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.
30. Other Lovers - "New"
Sometimes all you need is a couple of guitars and one gigantic feeling. Other Lovers has written the kind of song that feels like it’s been inside of you since you were a teenager, just waiting to burst forth into the world. In fact, they sing like they’re feeling and loving and living every moment. And once the guitars burst open in the chorus, the group channels decades of hooky guitar rock to convey the kind of joyful trepidation that words can only hint at. – Carter Delloro
29. Bobby Jealousy - "If I Was Your Man"
As Bobby Jealousy’s Sabrina Ellis said in an exclusive OVRLD interview earlier this year, “No one ever writes love songs for ugly girls. I wanted to be the one to do that.” And it is epically done on “If I Was Your Man.” The song is already one of the most buoyant power pop numbers you’ll ever encounter, but then two-thirds of the way through the song, the band shifts gears entirely into power ballad mode. It’s a glorious conclusion to thoughtful, exciting song. – Carter Delloro
28. Black Joe Lewis - "Come to My Party"
Heard apart from the record, “Come to my Party” plays like a return to the fun-loving party funk of Black Joe Lewis’s previous albums. But within Electric Slave, an album that’s brooding and stark like a sky full of lightning, this anthemic ass-shaker becomes a much-needed chance for catharsis via dance. – Kevin Allen
27. hhhhhh - "I'm Sorry"
From my original review: “‘I’m Sorry’ begins with a Byrds-like ringing guitar line that quickly resolves into a hooky melody as [Hector] Guerra whispers apologies for nearly every aspect of his being in a resolute falsetto. Guerra’s voice, like his arrangement here, never quite rises to full steam, and that’s what draws you in…[His lyrics] illustrate that the line between the good and the bad parts about you is probably a lot finer than most of us realize.” – Carter Delloro
26. Emily Wolfe - "Mechanical Hands"
“Mechanical Hands” creates a space where the listener accumulates some anticipation that allows her lyrics about a cold, mechanical romance. Some of her most striking words – “mechanical hands giving love I need / oh your hands are so unsettling … heaven is a place in my memory / metal’s rushed and the wire’s cracked / oh stop loving the things that can’t love you back” – illustrated an image of a “tin man” of sorts, cold and stiff, unable to respond with affection. Or perhaps it’s a fear within herself of anything unwelcoming and mechanical. We are left to interpret as we wish. – Bailey Cool
25. P-Tek + EGON (feat. Marvelous Mike Davis and Dat Boy Supa) - "Tin Men"
As one of the key figures behind the burgeoning ATX hip-hop institution Austin Mic Exchange, P-Tek isn’t just interested in the talkers who can follow through, but in giving people a place to prove themselves in front of a supportive community. “Tin Men” stood out in 2013 because of the abilities and bluntness of its creators, but it also resonates because it’s a call to arms from an album devoted to showcasing a community on the whole. – Nick Hanover
24. Zorch - "This is the Way It Goes"
Every time this song comes on, I think I’m about to hear a vintage M.I.A. track, but the duo in Zorch waste no time in stretching their musical territory as far as it can go. “This is the Way” has the kind of arrangement that leaves me truly befuddled – how did they even think this up? It spins on a dime, and is full of strange, bizarre twists and turns. And yet, amongst the challenging sonics, Zorch has crafted one of the great choruses of the year. A tour de force. – Carter Delloro
23. Fulton Read - "Like a Wave"
As I originally wrote about “Like a Wave,” “Fulton Read’s strength on ‘Like a Wave’ is to never be content staying in the same place for too long.” It seems like the song can’t stay in one place for more than a few seconds before some new trick to the arrangement appears. It’s the busiest psychedelic-alternative-power-indie-piano-pop you’ll ever hear – and yes, every one of those signifiers applies. – Carter Delloro
22. ssleeperhold - "beatsslave"
Since it emerged in October, ssleeperhold’s Ruleth has had me in its grips and that’s partially because it seems so entirely outside of the moment, a detail that’s especially clear on early album standout “beatsslave.” This track is paradoxically vintage and futuristic, stuffed full of analog fetishism and carbon dating tape hiss, but imbued with an extremely contemporary anxiety. Wordless and eerie, “beatsslave” is 1983, 2013 and 2043 in under five minutes, ahead and out of time, as relevant to a generation we’re eager to fetishize as it is to our vision of the generation that will look back at us. – Nick Hanover
21. SORNE - "Ego Altar"
SORNE is an entirely unique entity. It’s hard to describe Morgan Sorne’s style – a combination of fantasy films and sci-fi blockbusters with a bit of historical fiction thrown in. “Ego Altar” is a patient, plodding soundscape that slowly builds in intensity with the help of Sorne’s incomparable voice. Before you know it, you’re surrounded on all sides by Sorne’s mesmerizing, ethereal voice, simultaneously delicate and fearsome. We are all witnesses. – Carter Delloro
[twk-playlist width=”550″ height=”430″]http://toma.hk/p/RZi2222M[/twk-playlist]