Playback: My Top 100 Austin Records of 2018

Kevin Curtin picks his favorite local sounds of the year


The Bible, which I've never actually read, says we judge a tree by the fruit it bears. In that respect, 2018 has been another bumper crop for Austin music. We've seen hundreds of records, EPs, and singles released over the last 12 months, and most of them are edible – if not outright delicious.

Still, ranking Austin music can be like comparing apples and oysters. Even for a self-appointed adjudicator of good taste like "Playback," measuring trap records against sludge metal EPs and dream-pop releases against honky-tonk albums can seem like a ludicrous allocation of brain cells. Of course, subjectivity has always been at the core of music appreciation.

One thing I know for certain is how much I personally enjoy each record – that's what this list reflects. I give no weight to national prominence; I don't care which label put it out. There's no consideration about how hard an artist tried or what it means in the context of their career. These 100 albums are the best sounds of our city, according to my 34-year-old, overused ears.

1) Abhi the Nomad, Marbled (Tommy Boy)

2) Loma (Sub Pop)

3) Young Mothers, Morose (Self Sabotage)

4) Skeleton, Pyramid of Skull (Super Secret)

5) Mr. Lewis & the Funeral 5, Before the World Beat You Down (Chicken Ranch)

6) White Denim, Performance (City Slang)

7) Sungod, Wave Refraction (Holodeck)

8) Harry Edohoukwa, Silhouettes (Circa '17) (Staff Jacket)

9) Carson McHone, Carousel (Nine Mile)

10) Hovvdy, Cranberry (Double Double Whammy)

11) Charley Crockett, Lonesome as a Shadow (Son of Davy)

12) Sun June, Years (Keeled Scales)

13) Portrayal of Guilt, Let Pain Be Your Guide (Holy Roar/Gilead Media)

14) PR Newman, Turn Out (DevilDuck)

15) Christeene, Basura (Fix My Dick)

16) Laraaji, Arji OceAnanda, Dallas Acid, Arrive Without Leaving (Flying Moonlight)

17) Nolan Potter's Nightmare Band (Mas Music)

18) Shakey Graves, Can't Wake Up (Dualtone)

19) Sydney Wright, Seiche (Kiva Music)

20) Super Thief, Eating Alone in My Car (Learning Curve)

21) Tear Dungeon, Gory Hole EP

22) Golden Dawn Arkestra, Children of the Sun (Nine Mile)

23) Amigo the Devil, Everything Is Fine (Regime Music Group)

24) Borzoi, A Prayer for War (12XU)

25) Reputations, Electric Power (Nine Mile)

26) Kydd Jones, Homecoming (LNS Crew)

27) Josh Buckley, Los Cruces (Rumbar)

28) TC Superstar, Heat Death (Porch Fire)

29) Christy Hays, River Swimmer (Nine Mile)

30) Mammoth Grinder, Cosmic Crypt (Relapse)

31) Mobley, Fresh Lies, Vol. I (Violent Films)

32) Adrian Quesada with Various Artists, Look at My Soul: The Latin Shade of Texas Soul (Nacional/Amazon Original)

33) Name Sayers, Mantles (Old Faithful)

34) Slept In, Arousal of Drifting

35) Mélat, Move Me II: The Present (blackwhitegoldville)

36) Crack Pipes, Fake Eyelashes (Super Secret)

37) Jeffrey Zeigler with Golden Hornet, The Sound of Science (National Sawdust Tracks)

38) Mujeres Podridas, Sobredosis

39) Wilson Marks, Peregrine (Furry Chords)

40) Wood & Wire, North of Despair (Blue Corn)

41) Pocket Sounds, You Are Not Alone EP

42) Caroline Says, No Fool Like an Old Fool (Western Vinyl)

43) Bridge Farmers

44) Silo Road, Signal Hill

45) Mien (Rocket Recordings)

46) Lovely Sparrows, Shake the Shadow (Abandoned Love)

47) Street Sects, The Kicking Mule (The Flenser)

48) Como Las Movies, Nuevo Wave

49) Mike & the Moonpies, Steak Night at the Prairie Rose

50) Dress Up, Loonie Bin EP

51) Various Artists, Songs of Life & Death: An Izzy Cox Tribute Album, Vol. I

52) Teeta, American Pop (2400)

53) Israel Nash, Lifted (Desert Folklore)

54) Marie/Lepanto, Tenkiller (Big Legal Mess)

55) Glorietta (Nine Mile)

56) Uncle Pie Hole

57) Lola Tried

58) Blastfamous USA, Busa Flock

59) Brownout, Fear of a Brown Planet (Fat Beats)

60) Single Lash, Providence (Holodeck)

61) Erika Wennerstrom, Sweet Unknown (Partisan)

62) Willie Nelson, My Way (Legacy)

63) Christina Cavazos, Mile Marker EP

64) Otis Wilkins, Strangest Place EP

65) Pleasure Venom EP

66) Exhalants (Self Sabotage)

67) PNTHN, Potluck

68) Yard Work Earn the Rock (Rock Tumbler)

69) Très Oui, Poised to Flourish (Shrimper)

70) Jesse Dayton, The Outsider (Blue Élan)

71) Ben Ballinger, Live at the Cactus Cafe EP

72) Kelly Willis, Back Being Blue (Premium)

73) Ghostland Observatory, See You Later Simulator (Trashy Moped)

74) Feverbones, Dream Talk (ATH)

75) Mark Duetrom, The Blue Bird (Season of Mist)

76) Immortal Guardian, Age of Revolution (M-Theory Audio)

77) Ben Buck, McNasty Was Here EP

78) Night Glitter, Tunnels (Affected Listening)

79) Asleep at the Wheel, New Routes (Bismeaux/Thirty Tigers)

80) Greyhounds, Cheyenne Valley Drive (Bud's Recording Services)

81) Jarebear, The Journey for the Giant Jelly Bean (First Humans/Burger)

82) Shmu, Lead Me to the Glow (GTZ)

83) Warm Sugar

84) Good Field, Surface Tension (Piscina)

85) Chucky Blk, A Prequel to. EP

86) Texacala Jones Pony Island Express (BearWhale)

87) Doom Side of the Moon, Encore EP

88) Joe Jacksons, "Last Night With Jesus" b/w "Out of Touch" 7-inch

89) Capyac, Who Is Donny Flamingo?

90) Jana Horn, Go On / Move Your Body

91) Upper Reality, Holy Mountain Wata

92) Superfónicos, Suelta (Discos Fónicos)

93) Jaimee Harris, Red Rescue (Ruby White)

94) Sabbath Crow, Carrion Highway Weird Sun (Altercation)

95) Why Bonnie, In Water (Sports Day)

96) Madi Meeks, For You

97) Daphne Tunes, Volume 1 EP (Two Moons Tapes)

98) Horne + Holt, Wires (Self Sabotage)

99) Lou Rebecca EP (Holodeck)

100) Ralph White & Steve Marsh, Two Distinguished Gentlemen (Self Sabotage)


2018's Hot Singles From Your Area

1) Black Pumas, "Black Moon Rising"

2) Molly Burch, "To the Boys"

3) Erika Wennerstrom, "Extraordinary Love"

4) Being Dead, "Rocky Mountain Cowboy Blues"

5) Altamesa, "The New West"

6) Quin NFN, "Numbers"

7) Go Fever, "Feel So Much"

8) Golden Dawn Arkestra, "Wings of Ra"

9) Rod Melancon, "Westgate"

10) Loony, "Thru It All"

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