Our Best of Austin Poll for Emerging Artists has been - as usual - a lengthy and painstaking journey which took us through prairies of numbers, horizons filled with band names, and a dense, (mostly) joyous rain of music. We have finally reached our destination and we can announce the final results!
The Artist of the Year for The Deli Austin 2015, the artist voted in by our panel of Austin music folks in the know in tandem with you the public, is the inimitable future funk outfit and Austin standard carrier CAPYAC. To put it as blunt and forward as the good beats this act puts out, the win was no surprise. CAPYAC have taken their sound, their show and their presence in the music scene and have exploded them all to new heights this year. We once called them the 'smoothest music in Austin right now,' and not only has this sly scifi-appropriate spacefunk + beats duo lived up to that title with numerous spot-on spaced-out releases since our last review of them, they've also added 'most fun,' 'most consistent' and very possibly 'best live show in Austin, right now' to the list of claims they can make on the Live Music Capital of the World's local scene. Those alone are some damn chops to contend with, but since CAPYAC also had the single that was the biggest repeat play in The Deli Austin's offices this year with the cherry red, lazer-beats and deep funk glorious “Speedracer,” we really can't argue with this pick. It's been, and it continues to be, the age of CAPYAC in Austin, Texas.
If there are two scenes producing at the top of their game in Austin right now that are most visible (out of many such scenes, let's not short this crazy city its talent), it'd be the beat scene, of which our contest winner CAPYAC is a member, and it would also be the psych rock side of this here music town. Among those acts bending the psych thing back around to new 2016-primed directions, Annabelle Chairlegs is perhaps the most exciting. They're also The Deli Austin's #2 Best Emerging Artist of 2015, an accomplishment this young and daring band has achieved due both to its embracing of the spirit of early psychedelic music and for where they branch off from that parent sound to express themselves in their own new and rebellious ways. They're as much punk and 80s/90s lush indie pop influenced as they are psych; pretty and layered when they're being edgy and poppy and druggy, and pretty even when they are actually trying to be pretty. It's hard to do both of those at the same time, but 2015's Watermelon Summer was a debut album that is very likely to be the soundtrack of this summer in Austin for the young and ultra-hip in the hippy/psych scene, just as it was last summer. These young art partiers, with their bubblegum hair-sporting banshee songstress and dreamy pop singles, are one of the acts we think very well could break out of this city in a big way. With a second place showing in our contest, it looks like the rest of Austin agrees with us.
The thing about real, good soul is that it says it right there in the name: it's gotta hit you in the soul. That shit can't be faked; though many try to achieve it, soul isn't something that can be tried at or denied when it's heard in its real form. It hits you, in your own soul like a burning weight, and you know you're hearing it done right. And, when you hear it done right, you know just why it is so good, and why that's important. Tomar and the FCs, our third place band this year, are soul. They're soul, and they're good, and it's cool as fuck. They put out songs that sound like new classics, like the guys writing and performing them know their musical history and just went and inserted themselves into the soul canon through the sheer quality and dedication and, to bring it back to the point, the pure fucking soul of their music. Hell, Tomar and the FCs, aren't trying to bring soul back, they've done it. They are soul, and it's just plain feel good badass sing-it-out music. To do what they do with an old sound in a day that's so aware of what's come before, and to make it feel fresh and damn fine to boogie down to, is tremendous, and Tomar and the FCs well deserve the showing they've made in our poll.
Check out our poll's top 15 below, and don't forget to get even deeper, exploring all the finalists organized by genre:
If you wonder how this chart came into existence, here is how it all went down: first, we let the local bands submit their music (for free), and got our Deli editors to pick the nominees. Then we polled a list of 15+ Austin scene expert (our jury) and asked them to nominate 3 more bands of their choice each (3 points for the top choice, then 2 and 1). Then we polled our readers. We tried to keep things open for each single genre, from Indie Rock to Roots Music to Hip Hop.
If you are a geek interested in all the subtelties related to how this poll works, you can read its rules here (happy reading!). But if all you care about is the awesome new music Austin produced in the year 2015, this list is all you need. Enjoy!
Many Thanks to our Jurors: Trevor Talley (The Deli Austin), Howdy Darrell (The White Horse), Austen Bailey (The Parish), Tyson Swindell (Red 7), Jason McNeely (Hotel Vegas), Ashley Bradley (Ovrld) Ben Webster (The North Door) Alice Geaccone (Witchxxdoctor) Matt Reilly (KUT Austin) Maggie Lea (Cheer Up Charlies) Margaret Galton (C3) Diane Scott (Continental Club) Shelley Neuman (ATX Streetstyle) Marcus Lawyer (Transmission Events) Jonathon Gaylon (American Icon Records) Gillian Driscoll (Sound Dessert) Alexander Dubois (Self)
Hope you'll find some awesome new artists you weren't aware of!
The Deli's Staff