In its twelfth year, Austin City Limits has proven itself to be so much more than South By Southwest's little sister. Hundreds of acts have flocked to the Texas town's Zilker Park for two weekends of sunshine and live music! With a selection as diverse and all-encompassing as ACL's lineup, making a decision of who to see and when can be tough. Don't fret! We've got you covered.
This year, Eminem, Skrillex, Lorde, Outkast, Pearl Jam and more headline the fest, and they're joined by the likes of Chvrches, Icona Pop, Capital Cities, Iggy Azalea, Major Lazer, Zedd, The Avett Brothers...the list goes on and on and covers pretty much every genre. Check out this list of our favorite picks from the ACL Fest lineup!
St. Vincent is a busy lady. When she's not fronting Nirvana or slaying on Saturday Night Live, the superstar guitar slinger is performing alongside David Lynch and recording with The National. An impressive repertoire! The indie rock goddess might not have a Grammy to her name yet, but judging by her gradual, consistent rise to fame, we doubt that will remain true for long. Her live show is a sight to behold, and we bet you'll feel inspired to pick up that old six-string afterward.
ACL Fest makes it a point to book a few "legacy" acts now and then. There's value in remembering music's history, after all! But let's face it, watching a bunch of old farts attempt decades-old guitar solos can be really effin' boring. The Replacements are anything but. Reunions can read like cheap money-grubbing attempts to pull at music fans' heart-strings, but this legendary Minneapolis band is truly in it for the memories, both new and old. If it's classic Midwest indie punk you're after, you've found it. (Oh, and Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong swears by them!)
A lot of ACL Fest can veer into rock 'n' roll territory. Zedd's game is bringing dance music to the masses. If you're ready to go absolutely crazy, his set is a total must. Zedd's all lasers, drops, spectacle: Even if the sun has yet to set before he takes the stage, Austin will feel like a massive Berlin night club. If you're lucky, maybe he'll work in some of his huge hits, like Ariana Grande's "Break Free" and "Stay The Night," featuring Paramore's Hayley Williams.
Every once in a while a band will come around that totally embodies their geography, both in time and place. Interpol are a New York band, don't you forget it! The modern day post-punk pioneers returned from a brief hiatus with their latest album, El Pintor, reminding everybody just how good they were and still are! Did we mention frontman Paul Banks kind of sort of lives with Wu-Tang Clan's RZA? Who wouldn't want to see that guy perform!
It's good to be Donald Glover. Comedian, actor and successful rapper, dude has done it all and done it well! Childish Gambino is his musical identity, one that has totally gained respect in hip hop communities everywhere, and his live show is a sight to behold. Don't believe us? Take André 3000's word for it: he and his son were spotted watching Gambino at Governors Ball earlier this year.
Bruce Springsteen's little brothers in punk The Gaslight Anthem have gone from the corner of a Hot Topic record bin to countless international tours in a matter of years. Their unique blend of Americana and power pop-punk riff-age is to blame, along with the fact that they make music both you and your dad can enjoy. Their latest album, Get Hurt, takes this to a new level, taking classic '60s sounds and breathing new life into it in 2014. With all the craziness of ACL, sometimes it's fun to see some talented dudes with guitar totally shred.
The real Slim Shady is back, so please stand up! The Detroit rapper is prepping for his long-awaited album, Shady XV, with a massive tour with Rihanna, collaborating with Sia, and getting Spike Lee to direct a music video for him. Not bad for a guy you once could argue peaked in the '90s! Eminem is nothing short of a total professional, which is why you can expect a quality show out of the rapper at ACL Fest. Hell, Rolling Stone once called him the King of Hip Hop. That's hard to argue with!
Lana Del Rey, the singer you love to hate and hate to love...but totally adore. The queen of American retro might not be known for her live show (the woman hardly moves on stage) but that's no reason not to check it out! She's graceful and gorgeous, like an ethereal queen from some country you couldn't afford to visit. She's a celebrity for the post-Gatsby age and it doesn't hurt that "Young & Beautiful" is a total banger. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian adore her, and you will too!
Straight off their tour with Linkin Park and 30 Seconds to Mars (what a lineup, huh?!) vampire goths AFI are hitting ACL Fest. If the upbeat pop and grind-ready hip hop of most of the fest's lineup isn't for you, get ready for this California band's badass brand of doom and gloom. Break out the guyliner, gentlemen! Fingers crossed Andi Cane shows up...
First things first, she's the realest. The hip hop sensation to end all 2014 hip hop sensations, Iggy Azalea is a rap hit machine. Not only did her summer jam "Fancy" featuring Charli XCX hit No. 1, but her guest verse on Ariana Grande's "Problem" also reached the coveted spot. That, and she had a huge amount of success with her collaborations with Rita Ora, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Hudson and T.I. The list really goes on and on. The world truly loves this Australian lady rapper!
The music universe probably doesn't need anymore indie rock acts from Brooklyn, but we'll let this one slide. Haerts aren't your run of the mill band, they're a small group with giant pop aspirations. Their musicianship is complicated but not inaccessible. This is music you and your music snob friends can enjoy together! Oh, and we picked the band to be one of our breakout acts of the year, so you have to see them live. Trust us.
Buzz bands have expiration dates. The fascination with this that and the other dies, trends come and go, record contracts end. Cults have done a hell of a good job sustaining their hype, first appearing on our radar in 2012 and returning two years later bigger and better than ever. The indiepop duo used to be college love birds and now are strictly work buddies, but the chemistry is still there. Watch them live, and hey, maybe you'll realize your ex isn't that bad!
Move over Sweden, Denmark is entering the pop music game...but it'll probably be a while before we're saying "Robyn who?" MØ is Karen Marie Ørsted, an up-and-coming electropop artist with a weirdness factor that could rival that of Grimes. MØ started her musical endeavors in a punk band and quickly dropped the guitar for synths, and the result is unstoppable. Get those dancing shoes on!
Hozier is the Irish singer/songwriter of dreams. Even Taylor Swift agrees! The musician started gaining attention with his hit, "Take Me To Church," partnering the single with a video that serves as an anti-homophobia anthem. It's gorgeous, heartbreaking and empowering. His self-titled full-length debut arrives in early October, so get in on the hype and wow your friends with your knowledge of this guy before he blows up. He's going to be huge.
The Brits really know how to make rock bands, huh? Temples might not operate in the same world as Oasis or Blur, but they're a damn fine guitar band. Instead of rehashing the same old same old, Temples play late '60s psych rock filtered through modern melody. There's something revisionist and nostalgic here that's oddly refreshing at the same time.
Jhené Aiko is on the rise. Her EP from last year, Sail Out, put her on the map, grabbing the attention of Drake and Lil Wayne. Her latest video, the intimate "The Pressure," was directed by Childish Gambino, and we put her on our most anticipated fall releases for this year. The reason? Endlessly addictive and delightfully ephemeral R&B. Get ready to croon and cry along with this one.
Indie rock's smartass slacker Mac DeMarco has an incredible personality. He's suck somewhere between comedian and total psychopath, and that makes for one interesting show. Hell, there's a chance in the middle of his lo-fi guitar pop set he'll change gears and play a Limp Bizkit / Led Zeppelin medley. If getting on a stage means anything can happen, Mac lives it, everyday.
Ah, Sam Smith: The man knows how to break us down and build us up again, huh? "Stay With Me" is easily one of the biggest ballads this year has seen. Then there's "I'm Not The Only One," with the majestic music video that alludes to Smith's sexuality in a really beautiful way. He's so good, in fact, he reached record sales with his debut full-length, In The Lonely Hour. Smith sold 166,000 copies in the first week, giving ITLH the title of highest-selling debut album in its first week from a UK male artist, ever. This male Adele isn't going anywhere anytime soon!
South Africa has a rich musical history and a totally bizarre one when it comes to pop music. Seether kept grunge on mainstream radio long after the end of Nirvana, Die Antwoord taught us that being totally bananas is a straight-shot to creative fame and freedom. Kongos continue this tradition, but a little differently. They're a rock band, through and through, but their music is filtered through folk, like that of Mumford & Sons. If you were to ask them, they'd call it "folk music with nuts." No disagreement there!