Beyond listening to KTRU (which you should!), there isn’t much incentive on campus to discover new music, as evidenced by the fact that “Caroline” is still regularly played at publics. Heavily-attended festivals like Austin City Limits offer students the opportunity to get a taste of the oodles of undiscovered talent beyond the hedges. And luckily, I’ve done some heavy-lifting for the curious: Here’s my top recommendations to keep your playlists weird, taken straight from the small text of the ACL lineup.
For waking up in the morning
Local indie rock band Duncan Fellows makes waking up on dreary days a piece of cake. With their drum-heavy, upbeat sound, the band’s vibe is funky fresh while still maintaining nostalgic undertones. For heavier-duty sound, The Wombats bring it with passionate vocals and frequent guitar riffing.
For studying in Coffeehouse
Listening to Houston-based Thai funk band Khruangbin feels like floating in meditation. Lyricless, the sound evokes a feeling of tranquility through gentle beats and faint humming. For similar elevator music vibes but with distinguishable lyrics, singer Blood Orange brings a soul touch to the indie genre. And for those who want to be as hipster as chaüs’s baristas, Japanese Breakfast fills the “fashionably hip” category with alternatively soft and raspy vocals that croon about self-healing and science.
For headbanging and boppin’
Electronic duo Sofi Tukker brings the heat in their disparate instrumentals, ranging from cowbells to castanets. Paired with strange, distorted vocals and a consistently aggressive drum beat, Sofi Tukker’s music is great for pregaming. Similarly, pop artist Mikky Ekko (featured on Rihanna’s “Stay”) brings a diverse range of sound with one unifying factor – his angelic voice.
For thought-provoking jam sessions
Rapper Noname brings her spoken word background to her music, which features precocious lyrics and complex discussions about gentrification, death and introspections on her life thus far. Like Noname herself, who produces music independent of labels, her music is honest and surprisingly unpretentious. Similarly ambitious rapper Topaz Jones opines about topics like police brutality over upbeat, funky beats.
For those ambiguously moody times
Experience the melancholy vocals of Rhye using noise-cancelling headphones while staring at the ceiling. Careful listeners will be delighted by the multi-layered sound coupled with classical instrumentals. Amber Mark brings soulful vocals to her songs (which she also produces herself) and uses her music as a tool to discuss life issues, such as the death of her mom. For those more upbeat (but still volatile) moods, slenderbodies’ gasping vocals complement sultry instrumentals.