20 Essential Texas Albums From 2012

Categories: Texas Me

Find this album and turn it up LOUD.
One of the quiet pleasures of (finally) putting 2012 to bed is mop-up duty. All year, I tried to keep a running list of albums released by Texas-based or Texas-related performers that I enjoyed listening to. Sunday night, I tallied them up.

For some reason, besides that we've already handled the year in Houston albums, this list is heavily weighted toward Austin artists. I suspect this is not because Austin is still the state capital of all things Texas music (sorry, Houston) or because I used to live there and still keep pretty close tabs. It's because, except for a couple, all of these people played a show somewhere in Houston in 2012. Sometimes several.

San Antonio, so prolific recently (Hacienda, Krayolas, Girl In a Coma, Pinata Protest), must have had an off year. It'll be back. And from what I can tell, apart from metal bands (Power Trip, Wo Fat), bigger indie names (Sarah Jaffe, Centro-Matic), and the odd rapper, North Texas artists tend to shun Houston like the city emanates a somewhat unpleasant, sulfurous odor. (Wait a sec...) But if you're interested, have a look at the Dallas Observer's "The 15 Best North Texas Releases of 2012," and then ask Mind Spiders and Pinkish Black if it would kill them to come play Rudz or Fitz sometime. We don't bite.

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Texas Hippie Coalition, Peacemaker
Lewd, rude, tattooed album by a band from Sherman, of all places, that rocks as possibly hard as it can rock without actually becoming metal -- as delicate a feat as Peacemaker is indelicate.

Uncle Lucius, And You Are Me
The Austin quartet pours a whole lotta R&B and soul into songs that would otherwise still make them a better-than-average jam band.

Crooks, The Rain Will Come
Crooks' rakish honky-tonk is a little more Hank Williams III than Hank Williams Sr., dusted with banjo and the conjunto accordion of none other than Flaco Jimenez. "My First Gun" even goes full-on mariachi.

Pat Green, Songs We Wish We'd Written Vol. 2
As on 2001 Cory Morrow collaboration Songs We Wish We'd Written, Pat Green's tastes run a little more eclectic than a lot of people might assume: Collective Soul's "The World I Know," Shelby Lynne's "Jesus On a Greyhound." Elsewhere, although no one should be surprised to hear Green cover Joe Ely and Tom Petty, they might be surprised to hear the zeal he puts into them.

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Where is The Departed - Adventus? Absolutely fantastic album from start to finish.

Love the Gary Clark, Jr. inclusion -- deserves every accolade he can garner.


Great to see some praise for Shearwater. Their album has been sadly missing off of many year end lists. And too bad it seems like the same fate for the even more brilliant Buxton album.


@chris.gray @jenkinshouse55 oh yeah I know they're getting deserved praise here at home, but they should be on the "big" lists. Ah well. At least they're on mine.

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