

Hikes are legendary in my eyes, this record proves it.

&More Existence is Futile

These guys put out another great record! Their style of great rap songs and catchy instrumental tracks.

(Honorable Mention)

Blastfamous USA Blastfamous USA

Palm Daze Controls

Kraken Quartet Seperate/Migrate

Yim Sock Left Handed Cigarattes

Marcelandrie Fix Gon’ Be

Favorite Austin Music Video of 2017

&more “Faces Places”

Favorite Austin Show of 2017

Hikes* “Return from Japan” show at Swan Dive. The crowd was massive and everyone was into it and losing their minds. It reminded me why I started playing, and why I love live music.

Top 5 Albums in 2017, Not Released in 2017

Blink 182 Take Off Your Pants and Jacket

Got really into Blink 182 again, the recording and writing quality come together well, and as a precursor to their self titled.

Box Car Racer Box Car Racer

Might as well be another Blink record without Mark, I enjoy thinking about that while listening.

M. Ward Post War

My first dance wedding song is on this record, so we ended up listening a lot. Maybe my favorite M. Ward record, but he has so many.

Streets of Rage OST

Rediscovered this gem while on tour this summer with Primary Mystical Experience. We had an SOR awakening, loving analyzing how incredible of a composition it is, especially for video game music.

Open Mike Eagle A Special Episode of

Picked this up after he played the Feedback Alliance SXSW. A really enjoyable record through, beats are great.

Your music resolution for the New Year

Be more present after what felt like an off year of being active.

Plan on releasing two Brainwavve records this year, that are in good spots right now progress wise.

Feedback Alliance is looking to have a big year, and a few things are set in motion for the first quarter, looking forward to see some hard work come through.

The Midgetmen

(punk band, Twitter stars)

Top 5 Songs of 2017

Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires – “Nail My Feet Down To The Southside Of Town”

The best song on the best album of 2017. It’s the best punk song, the best political rock song, the best southern rock song, and — ultimately — the best song of 2017.

Coma Cinema – “Running Wide Open”

The first time ever that I agree with The Fader on something, I have no clue who retweeted about this band in early December but I just happened to listen for some reason since I know that I never agree with The Fader on anything… and Coma Cinema’s final album wound up being amazing with this song being one of the best of 2017. Proof positive you shouldn’t make your year end lists until the year end!

The New Year – “Recent History”

A classic by The New Year that sounds like it could be a sibling of my favorite song by The New Year, “18.”

Roger Waters – Picture That

Roger Waters croaking “Picture a leader with no fucking brains… no fucking brains… no fucking brains… no fucking brains…” on a song that sounds like a half assed Pink Floyd outtake, it’s awesome and I do not care how uncool that sounds.

FITS – “The Ground”

The best guitar explosion song ending in 2017.

Top 5 Albums of 2017

Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires – Youth Detention

This double LP is 17 songs of socio-political rage and thundering guitars that feels like what Hüsker Dü would have been, had they been from Birmingham, Alabama and daring to defend all our rights.

Wild Pink – Wild Pink

The most beautiful and melodic album of 2017 with the perfect amount of space and emptiness.

Andrew Cohen & Light Coma – Unreality

Andy Cohen (Silkworm, Bottomless Pit) is backed by Light Coma for a hell of a (mostly) electric guitar workout like anything else this year.

Endless Boogie – Vibe Killer

There’s no description necessary for anyone who is already a fan of the boogie and for everyone else the name of the band (and album) should be self explanatory.

Grandaddy – Last Place

So glad Grandaddy got to release one more great album and so glad I got to see them one more time before Kevin Garcia’s untimely passing.

Top 5 3 Songs by Austin Artists

Xetas – “The Gaze”

An amazing piece of art full of fury and vulnerability that captures what I imagine it must be like to be a woman in our fucked up society.

Missing Pages – “Long Way Down”

This is a cop out, but I literally picked a random MP song from their demo, because every song they play live is awesome and I can’t wait for the 12XU release in 2018.

Booher – “Autographin Bibles”

One of the first Austin bands I got into was Zykos, so it was nice to finally have a new album of songs from Mike Booher to listen to after all these years. I happen to really like the first song off the album, because it doesn’t overstay its welcome — it could have been five minutes longer and instead just ends.

Top 5 Albums by Austin Artists

Xetas – The Tower

I feel simultaneously exhilarated and exhausted after listening to The Tower. The artistic brilliance of the lyrics aside, there’s something awesome about an album that feels like being tossed face first into a raging bonfire. (I assume– no one has tossed me into a bonfire. Yet.)

Vertical Vice – Vertical Vice

VV’s nervous frantic songs make me wonder if I’m supposed to be dancing or hiding like a paranoid lunatic, which is probably a common confusion in 2017.

John Wesley Coleman III – Microwave Dreams

The Golden Boys – Better Than Good Times

How is JWCIII not famous yet?

The Sour Notes – Darkest Sour

There’s not a single note out of place here. I don’t know how Jared, Amarah, and the rest of the Sour Notes crew does it, but every song is a perfectly crafted pop gem.

Favorite Austin Music Video of 2017

Xetas – There Is No Exit Here

Favorite Austin Show of 2017

Missing Pages/Vertical Vice at Beerland — Whatever night was the first ever VV show (while still named Horizontal Hold) as part of the MP residency, it’s the first time in a long time that I left a show and immediately had to tell everyone and anyone how awesome it was.

Your music resolution for the New Year

Play a show or three… and do a better job at listening to Austin artists who aren’t almost exclusively white dudes with guitars.

Greg Williams

(Chief and thedoomsdaydevice)

Top 5 Songs of 2017

01. N.E.R.D. & Rihanna “Lemon”

02. Open Mike Eagle “Legendary Iron Hood”

03. Princess Nokia “Tomboy”

04. Kendrick Lamar “Fear”

05. Quelle Chris “Fascinating Grass”

Top 5 Albums of 2017

01. Quelle Chris – Being You Is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often

02. Your Old Droog – Packs

03. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

04. Open Mike Eagle – Brick Body Kids Still Daydream

05. SZA – Ctrl

Top 5 Songs by Austin Artists

01. DdotElles “Disco Biscuits”

02. delano taylor “caged bird sangs”

03. Marcelandrie “Fix Gon’ Be”

04. Crew54 & CientifiQ “DAE1NZ”

05. Emcee Eats “Connect to Kin”

Top 5 Albums by Austin Artists

01. DdotElles EFAdemo:Take3

02. &more… – Existence Is Futile

03. Exploded Drawing – Exploded Drawing: “7 Years”

04. Branden Rex – B&W Hipster

05. Indelible Inc. – Wallaby and Bobbes

Favorite Austin Music Video of 2017

&More… “Faces Places”

Favorite Austin Show of 2017

Exploded Drawing ‘7 Year’ Anniversary

Your music resolution for the New Year

Release as many of these six projects i’ve been working on all 2017

Danielle Houtkooper
(Marketing for Spider House)

Danielle Renae Houtkooper Spiderhouse

Top 5 Songs of 2017

Big Bill- “Fear of Body”

Ty Segall- “Orange Color Queen”

Magic Rockers of Texas- “My Heart Still Belongs to Another”

Sheer Mag- “Suffer Me”

Mega Ran- “Church, Pt 2”

Austin music had a resurgence this year, running adeptly against/with their influences and predecessors. Big Bill came our on top with their late release for the year, setting the standard for 2018 early. Ty Segall stripped down, disappointing half his listeners while getting intimate with the rest, releasing a song about his new wife as an homage to his career. Magic Rockers have an extensive roster, and this year’s EP had the perfect mix of influences, culminating in “My Heart Still Belongs to Another,” showcasing a country tweak to their rock and roll roots. Sheer Mag’s “Suffer Me” was the height of their latest release, proving they’re always worth checking out. Mega Ran’s nerdcore roots help define his ’25th’ album, rounding out the year in style.

Top 5 Albums of 2017

Big Boi-Boomiverse

Migos- Culture

Kendrick Lamar- Damn

Big Bill- Stand By Your Bill

A Giant Dog- Toy

Any year with a new Big Boi album is a great one. A musical, and cultural icon, his latest sound harks back to earlier albums, while taking note of the changing atomosphere regarding art and hip-hop. Two great examples of this were Migo’s Culture and Kendrick Lamar’s Damn. Accepted with praise and thanks by popular culture, you couldn’t go anywhere without getting a face full of sound from these artists. Migos was brought fully into the spotlight by Donald Glover, who is not only a magnificent artist in his own right, but an influencer who is quickly managing to shape the future into an inclusive, accepting, and magical place. Local favorites A Giant Dog and Big Bill managed to fine tune their sounds from ones we love with a hint of nostalgia, to ones that will remain heavily planted in our daily lives thanks to the accessibility of their lyrics and tunes.

Top 5 Songs by Austin Artists

Big Bill- “Fear of Body”

Magic Rockers- “My Heart Still Belongs to Another”

Sailor Poon- “White Male Meltdown”

A Giant Dog- “Angst in my Pants”

Crooked Bangs – “Le Phenix”

Big Bill remains in my list, and I’ll probably try to sneak them in next year. Same goes for Magic Rockers, who always manage to throw a curveball in their set while easily flowing back into their songs that they no longer need to rehearse because they are imperfectly perfect. Sailor Poon continues to evolve in their sound and have quickly established a heavy presence that you would have to go out of your way to ignore– “White Male Meltdown” is the culmination of 2017’s flubs in judgement from the masses, and should be required listening for men in power, or who like to tell woman what kind of music they should be listening to. A Giant Dog’s cover of Sparks’ “Angst in My Pants” has long been a live show go to, but with their ever growing popularity they finally recorded it for the world to enjoy. And finally, Crooked Bangs managed to top their sound with “Le Phenix,” a heavy tune seemingly released solely for the rock gods themselves.

Favorite Austin Music Video of 2017

A Giant Dog – “Bendover”

It’s always wild to see one of your favorite bands in a new video, as early 2000’s making of the video on MTV can tell us. But seeing A Giant Dog pull off that kind of production, while maintaining that signature fuck you attitude, was truly a 2017 blessing.

Favorite Austin Show of 2017

Country Gumbo Day Drinkin featuring Croy, JD Clark, DJ Fong, and Gilly as Waylon at Spider House
This is where I get a little biased, but this show was incredible. It was the perfect blend of that old feeling at the Ballroom, mixed with the new vibe we’ve been cultivating there. Jim Campo (Magic Rockers) cooked a huge pot of gumbo, we had Croy from Croy and the Boys playing as the sun began to set, JD Clark brought his parents and they two-stepped to most of his set, and Dinner with Matthew Gilchrest sang Waylon Jennings covers to round out the night. In between each set, Nick Fong (Loteria) DJ’d 45’s from his grandmother’s jukebox. We had the whole thing out on the Ballroom patio, and it was crazy packed with folks young and old. I’d never been so proud of my community than I was that day.

Your music resolution for the New Year

Finding the balance between old Austin and new. Everything has changed, and there’s something to be said about finding where we can all fit. It may not be where you think it is, and that’s terrifying, but exciting at the same time.

Moses on a Motorbike

(electronic artist)

Top 5 Songs of 2017

Ted Jasper “Deus”

Ten Fé “Single, No Return”

Jacob Banks “Unholy War”

Portugal. the Man “Feel it Still”

Kendrick Lamar “DNA”

Top 5 Albums of 2017

Ivan Ave – Every Eye

Actress – AZD

Kelly Lee Owens – Kelly Lee Owens

Visible Cloaks- Reassemblage

Blanck Mass – World Eater

Top 5 Songs by Austin Artists

Lizarazo “Facts Machine (ft.Black DaVinci)”

Brainwavve, “Depressurize”

Capyac “Karmann Gaia”

Octopus Project “Small Hundred”

Bayonne “I Know”

Top 5 Albums by Austin Artists

Octopus Project – Memory Mirror


Lizarazo – Dead Nature

Go Fever – Go Fever 

US Weekly – US Weekly

Favorite Austin Music Video of 2017

No comment. Nudge nudge wink wink.

Favorite Austin Show of 2017 

Total Unicorn.

Tee Double

(Rapper, mogul)

Favorite Austin Show of 2017

Black Fret Black Ball

As an event create to show appreciation and support for local artist who have worked hard on their craft and deserve to have addition financial assistance to further their dreams and visions this is where it collides into reality and belief they can finally achieve those goals long thought to be out of reach. With close to a million dollars already invested into local artist this is the type of event that makes Austin the best place for creatives yet!

Music resolution for the New Year:

Wow, where to start.

My new year’s resolution is to continue assisting artist and creatives in the urban music space to grow their catalogs of music and push their art beyond the confines of just Austin but put it on a global stage. Urban Artist Alliance, which I founded to educate, create industry opportunities and develop a generational plan for urban artists, will continue in helping those in need of access to the industry who feel their voice is silenced and their art is often overlooked or repackaged to a point they no longer are representative of its origins. In all my resolution is to continue to give back to the town I was born in so the succession of urban art and education can continue long after I’m gone. Keep shining.

*Hikes: Please note that earlier this year, Will Kauber of Hikes released a statement that he was leaving the band and Raw Paw in part because he had sexually assaulted at least one person. Hikes, in a statement that has since been deleted but which can be read here, confirmed that Will had been removed from the band and that the group would be on hiatus until further notice. We feel it is important to include this information with any coverage of Hikes material that involved Kauber.