Faster Than Sound's Musical Top 10s of 2020

Eleven lists of Austin’s best releases, theme songs, livestreams, creative pivots and more.

No sound dominated Austin music in 2020, other than the eerie lack thereof. Gary Clark Jr.'s January sweep at the Grammys and Black Pumas' recent nominations proved landmark, but their albums came out last year. In the silence following March lockdown, artists with the least infrastructure appeared best equipped to fill the void.

After couch surfing pre-quarantine, electronic rising star Saliyah settled in the bedroom, where they would craft all of Sanctification. Already attuned to swapping voice memos, rappers Ifé Neuro, Ukeme, and Chucky Blk meshed under Njune's production for "One of These Days" in June. The same month, Kydd Jones crafted "Goblin" overnight while processing the police killing of George Floyd, and uploaded it the next morning.

No shortage of options when so much musical media soundtracked the moment.


1) Clarence James, Fucked Me Up

2) Jana Horn, Optimism

3) Caroline Rose, Superstar (New West)

4) Katherine de Rosset, The Tower

5) Chronophage, Th'pig'kiss'd (Cleta Patra)

6) Blakchyl, H02d

7) Loma, Don't Shy Away (Sub Pop)

8) Julian Neel, Call the Mountain

9) Malik, Spectrum (Artium/Zionsound)

10) Natalie Jane Hill, Azalea (Dear Life)


1) Saliyah, Sanctification (Growth in Decay)

2) Why Bonnie, Voice Box (Fat Possum)

3) Sir Woman, Bitch (Nine Mile)

4) KindKeith, Phone

5) Drint, Don't Save Me

6) Nevil, Having Fun for Once

7) Kraken Quartet & Adobo, Backdrop

8) Jay Wile, Better Times

9) Nayome, Personal

10) Jake Lloyd, Lloyd Pack (Kicks & Khords)


1) Christelle Bofale, "Miles" (Father/Daughter)

2) Hovvdy, "Runner"

3) Ukeme, "Softie"

4) Deezie Brown, "Amplifiers"

5) Bill Callahan, "The Mackenzies" (Drag City)

6) Sun June, "Singing" (Run for Cover)

7) Pure X, "Middle America" (Fire Talk)

8) Fuvk, "Little Spoon"

9) Grace Sorensen, "Soul or System"

10) Daphne Tunes, "Sorreal" (Uncool)

Christelle Bofale in her April video for "Miles" (Courtesy of Christelle Bofale)

Music Videos

1) Annabelle Chairlegs, "Outside" (D: Vanessa Pla)

2) Being Dead, "Underworld" (D: Riley Engemoen, Juli Keller, Cody Dosier)

3) Mobley, "Nobody's Favourite" (D: Mobley, James Ayling)

4) American Friend, "His Energy Runs Backwards" (D: Shannon Wiedemeyer)

5) Trouble in the Streets, "Mad Science" (D: Cléver Cardoso)

6) Christelle Bofale, "Miles" (D: Christelle Bofale, Urzulka)

7) Tele Novella, "Words That Stay" (D: Vanessa Pla)

8) Daniel Fears, "Canopy" (D: Moyo Oyelola)

9) Lou Rebecca, "To Keep You" (D: Lou Rebecca)

10) Chucky Blk, "Empire Shakes" (D: Vxashara)

2020 Theme Songs

1) Kydd Jones, "Goblin"

2) Njune, Ifé Neuro, Ukeme, Chucky Blk, "One of These Days"

3) Van Mary, "Hug"

4) Los Coast & Gary Clark Jr., "A Change Is Gonna Come" (New West)

5) Superfónicos, "El Adiós" (Public Hi-Fi)

6) Gina Chavez, "La Que Manda"

7) Ben Buck, Kydd Jones, Wiardon, "Rubber Bullets" (Speaker Bump)

8) White Denim, "Queen of the Quarantine" (Radio Milk)

9) The Teeta, TeddytheLegacy, "Stimulus Pack"

10) Pussy Gillette, "Walking Crime"

Mobley's A Home Unfamiliar


1) Mobley's A Home Unfamiliar ft. Jim Eno, Shakey Graves, Jackie Venson, Graham Reynolds, Deezie Brown, Walker Lukens, Sabrina Ellis, Kelsey Wilson

2) Adrian Quesada's "Walk With Me Austin" ft. Alex Maas, Shakey Graves, Gina Chavez, Blackillac, Magna Carda, Tee Double, Kelsey Wilson, Mélat, Sam Houston

3) To the People of the Land (Keeled Scales)

4) Slack Capital 3 (Eric Braden, Austin Town Hall, Howdy Gals)

5) No More Silence Vol. 1 & 2 (Austin Musicians for Transformative Justice)

6) Daphne Tunes & Friends' Covered

7) Future Museums' Damo's Dream (Aural Canyon)

8) Eliza Gilkyson's "Peace in Our Hearts" ft. Sam Butler, Cris Williamson, BettySoo, Charlie Faye, Akina Adderley

9) Social Distance Vol. 1 (End of Times)

10) "Exhuming McCarthy (R.E.M. cover)" ft. Royal Forest, A. Sinclair, Jana Horn, Pocket Sounds

Black Pumas on Luck Reunion's A Night for Austin livestream in June (by Doug Freeman)

Livestream Events

1) Luck Reunion's A Night for Austin (June)

2) Austin City Limits Radio's Blues on the Screen (July)

3) The Breaks on KUTX's Summer Jam (Sept.)

4) Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic (July)

5) Thank You for Sweating's TYFS48 (April)

6) ACL Music Festival (Oct.)

7) Housing Opportunities for Musicians and Entertainers' HOME Cookin' for the Holidays (Nov.)

8) Out of Our Gourds: An Evening of Music for the Unwashed and Well-Read (April)

9) Riders Against the Storm & Heard Presents' Black Everythang Matters (Aug.)

10) Antone's Miss Lavelle's 91st Birthday (July)

Livestream Series

1) Exploded Drawing Television

2) Hotel Vegas' Hotel Free TV

3) ATX Interfaces

4) The Lost Well's Rock for Rent

5) Continental Club's Continental Confidential

6) Antone's Radio

7) Monks Jazz & Austin Jazz Society's #ProjectSafetyNet

8) Parker Jazz Club Live

9) Buzz Mill's Tiny Fort Concerts

10) Unbounded Agency's Creative Capital

DJ Mel behind the decks for one of his livestreams

Livestream Artists

1) DJ Mel's Living Room Dance Party

2) Jackie Venson Live

3) DJ Zapot's Sonic Healing & Virtual Smudging

4) Flobama's Synth Sundaze

5) Croy & the Boys' Coffee With Croy

6) BettySoo's Nobody's Happy Hour

7) TC Superstar's Tip Your Bartenders

8) The Monte Warden Feel Good Hour

9) Carolyn Wonderland's Wednesdays Live From Wonderland

10) Gina Chavez's Social Distancing Sundays

Creative Pivots

1) (Tie) Fine Southern Gentlemen's Austin Will Survive & Raw Paw's Drop Ship merch profit sharing

3) Free Lunch for people without housing from Carrie Fussell Bickley, Jazz Mills, Jade Skye Hammer, Caroline Rose

4) Mobley's Curbside Tour

5) Austin Music Foundation's Time to Pivot virtual panel series

6) Drive-In Concerts ATX by Ben Ballinger

7) Love & Lightstream drive-ins at Cedar Park's Haute Spot, benefiting music nonprofits

8) Beth Chrisman's Cabin Fever Tunes

9) KeepAustin: Instagram industry interviews by laid-off Margin Walker employees

10) Shared Frequencies Radio

Print Materials aka Perfect Gifts

1) Texas Is the Reason: The Mavericks of Lone Star Punk by Pat Blashill (Bazillion Points)

2) Jaime Zuverza's Hidden Rituals 2021 calendar (

3) All I Ever Wanted: A Rock 'n' Roll Memoir by Kathy Valentine (University of Texas Press)

4) Pooneh Ghana's Music Polaroid 2021 calendar (

5) [Ghost Notes]: Pioneering Spirits of Texas Music by Michael Corcoran & Tim Kerr (Texas Christian University Press)

6) Barracuda Club windows poster (

7) 13th Floor Elevators: A Visual History by Paul Drummond (Anthology Editions)

8) Antone's 45th Anniversary "Unity" poster (

9) Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of the Family Band by Willie Nelson, Bobbie Nelson, David Ritz (Random House)

10) Glitter Up the Dark: How Pop Music Broke the Binary by Sasha Geffen (University of Texas Press)

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