The Austin City Limits Music Festival is a great annual music festival that is held in Austin, TX. It doesn’t seem to get as much hype as Coachella or Lollapalooza but every year it showcases up and coming bands aside from the obvious headliners. The festival begins Oct 3-5 and then repeats again Oct 10-12. I am listing the bands I hope to check out this weekend. In my opinion, this festival has one of the better lists of ‘mid-tier’ level bands that are not necessarily well known but are definitely up and coming. If you are going to the festival, I have listed the stages and times for each weekend. Some artists are only playing one of the weekends. I believe this year was the first year I have seen the most diversity in terms of artists not playing both weekends.
If you are not familiar with Austin, TX – we are dubbed the music capital of the world and it is home to the SXSW Festival in March and ACL every year in October. We have some of the best venues to see live music and the culture here in this town is awesome for showcasing great talent. I highly suggest visiting one of these festivals at least once in your lifetime. Not only is Austin great with the music scene – we also like to keep it “weird’. We are a highly artistic community and there is plenty to see and do here. I hope you discover a few bands you have never heard of with this post. Enjoy!
BENJAMIN BOOKER – Austin Ventures Stage Both Saturdays 10/4 & 10/11 1:00pm-1:40pm (CST)
In case you haven’t heard, this guy is bringing some straight up blues injected rock to the scene, and his debut album is pretty amazing. I am linking his first single “Violent Shiver” from his recently released self titled debut album. Benjamin Booker hails from New Orleans and has been making the rounds on late night television. Here is a link from his appearance on Letterman.
BLUE BEAR – Austin Ventures Stage – Sat. 10/4 11:15a-11:45a (CST)
I have to highlight some great Austin talent and Blue Bear is one of them. I am so excited to see their full live set on the stage at ACL. I can’t wait for their new album Vacations to come out, either. The tracks I have heard so far are pretty amazing. If you are a fan of lovely melodies and the band Grizzly Bear, these guys are definitely worth checking out. Blue Bear is truly an indie band. I am actually posting one of their new songs from the album called “Come on Home”.
BULLY – BMI Stage Sat. 10/11 4:30p-5:30p (CST)
BULLY is a great indie rock band out of Nashville. They had a nice showing at the SXSW Festival earlier this year and are now on the ACL Lineup. It is typical to see bands that were chosen or did make the list for the SXSW Festival to come back here in October.If you like grunge and a great female fronted band, you need to check them out. Here is their track Bully.
THE CHAIN GANG OF 1974 – RetailMeNot Stage, Sat 10/4 and Sat 10/11 11:30a-12:30p (CST)
In terms of indie synthpop bands, this band is great. The Chain Gang of 1974 is headed by Kamtin Mohager, and they remind me a bit of M83 . The album Daydream Forever is not one to miss. I am posting my favorite track from the album “Sleepwalking”. It will be interesting to see how they translate their sound in a live setting.
HAERTS – Miller Lite Stage Sun 10/5 & 10/12 11:30a-12:15p (CST)
This band has really taken off since their release of the track “Wings” in 2012. Comprised of a band that lives in all different places and contains some great Stevie Nicks like vocals from front woman Nini Fabi, they are worth checking out. If you like electro pop sounds, definitely check HAERTS out. I’m linking their most recent single, “Giving Up”.
HOZIER – RetailMeNot Stage Friday 10/3 3:15p-4:15p (CST)
“Take Me To Church” has gotten some pretty good radio play and this talented singer from Ireland is getting some great recognition. I tried to see him in March at SXSW but the venue was already at capacity so that was a total bummer. I am posting a less well known track by Hozier “Angel of Small Death & The Codeine Scene”. He has a beautiful voice, lovely songwriting and I am really excited to see him live.
KONGOS – Samsung Galaxy Stage Both Sundays 10/5 and 10/12 2pm-3pm (CST)
I have been wanting to see these guys since they were originally announced for South By (this is what it is referred to by Austinites) but they didn’t end up coming. KONGOS is a family band of all brothers who fuse rock with some African influences and surprisingly, the accordion. I can’t really compare them to anyone because they are that unique. I am really excited to see how their live set will be. Their most popular track is “Come With Me Now” but their album Lunatic is great all around.
MINIATURE TIGERS – Austin Ventures Stage, both Sundays 10/5 and 10/12 1:00p-1:40p (CST)
In my opinion, Miniature Tigers is a pretty under rated band. They have been producing some pretty awesome witty indie pop for a while now and I’m glad to see they are coming back to ACL. If you are not familiar they just came out with a great album Cruel Runnings and I’m posting my favorite track from the album, “Oblivious”.
MOATS – RetailMeNot Stage, Sat 10/4 1:15pm-2:15pm (CST)
Moats is a cool band from the UK that actually won the unsigned band slot to come to ACL, courtesy of NME. I am just assuming they have to be pretty good to beat out a bunch of other unsigned bands from the UK. Moats have a great sound but I can only currently find a few singles online. I really want to see how they perform live. I am posting their latest track “Rough”. If you like 90’s inspired rock with a great vocalist, check them out.
MODOC – BMI Stage Sunday 10/5 12:15p-1p (CST)
I am really excited about MODOC. If you are looking for straight up rock n’roll – this band is for you. This will be a challenging festial because half of the bands I want to see are playing at the same or overlapping times. If you are not familiar with MODOC, check out their great track “Runnin'”. Their self titled debut album is pretty sweet as well.
MY BRIGHTEST DIAMOND Sculpture Stage Sat 10/4 4:30p-5p, Zilker Stage Sat 10/11 4:30p-5:30p (CST)
With Shara Worden recently releasing a new album – I am really intrigued to see how her live set will come to life. If you are not familiar, it’s like big band, cabaret, electro pop and rock all fused together which creates a wonderful and unique sound. That’s my best description I can come up with for My Brightest Diamond. Here is the title track from her album “This is My Hand”.
NIGHT TERRORS OF 1927 – RetailMeNot Stage Fri 10/3 and 10/11 11:30a-12:15p (CST)
I really wanted to see these guys at South By but it didn’t work out. They have a great EP out and I’m excited to check out their live set. One of my favorite tracks is Dust and Bones and there is a pretty freaky video to go with it. NTO1927 (as they also like to go by) is a great mix of synth rock backed up with some pretty nice melodies. I am hoping they will have a full length album coming out soon.
PENNY & SPARROW – Austin Ventures Stage Fri 10/11 11:15a-11:45a (CST)
I have two Austin based bands on my list because I do love supporting the local scene. Penny & Sparrow is essentially a duo that travels singing purely acoustic or with a backing band depending on their mood. If you are a Bon Iver fan, I suggest you check these guys out. Penny & Sparrow have beautiful melodies and their most recent album release Struggle Pretty is lovely. Here is the video for one of my favorite tracks from that album, “Rattle”.
SNOWMINE – BMI Stage Sat 10/4 4:30p-5:30p (CST)
This band is top of my list to see live. I was kind of teased with the thought of seeing them at SXSW in March as they made the original list, but actually didn’t make the trip. When I saw them on the lineup for the first weekend of ACL, I was so excited. Snowmine is a Brooklyn based band who completely funded their latest album release with fan donations alone. Their album Dialects is in my top list for 2014 album releases so far. If you like a mix of chill and sweeping melodies and a tinge of shoegaze, you need to check them out. This is my favorite track off the album, “Rome”.
SPANISH GOLD – Samsung Galaxy Stage Sat 10/4 and Sat 10/11 12:30p-1:30p (CST)
These guys are a supergroup of sorts. Spanish Gold is fronted and was formed by Dante Schwebel after he left the band Hacienda. He recruited Adrian Quesada of Grupo Fantasma and My Morning Jacket’s drummer Patrick Hallahan. They have created a wonderful psychedelic rock vibe and their debut album South of Nowhere is worth a listen. Here is my favorite track from this album, “Out on the Street”.
I hope you find a few new bands to check out if you happen to be going to this year’s ACL Festival. If all goes well, I will be able to report back on most of these bands. I feel like the festival goers that aren’t showing up for the earlier set times are missing out. If you are going to ACL, who are you most excited to see? My picks for headliners are The Replacements, Spoon, Pearl Jam, Beck, Broken Bells and Foster The People.
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