The Texas 30: The Second Runners-Up, Albums 50-41
One of the relatively few multiplatinum albums on our survey, Rubberneck took several months to become massive, but once it did after "Possum Kingdom" hit, it rightfully became one of the definitive alt-rock albums of the immediate post-grunge era. What makes it a great Texas album, even still, is front man Vaden Todd Lewis' seriously fucked-up viewpoint regarding society in general and male-female relations in particular. Every time the Toadies come around Houston, screaming "do you wanna die?" with a roomful of fellow otherwise mild-mannered fans still chills us to the bone.
42. Zeitgeist, Translate Slowly (1985)
Today Zeitgeist is the kind of band celebrated on blogs like Willfully Obsure. In 1985, Zeitgeist was arguably the top "college rock" band in Texas, a sort of grittier R.E.M., and part of the "New Sincerity" vanguard bringing something besides blooze to Austin clubs. Translate Slowly did wind up getting a fair amount of college-radio play across the South before Zeitgeist was forced to change their name to the Reivers, who eventually scored a deal with Capitol. Front man John Croslin went on to a long career as a top studio hand who helped Spoon and several other top Austin acts polish their musical wares.
41. Okkervil River, Black Sheep Boy (2005)
On Black Sheep Boy, Okkervil River cuts back a little on the lavish instrumentation of 2003's Down the River of Golden Dreams, or at least directs the band's kaleidoscopic musical palette into the service of punchier songs. Likewise, front man Will Sheff sharpens his pen into lyrics that cut to the emotional quick whether he's talking about himself or his surroundings, which usually concern the comings and goings of an earnest and determined indie-rock band. In fact, Black Sheep Boy is the album that established Okkervil as one of Texas' top indie-rock bands, a perch where it remains today.
Come back tomorrow for Nos. 40-31 and a special slideshow featuring the Texas 30.