Austin City Limits Festival - Eight Artists to Check Out | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Austin City Limits Festival - Eight Artists to Check Out

Austin City Limits Festival - Eight Artists to Check Out Japanese Breakfast, Parquet Courts, and Other Artists Worth Catching This Weekend and Next

Oct 05, 2018
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As if the South By Southwest (SXSW) extravaganza isn't enough for Texas' Capital city, it is the annual Austin City Limits music festival in October that truly keeps Austin weird. Inspired by the musical television series of the same name, the festival began as an annual one weekend (3-day) music festival in 2002. Ten years later it expanded to two consecutive 3-day weekends and has now grown into a multi-cultural, eight stage, music and arts festival featuring some of the most topical and popular artists in rock, indie, country, folk, electronic, and hip-hop.

This year's headliners are the estimable Sir Paul McCartney, rock stalwarts Metallica, Justice, Travis Scott, and Arctic Monkeys. The indie rock world will be well represented with heavy hitters such as The National, St. Vincent, Lily Allen, Alvvays, and Father John Misty.

But there are also a ton of lesser known indie artists playing the festival and vying for some attention. Here is a preview of a few to keep an eye on:

Wallows: This indie rock trio from Los Angeles released a promising 6-song EP titled Spring earlier this year that features some guitar-centric, sunshiny indie pop and smooth, harmonized vocals. It's a sound that's familiar yet unique, but when they reduce the shine and add some grit the music stands out from the crowd. (Saturday Oct. 13, 12:45-1:30 PM, American Express stage)

Sir Sly: With a couple singles, a full-length and another one on the way, this Los Angeles trio has shown promise with more electronic leaning rock/pop with slinky synths and a bouncy vibe reminiscent of Vampire Weekend. The comparison may be a stretch but Sir Sly has that potential. (Friday Oct. 5 and Friday Oct. 12, 2:45-3:45 PM, Barton Springs stage)

Mt. Joy: Sounding like a poor man's Mumford and Sons, with some folk-influenced indie rock, this Philadelphia duo's sound is a little too safe and middle-of-the-road for now. If they go down the road less traveled and take some chances they could make a name for themselves. (Sunday Oct. 7 and Sunday Oct. 14, 1:00-2:00 PM, Barton Springs stage) 

Japanese Breakfast: Straddling the line between indie and pop, Philadelphia artist Michelle Zauner made a splash as Japanese Breakfast with 2017's Soft Sounds from Another Planet. Here's hoping the pleasing mix of swirling synths, shimmering guitars and sweet vocals will translate to a satisfying stage show. (Saturday Oct. 6 and Saturday Oct. 13, 3:30-4:30 PM, Barton Springs stage)

Sylvan Esso: An eclectic blend of electro, folk-pop, and dance whose strength lies in the stylized vocals. A little less of the clickity-clack and a little more of the vibrant synths as heard on single "Radio" should get the crowd boppin'. (Saturday Oct. 13, 7:30-8:30 PM, Miller Lite stage)

Parquet Courts: Originally from Texas, this indie quartet play an entertaining brand of noisy punk-influenced indie rock with a vibrant swagger and often snarky lyrics. By the way: they are not fans of Tom Brady. (Sunday Oct. 7 and Sunday Oct. 14, 3:00-4:00 PM, Barton Springs stage)

Of course, if none of these bands pan out, there is always The Breeders (Saturday October 6 and Saturday Oct. 13, 3:30-4:30 PM, Homeaway stage) and David Byrne (Friday Oct. 5 and Friday Oct. 12, 3:45-4:45 PM, American Express stage), guaranteed not to disappoint.

(Plus let's not forget Natalie Prass, St. Vincent, Blood Orange, CHVRCHES, Phoenix, Shame, Sharon Van Etten, and many others.) And don't forget to check back later for a post-festival assessment.

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