Friday ACL Fest Picks

ACL Friday by the blurb, listicle, and gospel tent testifying

Maren Morris


1pm, HomeAway stage
Like Frank Ocean and Chance the Rapper, self-proclaimed indigo child Raury is helping usher in a new wave of avant R&B. There are echoes of Cody Chesnutt and Andre 3000 in the 20-year-old Atlanta suburbanite, who sings and raps with a decidedly bohemian bent. 2015 debut All We Need is full of "Forbidden Knowledge" and the "Devil's Whisper."
Thomas Fawcett


3pm, Cirrus Logic stage
Brooklyn duo Chairlift now claim a decade-long career, but the ethereal pop debuted on 2008 single "Bruises," whose dancing falsettos and playful electronic backing became ubiquitous with modern twee (hello, Apple commercial), remains very much at play on 2016's Moth, third LP for the trendsetting outfit.
Abby Johnston

Flight Facilities

3pm, HomeAway stage
This Australian production duo culminated from years of consistency, a result of DIY Soundcloud days boasting sun-kissed disco like "Crave You" and "Clair De Lune." Now with their jet-set dreams fully realized, debut Down to Earth takes a round trip through deep-house minimalism, breakneck beats, dirty-dancing funk, and A-list cameos (Kylie Minogue).
Alejandra Ramirez

The Strumbellas

3pm, Miller Lite stage
Foot-stomping Toronto bluegrass? Get on board, because the Juno-award-winning sixpiece has perfected a delightful folkie sound over three albums. This year's Hope also manages not to pigeonhole itself into a totally roots-based genre, offering the kind of pop bridge the Lumineers perfected stateside.
Abby Johnston

Maren Morris

4pm, BMI stage; Weekend One only
Commercial country now falls to the hands of Dallas-born Maren Morris, 26, whose full-length major label bow Hero relies on beats, vocal cadences, and feisty 'tude. Chart-topper "My Church" references some of the true heroes of country music, but "80s Mercedes" feels more Beyoncé than Miranda Lambert.
Jim Caligiuri


4pm, Samsung stage
The English dance rockers' funky fourth LP, What Went Down, dropped last year, following the quintet's gig at Emo's. Greek frontman Yannis Philippakis, a former student of contemporary dance, now bears a penchant for crowdsurfing throughout the band's all-out live sets. The Oxford group caps its Weekend Two appearance with an Austin City Limits taping.
Neph Basedow

St. Lucia

5pm, Miller Lite stage; Weekend One only
Proudly holding the Lite-Brite torch and running his leg of the retro Eighties rehash, South Africa-born and Brooklyn-based Jean-Philip Grobler likely writes his effervescent, neon tunes in a vintage Trapper Keeper. Think Phil Collins and Fleetwood Mac, but also Flock of Seagulls. The singer went full-peach Hi-C on second release Matter, an overbearing, almost satirical set and massive hit.
Kahron Spearman

Cold War Kids

5pm, Cirrus Logic stage
So, where do last decade's hit emo and pop-punk acts go when they're put out to pasture? Judging by ACL's booking of this dozen-year-old Long Beach fivepiece, purveyors of floppy-hair-and-girl-jeans hits like "Audience" and "Something Is Not Right With Me," Zilker Parks across the country, bless 'em.
Tim Stegall

Tory Lanez

5pm, HomeAway stage
Canadian rapper Tory Lanez and his personal brand of "swavey" declined XXL's Freshmen cover because he saw himself greater than the likes of burgeoning superstars Anderson Paak, Desiigner, and Dave East. The rapper/singer's 2016 debut LP, I Told You, compounded contemporary mainstream rap/R&B radio frequencies, recalling Bryson Tiller and Drake.
Kahron Spearman

Corinne Bailey Rae

6pm, Tito's Handmade Vodka stage
It's been a decade since Corinne Bailey Rae burst on the scene with smash hit "Put Your Records On." That playful slice of nostalgia-dripping soul-pop still largely defines the British chanteuse fresh off third LP The Heart Speaks in Whispers, sleepy coffeehouse R&B.
Thomas Fawcett

Julien Baker

6pm, BMI stage; Weekend One only
Definitive ACL sleeper, 20-year-old Julien Baker somehow got her brain caught up in the pit of her stomach – or the other way around. Last year's debut, Sprained Ankle, spun sparse but mighty, mostly Baker's guitar and vocals, the kind of wail that echoes with brainy, heavy explorations of self-doubt, faith, and identity in a delicate-sounding package.
Libby Webster

Die Antwoord

6pm, Honda stage
Easily the most divisive act at ACL, South African rap/rave duo Die Antwoord remain world-class plate spinners. Moving comfortably between progressive hardcore, outright appropriation, and blackface, they reached the top slot on Billboard's Dance Chart with 2014's faux gangsterish Donker Mag. They drop Mount Ninji and Da Nice Time Kid now.
Kahron Spearman

Flying Lotus

6pm, Samsung stage
Since 2014's fifth LP You're Dead, a digital masterpiece mashing up hip-hop and his great uncle John Coltrane, Steven Ellison has diversified his portfolio. He scored short film "A Portrait of Noomi Rapace," appeared on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, and was tapped by comedian Hannibal Buress to be his in-studio DJ for Why? With Hannibal Buress. Extending his label Brainfeeder into film production, the L.A. native made his film directorial debut with Royal.
– Kahron Spearman

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More ACL Fest 2016
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