10 Must-Hear Artists at Austin City Limits Fest
Indie darlings, folksy sisters, Jersey rockers & more picks for the Oct. 8-10 Texas festival.
Entering its ninth year, the Austin City Limits Music Festival is showing no signs of slowing down, as it sprawls out over the 46 acres of Austin, Texas’ Zilker Park. From October 8-10, ACL will host more than 130 artists, including A-list headliners like the Eagles, Muse, Phish, the Strokes, M.I.A., the Black Keys, and more.
We’ve picked out ten artists outside the heavy hitters of ACL’s lineup that you won’t want to miss this year in Austin.Scroll down and meet them all!
BONUS! Click here to download a free 10-song MP3 mix from these bands!
Hometown: Rock Island, Illinois
Why She Matters: Lissie, aka Elisabeth Maurus, just appeared in SPIN’s Breaking Out section thanks to her viral YouTube covers of Kid Cudi and Metallica, and also for the immaculately produced, poppy-folk of her debut, Catching a Tiger, where she finds her inner Stevie Nicks.
You Should Know: While she was trying to catch her big break, Lissie sang on DJ Harry’s heavily licensed “All My Life” (heard on House and The O.C., among other shows), and also on a Grammy-nominated song by DJ Morgan Page.
LISTEN: Lissie,”In Sleep (Live)”
Hometown: Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Why He Matters: Joel Thomas Zimmerman, aka Deadmau5 (pronounced “dead-mouse”) and his oversized mouse head suit just keep getting bigger and bigger. Zimmerman that is, not the mouse head.The Canadian house producer recently performed at the MTV Video Music Awards and took home a 2009 JUNO Award (the Canadian Grammy) for Dance Recording of the Year with his album For Lack of a Better Name.
You Should Know: For those who prefer spinning from the comfort of their own couch, Deadmau5 will be a usable character in the upcoming DJ Hero 2 video game.Now if they could only come up with a nifty, oversized mouse head controller…
LISTEN: Deadmau5,”A City In Florida”
Why They Matter: The band’s third album, Teen Dream, dropped this past January to mass critical acclaim: SPIN likened the bands dreamy pop sound and chilling harmonies to a “midnight walk in a wet garden.” They just spent the fall opening for Vampire Weekend.
You Should Know: The band shot music videos for each of Teen Dream’s ten tracks, including one directed by Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew.
LISTEN: Beach House,”Norway”
MATT & KIM
Why They Matter: Matt & Kim want to be the next Gnarls Barkley.Or that’s the type of “genre-less” sound the duo are channeling on their new album, Sidewalks, slated for a November 2 release.Keyboardist-singer Matt Johnson recently spoke to SPIN’s William Goodman about the group’s new batch of tunes here.
You Should Know: The poppy duo and real-life couple met while attending Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute, and are soon moving back to the school’s Clinton Hill neighborhood, away from Grand Street, which inspired the title of their last album, Grand.
LISTEN: Matt and Kim,”Cameras”
EDWARD SHARPE AND THE MAGNETIC ZEROS
Hometown: Los Angeles
Why They Matter: Frontman Alex Ebert had to move out of his home, break it off with his girlfriend, and ditch a rehab program before adopting the Edward Sharpe persona and rounding up his Magnetic Zeros.Now Ebert and his collective are one of the hottest and busiest touring acts around, complete with one of this year’s most massive festival singalongs, “Home.”
You Should Know: Ebert is also lead singer in dance punk outfit Ima Robot, which has a new record coming this year titled Another Man’s Treasure.
LISTEN: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros,”40 Day Dream”
Hometown: San Francisco
Why They Matter: Christopher Owens and JR White burst onto the indie rock scene out of San Francisco in 2009 as Girls with Album.Girls’ debut used sunny California pop as its backdrop, mixing in elements of psychedelia and shoegaze, cementing its spot on many year-end lists.
You Should Know: Owens was born into and spent his youth in the Children of God cult before he left that sheltered life behind with an escape to Texas.Before he dipped to the Lone Star State, former Fleetwood Mac guitarist/cult member Jeremy Spencer gave him his first guitar.
LISTEN: Girls,”Lust For Life”
THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM
Hometown: New Brunswick, NJ
Why They Matter: These New Jersey punks are just as indebted to Springsteen as they are to Social Distortion.Blending blue-collar lyrics and strutting punk crunch, Gaslight toured endlessly on the strength of their third full-length, American Slang, one of 2010’s best releases, so far.
You Should Know: In 2009, a dream came true for the band as they were personally asked by the Boss to open for him at his Hyde Park Calling show in London.
LISTEN: The Gaslight Anthem,”The Spirit of Jazz”
Hometown: Montville, New Jersey
Why He Matters: Yorn broke out in 2001 with his debut, musicforthemorningafter.The album eventually went gold and Yorn has recently released a collaboration album with Scarlett Johansson.The New Jersey songwriter’s latest release, a self-titled outing, was produced by the Pixies’ Frank Black and is one of Yorn’s best efforts to date. Read SPIN’s review.
You Should Know: Yorn got his big break when he was performing in L.A. post college and movie producer Bradley Thomas hired him to produce the score for the Farrelly Brothers’ Me, Myself and Irene.
LISTEN: Pete Yorn,”Rock Crowd”
BEAR IN HEAVEN
Why They Matter: This band’s emergence had some asking whether there was room for another impressionistic Brooklyn “Bear” band (Grizzly Bear, Bear Hands, Panda Bear, etc.) But their sophomore effort, Beast Rest Forth Mouth, which just received an expanded reissue treatment, proved their mettle.
You Should Know: Along with creating their own spacious pop jams, Bear in Heaven are also one of the go to groups for indie remixes, recently tweaking artists like Matthew Dear and Gonjasufi.
LISTEN: Bear in Heaven,”Wholehearted Mess”
FIRST AID KIT
Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden
Why They Matter: As recent alums of our Breaking Out section, these two Swedish sisters have been making waves lately with their sparse acoustic folk and gorgeous vocal harmonies, and just released a gorgeous video for “Ghost Town.” Watch it here.
You Should Know: The sisters SÃ¶derberg got their big break when they uploaded a cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” to YouTube.The clip featured the siblings performing the track in the woods near their house and has notched more than 1 million hits so far.
LISTEN: First Aid Kit,”Hard Believer”