One of the most exciting things about coming to Austin from another part of the country has been the opportunity to discover and explore an entirely new music scene and all the subcultures it entails. It is nearly impossible to imagine a better place to allow one’s music tastes to breathe and branch out— Austin truly is a mecca for live music. For someone whose tastes and true musical love lies somewhere in the avant-garde explorations of the new wave and post-punk of the eighties and the pop-punk energy of third-wave ska in the nineties, being a late arrival to the local music scene has had one major downside: so many of the fantastic bands that graced Austin’s stages are now defunct, with members exploring new projects or new paths to traverse in life. This playlist acts as a commemoration to these wonderful artists that worked so tirelessly to build Austin’s legacy for live music, and as a “Hail Mary” that hopes it might inspire even one of these groups to reassemble for a new community of music lovers.
This playlist traverses a wide range of genres, from some high-octane third-wave ska (courtesy of The Impossibles) to the poignant “emo” melodicism of Mineral. The playlist is, of course, incomplete and fails to adequately represent the rich and dynamic history of music in Austin. The playlist is simply a snapshot into the artists I have discovered and desperately wish still existed; it is a reflection of my own tastes and interests. Artists like What Made Milwaukee Famous reached significant levels of fame in their heyday, while The Scabs only produced one album before Bob Schneider went on to forge his own path and Red Corso never solidified a place even in Austin—but that is no measure of their talent. I hope you find something you love in this list; if you don’t, I encourage you to delve further into Austin’s remarkable array of musicians past and present.