It’s the end of the year and Austin Music Examiner has been busy compiling a list of this year’s favorites to recommend to you. AME has brought you its top 5 favorites of 5 different categories and one overall favorite. Austin Music Examiner was given a run for its money this year in the decision making process for each category, and each band and artist are listed in no particular order under each category. So who made this year’s Austin Music Examiner Picks of 2010?
Band/Artist of the Year:
Austin Music Examiner watched the local music scene very closely this year for the most outstanding band, old or new, to place in this category. The winner year is Austin’s newest and hottest band: Suite 709. Jirod Greene, Dietrich Schmidt, David Butler, Ross Falcon, and Zachary Boston along with an impressive brass section have been working hard from the beginning to take the live music capital of the world by storm, and they have done just that, proving they are here to stay. Suite 709 brilliantly fuses together soul, hip-hop, funk, and rock to produce a sound unlike any other. The band has been busy in the studio working on their debut album. Be sure to check out Suite 709's website, Facebook, and Twitter for news and events.
Band Picks of 2010
Long Story Short
Brand new band Long Story Short has not been around long, but they have shown they are a force to be reckoned with. This duo made up of Daniel Luka and Nicky James has spent the past year in the studio crafting an album that most only hope to. Austin Music Examiner recently did a review of the freshly released album and read here. Though Long Story Short is not local, they will definitely be heard everywhere very soon. Their debut album is young, but it has already gotten them the attention of popular music news source, Alternative Addiction, putting them in the running to be in AA’s Top 10 unsigned bands. To vote here for Long Story Short and their single “Caved In”. Daniel and Nicky both produce material that is evidence of something today’s music industry has lost: heart. Follow Long Story Short on Facebook and Twitter, and grab yourself a copy of their debut album “What a Scene” on cdbaby or iTunes.
Austin Music Examiner introduced you to another non-local band called IAmDynamite back in October. If you read the article you will understandwhy this Carolina duo has made this list. The album is in the works, and AME will be among the first to bring you a preview of what can be expected from the brand new album from IAmDynamite. Also, be sure to stay tuned with AME and all of IAmDynamite's news sources for IAmDynamite’s return to Austin January 22nd at Stubbs BBQ playing alongside Austin’s own Language Room. Add IAmDynamite on Facebook and follow @dynamiteduo on Twitter.
Austin favorite, Mothers Anthem has worked very hard this year to bring their fans a fresh spin on things. Early in the year the band released a demo E.P. titled, “The Heart Steady Sessions” on MySpace with a few brand new songs. Mothers Anthem released a few more brand new songs soon after, along with adding a mixture of this new material to their live show and even changing up the band look. The new material has seemingly become an instant hit with the fans. Mothers Anthem has definitely set an example for bands in their journey to keep things new and fresh this year. Be sure to follow the band on Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace to keep up with band’s news and updates.
Austin band, Quiet Company won the heart of AME early this year their album, “Songs for Staying In”. Listening to Quiet Company quickly tells you they are a perfect fit in the Austin music scene, with a sound that clearly defines them as a true Austin band. Quiet Company can be heard on local radio station such as KGSR and 101X. Be sure follow on Facebook and Twitter for news and updates. You can catch Quiet Company live during “Free Week” at Emos in downtown Austin Wednesday, January 5th so be sure to come check this band out!
AME was introduced to Florida natives Afterglow Radio during SXSW Music Festival this year, and they have not failed to impress. With stellar musicianship and strong vocals, this band is definitely on to be watched. AME’s attention was further taken upon listening to the band’s album, “Find Yourself Again”. This is a fantastic album all around and should be listened to by all music fans, and can be found everywhere. For more information on Afterglow Radio check them out on Facebook .
Best Albums of 2010
“The Fall”- Jirod Greene
Solo project of Suite 709 frontman, Jirod Greene, “The Fall” perfectly displays the versatile writing talent Greene has. Greene taps into all his muses to write this six piece E.P. incorporating elements of hip hop, soul, R&B, funk, and throwing techno/electronica into the mix. That, however, only scratches the surface of half the album. You will also find a lyrically binding piece such as “A Song From the Sun” that is completely a capella, a solely instrumental piece with “The Experience”, and of course, the album opener, “The Fall”, which is a spoken track that gives you a perfect look into Greene’s heart and soul. AME has known Jirod Greene for a while now, has seen his talent, and can honestly say that this album truly exemplifies the finest of his abilities.
“Welcome to Plasticville”- The Vettes
New Orleans band, The Vettes, released their first full length album, “Welcome to Plasticville” in the late summer, early fall of this year. This album has made its way onto this list because of its brilliant sound. Though the album is a masterpiece of pop art, it also gives you the feeling of brilliant 80’s electronica, while mixing in elements of rock. The Vettes have a style and sound unlike any other, and it has gotten them well earned national recognition with song spots on MTV’s “The City”, and making an appearance on the world renowned Viper Room Stage in Los Angeles, California. This band has proven their worth many times, and they will continue to for a long time to come. More information on The Vettes and where you can get a copy of "Welcome to Plasticville" can be found on Facebook and Twitter.
“New Morning”- Alpha Rev
Austin band Alpha Rev has been seen quite a bit around the national circuit of the music scene this year. Along with the release of the band’s national debut album this year, Alpha Rev has found themselves in rotation on VH1 and radio stations across the country, and they will also be joining Train, Lifehouse, The Script, Colbie Caillat, and many others on VH1’s “Best Cruise Ever” in April/May of 2011. Drive around downtown Austin, listening to “New Morning” and you’ll know you are right at home, right where you belong with the Austin sound Alpha Rev produces. Find Aplha Rev on Facebook and Twitter for more.
“My Communist Heart”- Sounds Under Radio
Yet another example of Austin’s finest musicians, Sound Under Radio releases new E.P., “My Communist Heart”. This E.P. sets itself apart from previous release, “Cinematica”, for two reasons: 1) a new, heavier, and edgier sound 2) you will find a very well done cover of Bjork’s “Army of Me” on this E.P. SUR has also found themselves on the soundtrack for the popular T.V. series, “The Vampire Diaries”, with a duet featuring Alison Sudol (A Fine Frenzy) called “All You Wanted” and toured the country in support of this release. Sounds Under Radio will continue to have new material and will be touring in the coming year, so keep an eye out on Facebook and Twitter for dates and locations. You can get a copy of “The Vampire Diaries” soundtrack on iTunes.
“This is War”- Thirty Seconds to Mars
Released in December of 2009, “This is War” has quickly gained high attention from AME. This album is very raw and honest, making for an album full of substantial material. Every song is an easily accessible, relative life anthem full of passion and heart. So many factors make this album a favorite of the year, and it will continue to live on for a long time to come.
Best Music Videos of 2010
“The Widow- Kiss the Flag”- Parabelle
Produced and directed by Kimberly Scott out of San Antonio, this video for Parabelle’s “Kiss the Flag” is hands down one of the best music videos of the year. This video shows a certain artistic element to it that is extremely rare in today’s music videos and portrays the song’s story very well. Everything about this video embodies the talent of everyone involved in its creation and should be an example for future videos. Watch the video here.
“Jar of Hearts”- Christina Perri
Very often you will see music videos that have dancers moving very provocatively and suggestively, taking the elements of art out of dance. Brand new rising start, Christina Perri, is changing that with her video for debut single, “Jar of Hearts”. This video is done with such artistic beauty that it captures the viewer’s full, undivided attention and keeps it. The beauty of the lyrics and the dance choreography blend together to make a perfect masterpiece that will put Christina Perri on the top very quickly. Here's the video.
“If I Had You”- Adam Lambert
American Idol season 7 runner up, Adam Lambert finds himself on this year’s list with his video for “If I Had You”. This video easily earned its spot for the use of many bright, vivid colors, crazy costumes, and a unique setting. There has never been another video like this, and it has set a precedent for many videos to come. Watch here.
“Closer to the Edge”- Thirty Seconds to Mars
Unlike any other music videos done as a live video, 30STM once again puts their stamp on this list because of their mission to create and show their true identity, unafraid of who they are, subsequently reaching their full potential in everything they do. Watch it here.
“All In”- Lifehouse
The second live music video in Lifehouse’s career, this one expands more on what the band is like behind the scenes. This video is very appropriate with the content of the song, making the viewer feel as if the song is to them. A quick favorite for AME. Here's the video.
Singles of 2010
“Just the Way You Are”- Bruno Mars
This song sets itself apart from other songs of its kind with one simple thing: lyrics. This song embraces a love for the true beauty of a woman with honest, from the heart lyrics. Bruno Mars may be brand new but he has already made a huge change in the music world.
“She Don’t Even Know”- Suite 709
Suite 709 earns itself another spot on this list for their single, “She Don’t Even Know”. This song not only incorporates smooth hooks and riffs, but pairs it up with imaginative lyrics, e.g. “I could’ve evolved with a kiss from you”. “She Don’t Even Know” impeccably exhibits the signature sound that only Suite 709 creates. Listen to it here.
“The Fall”- Brendan James
Folk pop singer, Brendan James, delivers every bit of this song to the fullest. Brendan’s vocals have a soulful quality unique to him that delivers words of pain and sadness while still creating a positive vibe full of hope. “The Fall” exhibits this factor beautifully. Raw and real, Brendan James stays true to himself while still evolving in his work.
“New Morning”- Alpha Rev
This title track and first single off of Alpha Rev’s newest album is a shining example of why the band has earned every success they have achieved in 2010. This is a beautiful song in every way fusing pop, rock, and a little hint of Texas sound in one song. Listen to the song here.
Performances of 2010
Study Breaks Party –SXSW 2010 – Austin, TX
Sounds Under Radio, The Vettes, Suite 709, and Meriwether all took the stage at this unofficial SXSW party. One of the last shows caught during the week of SXSW ‘10, this showcase put together by Jon Ray in partnership with Austin’s Study Breaks Magazine was an impeccable match up of talent. Sounds Under Radio delivered with typical full force mentality, The Vettes performed with their signature fashionable flair, and Suite 709 debuted flawlessly. Thanks to Jon Ray for putting together one of the best shows of 2010 at SXSW.
Buzzfest 2010 – Cynthia Long Woods Pavilion - Houston, TX
Every year Houston radio station 94.5 The Buzz brings together some of the biggest names in the industry for one of Houston’s biggest events: Buzzfest. This year’s event won’t easily be topped with names such as Metric, Switchfoot, Deftones, Seether, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Three Days Grace, Limp Bizkit, Cage the Elephant, Crash Kings, 10 Years, Sick Puppies, and Flyleaf on the bill. The event sold out in 10 minutes and was full of an electric vibe through the entire show. Buzzfest 2010 has made me a fan of Buzzfest and you can expect a return from AME.
Mothers Anthem Mother’s Day Acoustic Show – Besos Cantina- Austin, TX
By far one of the most heartfelt, intimate shows attended to date. Mothers Anthem stripped everything away to bring their fans a show that put everything from the most painful to the best of emotions in the spotlight baring them, making this performance on of the most memorable ever.
Brendan James- Stubbs BBQ – Austin, TX
Brendan James returned to Austin November 8th to do what he does best, deliver a memorable show. With songs that come straight from the heart, Brendan delivers every song live with passion, and this show was no exception. Try to catch Brendan James at a show near year on his upcoming new tour. Dates and location here.
Jingle Ball 2010 – Fitzgerald’s – Houston, TX
Arguably one of the most epically matched line ups of the year, the best bands of Austin and Houston came together for a holiday kick off unlike any other. Mothers Anthem, Suite 709, and Austin band Eyes Burn Electric brought the best of Austin while hometown favorites such as Dev Electric and Deep Ella brought Houston a show it won’t soon forget to end a great year of music.
AME will be starting out the new year bringing you updates from three shows in Austin happening in January:
- Quiet Company - Wednesday, January 5th - Emos "Free Week"
- IAmDynamite with Language Room- Saturday, January 22nd- Stubbs BBQ
- Thrity Seconds to Mars- Tuesday, January 25th- Austin Music Hall
Austin Music Examiner looks foward to another great year of in 2011 and wants you to like AME's Facebook page and follow @ATXMusExaminer on Twitter for news and updates in the Austin music world!