ATH & ACL: 5 Bands to Watch

acl2014It is time.  Though it’s hard for me to believe, it’s time for us to start gearing up for yet another ACL Festival in October.  ATH has done this thing a few times now so we feel like we’ve earned the right to offer a little bit of advice about bands to see and the proper way to go about attending.  I’m jumping off our coverage today with a list of 5 bands I think you should see over the 2 weekend event.  As a disclaimer, I typically recommend bands that many people either don’t know very well or write off for whatever reason.  So yeah go see Spoon & The Replacements for sure, but let’s not forget about the underdogs.  Let it begin after the jump.


I’m sure many will be shocked to see this name on our list and rightfully so.  He’s a glorified pop star, he sings completely in Spanish, and he’s never once graced the pages of ATH.  All that said, half the ATH crew speaks Spanish and we can value a good performer even if the songs are sometimes cheesy as hell.  Hey if nothing else, you know this crowd will be having a better time than anyone watching Major Lazer or The Shins, *cough *cough, I mean Broken Bells.  If all you know is “Camisa Negra” from middle school Spanish class, stop by and give the guy a chance.

Juanes will be playing both Saturdays of the festival on the Austin Ventures stage @ 7:30


Captura-de-pantalla-2014-03-29-a-las-20.12.15Rey Pila

Another Hispanic band!?  Well, sort of.  These guys are originally from Mexico City, but have recently moved on to reside in the NYC.  Having recently signed with the new Cult Records lead by Mr. Casablancas himself, Rey Pila are posed to blow up in 2014/2015.  I caught a short set of theirs during SXSW and can honestly say they were one of my favorite bands of the festival.  Think Joy Division meets Cold Cave with tons of energy to boot.  I’ll be front and center for this set.

Rey Pila play both Saturdays of the festival on the BMI stage @ 2:30



And what’s this, another darker new wave band?  Not quite.  At least that’s not what many in the music world are saying about the group.  Sure they might be in the “indie new wave” category with their sound, but I think the band can offer a genuinely emotional edge to the genre.  What the hell does that mean?  I think it means that I FEEL the power and emotion driving through the vocals of singer Sean Van Vleet more so than I do with other bands labeled with a similar tag.  I’ve watched a few live videos of the band and will be expecting great things from this set.

Empires play both Saturdays of the festival on the Honda stage @ 12:30



All of us here at ATH have a personal affinity for Brooklyn based band Snowmine.  They played one of our SXSW shows a few years ago and they’ve been getting tons of coverage on our website ever since.  So though I’ve seen them around 3 times in the live setting they make this list because I’m excited to hear the new album Dialects and I’ve never seen the band with proper set up and sound equipment (blame SXSW pop up venues).  Being super cool dudes makes me like the band even more.

Snowmine will only be playing on Friday of weekend 1 @ 4:30 on the BMI Stage.


Real EstateReal Estate

Real Estate has easily become one of the biggest bands in the indie/music blogging scene both nationally and internationally.  They make my list simply because I’ve always loved their recorded material and I’ve only seen them once in the live setting several years ago.  Not sure what’s happened, but I just seem to miss them every time they come to town.  From what I’ve read from my colleagues, I should be in for all things good.

Real Estate will be playing on both Sundays of the festival on the RetailMeNot stage @ 5:00 on weekend 1 and @ 3:00 on weekend two.

Many other notable acts are on the bill worthy of your time of course.  Everyone loves Spoon.  The Replacements have the whole town buzzing.  Miniature Tigers make great pop songs.  Pearl Jam is Pearl Jam.  Mac Demarco & Tune-Yards will certainly satiate your indie rock desires.  The Rosebuds play super early so set your alarm.  Will you fight the crowds for any of the headliners?  Probably not.