ACL Spotlight: Early Bird Specials

When taking the first look at the ACL Schedule for each weekend, I tend to first see the conflicts in headliners. Luckily, we are fairly conflict free this year, we’ll get into that more soon enough. How about we take a look at a few of the artists put in the early spots? The cool morning grass, the wide expanses to roam and the vendors still relaxed before the dude-bro crush all add up to a child-like wonderment with the scale of the empty festival giving you the this all-for-me feeling. This year’s ATH Approved Early Bird Artists will create the soundtrack for your barefoot dance party.

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ACL 2013 Schedules Are Up

Let the wrangling begin…

The schedules for both weekends of ACL 2013 are out and you can start the process of arguing with your friends over what hillside or stage rail you will be on at 7pm everyday. Not too many either or dilemmas for me on first perusal, but there are plenty of half-set conflict. Pheonix to Atoms For Peace to Lionel Richie? Probably going to happen. So sad I’ll miss Kings of Leon to see The Cure.

But why the hell is Wild Nothing playing at 11:15?

2012 Austin City Limits Festival Lineup

The lineup has been announced and tix will be up for sale soon. After many months of speculation and the build-up via the scratch offs, the management has let loose the list of bands that we will argue about for the next five months.

Obviously, the headliners aren’t for us. I mean, I will hang out for a little Red Hot Chili Peppers and maybe even Neil Young for a moment, but The Black Keys have jumped the shark. I am down with seeing Iggy. Other notables for me include The Afghan Whigs, Crystal Castles, Die Antwoord, The War on Drugs, Bombay Bicycle Club, Oberhofer, Polica, Stars, Black Lips, Caveman and Nikki Lane. I am sure I forgot some stuff in the list I like, but as with every festival lineup from the music obsessed point of view, we can react with meh. We’ll all still go and have fun, so start shopping for your cooler-umbrella-chair combo device. Leave a comment with your reaction and see you  on the lawn.

Full line-up here.

Update: Three day passes are gone. Single Day tix will go up once the daily schedules are announced tomorrow.

ACL Spotlight: Death From Above 1979

It’s that time of year folks! Hopefully the heat will subside, even if for a few days, and we can get full-on into our celebration of Austin City Limits, free of heat stroke. We’ll be bringing you interviews and more over the next couple of weeks, highlighting bands we think you should check out over the festival, so read on for info on our first spotlight, Death From Above 1979. Read more

Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue

Rating: ★★★½ ·

The question with the latest Jenny Lewis album, Acid Tongue, really lies in the listener. Are you, as a listener and fan, willing to forgive some of the lackluster perfomances on this album in order to enjoy some of its finest pieces?

Opener “Black Sand” is the perfect song for Jenny. It’s gentle soundscape relies entirely upon her vocals, which is precisely where she excels. When she pushes her voice during the chorus, you know exactly why you love Jenny Lewis. There is something to her strength as an artist and a fox that both male and female are drawn towards.

Then we Jenny go further in the direction of country/folk, which most of us will say is where we think she belongs, or where she has been all along, but this is untrue. Sure, Rilo Kiley has gravitated towards that, and away from that; yes, her debut solo album bore that influence, but the greatest Rilo album’s were the early ones where she maintained her pop sensibility. The backing of acoustic guitars did nothing other than provide a stage for her voice.

You see, that is where the problem lies in this album. Jenny waivers back and forth between folk and classic R&B girl groups, but she never lands on that precisely pop moment where she truly shines. The title track, “Acid Tongue” does head back into the past, and even with its country undertones, you can still hear the pop star in Jenny Lewis ready to crawl out of her shell. This is the one song where it’s hard to differentiate between the Jenny we love, and the Jenny we are now witnessing. She stands firmly between both worlds.

“Fernando” is full of sexual appeal, which is where I place the blame for the faults of new era Jenny. She’s lost the innocence that made her so spectacular, instead forging ahead into sexual innuendo, associated with a bravado that is very unbecoming. But then, she jumps in with a song like “Godspeed” that makes you fall in love with her all over again. If only she could carry the power of this song throughout an entire album.

Therein lies the final conclusion. Jenny Lewis has a phenomenal voice, unlike most other female musicians these days. Her range is ridiculous, but in an effort to fully explore the vast expanse of her vocal landscape, she leaves herself stretched too thin, leaving faults in songs that could have been perfected. I’m still holding onto hope that one day she finishes it off right, either solo or with Rilo Kiley.

And don’t forget to check her out at ACL this weekend because if there is one woman that commands a stage, it’s this one.

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