Weekend Two of The Austin City Limits Festival kicks off today and in case you haven’t planned your schedule yet, we have a list of 20 bands you need to see. We all know why we are going because of the headliners (Foster The People, Ryan Adams, The XX, RHCP, Spoon, GORILLAZ, etc.), but it’s always fun showing up earlier in the day and catching some of the best up-and-coming talent.
There are a few new things for this year’s festival – a new stage configuration (Barton Springs Stage is the first time ever to expand the festival past Barton Springs Road) and more places with shade, which is always nice in Austin’s warm climate even in October. We have included a copy of the map at the bottom of the post. Also don’t forget that this year they are only allowing small draw string bags measuring 10″ x 10″. You can get all the details here.
Anyway, here are our 20 picks.
Angel Olsen (Asheville, NC) – SAT, October 14 – Miller Light, 5PM
We have described Angel Olsen as one of the more unique singer-songwriters out there (well, she is). Her sound and style is part classic, another part contemporary, and instantly recognizable. We are hoping to hear some of the new tracks off of her upcoming album, PHASES, which is out in November and features B sides, demos, and unreleased tracks.
The Band of Heathens (Austin, TX) – FRI October 13 – Tito’s 1:30PM
It’s only appropriate to highlight some Austin talent as each year a handful of local bands get chosen to grace the stages at ACL Music Festival. The Band of Heathens are one of them, and they are creating breezy, laid-back, Americana-influenced rock, as revealed on their new album Duende.
Billy Raffoul (Leamington, Ontario, Canada) – SAT October 14 – American Express, 1:30PM
Billy Raffoul has only released a couple of singles to date, so his festival debut will be full of surprises. His gritty yet strong vocals are reminiscent of Lou Reed or Charlie Sexton while his songwriting talent is compared to Jeff Buckley. Catch this rising star now, and then five years from now tell your friends where and when you saw him first.
The Black Angels (Austin, TX) – SAT October 14 – Barton Springs, 5PM
The Black Angels are another talented Austin-based band who are creating awesome, trippy psychrock that we can’t get enough of. Their most recent album, Death Song, could be a contender for our Album of the Year list.
BROODS (Nelson, New Zealand) – SUN October 15 – Miller Lite, 3:15PM
BROODS have been on the festival circuit, which has kept them busy since releasing Conscious last year while reaping a few Vodafone New Music Awards. Most recently, they released a few remixes of their addictive single “Heartlines”. However, don’t be surprised if the sibling, synth-pop duo perform a few acoustic numbers.
Car Seat Headrest (Seattle, WA via Leesburg, VA) – SAT October 14 – Honda, 2PM
Car Seat Headrest have been one of our favorites for a while. Fronted by the immensely talented Will Toledo, the Seattle-based indie-rockers are like a new generation’s Sonic Youth – constantly pushing boundaries while crafting songs that challenge us to think outside our three-foot square box.
COIN (Nashville, TN) – FRI October 13 – Miller Lite, 1:15PM
COIN have been making addictive and glittery indie-pop for the past few years, and they are a must see. Earlier this year, they released How Will You Know if You Never Try, which included the super catchy single, “Talk Too Much”. With already a nice fan base, it’s only a matter of time before COIN achieves Walk The Moon status.
Crystal Castles (Toronto, Canada) – FRI October 13 – Honda, 4:15PM
Crystal Castles have been producing eclectic electronic music since MySpace was still a thing in the early 2000s. As some of you might know, Ethan Kath remains and this time around he’s joined by vocalist Edith Frances. Amnesty (I) was their most recent album release, and it represents a slightly different CC than the dark, cryptic, and theatrical one of the past. Despite the changes, their set should be a memorable one.
Deap Vally (Los Angeles, CA) – SUN October 15 – American Express, 12:30PM
Deap Vally is making some of the best, modern-day, grunge-inspired rock. They released a killer album last year in Femejism, which roared as loud as any rock LP. To prepare yourself, check out their Spotify and SoundCloud accounts because they have added a commentary about each track on the album.
DREAMERS (Los Angeles, CA) – SAT October 15 – BMI, 3PM
DREAMERS are a super, upbeat rock band out of Los Angeles that have a very pop-heavy tone, which explains why we have been fans of theirs for a few years. Their debut album, This Album Doesn’t Exist, which featured super catchy singles “Pain Killer” and “Sweet Disaster”, showcased their potential to breakout within the mainstream scene very soon (although selfishly we hope they stick to their indie roots). They take them to be four serious guys because, as they showed with a cool photo tour diary last year, they definitely know when to take a break and sneak into places.
First Aid Kit (Stockholm, Sweden) – SUN October 15 – HomeAway, 5:15PM
If you’re looking for a moment in time when the Swedish indie-folk scene took off, look no further than the arrival of Johanna and Klara Söderberg – a.k.a. First Aid Kit. Now in their tenth year as a group (which is hard to believe), the sisters have been amazing audiences all over the work with their fantastic vocal harmonies and transparent songwriting. Their albums have graced “Best of” lists, including our own. They’ve been working on album #4 (which should be released early in 2018), and their performance at ACL should hopefully give us a sneak peek at what is to come.
Glass Animals (Oxford, England) – SAT October 14 – Honda, 6PM
Ever since “Gooey” made the rounds three years ago, the world has come to know the talents of Glass Animals. Offering a unique combination of world-influenced beats along with cinematic harmonies, it’s hard to not become an instant fan. Hearing songs from their new album, How To Be A Human Being, in a live setting should be exhilarating, if the videos circulating around YouTube are to be believed. ACL is also no big deal to the quartet, as they made their first appearance in 2015.
The Lemon Twigs (Long Island, NY) – FRI October 13 – Miller Lite, 3:15PM
Brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario are blazing a trail of amazing ’60s influenced rock that still presents itself with a fresh and new sound. They received really great buzz around their album, Do Hollywood, and have recently released a new EP, Brothers of Destruction. The Lemon Twigs are definitely ones to watch, not just at ACL but in the future. For those wanting to see a great band live, the Long Islands siblings are a must see. They’re a photographer’s dream (evidence).
Middle Kids (Sydney, Australia) – SUN October 15 – Miller Lite, 1:15PM
Middle Kids have one self-titled EP to their name so far, yet the trio’s popularity exploded after Sir Elton John played one of their tracks on his Beats 1 show. He then proclaimed himself a fan. Since then, they have now played their hit single, “Edge of Town”, on Conan while touring globally. It’s only a matter of time before Middle Kids can also take the US by storm with their great mix of indie pop and the captivating vocals of Hannah Joy.
Milky Chance (Kassell, Germany) – SUN October 15 – American Express, 4:15PM
Milky Chance busted onto the scene in 2014 with the extremely addicting track, “Stolen Dance”, off of their Sadneccessary album and haven’t looked back. This year, they released a more laid-back yet impressive album, Blossom, which even caught our collective attention. The trio seem to be growing and evolving their sound with radio friendly singles “Cocoon” and “Doing Good”, but there is much more to them that what is heard on the airwaves. We are excited about witnessing the trio’s live set.
Mondo Cozmo – (Los Angeles, CA) SAT October 14 – Barton Springs, 1PM
Plastic Soul is Mondo Cozmo’s debut album, and it’s definitely a contender for one of the year’s best of albums. At the very least, it’ll be one that will be recognized as an album that people should have paid attention to when it released a few weeks ago. Mondo Cozmo‘s approach is akin to Ryan Adams, although Cozmo’s music has a bit more of a cinematic flair. He could also be considered a modern-day Bob Dylan with his great lyrics and social observation. We are sure the live set will be something to witness – that is witness to a star being born.
Ought (Montreal, Canada) – SAT October 14 – HomeAway, 11:30AM
We are quite surprised Ought has such an early set time this weekend. They were the buzz of internet music blogs in 2014 with their unique and boundary pushing album, More Than Any Other Day (one of our favorite albums of the year). They followed that up with 2015’s Sun Coming Down, which was an equally impressive effort. The Montreal-based quartet have been pretty quiet since, although front man Tim Darcy did release his own material earlier this year – a Cohen-esque LP, Saturday Night. Their live set is always impressive, and they just recently announced being signed to Merge Records and that a new album is in the works. As such, we’re hoping to hear some new material and whether Darcy will break out some of his solo stuff.
PUMAROSA – (London, UK) SAT October 14 – Miller Lite, 1PM
ACL is always exciting as the festival usually gets quality bands from around the world. PUMAROSA might be one of our favorite import bands attending the festival. PUMAROSA released The Witch earlier this year and here’s what we (well Ben) said about it:
“The Witch is more than just an impressive first effort. It is a hurtling train that only has one objective – to pulverize everyone that comes in its path.”
Needless to say, it’s a contender for one our favorite albums of the year, and it is arguably the most outstanding debut put out by any band. We can’t wait to witness their “Witch”-craft and being pulverized live.
Songhoy Blues (London via Timbuktu, Mali) – SUN October 15 – BMI, 3:15PM
The band from Timbuktu is creating an amazing blend of desert punk, roots, and soul. Our Hollie describes their first album best: “It’s bluesy, soulful, and powerful. It’s as if John Lee Hooker and B.B. King had a jam session with Jimi Hendrix, The Black Keys, and Ali Farka Touré.” They released a new album, Resistance, earlier this year, which includes appearances from Iggy Pop and Elf Kid. See, their fandom extends to some of music’s royalty.
TEN FÉ – (London, England) FRI October 13 – BMI, 5:15PM
London-based TEN FÉ is creating super-melodic indie rock that you can’t stop listening to. Their newest album, Hit The Light, features one captivating song after another. Having been fans of theirs for a little while, we are excited to finally see them live and how the Austin crowd will react.
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