If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve heard of this year’s ACL Festival headliners: OutKast, Beck, Pearl Jam, Eminem, Lorde and Iggy Azalea are pretty much household names, spanning a wide variety of genres and musical tastes. But what about all those other artists? One of the most exciting parts of the big ACL line-up announcement each year is finding out about all the amazing acts from around the world that will be coming to Austin. We want to spotlight a few of the artists we’re most excited to see this year. You might not know some of these acts yet – but you will!
Lake Street Dive has one of those stories that gives you goose bumps. They met in school and formed a unique, musically rich sound that evolved as they wrote and performed together. In 2012, they were experimenting with some cover tunes, and posted a low-fi video of themselves performing “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 on a Boston street corner on YouTube. This caught a lot of attention (over 2 million views as of August 2014), including that of the incomparable T. Bone Burnett. Burnett invited the band to participate in Another Day, Another Time, a concert featuring music from and inspired by the Coen Brothers’ movie Inside Llewyn Davis, which aired on Showtime in December 2013.
The band’s performance was hailed by Rolling Stone as the evening’s “unexpected showstopper.” The New York Daily News raved that the band’s lead singer, Rachael Price, has “the soulful howl of a young Etta James.” What has followed has been a fast moving ride for Lake Street Dive, including appearances on The Colbert Report and The Late Show with David Letterman, and a new, devoted set of fans to go along with the band’s already obsessed core following.
“We are named in homage to dive bar bands. We were, are and always will be a dive bar band. Whether we’re playing for 10 people or 10,000 we want them to have that feeling.”
Lake Street Dive is comprised of singer Rachael Price, upright bassist Bridget Kearney, drummer Mike Calabrese and Mike “McDuck” Olson on trumpet and guitar. It’s hard to pigeonhole the band’s sound into just one category – jazz-country-indie-pop with a throwback soul vibe? You may not have heard of Lake Street Dive yet, but we think they’re going to steal the show on both Fridays at ACL . Check out their latest release Bad Self Portraits, as well as the EP Fun Machine, which features five covers (including “I Want You Back”), and watch their videos on YouTube – you won’t want to miss this show.
YOUNG & SICK
Young & Sick is a combined art and music project from the wonderfully quirky mind of Nick Van Hofwegen, a Dutch transplant who now lives and creates in L.A. Van Hofwegen writes, performs and produces all his own music, all of which has signature artwork that he releases with every track. Originally known as a visual artist, Van Hofwegen has done artwork for a number of well known entertainers like Foster the People, Maroon 5, Robin Thicke, Mikky Ekko and Andy Dick. His playful, squiggly creations have become well known in both music and art circles – you may be familiar with the cover art for Foster the People’s Pumped Up Kicks or last summer’s Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke and Pharrell. If you go to his website, youngandsick.com, you will find nothing but a series of singles posted with artwork.
If the project sounds kind of precious and artsy – it IS, but in a totally unpretentious way. Van Hofwegen himself is very down to earth, casual and friendly, with a great sense of humor. His music is a mix of R&B, electronica and synth-pop, and his vocals are downright dreamy. He has a Prince-like range, with a soulful falsetto mixed with complex harmonies. His style is reminiscent of great 80’s synth pop, but it feels completely original and new. His live performances are compelling, whether he’s performing solo acoustic or plugged in with the full band.
Young & Sick performed in several showcases at SXSW this year, including one show at Austin Pets Alive! with Ryan Hemsworth and Mahaut Mondino that was performed exclusively for dogs. With a full tour schedule and a dual role as professional artist and musician, Van Hofwegen has spent 2014 creating enormous buzz around his work. Stereogum dubbed Young & Sick 2014’s Band To Watch.
Prior to this year, all of Young & Sick’s music has been independently released. This year he signed with Harvest Records and in April 2014, released his first self-titled album. The album was released as a vinyl LP, with 50 of the original run selected at random to contain a unique drawing by Van Hofwegen. Collaborating with other musicians to flesh out the live performance earlier this year seems to have added another layer to an already multilayered project. The band had its first live performance last January.
“Right now we’re just going to let the music speak for itself and just be a band first and not worry too much about presentation — just play music the best we can, and then fully build it out and let it grow slowly. By the end we want it to be a big visual stage show. That is going to grow over time.” We can’t wait to see what they bring to ACL, and we look forward to seeing how Young and Sick evolves.
French-Chilean singer/rapper Ana Tijoux is an amazing woman, a thrilling performer and one of the most respected MCs worldwide. Somebody should make a movie out of Tijoux’s life. The daughter of Chilean political exiles under Pinochet’s regime, Tijoux was born and raised in France, returning to Chile as a teenager where she performed in a series of hip hop and pop groups, gaining much success in Latin America and France, most notably the group Makiza, one of the only Latin hip hop groups to be signed by Sony Entertainment.
As a solo artist, Tijoux has paid her dues and gained success the hard way through touring, performing and recording. After experimenting with more melodic, soulful pop, in 2009, she recorded her solo debut “1977,” which is still making waves in the hip hop world, five years later. In 2010, Tijoux was invited to play SXSW, which spurred a North American tour. After a shout out from Radiohead frontman, Thom Yorke, Tijoux’s unique musical style got the attention of a much wider audience, gaining even more mainstream success after being featuring on AMC’s Breaking Bad.
This year Ana Tijoux is touring on her new album Vengo, which is a wild ride of lush lyrics set to Latin rhythms, calling up both the sounds of old school hip hop and a classic Latin feel. Rolling Stone called her SXSW showcase “one of the best concerts of this year’s festival,” while the New York Times has called her “South America’s answer to Lauryn Hill.”
In concert, Tijoux takes the stage with a full band that brings to life the intricate arrangements of the new album, a whirlwind trip through hip-hop, jazz, and funk, spiced with a bit of politics and her great sense of humor that has led audiences around the globe fall in love with her.
About The Shannon Schmitz Group at Austin Portfolio Real Estate:
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