Best acts to catch during ACL Music Fest, saying hello to Hovvdy, plus more October music notes
Editor's note: Each month, we spotlight the can't-miss shows, anticipated albums, and must-know artists that make Austin the Live Music Capital of the World. And do note, interviews have been edited for clarity and style.
October means Austin City Limits Music Fest. The two-weekend affair is anchored by huge acts like Guns N’ Roses, Childish Gambino, and more, but there are some smaller, fantastic locals on it as well. See below for a few recommendations for each weekend, and for info on a handful of non-fest shows later in the month that are also worth attending.
First, catch up with Hovvdy. On Friday, October 18, the band is going to put out its hotly anticipated new album, Heavy Lifter, and to celebrate the release with a show at Barracuda that same day. Tickets are $12 in advance, $14 the day of, and Caroline Says will open the evening.
We recently chatted with Charlie Martin and Will Taylor, the duo behind Hovvdy, to get insight into their new album and more.
How did you guys meet, and at what point did you feel like you really had something worth pursuing?
We met in summer of 2014 at shows and social events. The experience of recording our first EP, and an album soon after, was great encouragement to keep going.
Your debut, Taster, was released in 2017, followed by Cranberry in 2018 and now Heavy Lifter. That’s a prolific output. Do you prefer to work in such short cycles, or has it just worked out that way?
Yeah, we like to put music out there as much as possible. Since we both contribute an equal share of songs, writing a record doesn't take so long. Also, the process of working with Ben Littlejohn [producer, engineer, multi-instrumentalist] on Heavy Lifter was so quick and smooth.
What would you say your main influences were for the album?
Frou Frou, Dijon, Lucinda Williams, Yo La Tengo.
Was there anything in particular you were aiming to achieve on Heavy Lifter?
We aimed to cover more ground sonically, and to have more clarity within our songwriting.
Your music has been described as "nostalgic." What might the newest record make people nostalgic for?
Our hope is that it would be a natural and personal experience listening to the music. Nostalgia is such a unique and unexplainable feeling, it's hard to have expectations for how it will unfold!
Anything special planned for the October 18 show at Barracuda?
We're really excited to debut our five-piece band that includes Caroline Sallee of Caroline Says! Putting it all together has been fun.
And more October highlights:
ACL Fest — October 4-6 and October 11-13
Guitar behemoth Gary Clark Jr. and rockers Black Pistol Fire are playing both weekends and are obviously must-sees, but here are a few more Austin-based acts that should be on your radar at each iteration of the festival.
Alesia Lani — Friday, October 4, 1:15 pm at T-Mobile
Recommended if you like: H.E.R., Lauryn Hill, Ella Mae
Night Cap — Saturday, October 5, 12:45 pm at Tito’s
Recommended if you like: Kaleo, Lord Huron, X Ambassadors
Otis The Destroyer — Sunday, October 6, noon – Vrbo
Recommended if you like: Queens Of The Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Fu Manchu
Jane Ellen Bryant — Friday, October 11, 1 pm at Tito’s
Recommended if you like: Sheryl Crow, Jenny Lewis, Natalie Prass
Blackillac — Saturday, October 12, 11:45 am at Vrbo
Recommended if you like: Travis Scott, Run The Jewels, Flying Lotus
Abhi The Nomad — Saturday, October 12, 12:45 pm at Tito’s
Recommended if you like: Healy, GoldLink, Logic
Golden Dawn Arkestra— October 5 at Stubb’s
Ready up all of your best dance moves for Golden Dawn Arkestra at Stubb’s on October 5. This act is always a blast live, but it'll surely be turning things up a notch here as the show is meant to ring in the arrival of its new album, Darkness Falls on the Edge of Time. By the way, this is an official ACL Fest Late Night Show, but the band is not playing the festival. Tickets are $10.
The Ghost Wolves — October 5 at The ABGB
If you want a good show and would like to steer clear of the ACL Fest crowds, head to ABGB on October 5 for a free show with The Ghost Wolves. The garage/punk rock duo will be there celebrating its brand new 7-inch, which was just released via Jack White’s Third Man Records.
The Deer — October 18 at Antone’s
Acclaimed folk act The Deer have joined up with acclaimed local label Keeled Scales for its new album, Do No Harm, which is due out on November 1. The album release show is taking place a couple of weeks beforehand on October 18 at Antone’s. Tickets are $17. Ley Live and Big Cedar Fever will open.
The Zoltars — October 31 at Hotel Vegas
Indie rockers The Zoltars are set to roll out their new album, Telling Stories, on Halloween, which means you can attend their release show at Hotel Vegas in full costume. Tickets for this performance will be available at the door. The Hermits and Exercise will open, and DJ Nat Zingg will be spinning “spooky tunes” all night.