ACL Weekend Two Wrap-Up

No Spoilers.

Admittedly, all the huge buzz leaks out as all the kids party on Weekend One, so attending Weekend Two for the first time, I was curious as to whether or not it could keep the same vibe from its predecessor. Surprisingly, the fest didn’t seem to miss a beat.

We have photos from around the grounds, randoms and portraits, friends and colleagues, bootlickers and signs. We also have plenty of notes rehashing last week’s favorites and highlighting the changes, so read on for highlights.

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ACL 2017 In Photos: Friday – Weekend One

I got photo coverage started with a little gallery in our ACL Weekend One Recap. For me, Weekend One was all about the head down grind of chasing photos. Modern problems, I know, but it is hustling from pit to pit, sweating, lining up to make sure you gain access, attempting to keep everything clean enough and not have dirt ruin “the shot” and not having a panic attack knowing you have three songs to get it all right. It is a strange way to take in a music festival, often oblivious to the actual music as sensory depravation takes over and you enter a tunnel through the viewfinder.

…and loving every minute of it.

The Friday edition includes The Wild Now, Methyl Ethel, (Sandy) Alex G, The Aces, Hamilton Leithauser, Mutemath, Crystal Castles, Lukas Nelson, Bonobo and The XX.

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ACL 2017 – An ATH Playlist

Well ACL is officially here ladies and germs. Hopefully you’ve looked over your schedule a bit or maybe checked out some guides and interviews provided by your trusty ATH staff. If you’re still in need of some musical recommendations, I spent a bit of time this week putting together a playlist of my top bands for both weekends. It’s lengthy so skip anything you aren’t feeling and hit the ACL schedule for anything that catches your ear. I recommend a little shuffle action.

ACL 2017 Preview: Five Things To Look Forward To This Year At ACL

So we’re a little under a month away from two weekends of live music and overall good times at Zilker Park, which may seem like quite a ways out, but why not start to get excited about the staple of Austin life? Whether you’re a veteran festival goer or just moved here and this is your first year in attendance, you need to be prepared for another weekend (or two if you go hardcore) of music and festivus. So click on through the jump to check out my list of things you should be getting stoked for this year at ACL.

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Here’s Your ACL Festival Lineup

We know this is old morning news, but we wanted to make sure you got a great chance to check out the 2017 ACL Lineup. While a lot of people always look to the headliners, I think you should pay close attention to the details, as the smaller acts on the bill are really incredible. You’ve got Sandy (Alex G), Hamilton Leithauser, The Growlers, Whitney, Angel Olsen…and local greats Annabelle Chairlegs. You can check out all the full details HERE.

SXSW Superlatives: Nathan.Lankford

AlvvaysWith SXSW this year there was lots of hubbub about fewer bands and less corporate entities flooding the streets, but despite all that, I still managed to have myself a good old time.  I’ve got some thoughts and awards to hand out, and these are strictly my experience, as we tried at ATH to split up and cover as much as we possibly could.  You can read on, if you’ve got the time, to see what I had to say.  Read more

Top 50 Albums of 2014

TOP 50 ALB 14These lists are everywhere, so you’ll be excused if you just roll your eyes and skip on. But, that being said, we always seem to be way off the mark when it comes to our Top 50 Albums of the Year.  Sure, we have some of the sure fire hits on this list like Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten, but don’t even read on if you’re look ing to see where Run the Jewels made it…they’re not there. Sorry not sorry.  So, if you’re into arbitrary lists by people who like to push their own agenda, then this list is for you! Read more

The Walkmen – Lisbon

Rating: ★★★★½

Honestly, one of the best known songs from The Walkmen is “The Rat,” and it seems that many of us have waited for the band to replicate such powerful tracks for the duration of several albums. But, while we’ve had our issues, Hamilton and his posse have slowly began to focus on recreating nothing, simply pushing ahead whilst writing some of the moving records; Lisbon is just another killer notch in the proverbial belt.

A rolling drum beat lightly kicks off “Juveniles,” giving the listener a bit of a slow-sway before the twangy guitars unite with Hamilton’s vocal appearance.  It’s amazing how great his voice sounds nowadays, when it used to be the one disposable aspect in the group’s repertoire. His control as he changes pitches and tones from note to note let’s us all know that he’s in control; so be it good sir.  You’ll find a similar drum roll entrance on “Angela Surf City,” but the band spends the first minute building tension, just before exploding upon us.  The drums sounds like well-crafted gunfire, and the guitars chug along in unison.  Still, there’s a light touch in the moments where the track rests, due mostly to Hamilton’s now credible vocal display.  If you’re not in love with Lisbon already, you’re already behind, so start over.

There’s a darkness bred by the guitar lines at the opening seconds of “Blue as Your Blood.”  You get the sense that your traveling down a dark highway through some desert valley, and the wind blowing in your hair is Leithauser’s voice.  String arrangements arise in the background, giving an extra depth to your night drive.  While it’s musical tone is a touch haunting, there’s a warmth to everything within this number. You’ve driven all the way to “Stranded,” which has an echo of a sad funeral march, implied by the horns. Yet, as Hamilton exclaims that “I’m the bigger man here,” you get the feeling that despite trials and tribulations, he’s not sitting around reflecting on it all; he’s ready to go forth.  After such emotion, The Walkmen take it upon themselves to brighten the mood with “Victory.”  The guitars alone are some of the brightest you’ll find on the record, crisp and clear, giving us all hope.  This is our victory too, so enjoy the rise and fall, especially the rise; those guitars and crashing cymbals just clear everything out of the way.

In the past, we might have searched for the powerful moments to erupt for the group, but they’ve spent so much time crafting their sound over the years, that when they slow it down, you put your ear to the speaker, hoping to grasp every last sonic stroke. “Torch Song” and “Lisbon” have a bit of studio tinkering in their background, but the emotive quality in Leithauser’s voice on each song provides us with a final moment to contemplate every word, every change in pace, every single track.  You’ll arrive at the end, a bit slower than how you got here, but dammit if you won’t have enjoyed everything about the latest travels with The Walkmen.  Honestly, most people should struggle to find anything wrong with this record, making Lisbon one of the most complete, and gorgeous, records of 2010.  Press play, and listen again and again.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/The-Walkmen-Stranded.mp3]

Download: The Walkmen – Stranded [MP3]