Best of 2024 (so far…)

KUTX Staff Pick The Best Music of 2024 (So Far)

Maybe it’s the result of the long pause, but everything seems to be coming at us at a furious pace these days. This year has already seen an enormous amount of widely varied and outstanding releases, not to mention an equal amount of treasured musical memories.

Our brave KUTX staff wade into the morass to choose their favorites.  

– Jeff McCord, Music Editor

Listen along to our Best of 2024 (so far…) Staff Picks playlist while you read through our selections,

Austin artists highlighted in red!

Aaron “Fresh” Knight

Co-Host The Breaks Sat 10pm – 1am | Late Show Mon. 8 – 11pm | Weekend Morning show Sat 10am – 2pm

NxWorries – “From Here (ft. Snoop Dogg & October London)” 

“FromHere” is everything you expect from a NxWorries song. The melancholy production from Knxwledge alongside Anderson Paak’s smooth vocals is what fans have been waiting for since their debut album in 2016.

Common & Pete Rock – “Wise Up”

REAL RAP IS BACK!! That is what most are yelling after hearing the lead single from Common and Pete Rock’s joint album Audiotorium Vol.1. Pete Rock’s classic sample chopping accompanied by Common’s smooth intricate lyrics deliver what rap needs right now. It just feels right.

Mike Melinoe – “Casper”

While the song is short, I think that is the great thing about this Mike Melinoe single: it makes you want more. “Casper” has an infectious hook, a beat you can bounce and groove to, and the Detroit native, now Austin based, delivers what feels like a certified hit.

Art Levy

Producer My KUTX

Dehd – “Mood Ring”

I love how Dehd—a fun-loving, irreverent garage rock group from Chicago—is so serious about its songwriting. There’s a real craftsmanship to “Mood Ring,” stacking hooks on top of hooks while trading between two different singers with wildly different singing styles. Carole King and the Brill Building veterans would be proud.

Camera Obscura – “Big Love”

I never thought the words “Camera Obscura” and “Waylon Jennings” would ever appear in the same sentence, but here we are. The Scottish twee-pop legends return with a song that has some of Waylon’s stomp-and-roll to it, and the band sounds great in twangy duds. Could we get a full album of Country Obscura, please?

Strand Of Oaks – “Party At Monster Lake”

The last time I saw Tim Showalter, he was telling me he was getting really into painting. The next time I saw Tim Showalter, his electrifying visual art graced the cover of his new album. He is restlessly creative, and this song finds him pushing his heartworn folk-rock onto a canvas of electronic psychedelia.

Bill Childs

Host Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child Sun 6pm – 7pm

Dinosaur’s Skin – “Jurassic Ride”

This “Jurassic-Pop duo from prehistoric times” kicked off KUTX’s Rock the Shores. Led by two dinosaurs (Trex and Tri) who time traveled 65 million years to today, they mourn the losses of their friends and tell stories of the good old days. Sounds like a gimmick, and I suppose it is, but the songs are fully realized and a fascinating combination of whimsy and melancholy.

Charley Crockett – “$10 Cowboy”

This is the song, for some reason, that finally made me realize the genius of Charley Crockett. Crockett says he wrote the album in truck stops and casinos, and that’s the vibe here. Perfection.

Jon Langford & the Bright Shiners – “Tell Me Your Story”

This relatively new side project from the Mekons and Waco Brothers veteran was all over SXSW this year (while the Waco Brothers closed out Rock the Shores with a raucously fun set). It’s a collaboration with Alice Spencer, Tamineh Gueramy, and frequent Langford side man John Szymanski. This gentle and deceptively simple seeming number, featured on Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, does as the best Langford tracks do—celebrate stories.

Confucius Jones

Co-Host The Breaks Sat 10pm – 1am | Weekend Afternoon Show Sun 2pm – 6pm

Grandmaster – “Castle Door” 

I know a Parliament influence when I hear it, and I love it just the same. Plus they are from the city? Double win!

S.L. Houser – “Fever In My Eye”

Anyone who listens to me on Sundays has definitely heard this song. Former AOTM S.L. Houser dropped an amazing album last year but this song gets spins like it came out last week. Ask my shower. 

Mike Melinoe – “Casper”

Austin’s Mike Melinoe dropped one of the best albums of any genre with STRCHLD. What’s wild is that it isn’t even the best song on the album, but it still sounds better than 95% of the music coming out of Austin.

Deidre Gott

Assistant Program Director | Live Music Producer

Fcukers “Bon Bon” 

They say you’re either a lyrics person or a music person. I’m definitely a person drawn to a song’s melody and beat first and foremost. This track from New York’s newest party band immediately takes me back to my clubbing days in the late 90’s and you best believe I’ll be dancing hard at their Levitation set November 1st. 

Sabrina Carpenter “Please Please Please” 

What feels like a million years ago, I was music director and on-air talent for a commercial Top-40 station. So when an indie musician does a cover from a current giant pop star (ex: Molly Burch/Ariana Grande’s “Needy”) I am SO delighted. Not long ago, Austin’s best new harmony factory Next of Kin posted this beautiful slowed down cover of an ear-worm I hadn’t heard before and now I’m contemplating giving all my money to Live Nation for those tickets on October 28 at the Moody Center. 

Menahan Street Band ft. Rogê  – “Tropical Man”

Although I only know a few phrases, I love the Portuguese language. My bestie spent most of her childhood growing up in Brazil and in the 30+ years we’ve known each other she’s turned me on to many great Brazilian musicians. This collaboration with Brooklyn instrumental group Menahan Street Band and Brazilian artist Rogê reminds me of my favorite classic Brazilian tracks. You into this vibe too? Check out some 70’s/early 80’s albums from Gilberto Gil, Banda Black Rio, Marcus Valle, Tim Maia and Robson Jorge and Lincon Olivett.

Diego Artea


The Volunteers – “Velvet Glove”

Korean rock band based in Seoul. The track is from their latest EP titled “L”.  Their vocalist, Yerin Baek, makes excellent solo music as well in both English and Korean. I’ve got VIP tickets to see them on the 12th and couldn’t be happier.

Chappell Roan – “Good Luck Babe!”

I too, fell trap to Chappel Roan’s charms. I remember seeing her Coachella performances flood my timeline, and I’d sit and watch each time. I would not be surprised if she became a next-gen pop star.

Sentimental Family Band – “Hot House Flower”

I first discovered this band on the radio  while driving to work and I instantly turned the volume up. I’m a sucker for the country twang this band brings to Austin. Seeing them perform in the KUTX Studio 1A made me love them that much more.

Jack Anderson


Baby the Band – “Stain”

First and foremost, kudos to the group formerly known as Baby for changing their name into something infinitely more findable online. This one’s best enjoyed back to back with its companion piece “Not Forever”. But even on its own, “Stain” has made a mark on the Texas psychedelia spectrum with Tame Impala-type energy.

Viben – “Pablo Picasso”

Hard not to latch on this one and its hypnotic, lofty vocal loop. It’s simple. It’s straightforward. And its repetitiveness is mitigated by an arrangement that never sounds too same-y. I wouldn’t be too surprised if this one gains more traction in the world of house DJs.

Grandmaster – “Castle Door”

No better anthem to eat, drink, and be merry this summer than this War-meets-Steely Dan drawbridge-droppin’ yacht rocker. Eager to hear where this ’70s-inspired cult takes things next.

Jacquie Fuller

Assistant Program Director

Waxahatchee – “Bored”

This song is 2024’s version of  “All I Wanna Do Is Have Some Fun,” and Katie Crutchfield seems to give about as many shits now as Sheryl Crow did then. “Bored” is the shrug emoji in song form: I yam what I yam. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  It’s as much swagger as can be mustered in these times, but it’s still swagger.

Graham Reynolds & Marta Del Grandi – “Linger In Silence”

You know those clouds that give you temporary respite on brilliantly hot days? That’s Del Grandi’s Stereolab-cool voice here – floating gently over an expansive, hot vista of rolling hills and jagged roadcuts. Reynolds is nothing if not a landscape painter. Like everything he does, this song is widescreen.

Vampire Weekend – “Capricorn”

Just when I think I can’t take any more of Vampire Weekend sounding like Vampire Weekend, Ezra Koenig surprises me. A typical Koenig love ballad at the structural level, “Capricorn” gets a cyber makeover with cryo-cool piano and jarring, pneumatic synths. Maybe this is Koenig winking at us: he knows we know he’s got a winning formula, so he rolls this one out of a literal sonic factory.

Jay Trachtenberg

Host Sunday Morning Jazz Sun 7am – 10am

Yannis & The Yaw (feat. Tony Allen) – “Walk Through Fire”

This almost sounds like a Led Zeppelin/Fela Kuti mash up with the Foals’ Yannis     Philippakis howling ala Robert Plant and quintessential Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen digging in to that irresistible groove.

The Point  – “Maquina Pura”

They may not be opening for the Rolling Stones anytime soon despite what you’ve read online but this smokin’, largely instrumental, this Austin drum-keyboard-guitar trio is one to definitely keep your eye on.

NxWorries  – “FromHere”

Hard for me not to embrace the low ‘n’ slow, old school R&B sound replete with the silky smooth falsetto of October London soaring above Anderson .Paak’s plaintive crooning. Ideal for star-crossed lovers.

Jeff McCord

Music Editor | Host What’s Next Thurs 8pm – 11pm

Jessica Pratt – “Life Is”

There hasn’t been a finer song this year than “Life Is”, as the LA folkie adds a disembodied clockwork drum to her ethereal Nick Drake spareness. “Time is time and time and time again,” she sings. “And what would you say if you can’t get out of here?”

Font – “Hey Kekulé”

With an album finally on the way, the Austin five-piece show little signs of diverting from their finely controlled chaos. Singer/guitarist Thom Waddill applies his weird warbly vocals to lyrics about the famed 1800’s chemist and his snake-like polymers, yet all you want to do is dance.

Yaya Bey – “Me and All My _____”

A two-minute slab of interstitial mood-funk plopped right in the middle of one the finest R&B records of the year. Bey sings of grief, hope and solace, but the groove never lets up. Powerful.

Jody Denberg

Host Mon-Thu 5pm – 8pm & Fri. 12pm – 4pm

Alejandro Escovedo – “Bury Me”

Leave it to Alejandro to reinvent a song he first released in 1992 on his solo debut “Gravity” and make it sound like he wrote it yesterday. In fact all his re-inventions of his songs on this year’s Echo Dancing make the compositions seem new and relevant to today.

Strand Of Oaks – “Party At Monster Lake”

If all you know about Timothy Showalter – aka Strand Of Oaks – is his breakthrough “Goshen ‘97” from ten years back, this single will come as quite a change of pace. The textures and introspective lyrics of his new work are inventive and moving.

Yannis & The Yaw – “Walk Through Fire”

Truth be told, I am not familiar with Yannis Philippakis’ band Foals, and am only now learning of the legend of his late partner on this project, Fela Kuti’s drummer and musical director Tony Allen (who passed in 2020). It doesn’t matter! The visceral pleasure of this song every time I hear in on KUTX is energizing- and a whole album is on the way. Only question – why did this sit on the shelf for so long?

Laurie Gallardo

Host Mon-Thu 1pm – 5pm

Common and Pete Rock – “Wise Up”

The OG’s rise up to show you how it’s done. Two hip-hop superstars combining their superpowers to honor their roots.

GUM and Ambrose Kenny-Smith – “Ill Times”

The classic riffs on this rocker are the illest of them all. I just imagine Jay Watson and Ambrose Kenny-Smith playing this one on stacked amps.

Blondshell (with Bully) – “Docket”

This is the perfect melodic pairing with Sabrina Teitelbaum and Alicia Bognanno. The chorus will stay in your brain for weeks.

Maile Carballo

Marketing Specialist

Sierra Ferrell – “Dollar Bill Bar”

Clocking in at #1 for the song most stuck in my head this year! Despite the catchiness of it and many songs on her latest album, Trail of Flowers, Sierra Ferrell is one of my top musical discoveries so far this year. Considering her resilience in overcoming homelessness, multiple near-death experiences, and struggling to make it in music, she is truly nothing short of amazing as a musician and a human being. (Also, John C. Reilly joined her onstage for a recent show in his Dewey Cox get up and there’s really no beating how awesome that is.) I anxiously await her sold-out Stubb’s show with Nick Shoulders later this year.

IDLES – “Roy”

IDLES strikes again with their latest album, TANGK, and there is seriously no beating these Bristol lads. Joseph Talbot and Mark Bowen are modern poets and true raconteurs. Talk about another musician that is nothing short of amazing as a human being… Joe and the wave that he’s created with IDLES is real proof of how far the power of music reaches. I will always and forever go to the ends of the earth for IDLES.

Grandmaster – “Holy Star”

Heavenly. Ethereal. Absolute perfection. I’m beyond excited to see how far this group of wonderfully talented musicians goes, and even more than thrilled to witness it all come to life in our sweet town of Austin. Behold The Grandmaster!

Marnie Castor

Host Weekend Early Morning show Saturdays 7am- 10am

Porij – “My Only Love” 

The easy breezy vibes run deep in my veins. The song feels like a cool drink of water to me. Plus, they were so stoked to be at Scholz Garten’s KUTX stage during SXSW that their joy was infectious.  

Girl and Girl – “Hello”  

I love Girl and Girl’s jangly, danceable sound so much.  Plus.  Aunt Liss….  I mean.

Suki Waterhouse –  “My Fun” 

This song about finding somebody who loves that you love to have fun sounds great to me. It’s catchy and it always picks me up when I hear it. 

Rene Chavez

Sound Engineer

Warpaint – “Common Blue” 

Warpaint’s perpetual sad-girl-summer vibes always rope me in. “Common Blue” has a great hook and an irresistible gloom that I dug right away. 

Angelica Garcia – “Juanita” 

I’m a sucker for down-tempo Cumbia tracks. This one is trippy, energetic, and texturally rich. And Angelica’s gorgeous vocal delivery is both precise and wild all at once.

Kacey Musgrave – “Cardinal” 

What’s to say other than the production on this tune is outstanding. A song about grief, loss, and omens. Lovely vocals and an incredible hook.

Rick McNulty

Music Director | Host Left of the Dial Fri 7pm – 11pm

Fontaines D.C. – “Starburster”

I can’t recall a human gasp being used as a hook in a song, but vocalist Grian Chatten’s massive swallow of air punctuates each line of the chorus in what is the most incendiary song of the year so far. Apparently inspired by a panic attack he had in a London tube station, Chatten and the band turn it around and inspire panic in us.

The Greeting Committee – “How It Goes”

A perfectly constructed pop song right out of the gate, all about the fear of sticking your neck out when you’re on the precipice of love. “That’s how it goes, don’t you get sick of it?” Not a chance.

Grandmaster – “Castle Door”

This 11-piece Austin band have concocted a jubilant summer banger. They’ve discovered the sweet spot between the gang mentality of P-Funk and the groovalicious joy of Vulfpeck. Put this on your summer playlist and watch your Austin friends freak out when they realize Grandmaster is local.

Ryan Wen

Producer | Host Late Show Tuesdays 8pm – 11pm | Host Weekend Mid Day Show Saturdays 2pm – 6pm

Helado Negro – “Best for You and Me”

Have you ever had a band in your orbit for years before you finally sat down and listened to their records? Helado Negro’s music finally entered my atmosphere this year and “Best for You and Me” from their latest Phasor is so far the defining track for my 2024. It’s a mid tempo melancholy head-bopping groove you can dance to, meditate, or do both to simultaneously.

NxWorries – “FromHere” (f. Snoop Dogg & October London)

I spun NxWorries 2016 debut Yes Lawd! to death. I was poor as hell, partying too much, and never sleeping… and I’ll just say that record resonated with me. It’s 2024 now, and on their sophomore release Why Lawd?, Paak and Knxledge sound like they prefer to chill with a few friends and go to bed by 11 pm. Me too, man.

Metz – “No Reservation” / “Love Comes Crashing”

It sometimes feels like there’s nothing left to explore in the world of angsty hardcore punk rock, then I remember METZ exists. The psyche-sundering sonic brutality on Up on Gravity Hill will hearten any fan of Unwound, the Jesus Lizard, etc.. Turn it up, loud.


Host Soundfounder Wednesdays 8 – 10pm

Kamasi Washington feat. Andre 3000 – “Dream State” 

Modern Jazz legend Kamasi Washington teams up with flute era Andre 3000 for a funky, dreamlike improv jam.  I really enjoyed Andre’s ambient flute record but this track gives the listener a chance to hear his experimental playing over funky drums and it just works very well.

Magna Carda – “Cowboy” (Boombaptist Remix)  

One of the best hip hop acts in Austin remixed by one of the best electronic producers in town in Drum n Bass style. The result is a super solid, fun track that really shows off the various talents of everyone involved.

Four Tet  – “Loved”

At the age of 46, UK experimental dance music producer Four Tet has still not peaked in his career.  In addition to playing the biggest shows of his life, he’s also managed to spend enough time in the studio to produce a vast array of musical styles.  “Loved” is a mellow, lush track with a hearty drum break that sets a perfect mood.

Taylor Wallace-Riegel

Host Morning Show Mon-Fri 6am – 9am

Fcukers – “Bon Bon”

Maybe I’m getting old, but when I saw this band name, I thought “this better be really good.” Yup, it’s incredible. Dancy, dark, and interesting – an excellent bop. I’m recommending them to anyone who’ll listen.

Variety – “Plover”

A great project from Borzoi’s Rhys Woodruff.  Borzoi’s technical, art-punk style lays ground for a more dampened, garage sound without dropping any of Woodruff’s flare for time signature fun. They’ve been breadcrumbing excellent singles leading up to their full debut in the fall. Expect to see these guys on many Austin stages soon.

Font –  “Hey Kekulé”

Our April Artist of the Month continues to reaffirm that title and show why they were asked to open for Yard Act on a leg of their North American tour. A fresh reminder of why my favorite genre (dance punk) is just that. Most of their material leans more post-punk, but the LCD Soundsystem-influenced groove here is undeniable. Please watch their Studio 1A session and see them when they return to town. Your trance awaits.

Trina Quinn

Host Weekend Mid Day Show Sunday 10am to 2pm

Font – “Hey Kekulé”

ATX making art of noise!

BLK ODYSSY (w/ Wiz Khalifa) – “XXX”

ATX banger!

Sisi – “Sugar”

ATX summer dreams

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