Our Favorite Austin Songs of 2023

Maile Carballo / KUTX

We asked the KUTX staff to share three of their favorite songs from the past year and compiled their picks HERE. Scroll down to see the songs from Austin artists that made the cut!


Being Dead

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“Muriel’s Big Day Off”

Their guest DJ set was epically chaotic: we talked about acid trips and Ricky Martin, a delay on the monitors rendered our speech a swampy, elongated stew, and all of it captured live in front of a confused audience in hundred-degree heat. I’ve done over 500 of these things, and this is my favorite, because it perfectly captured Being Dead’s court jester spirit, which you can hear on “Muriel’s Big Day Off.” They write silly garage pop with impish delight, and you either surrender to it or risk looking like a fool. Bonus points for tight harmonies, switching instruments, and mid-song jazz odysseys.

-Art Levy

The album When Horses Would Run is one of my faves of 2023, local or otherwise. Their quirky vision and sense of humor have made me a fan since I first heard them. Plus, the piano-jazz breakdown bridge in this song always makes me smile.  

-Jake Perlman

A weird band of titillation and surprise, Being Dead never fails to pull you in. With hypnotic harmonies and an impressive tightness, “Muriel’s Big Day Off”’s titular character enjoys a day in the city, having tea with friends and making multiple shoplifting trips to Payless. You want to be the person Muriel is meeting for tea between her budget-fashion escapades

-Taylor Wallace

“Last Living Buffalo”

Being Dead alone is wonderful, spectacular, sublime, and out of this world. Pair the power trio with a drum-driven indie-western ballad about the great American buffalo extinction and you get a masterpiece greater than any Michelangelo. I’m glad that KUTX has the privilege to call this band a part of the Austin Music Experience. 

Maile Carballo


Caramelo Haze

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“Una Mañana”

I got to mix CH at our pop-up tent during ACL and swooned over their version of this José José tune. It’s got this big crooner vibe against a backdrop of psych-y instrumentation and perfectly distorted drums. Big ups. 

Rene Chavez

More of the dreamiest grooves from Austin’s premiere Latin psych/Afro-Columbian funk outfit. It’s the seductive golden rays of neo-sol.

-Laurie Gallardo


Black Pumas

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“More Than A Love Song”

Austin psych-soul masters returned a few months ago with this, the first volley from their 2nd album “Chronicles Of A Diamond”. Instead of repeating one of their debut’s blueprints, they came up with this fresh slice of pop R&B – which has already been nominated for a Grammy, and deservedly so. 

-Jody Denberg

I didn’t think Black Pumas could ever write a chorus better than the one on “Colors.” But I didn’t need to doubt them, because on this one, they aimed for something just as meaningful. The song underlines the point of its title: music is more than hit singles or sold-out shows. It can be a healing and disruptive force, a good reminder to take into 2024.

Art Levy


Harry Edohoukwa

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“Zombies”

Fun fact: Harry Edohoukwa opened the very first SXBREAKS in 2018. We had no idea who he was then but boy, do we know who he is now. “Zombies” is a haunting track that has my favorite line in it “Every room I walk in is mine”. It was true in 2018 and it definitely is true now.

“Confucius” Jones

My only gripe about this song is that Harry didn’t make it longer, but at the same time, it’s the perfect length. The build-up in intensity is unmatched by most things out there right now.

Aaron “Fresh” Knight


Magic Rockers of Texas

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“Slomo Cancer”

Imagine that Gram Parsons survived to hear more punk rock, spent another decade self-loathing and self-destructing in a dive bar, and recorded an album with Alex Chilton and Paul Westerberg blacked out on well whiskey. “Slomo Cancer” is the song they wrote the morning after.

Ryan Wen


THEBROSFRESH

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“Your Energy”

This grooves somewhere between classic MJ & yacht rock, with a Purdie shuffle & some fairly tough guitars. The hooky chorus sold me on first listen. There are times when I’m amazed at all the talent we have here in Austin. Hearing this tune is one of those times. 

Jake Perlman


Grace Sorensen

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“Digits” ft. Magna Carda

I’ll never get over this song. The longing ache. It’s perfect. 

Trina Quinn


Bayonne

“Right Thing”

Bayonne secures his spot as one of the best electronic musicians Austin has to offer with this track. Drum machines blend with live drums, while interwoven synth textures fit seamlessly with organic sound elements like piano and vocal harmonies. Listen in headphones for the full experience.

Soundfounder


Skateland

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“As The Father, So The Son”

I’ll be honest with you, I’m partial to Skateland because he is my blood cousin. But don’t get it confused. He’s an amazing artist in his own right. This track, in my opinion, showcases not only his potential but where the path is going to next. Family first but talent always.

“Confucius” Jones


Walker Lukens

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“The One Who Loves You”

The title track to your next romance.

Trina Quinn


Die Spitz

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“Chug”

Outside of being one half of The Breaks, I’m the production assistant for Studio 1A. Die Spitz came in for a session and were the nicest girls imaginable – until they started performing. A true rock band, amazing performers. Also, they refused to perform this song during their 1A. Very rock and roll indeed.

“Confucius” Jones


BLK ODYSSY

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“Lay Low” ft. Bnxn

A perfect two minutes of smooth groove. I couldn’t stop listening to it. It hits me in all the right spots.

Marine Castor


Font

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“Sentence I”

For most of the two years they’ve been together, this was the only song Austin’s Font had officially released. That’s fine, because this track has enough excitement, melody, counter-melody, and cowbell (oh hell, yes) to carry an entire album, let alone one song. They’ve already opened for bar italia, Water From Your Eyes, and Horsegirl. Their indie cred is unimpeachable, and people are starting to notice. It’s only a matter of time before Austin does the same.

Rick McNulty


Molly Burch

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“Unconditional”

After I heard Molly perform this song live in studio 1A, it was stuck in my head and it’s been in my playlist ever since. Her sound reminds me of Lana Del Rey and Lady Gaga, I love her vibe!

Juliana Rios


Explosions In The Sky

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“Moving On”

It’s nice to have these Austin post-rock instrumentalists back in action after a bit of a hiatus. They return to form with their richly textured cinematic soundscape that leaves everything to the imagination. 

Jay Trachtenberg


Will Johnson

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“The Conductor Calls”

“Sometimes I fail to feel a thing,” Johnson admits. But this isn’t one of those times. Austin’s Johnson augments his usual guitar crunch with graceful swopes of steel guitar and a lifting, late chorus, but it doesn’t hide the foreboding. Someone has done something wrong here, even if you’re unsure what it is. 

Jeff McCord


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