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Episode 93: Top 10 Indie Picks of ACL 2011

posted September 6, 2011, 1:23 am by Ben Oliver | Filed Under Editorial, Music News, Podcast | comment 5 Comments

Tags: ACL 2011, ACL, It's A Corporate World, The Head and The Heart, Young the Giant, Mine is Yours, Cults, AWOLNATION, Cold War Kids, Young The Giant, Skrillex, The Head and The Heart

Written by Benjy Oliver
Welcome to another edition of Music Emissions Podcast of the Week.  Who doesn’t love a music festival, right?  It’s all the best parts of a concert–music, friends, alcohol and drugs…just lots and lots more of them!  Each year, more and more of them are popping up all over the place.  As you probably already know,  Austin City Limits festival is celebrating its 10th Anniversary September 16–18.  Gaining it’s name from the famous live music TV show, it is produced by C3 Presents, who are also the brains and beauty behind Lollapalooza.

No matter how bad the U.S. economy might be doing, there are always certain things you can depend on.  We will always spend money on food, electronics, vacations, and music.  And you can certainly count on the festival scene to not only continue, but to expand and grow.  Austin City Limits happens in the Texas state capital every fall, and sells out faster and faster each year. This year some of the scheduled performers include Iron & Wine, My Morning Jacket, TV On The Radio, Kanye West, Chromeo, and Foster The People..

One of the best reasons to go is to discover new music! Anyone who has ever been or considered going to experience a massive event like this knows what it feels like when looking towards the bottom of the schedule. It can almost feel like reading a foreign language, seeing bands listed that you have never heard of. That’s where we come in to help. This can be used as a planning guide for deciding who to catch for those of you lucky enough to be able to attend. For everyone else, this is intended to be used as a primer for armchair quarterback fans. We will be providing first hand live coverage, but most likely only on Sunday, the last day. In our best and on going effort to cover the best in indie music, we present The Top 10 Indie Picks for ACL 2011. These are some artists seemingly turning up everywhere this year.

Bands You May Already Know


Playing to sold out audiences everywhere, Aaron Bruno’s AWOLNATION is difficult to describe. With equal parts rock, soul, and electronic, this Los Angeles based band is uniquely making its mark. You may have already heard “Sail” on the radio, thanks to the local trendsetting Austin station KROX. AWOL’s reputation and buzz have both been increasing due to their energetic and emotionally charged live shows. My prediction is they will soon emerge as one of the most popular bands.

Cold War Kids

This Fullerton, CA group have been together since 2004, and seem stronger than ever. Their latest record, Mine Is Yours was released this year. They have also made appearances at both Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza this year, in addition to their ACL appearance.

The Head And The Heart

With this being the 20th anniversary of the record Nevermind, folk music isn’t what comes to mind when thinking of Sub Pop Records in Seattle. Yet it should when referring to one the label’s newest members, The Head And The Heart. Who would have guessed just a couple short years that folk would once again be a viable popular music option? With the advent of groups like Fleet Foxes, Civil Wars, Mumford and Sons, and Bon Iver, it seems like there is not a shortage of new ways to explore this old genre.

Young The Giant

Young the Giant is an alternative rock band which formed in Irvine, California, United States in 2004. First formed under the name The Jakes, their current lineup was in place by 2008. The band signed to Roadrunner Records in August 2009 and changed their name from “The Jakes” to “Young the Giant” in December 2009. The first single, “My Body”, reached #5 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, and a second single, “Cough Syrup” reached #20 on the same chart. They are currently on tour opening for Incubus, and just performed at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.


Sonny Moore, AKA Skrillex, is a DJ/electronic music artist getting comparisons to Deadmau5. He has helped dubstep enter into mainstream consciousness. His popularity is increasing rapidly due to his busy touring schedule, including headlining the Electric Daisy Carnival this year.

Bands You Need To Know

Smith Westerns

Smith Westerns consists of Cullen Omori (vocals), Max Kakacek (Guitar), and Cameron Omori (Bass). Since forming in 2007 in Chicago, Smith Westerns have managed to tour both the United States and Europe while supporting the likes of MGMT, Florence and the Machine, Belle and Sebastian, Girls, and Passion Pit. Their self recorded “lo-fi” debut Smith Westerns released in 2009, garnered critical acclaim for their youthful and glam rock tinged approach to pop music. In 2010, Smith Westerns teamed up with Chris Coady (Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TVOTR, Beach House) and current record label Fat Possum to record their sophomore effort in a proper studio. The result was a cleaner/higher quality recording of lush, layered timeless pop songs. They have recently been touring with Yeasayer and Wilco.

Chiddy Bang

The Philly based hip-hop duo Chiddy Bang have been garnering attention for both their mixtapes and EPs. Their first commercial single on the label taken from their The Swelly Express mixtape, Opposite Of Adults, samples the Brooklyn group MGMT’s ‘Kids’ and was released on February 21, 2010 in the UK. It reached number 12 on the UK Singles Chart and later peaked at 90 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. A second single from the mixtape titled Truth was released in the UK and peaked at number 50. Following this success, Chiddy Bang released a second mixtape exclusively within the UK featuring remixes and adaptations of popular British artists including Tinie Tempah, Ellie Goulding and Kate Nash. In October 2010 the pair released Chiddy Bang: The Preview – an EP consisting of previous singles and new material – serving as a prelude to their debut album scheduled for release in Fall 2011.

Theophilus London

The urban electro pop phenom released an EP featuring special guests from Tegan and Sara and TV On The Radio earlier this year. This first full length record, Timez Are Weird These Days, was released on Warner Bros this past July. He will be going on a tour this fall, supporting Friendly Fires by filling the opening slot.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

It’s A Corporate World is the first LP for the Detroit electro pop duo. Riding the crest of the wave created by their video “Nothing But Our Love”, the record is a great mix of both past and present sounds. They also released an earlier EP called Horse Power.


Cults is an indie pop duo based in New York City, consisting of film-students-turned-musicians from San Diego. They have created a nostalgic buzz with their 1960s-sounding tunes about love and loneliness. They are currently preparing to start a new tour, this time opening up for Foster The People.



You don’t have to be on the ground at Zilker Park to catch great music at the nearly sold-out ACL Festival.

Tune in to the first ever live YouTube Webcast and be front-and-center when dozens of artists take the stage. Powered by Dell and AMD, ACL’s going to have two channels rocking for 8 hours each day of the Festival, including behind-the-scenes content just for webcast watchers!

The full webcast schedule goes live on Tuesday, September 13th at Live coverage begins September 16th at 1:30 PM CT!


5 Responses to “Episode 93: Top 10 Indie Picks of ACL 2011”

  1. Profile photo of Brian Rutherford Brian Rutherford on September 8th, 2011 2:22 pm

    You know we park our cars in the same garage on AWOL, wow @ The Head and The Heart…loved it!!! For years I’ve been on the fence waiting for that absolutely out of this world, life-changing Young The Giant record. Its coming sooner or later. Theophilus London was sick!!! with The Naked and Famous? Were going to that show next month sir, set it up!!! Good podcast, enjoy ACL bro.

  2. Profile photo of Ben Oliver Ben Oliver on September 9th, 2011 4:40 pm

    Thanks! Are there any you wouldn’t have put on here, or any you would add?

  3. Profile photo of Brian Rutherford Brian Rutherford on September 9th, 2011 9:50 pm

    Dalejrjr I can still pass on to this day… Like I said yesterday, j roddy walston n the business is good, we featured them on a podcast about a year ago

  4. Profile photo of sdrea112581 on September 11th, 2011 10:49 am

    Really enjoyed AWOLNATION, Young The Giant, Skrillex and Chiddy Bang. But I would say my fav will have to be Theophilus London.

    I think I have to agree with Bri and say I was not too fond of the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., but it was a good podcast. Thanks for the headsup on ACL.

  5. Profile photo of Ben Oliver Ben Oliver on September 11th, 2011 6:18 pm

    I wasn’t too sure of the song for Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr either but it got stuck in my head for days–I stand by my picks!

    Drea, Theophilus will be in Dallas soon opening for Friendly Fires.

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