ACL Music Fest Friday Listings

The blurbing of ACL 2011

James Blake
James Blake

Miniature Tigers

11:20am, Austin Ventures stage

This Phoenix-born, Brooklyn-based quartet has dropped two LPs on the indie-rock landscape. Where 2008's Tell It to the Volcano (Modern Art) was a veritable treasure trove of cute-boy quirk, last year's Fortress saw the group extending its sense of play into niche-y corners of bleep-rock à la Animal Collective while retaining its infectious, pitch-perfect harmonies. New single "Boomerang" gets all beachy nostalgic. – Melanie Haupt


11:45am, Google+ stage

There's a new Southern rock springing from Athens, Ga., so credit bands like Futurebirds and Dead Confederate for leading the charge. Playing off last decade's My Morning Jacket and Kings of Leon reinvigoration of the genre, Futurebirds digs deeper into the psychedelic haze, though debut LP Hampton's Lullaby (Autumn Tone) retains a mellow folk-rock core and ragged harmonies that recall the Band and Crazy Horse. – Doug Freeman

Asleep at the Wheel

12:25pm, AMD stage

The streak remains alive. With this appearance, Western Swing institution and Texas music ambassadors Asleep at the Wheel has performed at every Austin City Limits Music Festival. The heralded A Ride With Bob, a musical theatre production about a mythic meeting with Bob Wills, remains a high point; the Wheel is still led by the Austin's unofficial Mayor Ray Benson and new talents Jason Roberts and Elizabeth McQueen. – Jim Caligiuri

Disciples of Christ

1:30pm, Vista Equity stage

This Houston quartet of mothers and daughters recently shifted soul sessions from the house of God to the House of Blues, but they're still spreading a lively gospel. Recipients of the Texas Gospel Excellence Award for a Female Group, Disciples of Christ shuffles with a sass reserved for Saturday nights, not Sunday mornings. – Chase Hoffberger

Brandi Carlile

2:10pm, AMD stage

Songs by Paul Simon, Elton John, and Leonard Cohen on Brandi Carlile's Live at Benaroya Hall With the Seattle Symphony attest to her pop-folk roots. An ambitious undertaking after three successful studio albums, it demonstrated the act of communion that occurs between the artist and her audience in concert. Challenging herself again, this weekend's performance is part of Carlile's first-ever solo tour. – Jim Caligiuri

Sara Hickman

2:30pm, Austin Kiddie Limits

In her role as State Musician of Texas, Sara Hickman has made children's arts education her bailiwick. Her recent The Best of Times is a collection of Texas artists such as Willie Nelson, Brave Combo, and Edie Brickell all singing Hickman's joyful folk songs. Proceeds benefit the Theatre Action Project, an Austin nonprofit that advocates arts education as a form of social justice. (Also: Saturday, 1:30pm, Austin Kiddie Limits) – Melanie Haupt

Delta Spirit

2:30pm, Bud Light stage

Southern California's Delta Spirit pared itself down from a fivepiece to a quartet for last year's sophomore effort, History From Below. If anything, they got louder. Road hogs after 2008 breakout Ode to Sunshine, the band now steps into more melodically ambitious and lyrically straightforward territory with splendid results. Did you catch Delta Spirit's "Devil Knows You're Dead" on the series finale of TV's Friday Night Lights? – Jim Caligiuri

James Blake


3:10pm, Honda stage

A 21-year-old London-based producer and crooner, James Blake blurs the lines between avant-dubstep and postmodern R&B. Following a string of critically acclaimed 12-inch singles in 2010, Blake signed to Universal Republic for his eponymous full-length debut, a flinching self-portrait more focused on sentiment than structure, composed primarily of treated piano, ghostly beats, and a flurry of heavily affected vocals. – Austin Powell

Ray LaMontagne

4:10pm, AMD stage

Since his debut in 2004, Ray LaMontagne's soulful folk has garnered acclaim worldwide. The New Hampshire native's fourth disc, God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise, featured the Pariah Dogs, a band composed of top session hands including guitar players Eric Heywood and Greg Leisz and Jay Bellerose on drums. While stepping close to somber country, it won this year's Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album. – Jim Caligiuri

The Cave Singers

4:30pm, Vista Equity stage

Unloading rustic stomps behind Pete Quirk's warbling wall of harmony, the Cave Singers find their most effective footing in the psychedelic rush of third LP No Witch (Jagjaguwar). Dark and driving, mixing in droned psych-thrillers ("Outer Realms," "Faze Wave") and dirty garage blues ("Falls," "No Prosecution if We Bail"), the Seattle trio has finally mined gold. – Doug Freeman

Big Boi

4:30pm, Bud Light stage

Big Boi busted through speakerboxxxes and back into the public eye last July with his solo debut, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, proof that the smooth-talking half of ATL duo OutKast still flows "So Fresh, So Clean." "General Patton" has since gone on the indie rock offensive, collaborating with Modest Mouse on the group's upcoming album. – Chase Hoffberger

Cold War Kids

5:10pm, Honda stage

Cold War Kids always sounded big, backed by growling blues guitars and rhythms that sliced into their rankling indie rock kicks, but this year's third LP, Mine Is Yours (Interscope), is absolutely anthemic. The Long Beach, Calif., quartet has pressed out the rough, howling edges for radio-ready rock that bursts and swells while retaining the trembling angst perfected over the past five years. – Doug Freeman

Bright Eyes

6:10pm, AMD stage

Now in his 30s, Conor Oberst has grown up under the adoring and scrutinizing gaze of indie music. Outgrowing the fierce, adolescent edge that defined his groundbreaking early work and detouring into rootsier territory with his Mystic Valley Band and Monsters of Folk, Oberst reprises Bright Eyes for 2011's The People's Key (Saddle Creek), a sprawling, searching LP that encapsulates the Omaha native's increasingly cosmic wanderings in search of meaning. – Doug Freeman

North Mississippi AllStars

6:15pm, Austin Ventures stage

Fresh off a tour of Eastern Europe with Robert Plant, Luther and Cody Dickinson continue celebrating the life of their legendary father Jim with a hip-shaking set that's equal parts Southern soul and muddy blues. Keys to the Kingdom is a song cycle of sorts, honoring birth, death, and all the places one travels in between. – Jim Caligiuri


7:10pm, Honda stage

Santi White is an academic's dream: a double-major in African-American studies and music who started out a punk singer but has also worked with Kanye West. Talk about theory in action! Informed by everyone from Siouxsie & the Banshees to James Brown, this fall Santigold releases American Dreaming, the follow-up to her 2008 self-titled debut. First single "Go!" features Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs. – Melanie Haupt


8:10pm, AMD stage

This London quartet's only a few years older than ACL, having begun with the dreamy Parachutes and its signature ballad, "Yellow." A quiet past couple of years for the band comes to an end with its fifth full-length, Mylo Xyloto (EMI), in late October. The energetic first single, "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall," sounds like Coldplay ... on Red Bull. – Melanie Haupt

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