Friday ACL Fest Picks


Solange at SXSW 2017 (photo by David Brendan Hall)

Welles

11:45am, HomeAway stage
The first signing to C3 Presents' eponymous label, Jehsea Wells drives the middle lane of the classic/alternative rock highway on EP Codeine. The Arkansas native plies a gravitas welles beyond his 22 years. Youthful introspection meets anthemic hooks in "Life Like Mine" and "Are You Feeling Like Me." – Michael Toland

The Wild Now

11:45am, Miller Lite stage
Austin's entry in the boy/girl indie sweepstakes, the Wild Now alternate betwixt light acid-pop and spacey disco on second EP Afterglow. Drew Walker's bright guitars, creamy synths, and shifting grooves frame Taylor Baker's sultry vocals. The duo won magazine American Songwriter's performer award in 2014. (weekend one only) – Michael Toland

Valerie June

2:30pm, Tito’s stage
Banjo, guitar, ukulele – Valerie June plucks anything with strings, or straaangs, as she might say in her taffy-thick Tennessee drawl. That accent causes cognitive dissonance when paired with her crown of dreadlocks, but June gleefully marries disparate ideas. Sophomore LP The Order of Time is deeply grounded in American roots music – Appalachian, blues, bluegrass, country, gospel – while waxing metaphysical and dancing on the "Astral Plane." – Thomas Fawcett

Crystal Castles

4:15pm, Honda stage
Nearly a decade after this Toronto duo released its eponymous debut and five years after playing ACL Fest, Crystal Castles returns with skull-crushing electronica – and a new lineup. Following the departure of founding vocalist Alice Glass in 2014, founder-producer Ethan Kath brought in singer Edith Frances. Oscillating between an ethereal, pretty sound and unhinged hollering, her vocals claw their way over feverish beats. – Libby Webster

La Femme

5:15pm, BMI stage
Mystère, the latest LP from French collective La Femme, features the backside of a woman as her hair weaves itself into a vagina. As alluring sonically as it is physically, the album is an experience rather than a pastime. Spurts of surf and psych, EDM splashes, ethereal hymnal chords, and French pop commingle via the Krautrock-inspired quintet. (weekend one only) – Isabella Castro-Cota

Skepta

5:15pm, HomeAway stage
While grime defined his hot-take singles and underground radio broadcasts, genre pioneer Skepta (né Joseph Adenuga) ultimately spearheaded a cross-continental affair. Debut Greatest Hits (2007) to Konnichiwa (2016), Skepta remains the antihero, flipping off authority with his London snarl and volatile tone. With an unmatched bravado, he rattles over a mélange of jungle, UK garage, and dancehall. – Alejandra Ramirez

Solange

7:15pm, Barton Springs stage
Soul singer extraordinaire, label owner, and influencer, Solange Knowles no longer stands in the shadow of her sister. Leading that charge is the New Orleans-based singer's critically acclaimed 2016 full-length A Seat at the Table. The album's lead single, "Cranes in the Sky," topped the Billboard hip-hop/R&B charts and earned Knowles her first Grammy. – Kahron Spearman

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