The 10 Best New Texas Bands of 2015 (plus one from Tennessee)
Living in a town with more music venues per capita than any other United States city has an advantage, in that there is always somewhere to go where an awesome new band is playing in Austin, my home.
As a twenty-something single male Austin-ite, I spend a lot of my free time looking into new bands. I especially like new groups that are just coming up or have been around but only started being noticed.
Here are my favorite new Texas bands for 2015 – plus one from TN:
1. Bonnie Whitmore
Back on our list for a second year, Bonnies’ album, “There I go again”, continues to receive positive reviews since its release in 2013. Love songs like “Heartbreaker” are well executed with hummable melodies and precision arrangements often dressed up in organs, strings, and mandolins. Her ingenious mix of instrument and vocal ability allows one to forgive lyrics that might be a bit too cliché. The twang she uses in some of her songs add to the raw emotion in a song like “Cryin’ Out for Me” and her soulful “Americana” has been said to be reminiscent of Tom Petty.
2. Girl Pool
This all-female band features Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker. This drummer-less, electric guitar-and-bass duo has taken the indie rock world for a spin. The two have caused ripples with their evocative lyrics that leave tongues wagging, and their powerful vocals keep listeners glued to them. The music is playful and fun while other times their punk side shows with raw and vulnerable lyrics. The lyrics they make tackle concepts ranging from awareness and respect to feelings of loneliness – and rarer stuff like the girl on girl bashing.
3. The Quaker City Night Hawks
Genre: soul/heavy blues and rock n roll
Their new record “Honcho” is something to stomp your feet and move your body too. With music that has a groovy feel and is fun to listen to, they give you the feeling that everything is all right. Their music has been described as soulful, greasy, swamp rock blues. Band members include David Matsler leading vocals and playing the electric guitar, Matt Mabe on the drums and assisting vocals, Pat Adams playing Electric Bass Guitar and also pitching in on vocals, and Sam Anderson playing Rhythm Electric Guitar and backup vocals.
4. Wild Child
A really popular local band from Austin, Texas that began with 2 members but now has 6. It consists of Kelsey Wilson, as the lead vocals and violin, Alexander Beggins assisting with vocals and playing the ukulele, Drew Brunetti playing drums, Sadie Wolfe with the cello, Evan Magers on the keyboards, and Chris D’Annunzio playing bass with music accenting the soulful vocals and folk-influenced instrumentation with lush strings, keys, bells, banjo and percussion. They currently have two albums out “the runabout“ and “pillow talk”.
5. The Tontons
Another popular, near-breakout band from Houston, Texas that consists of Asli Omar, Adam Martinez, Tom Nguyen, Justin Martinez, and Andrew Lee. The Tontons formed in 2007. With two albums under their belt, “The Tontons” and “Make out King and other stories of love”, they have received recognition and awards for their creative music and have been hailed by the Houston Press music awards as the best new act and later the best band in Houston.
6. Future Brown
Their first single was “Wanna Party” in 2009. Back then, I didn’t think much of them. This year, however, they released a self-titled album “on warp” and it has made me reconsider everything I thought of them. The band is made up of Fatima Al Qadiri, Daniel Pineda, J-Cush, and Asma Maroof and they merge ominous electronic and global hip-hop great vocalists. Great stuff.
This Nashville, TN based band is composed of Members: Alicia Bognanno Stewart Copeland Clayton Parker Reece Lazarus. Alicia’s voice has been described as a mix of sweet and little sour and adds an interesting mix to the grunge music they are so good at. They have been successful in East Nashville’s garage rock scene and have in recent times been to SXSW and Pitchfork proving their success is just beginning. Maybe they don’t officially list as a “Texas” band, but their music is so Austin-y that I just had to include them.
8. Tobias Jesso Jr.
Last year, Tobias Jesso only had a couple of songs to his name. But this year he released the album “Goon” that has marked him as someone to watch out for. Tobias’ emotional love songs have a quality to them that really resonates with my heart, and I believe with anyone who has ever been in love. I especially love his song, “How could you babe” but the whole album is filled with music to swear by.
9. Viet Cong
Genre: Rock n roll/Alternative
This is another band that has gained a lot of attention in 2015. Their name has been a talk of much controversy, with the band itself admitting to being naive when choosing it. The opening track to their album, “Newspaper Spoons,” was described by Pitchfork as “sounding like someone trying to punch their way out of a coffin”. Their music is severe and appeals to fans of hard rock and roll.
10. Fox and the Bird
Genre: indie folk
A small folk choir from Dallas, Texas, that first came together through the Dallas house show scene. They are made up of rotating roster of songwriters and singers. Their songs are poetically simple but musically complex, and their music created by a blend of guitar-based compositions with folk and orchestral instrumentation. Their newest album, “Darkest hours”, is a bare-boned honest folk album that chronicles dark violent tendencies in songs like “Valley” and the confusion of lost love in “ashes”.
Also on our list for 2014, these band members – who are all related – hail from San Antonio, Texas. Hacienda’s music is an infusion of the past linked to pop, soul and blues sounds with a contemporary sound that appeals to modern listeners. The band members include Abraham Villanueva on keyboards, Rene Villanueva on bass, and Jaime Villanueva on drums who were joined by their cousin Dante Schwebel on guitar.