ACL 2018: An ATH Playlist

Only a few short days now ladies and germs. Only a few short days away from the glory that is Austin City Limits Music Festival. We’ve been doing things a little differently this year and changing up our coverage with unique previews and playlists in place of our usual interviews and band previews. Hopefully you’ve found something interesting to prepare you or a loved one for the upcoming weekend. I spent most of my morning compiling a huge playlist of bands I plan to see over the course of the festival and yes, Disturbed is on the list. And Lisa Loeb…Fight me. Consider yourself prepped.

You can trust my genius musical skills and play in the given order, or click on the first video and shuffle the order to your liking.

If you’ve been living under a rock for month, tickets are still currently on sale for both weekends of ACL.

The ACL Lineup Is Here

One of Austin’s favorite festivals has announced their 2018 Lineup. We already know that ACL Festival will happen on October 5-7 and October 12-14…but now we know what we’re getting! Personal highlights include David Byrne and Metallica/Deftones (I’ve recently been traveling down a secret metal wormhole with a lot of teenage reminiscence). A return of The National is never a bad thing, as they’ve delivered some of my favorite ACL moments in the past. B. Gray will be super stoked on Sylvan Esso and CHVRCHES. We’re also bound to love some of the acts lurking at the bottom of the list, like Sharon Van Etten, or my pick of the fest, Shame! If this whole thing is up your alley, then perhaps you’ll want to grab some tickets right HERE.

BGRAY NOTE: Post was staged before the full announce, let’s take a moment to react. The variation and diversity here is the best it has been in years. Sir Paul McCartney, Metallica, David Byrne, Twin Shadow, St Vincent, The Breeders, Blood Orange, Arctic Monkeys, Sharon Van Etten, Janelle Monae, Childish Gambino, Father John Misty – this is the best lineup on this side of the Atlantic. Get those three days now, cuz who knows if one-days will even be made available.

ATH @ X Games Austin 2015

ATH was invited to attend X Games and we agreed based on the strength of he local lineup that graced the big stage during the day leading up to the headliners and then on to the Super Stage mega headliners. The cool part was that my access allowed me to moonlight as a sports photographer. We all have a history of skateboarding or riding a bike or something rad like that, don’t we? I worked in a bike shop to buy my Haro freestyle bike and still have my Lance Mountain special edition in the office. To get to see some guys like Dennis McCoy and Tony Hawk still riding and skating at a high level and catch the innovation coming from so many guys from Austin along with rally car and truck racing and maniacs on dirt bikes, it was an exciting change up to my usual subject matter. I got a little twitchy not shooting f2.8 or bigger and ISO 200? What is that? I don’t leave the house for less than ISO 2500. #concertphotographerjokes

So join me as we take a trip down memory lane and talk X Games…

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Friday Top 5: Unexpected Appearances at SXSW

It’s March in Austin, TX. It’s the time of year when a particular festival takes over the music capitol of the world, known as South By South West. Since this time last year, we’ve been recovering from the week long flow of free booze, sunburnt skin, worn out shoe soles (and feet for that matter), loss of hearing and lack of sleep; and we’re ready to do it all over again.

The waves of RSVPs are flooding our inboxes and lighting up our Facebook notifications, and before we know it our arms will once again be plastered with multi-colored wristbands. I have only been attending SXSW the past few years, but during that time my friends and I have witnessed many surprises take place and rumors come true. So, here are a few of my favorite.

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FT5: Band Logos

0219top5coverIn the history of popular music, there have only been a handful of truly memorable and iconic logos. While searching through all of the logos out there, I decided to try and make the list a little more interesting. So I’ve chosen my favorite band logos from a few different genres and then ranked those. There were great logos out there for crappy bands. There were band logos from my younger days that reminded me a little too much of a Yaga shirt. So follow the jump and you’ll find logos that are as timeless as the bands they represent.

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FT5: SXSW Myths

0313top5coverWhen surfing the ol’ interwebs around this time of year I find all kinds of posts about our famous little SXSW festival that goes on every March. Lucky for me, I chose a career in education so I get to spend the whole week wasting my life away and killing precious brain cells with loud music and alcohol. It seems like every year I come across a music fan or two who really wants to be a part of this party but just doesn’t know where to begin. Do I need to drop the cash on one of those wristband thingies? Do I need tickets? Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll answer those questions and more in our Friday Top 5 focusing on the top myths about SXSW.  Follow the jump to read the full list.

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FT5: Worst Things in Music

Today marks the beginning of a new feature on Austin Town Hall.  Every Friday we plan to bring you a completely random Top 5 List.  We’ll be bringing in all of our writers for this one, with the goal of creating lists based on what we are most passionate about.

We apologize for starting on a negative note, but today’s topic is “The Top 5 Worst Things In Music”.  We try to focus on the major problems and not just nit picky things like the existence of Scott Stapp.  These are the issues.  These are things that must be changed.  Follow the jump to read the full list.

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Metallica – Death Magnetic

Rating: · · · · ·

In the presence of editorial constrants, which would have guided me to review this album in two words, those two words being, Shit Magnet, I have decided to elaborate on the actual quality of this album.

The first question I asked myself when reviewing this album was, “Would anyone spend more than two minutes reviewing this album if the composing author wasn’t Metallica?”

In the past I could have easily made the case that judgement of Metallica albums was so dependent on past quality albums that despite the quality of albums released, the response would have been the same: Metallica doesn’t have it and hasn’t had it for more than 10 years. And in that time I would have been able to argue that high expectations had as much to do with disappointment as did the actual quality of the album.

However, this is the first time that I am absolutely convinced that the quality of the product would not have even warranted a record contract for any band other than Metallica. Albums like Load, Reload and St. Anger at least had the redeeming factor of providing the audience with music that, even though unoriginal, appealed to a basic sense of urgency in the world of metal. What Death Magnetic provided to the world of metal was not only a well deserved kick in the ass, but a wake up call: the band that brought metal to the masses has effectively become a weaker version of prepubescent metal bands.

Although most metal fans would feel ashamed of having to expose their favorite band to the world of musical criticism, Metallica has managed to make even the most respectable metal fans ashamed of their own taste in music. The primary question in this whole ordeal has to be exactly why we are listening to songs that are obviously rehashed versions of old, obviously great, better versions of Metallica songs.

I was one of the several people that considered Unforgiven II to be one of the biggest travesties in the history of music when it was first released. However, after 5 years worth of even worse music, and the realization that the change in person on the Unforgiven series from first to second person was enough to warrant attention, I came to terms with the fact that Unforgiven 2 was a much better song than given credit to. I am unforgiven, now you are unforgiven. I get it. Awesome. I can live with that.

Imagine how many things I kicked when I realized that there would be an Unforgiven 3. Unforgiven 3? Really?

Hetfield: we get it. You want to be forgiven. I don’t even care why. Maybe you had inappropriate relations with an underage cat. Maybe you touched yourself too much. I don’t care. One song is enough. Two songs were too much. Three songs are a direct kick in the left testicle.

As a good Metallica fan I was forced to give you the benefit of the doubt. I listened to songs that no other human being should have listened to.

“What don’t kill you make you more strong”

That line by itself should be enough to push fans over the edge. But the mediocrity of the lyrics was not the end… this album was the biggest insult to a 20 year old fan base.

If you can listen to this entire album and not feel like every song was a direct rip-off of Master of Puppets, Ride the Lightning or the self-titled black album, I cannot even elaborate further.

There are very few albums that have disappointed me more than this album. I guess the last Bonnie Tyler could have been close, but it really wasn’t. I’d rather listen to Total Eclipse of the Heart every time I work out than being forced to listen to any song in this album.

Metallica, much like Santana, has sunken into the sea of bands that, trying to ride one good period of their lives into oblivion, managed to destroy their image rather efficiently. I award this band zero points, and may god have mercy on their souls.