In September, local FM standby KGSR transformed into Austin City Limits Radio. Rebranding allowed an instant playlist refreshment and overall reappraisal, which continues still. Like wall-to-wall capital city concert essentials Blues on the Green and Unplugged at the Grove, the frequency's annual Broadcasts streak lives on to benefit the SIMS Foundation.
Alongside a 2-CD, 37-track digital version culled from the past year of in-house performances, local manufacturers Gold Rush Vinyl pressed up a double-vinyl set with 20 of the selections. To start, Australian pop takeoff Vance Joy offers a sweet ukulele rendition of "Saturday Sun." Turns out the acoustic savant joins a slew of revisits from last year's edition, which accounts for one-third of the lineup.
Returning Americana stars Elle King and ZZ Ward deliver searing blues-rock in weathered country tones that reiterate both women's earthy appeal. On the other hand, it's confounding that L.A hipster Børns is included again given that ACL Fest cut him from this year's weekend two at Zilker Park in response to allegations of his sexual misconduct. The slick, stomp-fueled sounds of Portugal the Man, Wombats, and Cold War Kids otherwise uphold early 2000s alternative indie on the first disc.
The second half launches Ft. Worth native Leon Bridges prodding hearts with "River." In that same vein, Broadcasts Vol. 26 intimately captures rising pop voices Pale Waves and Charlotte Cardin, and includes Jade Bird's high-energy gem "Lottery." Ten locals join the fray, notably Israel Nash's atmospheric "Rolling On" and the Black Pumas' electrically soulful "Black Moon Rising." Bob Schneider introduces a string of Southern-influenced sonics that peak on Austinite Erika Wennerstrom's fantastically stormy "Extraordinary Love."
Familiar faces temper the station's promise of increased breath, but the eclecticism of Broadcasts remains.
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