12 Austin al­bums from 2012

Fa­mil­iar to fans of their live work, th­ese folks are worth keep­ing handy

Austin American-Statesman - - MUSIC - By Peter Mongillo pmongillo@states­man.com

Be­low are 12 fa­vorite 2012 re­leases from Austin bands from this year, in no par­tic­u­lar or­der. The records are worth buy­ing, of course, and th­ese acts are worth see­ing live in Austin clubs in 2013.

BoBBy Jeal­ousy

“A Lit­tle Death”

(self-re­leased) Bobby Jeal­ousy, which con­sists of core mem­bers Sab­rina El­lis (also of A Gi­ant Dog), Seth Gibbs and drum­mer Adam Harlow (fourth mem­ber Mark Stoney left the band ear­lier this year), made a mark on the Austin mu­sic scene with the re­lease of their de­but al­bum at the be­gin­ning of the year. An ap­peal­ing mix of soul, Bea­tles pop, and larg­erthan-life arena rock (and the best use of “whoa-oh-oh-ohs” in town), “A Lit­tle Death,” even in its darker mo­ments, bursts with joy.

Ode to love “Earth­quake: Bal­lad to Jon and Mi­tra” is one of the best songs to come out of Austin this year and por­trays a sense of un­quench­able yearn­ing — one so strong not even the end of the world could snuff out.

Crooked Bangs

“Crooked Bangs”

(West­ern Med­i­cal Records)

Leda Gines­tra, lead singer and bassist for trio Crooked Bangs, sings more than half the songs on the band’s de­but al­bum in French. It adds a nice bit of mys­tery to the mu­sic while high­light­ing their abil­ity to write great songs.

Even if you don’t have an idea what Gines­tra is belt­ing out, tracks in­clud­ing “Be Young/ Sois Je­une (Et Tais Toi)” and “Evil Eye/Le Mau­vais Ceil” will oc­cupy your brain. And it’s by no means just the lyrics — Gines­tra, Sa­man­tha Wen­del (gui­tar) and Philip Gon­za­lez (drums) de­mand at­ten­tion with their sharp, gloomy, surf-in­spired rock.

Crooks

“The Rain Will Come”

(self-re­leased) Crooks lead singer/ song­writer Josh Ma­zour of­fers a take on out­law coun­try pop­u­lated by fa­mil­iar tales of whiskey and hard lessons, avoid­ing cliche in part through his back­ground in rock, which re­veals it­self through­out.

While there is noth­ing on here that even be­gins to ap­proach the world of “coun­try rock,” the mu­sic’s loud and some­times noisy ap­proach hints at a rock ‘n’ roll pulse be­neath the ban­jos, mari­achi horns and nods to En­nio Mor­ri­cone spaghetti west­ern sound­tracks. Plus, Texas ac­cor­dion le­gend Flaco Jimenez guests on “Heart Achin’ Town.”

dana Fal­Con­Berry

“Le­lanau”

(An­tenna Farm Records)

On her new al­bum, singer-song­writer Dana Fal­con­berry drew her in­spi­ra­tion from mem­o­ries of the Michi­gan penin­sula, where she spent sum­mers as a child. A col­lec­tion of songs punc­tu­ated by short in­ter­ludes (Fal­con­berry calls them “songlets”), “Lee­lanau” brims with the poignant im­ages of na­ture — a river runs, rain falls, birds sing.

I def­i­nitely wanted to make it big­ger,” Fal­con­berry said ear­lier this year. “I wanted it to be a stark con­trast to things I had done be­fore.”

dikes oF Hol­land

“Brain­dead USA”

(Scream­ers Records) The Dikes of Hol­land sing and shout at you, not to you, and they do it fast, some­times in uni­son, tak­ing breaks in be­tween to throw down gnash­ing rock riffs. The fol­lowup to 2010’s “Dikes of Hol­land,” “Brain­dead U.S.A.” finds the band a bit more fo­cused while re­tain­ing the va­ri­ety that comes from hav­ing more than one song­writer.

Closer “We Gotta Go” is a fan­tas­tic two min­utes that sums up a lot of what is great about the band — a tipsy, su­per­catchy or­gan line, the whole band throw­ing in some vo­cals and a NSFW cho­rus.

a gi­ant dog

“Fight”

(Tic Tac To­tally)

A great big full-length from a great Austin garage rock quin­tet. Lead song­writ­ers/singers An­drew Cashen and Sab­rina El­lis, along with Gra­ham Low (bass), Orville Nee­ley (drums) and Andy Bauer (gui­tar), rage and howl against the rou­tine in 15 tracks that hover around two min­utes each. “Yeah I wanna get drunk,” Cashen and El­lis sing on “Cow­boy,” which takes off to space and back, while “Hunted Down” growls dizzily with a quiet scream in the back­ground

JORGE SAN­HUEZA-LYON / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN; CONTRIB- UTED; CONTRIBUTED BY ALI­CIA VEGA

From top, The Zoltars, A Gi­ant Dog and Dana Fal­con­berry

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