Monthly Playlist: Four bands to listen to before ACL

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More than 150 bands will take over Zilker Park at Austin City Limits Mucsic Festival this year. While not every band will make it on your personal schedule, here are four highlights to keep on your ACL radar.

Daughter
With its dark and ambient ballads, Daughter presents listeners with probing questions and insightful truths. Standing in stark contrast to upbeat folk rock bands such as The Avett Brothers and The Head and the Heart, this three-piece gives alt-rock junkies a change of pace.

The band first began in 2010, an offshoot of singer and guitarist Elena Tonra’s solo porject. The band’s first album, If You Leave, debuted in 2013. Although the album’s tracks all have one-word titles, the songs themselves are far from simplistic. In the song “Youth,” Tonra nearly whispers the heavy lyric “and if you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky ones/’cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs.” Daughter released another emotion-inducing single, “Doing the Right Thing,” on Sept. 30 and will perform Sunday at ACL.

Artists you might like: The Staves, James Vincent McMorrow, Joseph

 

Lord Huron

The inspiration behind this Los Angeles-based indie group’s sound has largely depended on nature. The band name is a play on Lake Huron, the lake frontman Ben Schneider grew up frequenting and playing music nearby. Schneider started Lake Huron as a solo project after taking a trip to Michigan. It later evolved into a full-fledged group, whose first album, Lonesome Dreams, debuted in 2012.

Each of the music videos that accompany the album’s tracks emulate a western ’70s style, which Snchneider Schneider said played a role in the album’s narrative. The band’s April 2015 album Strange Trails contains nature-themed ballads such as “Meet Me in the Woods” and “Frozen Pines.” Lord Huron will take their earthy anthems to the stage on Sunday at ACL.

Artists you might like: The Head and the Heart, Milo Greene, Family of the Year

 

Glass Animals

Glass Animals incorporates unusual imagery with daze-inducing, electronic beats. The group started in Oxford when a group of childhood friends, including Dave Bayley and Drew Macfarlane, finished grade school. During college, the group released their debut EP, Leaflings, in 2012, and their first album, ZABA, in 2014.

With lyrics such as “fresh out of an icky, gooey womb a woozy youth dopes upon her silky smooth perfume” and “you just want to know those peanut butter vibes,” the song “Gooey” exemplifies the band’s imaginative approach to music. According to The Guardian, the band records their songs in a hut in the woods, called the “Shed,” filled with pillows and blankets. When asked to describe themselves in three words, the foursome came up with “occult bunny lagoon.” They’ll bring their inventive lyrics and dreamy sound to ACL on Saturday.

Artists you might like: CHVRCHES, Purity Ring, Alt-J

 

Shakey Graves

Alejandro Rose-Garcia, the Austin-based singer-songwriter behind the moniker Shakey Graves, first entered the entertainment world as an actor. He’s taken on roles in “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over,” “Material Girls” and “Friday Night Lights.” After pursuing a musical path as Shakey Graves, he released his first alt-folk album, Roll the Bones in 2011. His second album, And the War Came, was released in 2014.

With his blend of country and blues, Shakey Graves recently won the Best Emerging Artist award at the 2015 Americana Music Awards. In his most popular song “Dearly Departed,” featuring Esmé Patterson, Rose-Garcia screeches to the chorus “you and I both know that the house is haunted/and you and I both know that the ghost is me,” combining bitter and honest lyrics with fast, upbeat rhythms. Shakey Graves will take the stage Saturday at ACL.

Artists you might like: Houndmouth, Dawes, The Avett Brothers