Weekend Two of The Austin City Limits Festival kicks off tomorrow and we have a list of 25 bands you need to know. We all know why we are going because of the headliners ((Radiohead, M83, Mumford & Sons, Kendrick Lamar) and mid-level radio players that we don’t want to miss (Band of Horses, Cage The Elephant, The Naked and Famous, Two Door Cinema Club, etc). One of the great things about the Austin City Limits Festival is that they are really good at picking those up and coming bands that will be heard next on the radio.
If you don’t mind going early each day of the festival to catch some really great music from emerging bands, this is the festival to seek out new music. It’s also the 15th year for the Austin City Limits Festival and based on the new set up and updated map, it will be another great festival with many awesome performances. Here we list 25 up-and-coming bands you might not be in the know about – yet. Even if you aren’t able to make it to the festival, we hope you find a few new favorite bands.
We will also have a day by day suggested schedule for you so check back each day (Fri-Sun) for more info.
888 – (Denver, Colorado)
888 is creating upbeat indie-synth pop that you won’t soon forget. They also tackle important lyrical content like we find in Critical Mistakes. They currently have released their Critical Mistakes EP and we look forward to their live set.
Bad Suns – (Los Angeles, CA)
The LA quartet has already seen great success with their debut album and the completely addicting “Cardiac Arrest”. They are now back with a new release this year and we hear more infectious indie pop ballads that would each be able to garner their own hit singles. We are sharing “Disappear Here” which is the title track from their newest album.
Blue Healer – (Austin, TX)
Blue Healer is from Austin and they are creating harmonious laid back indie rock like if the War On Drugs took a bit more of a synth pop turn. We are excited to check out this emerging band this year at ACL. “Luminescent Eyes” is from their latest self-titled album.
Catfish & The Bottlemen – (Llandudno, Wales)
Catfish & The Bottlemen have had breakout success since their 2014 debut and have now released their newest album Ride. The quartet who continue to produce one addicting indie pop track after another will be one of our bands to check out this year. “Soundcheck” is from their newest album release.
Caveman – (New York, NY)
We are already fans of Caveman as we covered them a few months ago and we have proclaimed like The War on Drugs, Caveman are taking retro-rock to new levels. We are excited to check out their live set and maybe they remember meeting our counterpart Hollie at Shaky Knees.
Chairlift – (Brooklyn, NY)
Chairlift is an awesome duo creating ethereal synth pop that you can’t get out of your head. They recently released the album Moth and also followed that up with a new single titled “Get Real”. Caroline Polachek’s ethereal vocals captivate and the smooth production by Patrick Wimberly completes their enigmatic style. We hope to catch them live.
City and Colour – (Ontario, Canada)
If you are a singer-songwriter fan you most likely know Dallas Green (aka City and Colour). He is best known for his authentic tracks that deal with love, relationships and life. If I Should Go Before You is his latest release and we are sure to hear old and new tracks from this talented singer-songwriter. We are sharing “Lover Come Back” which is a great track off of the album.
Die Antwoord – (Cape Town, South Africa)
If you are not familiar with this rap-rave duo (technically trio with their onstage DJ), you might want to make an effort to witness their raucous and sometimes insane stage sets as they are part musical act part performance art. There is also word that 2017 will be the last year for Die Antwoord. Now is your chance to witness them live. “Banana Brain” is from their latest album, Mount Ninja and da Nice Time Kid.
The Front Bottoms – (Asbury Park, NJ)
The Front Bottoms are creating light hearted indie rock since 2011. They recently released Back On Top last year with a few great lyrical gems including this one, “Summer Shandy” and previous tracks like “Twin Size Mattress”. We look forward to checking them out live.
Gallant – (Los Angeles, CA)
Gallant’s music is smooth and sultry, pulsating and refreshing, moving the R&B genre into new directions much like what Prince did back in the late ’70s and early ’80s and what Frank Ocean and The Weeknd are currently doing. We are excited to see him live and in the flesh. We are sharing our favorite track, “Weight In Gold” from his album, Ology.
JR JR – (Detroit, Michigan)
We are fans of JR JR (previously Dale Earnhardt JR JR). They continue to make infectious indie pop and their live shows are not one to be missed. They always have a good time and you feel like you’re watching your best friends play in a band. We really enjoyed their latest album titled JR JR and “Gone” is an awesome track from the album.
July Talk – (Toronto, Canada)
July Talk just recently released the album Touch and it includes a nice mix of gritty rock with the complimenting sweet vocals of female lead Leah Fay Goldstein. The duality plays well off of each other and the result is an entertaining rock album that makes us wonder how they perform live. “Push + Pull” is our favorite from the new album.
Lincoln Durham – (Austin, TX?)
Lincoln Durham is blazing a trail as another talented one man band similar to how Shakey Graves and Gary Clark, JR started off. He has just released his third album titled Revelations of a Mind Unraveling. His souful vocals and southern gothic style immediately grab your attention at first listen. We are interested in seeing this talented one man band in action. “Creeper” is from his most recent release and is impressive from start to finish.
Margaret Glaspy – (New York, NY)
Ben reviewed Ms.Glaspy’s album Emotions and Math earlier this year and “at the heart of this gritty blues-rock LP is a strong, fiery, independent woman who doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for her and simultaneously she won’t be doing the same.” We look forward to hearing songs from the new album live and in person.
Max Jury – (Des Moines, IA)
We featured the track “Numb” earlier this year and we are excited Mr. Jury gets the well deserved slot at ACL. Jury’s vocals are easy on the ears which makes for the perfect mix needed to reach a wide audience. There is something for everyone with Jury’s musical style. We are sharing another track titled “Love That Grows Old” which is a great piano based love song.
NAWAS – (Nashville, TN)
NAWAS is marrying smooth, androgynous R&B vocals with rich instrumentals and tightly woven concept-based lyrics. We shared his debut, So Low earlier this year and he has since released the track “Wrong”. We are intrigued to see how Jake Nawas will sound on the big stage.
NF – (Detroit, MI)
NF (Nathan Feuerstein) has been dubbed a Christian rapper but much of his lyrical content covers many serious subjects including his upbringing which witnessed abuse, neglect and the death of his mother due to a drug overdose. I suppose the lack of cuss words and messages about God stamp him with the Christian label. After listening to his lyrics, his music can reach a multitude of youth and young adults who can relate to real struggles in life. His latest release Therapy Session covers his past struggles and emotional upbringing.
Nothing But Thieves – (Southend-On-Sea, Essex)
Nothing But Thieves are creating passionate guitar based rock that includes addicting pop based melodies. We have been following them for a while and couldn’t get enough of their 2015 self titled album. Especially “Trip Switch” which we are sharing here. It will be nice to see them live.
Oh Wonder – (London, England)
Oh Wonder is providing us with ethereal synth pop with the duo of Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West. Their sound is mellow yet amazing and we keep putting all their songs on repeat. They released Oh Wonder in 2015 and we can’t get enough of “Livewire”.
Pearl Charles – (Los Angeles, CA)
Ben reviewed Pearl Charles last year, and he tells us “she channels the folk-rock of the ’70s, and comparisons to Joni Mitchell will be inevitable. Charles, however, adds her own spin to the genre with her smokey voice, psychedelic touches that add spine-tingling textures, and pop overtures that take the songs to near euphoric plateaus.”
Raury – (Atlanta, Georgia)
Raury is creating a nice blend of hip-hop/reggae/tribal beats. He is adding his own signature style which is continuing to gain fans. Quoting our ever eloquent Hollie, who also chose him as a pick at the Newport Folk Fest: “There is a timeless quality to his blues-rooted sound, and his message that promotes peace and harmony is particularly salient.”
Saint Motel – (Los Angeles, CA)
We are big fans of Saint Motel and they continue to come out with glorious melodic tracks that we can’t get enough of. They have a new album coming out the end of this month titled saintmotelevision. We are sharing “You Can Be You” which is from their new release.
The Struts – (Derby, UK)
The Struts have exploded recently onto the scene with unapologetic pure rock. By the sound of their Everybody Wants album, their live set has to be full of energy and one we don’t want to miss. We are sharing their latest single, “Put Your Hands Up”.
The Wombats – (Liverpool, England)
The Wombats keep on delivering amazing and dreamy indie rock with their latest release Glitterbug. We are sure their live set will not set. “Greek Tragedy” is one of our favorites form the newest album.
Walker Lukens – (Austin, TX)
Walker Lukens is creating an awesome blend of loops, beats and sounds to completely mesmerize with each and every song. His live shows are captivating and we are sure being on the ACL stage will be no different. “Lifted” is one of the new tracks from his upcoming EP, Never Understood.
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