Top Austin Albums of 2013: 40-31


Over the course of 2013, we’ve reviewed over 100 EPs, LPs and singles. We’ve covered dozens of live shows, premiered a handful of new videos and interviewed some of our favorite local artists. All in the name of making the Austin music scene accessible to as many of you as possible. Culled from hundreds of submissions over the course of the year, these are our 50 favorite Austin songs (limit: one per artist) of the last year.

Albums countdown: [41-50]

40. Halaska - Mayantology

Having listened to their two prior releases I had figured that I knew what to expect from Halaska’s Mayantology LP. I have never been happier to have my expectations blown out of the water. While still grounded in a foundation of jazzy, progressive post-rock, Mayantology adds a mega dose of previously absent vocals and hazy psychedelia to the mix. The end result is a progressive ear bender of an album that’s both challenging and brilliant and easily one of the top releases for 2013 in what is becoming a crowded field of modern prog, psych, and post-rock acts. – Brian Audette

39. Curbside Jones - The Cherry Blossom Effect: Trance(End) Edition

Though The Cherry Blossom Effect was originally released in 2011, the Trance(End) Edition is the definitive version, with three new tracks and an overall clean-up of the mastering that helps illustrate why Curbside Jones should have been more visible two years ago. Utilizing a wide array of anime samples and eclectic beats, Jones carves out a unique spot in the often creatively stifling Austin hip-hop scene. 2013 may have been a relatively quiet year for Curbside Jones, but Trance(End) shows that he’s still ahead of the game enough for a rerelease to stand out from the pack. – Nick Hanover

38. Emily Wolfe - Mechanical Hands EP

Upon first listen to the title track, “Mechanical Hands,” I instinctively nodded my head along to a familiar sound that felt like my thousandth listen to Rilo Kiley’s “More Adventurous,” or even the xx. Wolfe’s sound is something that college girls and femme-indie-rock fans alike will smile along with and appreciate for its fresh burst of energy. Her voice is anything but mechanical and she has certainly evolved on this, her second release. – Bailey Cool

37. Walker Lukens - Devoted

Lukens covers a lot of ground on his debut album. He starts off playing the role of folk troubadour with plaintive, rootsy numbers like “The Night I Was Kissed By Patti Smith” and “Dear Someone.” By the middle of the record, though, his palette has expanded into looped, atmospheric indie rock like the incredible “Kindle To Your Fire” and “Lover.” By the time we get to the loose closer “When I Lost You, Goddamn, I Lost,” Lukens has followed his muse through all manner of folk-rock, illustrating the past and future all in one cohesive sound. – Carter Delloro

36. Nic Armstrong & the Thieves - Pocketless Shirt EP

Nic Armstrong is originally from Great Britain, and he brings us an offering of fuzzy guitar-filled tracks, some Beatles-esque vocals, sunny, bright bubblegum pop tunes, and plenty of reverb-filled indie rock jams. From 1960’s-style British pop tunes to American West Coast-inspired summery beach rock, Nic Armstrong’s newest EP showcases this band’s talent and sweet, groovy appeal. Check out “Body Language” – a very beachy-sounding song full of fuzzy reverb-laden guitars and lyrics about phantoms. Playing this track is guaranteed to cause head-bobbing, hip-and-arm swaying, as well as any and all other forms of hipster-cool-kid dancing. – Brittany Bartos

35. Danny Malone - Balloons

With a tender and subdued sense of pop, Danny Malone may be one of the few songwriters who can use the word “puking” and retain listeners. Danny’s layered vocals are beautiful and help elevate his music beyond the standard singer-songwriter fare. Unlike other acoustic albums, the drums don’t gather dust. Given all the hype around Danny’s songwriting ability, I wasn’t expecting him to live up to it, but he made me a believer with rich tracks like “Spiderlegs” and “Sugarwater.” Well done, Danny. Well done. – Antonio Delgado

34. East Cameron Folkcore - For Sale

It’s hard to decipher bandleader Jesse Moore’s lyrics when a calamity of strings, horns, and every folky instrument but the washtub bass rollicks and roils about his throaty growls. For East Cameron Folkcore, punk-rock passion comes first: the eleven-piece band takes full advantage of their dynamic range, building from hushed meditations into clan-shouted refrains, into humongous swells, into horn-buoyed frenzies. You’ll be a few listens deep when Moore’s lyrics crystallize into something discernible; they’re the cries of a disenchanted generation. – Kevin Allen

33. Ssleeperhold - Ruleth

A rush of tape hiss and an ominously simple analog synth bassline kick off one of the most unique and promising Austin electronic albums in ages, setting up an experience of dark and haunted minimalism. But ssleeperhold’s Ruleth is by no means an entirely bleak and hopeless album, despite the claustrophobic noise that coats its title track. It’s a minimalist work that is complex in its emotions and tone, its open spaces and clever repetition an invitation to keep listening and work out its secrets for yourself. – Nick Hanover

32. The Boxing Lesson - Big Hits!

Big Hits! seems like an ambitious album title for any band, but The Boxing Lesson delivers on its promise. Do the Boxers give you Big Guitars? Check. Big Synths? Check. Big Drums? Check. Big Production? Check. Everything is Big on this record. Paul Waclawsky and Jaylinn Davidson have even pushed themselves to Bigger songwriting on epic tracks like “Endless Possibilities” and tight, hooky numbers like “Hawaiian Buffalo.” I am excited to hear their next adventure, but they’ve set a high bar with Big Hits!. – Antonio Delgado

31. Tee Double - Rosie’s Boy

As one of the true veterans of the Austin hip-hop scene, Tee-Double is an elder statesman who has never stopped being relevant, even as others have come and gone. Rosie’s Boy, his first release of the year, is particularly impressive, anchored by some of Tee’s best production work as well as some of his greatest lyricism. Tee-Double has become such a central figure in the Austin scene in part because of how willing he is to challenge himself, trying new sounds and experimenting constantly, and Rosie’s Boy is proof positive that he’s got the right approach. – Nick Hanover