If lineups are the sole yardstick to judge festivals by, Austin City Limits may have just hit the ball out of the park. The Sherp looks at its brilliant 2015 lineup!
With just a day to go for Austin City Limits, the buzz around the festival is higher than ever. The festival, that celebrates America’s longest running musical series of the same name, might just be one of the larger, major festivals to see off the festival seasons in USA, and as the one completing the run, it’s sure ending the year with the bang. Because if music is the greatest indicator to a music festival’s success, Austin City Limits might be serious competition to this year’s biggest festivals. Yes, we’re looking at you – Coachella, Glastonbury and Bonnarroo. Austin City Limits might just round up being the musically best this year.
The festival is held over two weekends every year; this year, from October 2 to 3 and October 9 to 11. And it features over 100 hundred during its 2-times-a-week. And they include some of the most prominent names in the music industry. Carefully mixing commercial music with a strong indie cred, the festival lineup is indubitably a realisation of every kind of musical wishlist (especially ours).
So we’ve mixed up the list of the top 20 musicians who can be caught at Austin City Limits, along with a darn good playlist to turn the jam on, if we can say so, ourselves!
1. Foo Fighters
Probably the nicest band in rock music today, Foo Fighters is a band that gets everything right – from exuberant rock tunes, to massive popularity. And where credit is due, the band’s willingness to support causes of genuine reason has lend them likability like very few other acts. With the band getting on the road again after they Glastonbury pull-out and several shows with Dave Grohl on his guitar throne, their return to the festival arena is much awaited.
Coachella 2015 headliner, and probably once of the biggest acts in hip-hop music today, Drake will be at Austin City Limits this year spearheading his genre at the music festival. The rapper known to fuse emotional commentary with contemporary rhythms, Drake ability to rap with a teasing R&B style has garnered him fans from across the world.
3. The Strokes
In punk times, it is Julian Casablancas and Albert Hammond Jr’s madness that has made The Strokes one of the most compelling post-punk acts of our times. Their ability to fuse different elements of the modern rock sound, from guitar tunes armed with quiescence to a full-blown garage rock exuberance, has made them one of the more legendary acts of our times.
4. Florence + The Machine
Florence + The Machine is the very same band that came in to replace the Foo Fighters as Glastonbury headliners, who then went on to render the rock greats a fitting tribute that caused Dave Grohl to cry out of emotion. There is very good reason why the band would be chosen for such a grand position. Not only is the band truly back after a four-year hiatus with their ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ album, but they have made it to every after-festival’s favourites list. Austin City Limits will let you watch the band, alongside Foo Fighters. Let the tears of musical orgasm begin.
5. The Weeknd
Abel Tesfaye, stagename The Weeknd, with his falsetto, grunge beats, twisted lyrics, charismatic showmanship and sensual synth is what sets him apart from his peers in the music industry. His darker, edgier rendition of R&B is something everyone needs to witness live. In very little time, from counting artists like Sia as collaborators to being propelled to headliner status, The Weekend is the crooner for our times.
Probably one of UK’s finest electronic exports, the Croydon brothers are another genre-bending act, whose groovy tunes are climbing the stage of music festival popularity. Their stage presence is resounding to say the least, and with the UK consistently breeding some of the best garage/drum n bass bands in the world, it’s not surprise that the duo have earned the top billed status at Austin City Limits.
7. Alabama Shakes
This band amalgamates rock and blues with the style reminiscent of a long-gone era. If that isn’t enough to check you out, then we seriously hope lead front woman Brittany Howard’s powerful voice compels you into their albums. Their recent album, Sound & Color has earned them rave reviews, along with appearances at various other festivals, including Coachella, becoming one of the most frequent headliners of 2015. Their inclusion in the Austin City Limits is only fair, by that explanation.
8. Alt – J
Since their second album, ‘This Is All Yours’, the band’s catchy tunes have only propelled them to greater popularity. Their ability to fuse folktronic with synth elements, coupled with catchy, quirky lyrics, and vocals that gravitate from the depths of alto to the heights of falsetto, the band’s ingenious compositions have struck a critical and commercial chord. If you have heard of Alt-J but haven’t heard Alt-J yet, you better, soon. The band has only forward to go.
Having appeared in the music scene only two years back, Hozier boasts of strong musical ingenuity, which has propelled him to headliner status at several festivals this year. The soulfully morose music he propagates, propelled by his intense performances at several festivals have made him the new favourite crooner. Fans of soft, alluring music often find themselves gravitating to Hozier’s emotionally fueled renditions, so he’s someone you ought to check out when in need of that genre.
10. Of Monsters and Men
This five-member Icelandic band has churned out some of the most memorable tunes of the past two years – them of the long guitar riffs, rhythmic degression and banjo proclivity. All this, while the band’s also responsible for writing some of the nicest lyrics in the indie rock scene. Their new album, ‘ Beneath The Skin’, earned rave reviews, cementing the band’s position as of the more precious acts on the scene.
11. Modest Mouse
It’s been eight years since American indie rock bank Modest Mouse were in the musical space actively, so with the release of their 2015 album ‘Strangers to Ourselves‘, one could expect several small scale, indie-scouting festivals to lineup for their presence, and so they did. The band’s alternative rock ambient feel, which employs a strong sense of instrumentality will be a hit with several rock lovers.
12. Tame Impala
Tame Impala is making psychedelic music a commercial play-game, with their rise to fame. Their latest album, Currents, which sees the band take the electronic-synth route after their sharp rock leanings, was preceded by the band performing at several festivals debuting the songs from their album one by one. And their penchant to be a live-wire of an act live, the appearances have only helped cement the band’s position as one of the better and more popular psychedelic acts of the year.
13. Chance The Rapper
Chicago homeboy Chance The Rapper is making the right noises in commercial rap circuit with his stylistic take on definitive rap music. He tends to fuse it seamlessly with jazz, electronic and house outtakes along with singing vocals to create a more cohesive sound. After the critical and commercial success of Acid Rap, where he incorporated several other artists and producers to create one hell of a mixtape, he’d be one artist to check out at Austin City Limits.
14. TV On The Radio
Even in the clichéd list of rock acts, TV On The Radio make for an eclectic alternative, reminiscent of the Pixies glory. The band counts David Bowie, Trent Reznor, and Kazu Makino as some of its several contributors, making the band one of the most distinctive live acts to watch and discover.
15. Father John Misty
Before Father John Misty did a spot-on Lou Reed take on Ryan Adam’s cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989, he was busy putting this retrogressive vocals to good use, and washing lovers of the classic sound by a wave of nostalgia. Easily one of the most powerful voices of contemporary music, his soulful quality armed with his tendency of emotional, sardonic lyrics serve a great platter folk rock.
16. Vince Staples
Vince Staples is one of the most compelling additions to rap music; especially the kinds that is more lyrically and socially aware than the recent sleuth of empty cultural bandwagon hoppers. His 2015 album, Summertime ’06 is an exemplary take of lyrical and musical brilliance, with Vince’s rap skills escaping no one’s attention. If you’re on the lookout for a rap artist whose talent is worth hooting for, Vince Staples is the one.
17. George Ezra
For fans of vocal delicacy, young George Ezra’s old-soul takes on new-world tunes provides a musical juxtaposition like any other. This coupled with the singer’s flair of emotional profundity that are more than obvious, not just with the tunes, but also with his lyrics. In terms of sheer vocal strength, he’s probably one of more compelling voices around, and you would not want to miss that live.
18. Run The Jewels
This American hip-hop duo has a pretty interesting rise-to-fame story. But what’s even more interesting is the stories their songs have to say, their unabashed take down of some moral code and the manner in which they continue to challenge some hegemony almost haphazardly. But what’s more important to note is the live wire that the pair is when performing live.
19. Glass Animals
Glass Animals’ phenomenal debut album Zaba dropped last year and has ever since gained notoriety for having the most sensual and sexy soul pop-grooves of the season. NME once described the album and band as, “One of the most exciting bands in Britain in 2014. ZABA is blessed with musical facets that will blind you with their splendour.” And we couldn’t agree more.
20. Sylvan Esso
Speaking of electronic music that is euphoniously soothing, Sylvan Esso seem to deliver the underwhelmingly beautiful punch. The duo find a wonderfully chosen between ground between electronic trip-hop elements and vocalist Amelia Meath’s velveteen voice. Their extremely catchy tunes and their growing popularity is testament to this working!
(All images from : Austin City Limits Facebook)