Year in Review: Top 40 Lubbock Songs of 2012: 20-11

picstitchOur rundown of music in the year 2012 starts off this week and continues through the rest of the year. We’re kicking things off this week with our Top 40 Songs of 2012 by Lubbock Associated Artists. Here’s the schedule for the remainder of the week.

Monday: 40-31
Tuesday: 30-21
Wednesday: 20-11
Thursday: 10-6
Friday: 5-1

Andrew Cotney20. “Morning” Andrew Cotney
“Cracked Hearts”

“Morning” is a punk rock track landing somewhere in some delightful area between Japandroids maximalism and the nuanced touch of early Modest Mouse or Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness. Its careless energy is contagious, and the lyrics about cocaine and late night rendezvous make everything woozy. I feel like I won’t be whole until I hear this played live in a small sweaty bar, with the cold airborne spray of PBR the only thing keeping everyone’s shit together.–RYAN HEAPE

Ivory & Ash19. “Can’t See That Far” Ivory & Ash
“God Bless Your Bloody Ears” EP

It’s only fitting that a band primarily from Lubbock–a place so flat and vast–would write a song about being shortsighted. Ivory & Ash released “Can’t See That Far” early this year on their EP “God Bless Your Bloody Ears.” The EP says it all. They’re not covering anything up. No vocal effects. No absurd foot pedals. They’re just interested in playing punk music. What’s most intriguing and interesting in “Can’t See That Far” is there’s all these small moments of sound that could be the best part of the song. Take the introduction: infectious baseline and drumming. Or two minutes in where vocalist-guitarist Race Henry goes into a small call and response. Or when everything just comes together moments later when Henry spouts off a thought everyone within a 50 mile radius of Lubbock has thought at least once: “I don’t really wanna live here. I don’t really wanna call this place home.”–THOMAS D. MOONEY

Rattlesnake Milk18. “Highway Home” Rattlesnake Milk
“Snake, Rattle, & Roll”

Now here’s something I could listen all day. Vocalist/guitarist Sean Lewis and company have been quietly creating a sound that blends country, folk, punk, and blues. Some call it cow-punk. Others country punk. Whatever you want to label it, it fits Lubbock to the T. Lewis’ songs revolve around dusty depression transients that could have been acquaintances with Tom Joad. They’re worn-out travelers needing to find a drink (or something more heavy) to get them through the night and into the next day. Every time “Highway Home” comes through your speakers, you can’t help but get the feeling that it’ll make its way into a Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriquez grind house flick. It’s about the only home that’d be fitting.–THOMAS D. MOONEY

No Dry County17. “Wine” No Dry County
“To Whom It May Concern” EP

As soon as you hear the first ten seconds of Wine, it’s obvious that a range of influences have gone into making one song. It has all the qualities of just exploding while being played live and still holds onto the songwriting behind it. Lead singer Trent Langford moves his melody around skillful guitar work and a steady rhythm section. With so much going on it would be easy to get lost in music and lose the personal lyrics, but No Dry County has found a way to keep it all intact in a ball of Americana, blues, folk and country way that really only Lubbock could produce.–DAVE MARTINEZ, singer-songwriter

William Clark Green16. “It’s About Time” William Clark Green
“It’s About Time” Single

I think someone just out Randy Rogered Randy Rogers here. It’s not until 30 seconds in when it hits you. That’s when the guitars and drums just knock you over with their power. It’s another love gone wrong song with a little bit of a revenge streak down the middle. William Clark Green‘s vocals are much more gritty here. They’ve been saturated with whiskey and cigarette smoke and in turn, give him a more angry, fierce edge. It’s also a point in Green’s career (three albums in come this spring with “Rose Queen”) that’s most likely a launching point. Years from now, you very well could look back to “It’s About Time” as the moment Green “leveled up.”–THOMAS D. MOONEY  

Estelline15. “I Let You Down” Estelline
“Wiretap Sessions”

I think I may be the only one deeming these “Wiretap Sessions” as more than just a couple of videos strung together, but rather, just as important as any physical or official release. Their just too good to be overlooked. Kenny Harris is an ever-growing songwriter whose abilities have just blossomed with the help of guitarist Sean Troyer. It was just a few short years ago that Estelline released their self-titled debut record. The songs on that record, amazing as they may be, just fall in comparison to what Harris has been up to recently. His Hank Williams-esque southern drawl can captivate an audience rather quickly over the Fleetwood Mac meets Jayhawks melodies and rhythm. Tori Vasquez‘ backup vocals are stellar and crisp feeling more abundant and ample than she’s actually doing. In this case, less is more. As we’ve deemed the collective, it’s southern-gothic, gypsy-folk.–THOMAS D. MOONEY

430069_181107045336733_1406435418_n14. “Let Her Run” Red & The Vityls
“Red & The Vityls” EP

There’s some sketchy mythology here probably. Has Russell Shahan recently traveled down to Rosedale, Mississippi? I hear there’s a crossroads down there you can sell your soul to the devil. Shahan may have gone off the Robert Johnson route and sold his to some blues tunes. Oh, Red, how you’ve royally fucked up. That’s your everlasting soul, man. Your soul. Well, we’ll take the badass rockers though. Take “Let Her Run” for example. That’s much too swampy to have originated from the West Texas plains. It’s voodoo charged with handclaps, foot stomps, CCR guitar licks, and (strangely, but it works) T. Rexing going on.–RYAN HEAPE

Slow Static13. “Triggerfinger” Slow Static
“Slow Static” EP

The opening track of Slow Static‘s self-titled EP, “Triggerfinger” (I believe that is also a “Walking Dead” episode title–dudes apparently love zombies) reads more post-punk than post-rock, lending a vague and friendly nostalgia to accompany the song’s anxious uncertainty. The guitars are complex, sometimes as delicate as a Wild Nothing track. Other times, they’re driving and forceful. Slow Static achieve a spacial depth here that is nothing short of marvelous; it’s getting down to the same icy levels that Martin Bennett took Ian Curtis to with “Unknown Pleasures.” Slow Static are one of Lubbock’s most dazzling live acts, so it’s encouraging to see their promise translating into records like this one.–RYAN HEAPE

Amanda Shires12. “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass” Amanda Shires
“Lowe Country: The Songs of Nick Lowe”

Even in a year where she doesn’t release a new album, Amanda Shires finds her way onto a list such as this. Here we find here covering Nick Lowe’s “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass” for the Nick Cave tribute, “Lowe Country: The Songs of Nick Lowe.” Lowe’s version happened to be on his 1978 debut “Jesus of Cool.” It was an upbeat, new wave, keyboard heavy jangler. In classic Shires fashion, she slows it down and makes it into a mellow–slightly dark and gothic–ballad. Her fiddle play goes into eery, sporadic directions here and there while at others, is a calm, smooth element. It’s a song that can silence a crowd in a fashion that only Shires can. Like previous cover efforts (Think of her chilling good cover of Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man”), it feels as though Shires wrote the song herself. She’s the equivalent of a method actor who doesn’t just act a part, but is the part. She’s not just singing the song. She is the song. “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass” is nothing short of that.–THOMAS D. MOONEY

The Flatlanders11. “I Think Too Much of You” The Flatlanders
“The Odessa Tapes”

What can I really say about The Flatlanders that hasn’t been said? Collectively, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock are a Lubbock institution (and individually for that matter) that can only be rivaled by the likes of Buddy Holly, Terry Allen, and Waylon Jennings. They’re as they put it, more a legend than a band. “The Odessa Tapes” were recorded some 40 years ago in Odessa, Texas. Of the 14 tracks, the majority are familiar staples of the songwriters catalog of songs–“Dallas,” and “Tonight I Think I’m Gonna Go Downtown” for example. Of the old “new” songs, “I Think Too Much of You,” a Hancock penned tune, has all the charm and beauty we’d expect from a Flatlander song. Gilmore’s voice is as spot on as ever in its feathery, West Texas drawl.–THOMAS D. MOONEY  

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13 responses to “Year in Review: Top 40 Lubbock Songs of 2012: 20-11

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