Can you choose just one?
submitted on Apr 30, 2010
How in the world is it possible to choose Austin’s best band? With such eclectic, wide-ranging musical offerings in almost every possible genre and a tremendous amount of bands calling Austin home, where would one even begin to narrow down the choices? Instead of pissing of much of the readership by naming Austin’s best band, I will give you a sampling of some of the must see bands our great city offers up to our lucky citizens 365 days a year and because naming Austin’s best band is harder than deciding which supermodel you’d want to hook up with.
No matter your musical taste you will be able to find a band to line-dance to, bob your head to, or just plain get down to. The varying type of venues Austin offers lends well to our diversity of music. Country at the Spoke, Blues and Rock at Antone’s, Indie and…well emo at Emo’s. The list could go on and on. It’s always important to remember our roots and why our city continues to put out so many great bands. If bands have nowhere to play the music dies. But on with the bands! Without further ado, here are some of the best Austin bands (in no particular order) as determined by an esteemed committee of one.
Ghostland Observatory would have to reside near the top of any best of Austin band list. Their blend of the electronic, experimental crossed with at times dope beats makes their songs infectious and danceable, whether in the club or driving your Prius.
…And You Know of By the Trail of the Dead has been on the scene a little longer than some of the other bands on this list, but that doesn’t mean they still don’t know how to put on a great show. Their music has a rough edge to it and is filled with long instrumentals and this is where they really show their chops.
I am by no means a metal fan, but The Sword is one of Austin’s finest. Metal. Psychedelic. Transcending. Words don’t do them justice. Just take my word.
The Octopus Project lives in an alternate universe. One in which there is no limit to the creativity they will put into their music and where no instrument will be turned away. A typical song can seduce you with the sounds of the east then before your brain has caught up a bass line has transpired and you’re shaking your hips. With few lyrics, they truly let their music speak.
Even though they deserted us several years’ back, Spoon got their start in Austin and surely their time here inspired the beginnings of their rise to fame. I still recall the days of being able to talk with Britt Daniel after shows at Emo’s. I have a feeling those days are long gone, but with their power-pop rock sound friendly on the ears they will be around for some time. And, judging from how fast their shows in Austin sell-out it appears we’ve forgiven them for their transgression of moving to “the new Austin.”
The Black and White Years hit it fairly big with their hit “Power to Change,” but they are far from a one-hit wonder, or should not be cast in this light. While none of their other songs are as radio-friendly as “Power to Change,” they show incredible diversity in their album and shows that will leave you slightly confused, slightly amused, and not exactly sure what you just listened to. In this case, that’s a good thing.
This list does not do justice to the completeness that we enjoy in the Austin music scene. No mention of Bob Schneider and his many incarnations? The Black Angels? I made no mention of our country bands such as Asleep at the Wheel or the always-popular Willie Nelson. But this is the point. We are a city blessed with a plethora of incredible music and there is always new talent brewing on the horizon. One band does not make or break our city; it is the sum of all of our bands and venues that makes Austin’s music scene. With major events such as SXSW and ACL Fest growing and getting stronger than ever, Austin shows no signs of slowing down in our quest to be a musical Mecca. Just as you can never come out a loser hooking up with a supermodel, you will never come out behind checking out any Austin band. And this, my friends, is what makes Austin the Live Music Capital of the World.