Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Good, Bad, and WTF! about ACL 2010 part one: The Good

So I'm sure you all saw the 2010 ACL line up announcements Tuesday. It is always a big deal when one of the major music festivals announce their upcoming line up, I get that. What I saw when looking around online yesterday was not only how excited people were, but also how disappointed they were with the headliners. I must say it caught me by surprise also to see The Eagles and Phish right there alongside Muse. I didn't see that one coming. As I looked at the rest of the line up, I couldn't help notice how the headliners were the only thing about ACL to not to live up to expectations. Let me point out what, or who rather, makes the uber expensive ACL tickets you bought worth your money. Trust me, you need to read this thoroughly and give an honest listen to the videos.

The Good:
I've chosen a select few bands or artists that you need to see, and no it doesn't include Phish or The Eagels. Sorry to all you socks and sandals, golf polo, hawaiin shirt wearing light FM listeners. Sorry also to you Phish loving festival hippies who are too damn high to realize that Phish's music is terrible. Muse was a no brainer because the Top 40 listeners who just started listening to Muse last year love them. Can we say this year's Kings of Leon? Here is who you should check out in no particular order.

Gogol Bordello- They are the best festival band not named Ozomatli on the planet. Their gypsy-punk style is completely original and their live show is a dance-mosh fest. Other than Jack from Bright Light Social Hour, no one in music has a better looking 'stache than lead singer Eugene Hutz. Gogol Bordello fans are also always very cool people who are just fun and don't give shits about what's hot right now. They are open minded and come from all backgrounds. That's what live music is supposed to be about. The last time I saw them was at Stubb's (outdoor) on St Patrick's Day in 2008 and I left all worn out from the craziness. I loved it and would do it all over again. Check them out online here: or on MySpace at Here's a clip from when they wer eon David Letterman performing my favorite song of theirs called "Wonderlust King":

Kinky- This Monterrey, Mexico indie group is the ultimate dance party band. They have been making Latin Americans all over the world including here in the U.S. shake their ass for over a decade. I saw Kinky last year in Dallas at House of Blues and it was such a good show. While most at in attendance at ACL won't understand Spanish, it won't matter. All you need is a pulse to get into Kinky. What stands out is the guitar player in the cowboy hat and the keyboard player (Ulises Lozano) in the suit. For fans of New Order, Depeche Mode and indie-new wave, you will flip your shit for Kinky. By the way...their last album, Barracuda was the best Latin album to come out last year in my opinion. Check out Kinky on MySpace here at Now while there are several good videos I could have selected to introduce you to Kinky, but I chose "Cornman" because it has a good Latin party vibe to it that make for a good festival jam. Check it out:

The Gaslight Anthem- I just have to begin by saying The Gaslight Anthem is in my all time top ten bands of all time. I go absolutely ape shit at their mere mention. That only happens with a few bands or artists, and they only have one album in my collection. That will change soon as their new album, American Slang, next month. Their Springstein-esque style lyrics meets classic punk rock will speak to rock music fans from all ages and walks of life. This is the only punk band I saw on the line up, which is both awesome and disappointing. Their second album which I highly recommend, The '59 Sound, is a classic. Lear more about The gaslight Anthem online at or on MySpace at Check out the video for title track here:

Lissie- Yes, I have a sensitive side. Even I need a break from all the rock and Latin dance partying. The perfect break for me comes from a singer-songwriter from Rock Island, Illinois named Lissie. I read somewhere online where one blogger made a Janis Joplin meets Stevie Nicks reference. I hate those kind of comparisons and I know many artists do also, but that about nailed it on the head. She's a talented songwriter, guitar player and her voice is that of a angel. When I hear her sing, it is as if she bares her soul to you. She was one of my favorite memories from South By Southwest this year. Something else I find very entertaining and refreshing about Lissie is the fact that she is not afraid to limit the number of cover songs she records and uploads to YouTube. Serisouly, she has the best "Bad Romance" cover on the web and her rendition of Metallica's classic, "Nothing Else Matters", absolutely melts me. I can honestly see her reaching new levels of popularity beyond the indie blogosphere sooner than later. Learn more about Lissie on MySpace at or online at Check out a great video, one of many, of Lissie performing "When I'm Alone" off her upcoming album Catching A Tiger.

The Sword- Anyone who knows me personally knew The Sword would be on the "good" list. They are the biggest and baddest metal band in the land, only beneath Metallica and Slayer themselves. Yes my friends, they are that fucking good. It warms my black heart to see a metal band from right here in Austin turn the metal world upside down. Did I mention I was fan? If not, just check out my left arm to see my Sword tattoo. Yup, you read that right. Second only to Rage Against The Machine, The Sword are my favorite band of all time. Every time they play in Austin, I'm there. They have opened for metal giants Metallica and Clutch to name a few. Their two albums, Age Of Winters and God of the Earth, are must haves for any metal fan. For current fans, I can honestly tell you a third album is on the way soon. For those of us who went to Fun Fun Fun Fest last fall, we heard some new songs live. For those unfamiliar with The Sword, think of them as the bastard love child of Black Sabbath and Metallica. It's metal with vocals, not screams that scare most people away from metal. I've heard it called doom metal and even hipster metal, which cracks me up because there can be no such thing as "hipster metal". Anyyway, I could go on and on but you need to learn more about The Sword. Check them out online at or Now turn up this video after you click play and listen to "How Heavy This Axe":

The Black Keys- Dan Auerbach can do no wrong. He's a musical genius. I'm drinking whatever flavor Kool Aid he serves up. Whether it is The Black Keys, his solo stuff or Blakroc, the Ohio native has single-handedly made Ohio one of the coolest states to discover music again. The Black keys, where Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney are at their best, make some of the best indie-blues rock known to man. On each Black Keys album, including the new Brothers album that came out Tuesday, there isn't a single song I skip over. The Black Keys make good albums from beginning to end. There is only two of them, but they sound bigger than they actually are. This is another one of those rare bands whose music transcends age, back ground, genre, etc. You and your vinyl collecting dad will dig The Black Keys. Your mom loves The Black Keys. Learn more about the Black Keys online at or on MySpace at Check out their music video for their single, "Your Touch":

Nortec Collective- One of the other three Latin bands at this year's ACL Fest, Nortec Collective is an amazing team of DJs and musicians out of Tijuana, Mexico. Led by Ramon Amezcua (Bostitch) and Pepe Mogt (Fussible), they create an original sound that fuses Mexican Norteño and techno. Besides the danceable beats, Nortec's live show consists of a tuba player, a trumpet player and an accordionist. I saw them here in Austin in 2008 and was blown away. I already loved their records, but seeing them live was something else. If you aren't dancing and getting down to some Nortec, you're either soulless or just plain racist. I said it. Their music is too much fun and too creative for anyone not to like it. Check them out on MySpace at Give a listen to Nortec as you watch their music video for "Tijuana Sound Machine" here:

Other honorable mentions in the "good" category for me include Manchester Orchestra, Spoon, Ozomatli and The Flaming Lips. This is only my first installment of "the good". I have a couple of other posts coming that may surprise you. Fear not, I do have a "the bad" post and a "WTF?!" post coming. I can't give it to you all at once.

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