40 Austin Dope Jams That Buzzfeed Missed


Last week, Buzzfeed released a list of “40 Songs Proving that Austin, Texas is the Capital of Dope Jams.” Aside from its lack of criteria for what exactly constitutes a “dope jam,” it was actually a really good list. List author Summer Anne Burton got a lot of our favorites. It’s just a testament to the depth of the Austin music scene that you can’t end a list of Austin’s dopest jams at just 40. I decided to make my list of the best of what Buzzfeed missed. I confined myself to this decade, and refused to repeat artists that Buzzfeed had already included. Even with that, I missed OVRLD favorites like The Boxing Lesson, The Great Nostalgic, Major Major Major, Zlam Dunk, Orthy, Frank Smith, The Lonesome Heroes, The Couch, David Thomas Jones, Golden Bear, Little Radar, Royal Forest, and so many more. The depth of our music scene is insane. In. Sane. So enjoy these 40 Dope Jams that Buzzfeed Missed. – Carter Delloro

1. Shakey Graves - "Built to Roam" (2010)


Austin’s folk guitar god offered up his mission statement years before his national acclaim started building, but years after his multiple-episode arc on Friday Night Lights. Live, he loses the overlapping vocal harmonies, but gains an unmistakable power that lifts this track to even higher heights.

2. Knifight - "Girls Don’t Get Crushes" (2010)


This nerdy dark-wave group continue to grow on their just-released first full-length album, but it’s this opening salvo that still resonates the strongest. Combining Cure-level loneliness with pounding drums and shimmering synths, “Girls” is a foot-stomper and heart-stomper at the same time.

3. One Hundred Flowers - "Rat Trap" (2010)


One Hundred Flowers has laid low since this release, but will hopefully release some more of their “experimental indie pop” soon. What makes this song for me is the bouncing bass line – before, of course, the orchestral suite that comprises the track’s second half.

4. SPEAK - "Carrie" (2010)


These baby-faced pop-rockers delivered an anthem that immediately made them a local favorite. It’s an impossible tune to get out of your head, but why would you ever want to?

5. The Sour Notes - "Do-ers & Say-ers" (2010)


Three years later, this is still a staple of the Sour Notes’ live shows, and it’s understandable why. The hardest-working band in Austin was firing on all cylinders for this frenetic track.

6. The Soldier Thread ft/ Zeale - "Anybody" (2011)


Any list of dope jams has to include this ridiculously infectious synth-pop banger that has been the soundtrack to countless Austinites not giving a fuck.

7. Not in the Face - "Downtown Girl" (2011)


Almost half of the population of Austin is in its 20’s and 30’s, and ‘Downtown Girl’ perfectly captures the ennui of the city’s young creative class. It helps that the then-duo of Wes Cargal and Jonathan Terrell packed more power than rock groups over twice their size.

8. Moving Castles - "Heroin" (2011)


Funny, dark, honest, catchy – this song is just about everything. Still, it’s the backing vocals cooing, “Heroin” in the final chorus outburst that gets me every time.

9. Ringo Deathstarr - "So High" (2011)

Ringo Deathstarr

It’s like the Dandy Warhols covering My Bloody Valentine. The male/female lead vocals blend into a sugary haze with the wafting guitars, and make you believe the singers when they say, “I’m so high.”

10. Whiskey Shivers - "Gimme All Your Lovin" (2011)


Blessed with one of the greatest music videos in recent memory, “Gimme” introduced the world to the outrageous antics of the best bluegrass band in Austin.

11. Fresh Millions - "Hot New Jam From 73" (2011)


This killer retro/futuristic funk track is the definition of a ‘dope jam.’ Sadly, it was Fresh Millions’ swan song.

12. Wild Child - "Pillow Talk" (2011)


There’s no doper ukulele folk ballad jam than the title track from Wild Child’s debut full-length, detailing the growing rift between two (soon-to-be-former?) lovers.

13. SORNE - "Omnipotent" (2011)

morgan-sorne-photo-by-nasa-hadizadehPhoto by Nasa Hadizadeh

Just one piece of the rich tapestry that is SORNE’s apocalyptic concept album, House of Stone, ‘Omnipotent’ combines tribal rhythms with Morgan Sorne’s soaring tenor to weave a mystical aural web.

14. Hello Wheels - "A Woman is a Well" (2011)

hello wheels

Another bluegrass-y number, “Well” finds Hello Wheels drawing from contemporary folksters like The Old Crow Medicine Show in delivering a classic of the genre.

15. Sons of Fathers - "Flatland" (2011)

sons of fathers

This is Austin, so you know that there’s going to be some Texas country on this list. But this being Austin and all, this isn’t your fraternity brother’s Texas country.

16. Parking - "Gumscraper" (2011)


Nicky Luna brings his heaviest production here, perfectly calibrated to emphasize Ibrahim’s relentless spitfire delivery. It’s equal parts unsettling and overpowering.

17. Pure X - "Easy" (2011)


Let’s say that you’re riding a nice codeine high, and – for some reason – you are jonesing for a little Jan & Dean or early Beach Boys. You’ll actually like this better.

18. Little Lo - "Wounded Knee" (2011)


Aping The Arcade Fire might turn more people off if Little Lo weren’t so damn good at it. On “Wounded Knee” they achieve a mixture of grandeur and earnestness that would make their Houstonian elders proud.

19. T Bird and the Breaks - "The Clap Hands Song" (2011)


Raise your hand if you thought you’d like a live funk mash-up of a Tom Waits track with a novelty oldie by Shirley Ellis. Better yet, clap your hands.

20. The Eastern Sea - "The Match" (2012)


No one can write or deliver a line like Matt Hines. The slow, but intense, build of “The Match” is one of his group’s many finest moments.

21. Tiger Waves - "Weekends" (2012)


Beach Boys-meets-Animal Collective. This is candy for the ears, as well as the soul.

22. Hundred Visions - "Where Do I Sign" (2012)


Built on 70’s punk, this track is like a vial of adrenaline pumped straight into your heart. There hasn’t been a rock track this pure in ages.

23. The Sweet Nuthin - "One More Way of Moving On" (2012)

sweet nuthin

Though their name comes from the Velvet Underground, The Sweet Nuthin mastered the combination of 70’s rock and country on this uptempo number. Think of the Stones at their booziest covering Cash.

24. Mobley - "Torch" (2012)


While the irresistible percussion track draws you in, it’s Anthony Watkins’ fun and clever lyrics that make this song so fun to sing along with, not just dance along with.

25. Deep Time - "Clouds" (2012)


Deep Time’s minimalist post-punk meets a sing-song melodic hook that winds its way around the sparse arrangement. The most accessible that weird can get.

26. Shivery Shakes - "Stay Young" (2012)


“Stay Young” is one of the dopest jams to come out of Austin’s lo-fi garage rock scene. William Glosup’s portrait of young love and blissful desperation reaches emotional depths that few of his peers can match.

27. Whitman - "NW Thurman" (2012)


Ram Vela and company have constructed an ode to lost love and debauchery that would make Ted Leo proud.

28. Dana Falconberry - "Petoskey Stone" (2012)


The lyrics for “Petoskey Stone” are a masterclass in natural imagery, and the music is as rich and layered as it gets. Falconberry established herself as a rare talent with this masterpiece.

29. Bobby Jealousy - "Rainbow" (2012)

bobby jealousy

You wouldn’t think a song this poppy – that even has the title “Rainbow” – would be a rumination on how the passing of time brings us slowly closer to our inevitable deaths. But then again, Bobby Jealousy contains multitudes.

30. Sphynx - "Sha Dynasty" (2012)


Think of the indie-pop of the 2010’s. Are you thinking of frantic, hi-hat-heavy dance beats? What about shiny synths? How about gratuitous saxophone solos? Or falsetto lead vocals? Yeah, you’re thinking of “Sha Dynasty.”

31. The Capitalist Kids - "Three-Oh" (2012)


Maybe your tastes run a bit more punkish? This one’s for all the aging 90’s pop-punkers.

32. Melogrand - "Country Water" (2012)


If a folk-country band somehow decided to put their glam boots on, they might approach something close to “Country Water,” which alternates between delicate folk sections and the powerful stomp of the chorus.

33. The Shears - "Octo" (2013)

the shears

We are talking about dope jams, right? That conversation begins and ends with this trippy dance floor filler…sung to a spider.

34. Max Frost - "White Lies" (2013)


It’s hard to imagine that this indie-dance-pop number was all recorded in Frost’s bedroom. It’s so good that he has taken over all the local buzz without even having an official release yet.

35. Emily Bell - "Back to the Way I Was" (2013)

emily bell

Some vintage soul from the retro Emily Bell, whose commanding voice seals the deal on an already arresting track.

36. Good Field - "Tell Me Ida" (2013)

good field

A dreamy contemporary rock song about an old-fashioned courtship, “Tell Me Ida” is simple, catchy (with yet another staggeringly good bass line) and heartwarming.

37. Scorpion Child - "Polygon of Eyes" (2013)

scorpion child

This vicious track is the kind of metal that can even connect with the average KLBJ listener. It changes its tempo and rhythms, has a hummable melody and kicks you in the head multiple times per minute.

38. Black Books - "Favorite Place" (2013)

black books

Like Band of Horses with a low end, Black Books reaches for the stars on “Favorite Place” and somehow succeeds. This one was designed for stadiums.

39. Walker Lukens - "Kindle to Your Fire (Oprah Voice)" (2013)


Thanks to extensive looping effects, and an elegant arrangement, Lukens produces the best song solely consisting of a C Major chord since Harry Nilsson’s “Coconut.”

40. Marmalakes - "Wells" (2013)


Chase Weinacht’s gift for language has been couched in delicate ballads for the last couple of years. A few months ago, however, Marmalakes employed Weinacht’s literary touch in the dopest of dope jams – this shiny folk-pop gem.