ACL Fest

Katy Kirby: “Cubic Zirconia” (ACL Fest Pop-Up)

We’ve got just one more ACL Pop-Up to share with you for Song of the Day, and this one comes with an exciting bit of news. It comes courtesy of indie-folk-rock singer Katy Kirby, who was raised just about an hour’s drive from Austin out in Spicewood before relocating to Nashville for college, and most recently, Brooklyn. Bouncing from one musical hub to another’s done wonders for Kirby’s artistic wisdom, as she’s definitely leveled up in the half decade since dropping her debut EP Juniper.

And the momentum’s been especially strong in the post-COVID era, considering Kirby just played both Sundays of ACL Fest on that big ol’ Miller Lite Stage. Those ACL gigs are bookended between two new singles – “Cubic Zirconia” from the tail end of August – and, just a few hours old, “Table”. The latter arrived this morning alongside an announcement for Katy Kirby’s sophomore full-length Blue Raspberry, set for release January 26th.

Based on the weight of her ACL appearances and “Table”, we’re expecting a generous batch of ripe originals for Blue Raspberry. But if you couldn’t make it out to Zilker and want a taste of the new LP, you can harvest its lead single “Cubic Zirconia” for the emotionally-authentic piece of soft rock that it is with Katy Kirby’s close knit backstage pop-up performance.

Caramelo Haze: “Una Mañana” (ACL Fest Pop-Up)

We may already be knee deep in Levitation Fest, but that’s not stopping us from sharing just a couple more pieces of backstage magic from ACL Fest. And that cavalcade of unique performances continues today with Caramelo Haze.

This Grupo Fantasma/Brownout offshoot made a bold entrance last June with their debut full-length Noestasaqui, whose lead single “Window Seat” quickly became a KUTX airwave heavyweight. Based on the band’s membership, a baseline of Latin neo-soul is to be expected. But what separates Caramelo Haze from its predecessors is a stronger emphasis on synth sonics, rather than more traditional conjunto arrangements.

Noestasaqui not only scored the quartet an official SXSW spot (plus an appearance during our Scholz Garden live broadcast), but also a big break on that ambitious BMI Stage this past Sunday at ACL Fest. So after enjoying some elbow room atop BMI, the live five-piece managed to cram into KUTX’s pop-up space for a bit more personal of a performance; Caramelo Haze gave us a glimpse of a prettier tomorrow with their rendition of a José José 1969 classic, “Una Mañana”, which at the time, had barely been on streaming for a full day. Beauty may be in the ear of the beholder, but if you don’t like this one, frankly, you’re wrong.

Blakchyl: “Ja Morant” (ACL Fest Pop-Up)

If you were out at ACL Fest this past weekend you might’ve caught Confucius and Fresh from The Breaks at the Bonus Tracks Stage. What were the fellas up to other than getting their buzz on at Zilker? Interviewing a real sultry-voiced stunner, that’s what.

Austin hip-hop/R&B vocalist Blakchyl‘s been building a hell of a brand for herself in the local scene and beyond since her debut EP On Paper in 2019. Alternating between singing and rapping with a beautifully-blunted voice (somewhat reminiscent of fellow Austinite Megz Kelli’s), Blakchyl’s only gotten better on this side of the 2020s. On top of that, Blakchyl’s eagerness to work with others and ability to adapt her eloquent verbal style to complement said guests has made for some super fruitful collaborations, most notably her duo with Nez Tha Villain, G.E.N.I.U.S.’s, eponymous 2022 LP.

This year’s been a big one for Blakchyl, considering she’s already shared two standalone singles, the Call Me Sometimes EP, and, just at the top of October, her full-length Better Than I Imagined. And yeah, as alluded to before, Blackchyl also brought her A-Game to ACL last weekend, playing at the Tito’s Handmade Vodka stage Saturday afternoon, sitting down with The Breaks‘ boys, and even squeezing in a pop-up performance of “Ja Morant” for our multi-media team. It’s pretty clear that Austin is Blackchyl’s court, so we’re hoping to see this poet of a point guard shoot for the MVP in the coming years.

Iván Cornejo: “Aquí Te Espero” (ACL Fest Pop-Up)

Well before Brenda Lee’s auspicious adolescence, breakout success for a teenage performers has shown up in many different forms. These days though, more often than not, social media seems like the most reliable platform for international exposure. For example, look at Iván Cornejo.

In true Zoomer fashion, Cornejo’s initial guitar training came from YouTube tutorials. But the intrinsic creativity and passion Cornejo possesses? That’s all natural. Building on a Spanish language, Regional-Mexican-meets-alt-rock style of songwriting that stems back to a middle school breakup, by the time Iván graduated high school, his 2021 single “Está Dañada” had gone viral on Tik-Tok and broken its way into the Billboard Hot 100. Thankfully that early traction didn’t get to this Riverside innovator’s head, and within the following year Cornejo’s sophomore LP Dañado had scored him several more high-charting positions.

In this mere third year of official activity, after getting signed to industry giant Interscope, Iván Cornejo’s sold out a nationwide tour, which included stops at the immense Miller Lite Stage both Sundays of ACL Fest. What wasn’t on that tour itinerary was an appearance at KUTX’s backstage tent that included a gorgeous quartet performance of Cornejo’s latest Hot 100 darling “Aquí Te Espero”. It’s an awe-inspiring example of how the emotional qualities of music can transcend language, because even if you don’t speak Spanish, “Aquí Te Espero” will leave you waiting here wanting more.

Arya: “Love Me” (ACL Fest Pop-Up)

For some ACL Fest attendees, especially on Day Two or Three after imbibing on Friday, making it out to Zilker Park to catch the first day’s first act is a little too inconvenient. But for the passionate performers bestowed with opening up this internationally acclaimed festival? To call it an honor is an egregious understatement.

Among them is classically-trained, Bachelor’s-in-Jazz-certified pianist-singer Arya, formerly based in Belgrade and now a noteworthy pro in the Austin music scene. After steppin’ into our city limits with her debut 2019 EP, Arya’s continued to introduce us to an array of pop-R&B originals à la carte. Which isn’t totally fair to say, considering each new release will eventually amount to their carefully crafted visual album Insides, out early next year.

Regardless, rocking their own iconic sense of fest fashion, complete with a freshly shaved head, Arya braved it straight past any anxiety for her premiere festival appearance right around noon on ACL’s massive T-Mobile Stage. Again, to call it a “big deal” doesn’t do this opportunity justice. So you can imagine by the time Arya arrived at the KUTX tent for a pop-up session, she was absolutely beaming. See and hear for yourself on Insides‘ latest that just dropped last Thursday, “Love Me”. Based on the merits of this beat-less arrangement (coupled with the banger retro-electronic synth sound of its studio version) we have a feeling Arya’s got a good shot at poppin’ off both on Tik-Tok and NPR Tiny Desk. Get it, girl!

Poolside: “Each Night”

With a solar eclipse behind us and highs in the lower 70s for today, sure does seem like ACL Fest Weekend 2 ushered in the actual start of Fall here in Texas. But that’s no problem, because whatever the weather, Poolside is always in season.

These Los Angeles “daytime disco” godfathers have been keeping us cool for a little over a decade now, thanks to their idiosyncratic slowing of classic dance sounds into a breezy, undeniably modern, oft-emulated blend. As hard as it’ll ever be to top their 2012 breakout Pacific Standard Time, Poolside’s done an impressive job of keeping tides of nu-disco, synthpop, chillwave, and lounge flowing for consistent vibes without letting their creative waters stagnate.

As a matter of fact, Poolside’s been keeping pace with a lap lane of new singles this whole year ahead of their next LP Blame It All On Love, out this Friday. As this Bengal tiger of a banger ten-piece reveals itself, we’ve figured out that Poolside’s still got plenty of tricks in their trunks on top of their well-established formulas. Case in point, instead of a characteristic cruise-ready cannonball, Poolside showed off a bit more of a downbeat breaststroke when they stopped by the KUTX tent last Saturday on Blame It All On Love‘s lead single “Each Night”. For a record all about romance, “Each Night”‘s placement in the record’s third act is a much-appreciated breather to keep things from getting too hot and heavy.

Madison Cunningham: “Subtitles” (ACL Fest Pop-Up)

One of the best parts of live concerts? Often you get to hear new tunes before they hit streaming. And one of the best parts of being with KUTX is that sometimes those sneak peaks come in the form of intimate, one-of-a-kind performances. So yeah, even though the gates are open and ACL Fest Weekend Two is officially in full swing, you’d better believe we’re still rolling out our incredible Weekend One repertoire.

And today’s in-tent listen is especially timely. It comes courtesy of Costa Mesa’s Madison Cunningham, a folk-pop Americana rocker whose finally getting some great traction. As the daughter of a pastor, the first leg of Cunningham’s career was spent within the Christian community. But not too long after touring with Andrew Bird and earning a Grammy nomination for her 2019 secular sophomore LP Who Are You Now, Cunningham culled her worship debut Authenticity from streaming. While we can’t attribute that migration towards agnostic thinking to a sense of restrictions being lifted, we do recognize the boundaryless beauty of last year’s Revealer, which scored Cunningham a Grammy for Best Folk Album this February.

Safe to say momentum’s on Madison’s side right now, and fortunately for us, that whirlwind of talent’s still in town. Madison Cunningham plays 10PM tomorrow night at Scoot Inn before returning to ACL Fest 12:45PM this Sunday at the American Express stage – two great opportunities to see this ever-maturing muse in-person before she blows up even more. But if neither are in the cards for you, don’t fret; the pop-up rendition of Cunningham’s latest (whose studio counterpart just appeared on streaming mere hours ago) “Subtitles” is accessible whenever you’re ready. After three-and-a-half minutes you’ll agree that, “good god, the pipes on this woman are something else!”.

Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul: “Making Sense Stop” (ACL Fest Pop-Up)

The primal temptation of a basic beat coupled with the hypnotic power of repetition; that’s how electronic music entices all types of listeners. When an instrumental groove grabs you and won’t let go, layers-deep social commentary (whether or not you agree) might not get fully processed…at least while the bass is still bumpin’. We wouldn’t go so far as to call it intentionally deceptive, but we do feel like that dynamic makes dance especially attractive to dissenting poets who could use some pulse appeal and producers on the prowl for honest opinions. People like Belgium’s Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul. They’ve both got their own oblique auras that allowed them to slip into Soulwax’s purview, but once they teamed up they doubled down on the discourse. As heard on their debut LP Topical Dancer, Charlotte & Bolis are actually pretty brilliant when it comes to making poignant observations sound chic and fun. And after bringing that baker’s dozen to ACL Fest and turning the Tito’s Handmade Vodka Stage into a Topical Dancefloor, Charlotte & Bolis proved that they don’t need a big space to make heads bob. Like Tom Tom Club strutted into a time machine, set course for 2023, and stepped out adorned in avant-pop, Charlotte & Bolis brought the boisterous bass, infectious bleeps and bloops, vocal chops and all to the KUTX tent with “Making Sense Stop”. And thanks to our immaculate multi-media team, you can witness it first-hand in this exclusive NPR Music video.

Chromeo: “Personal Effects” (ACL Fest Pop-Up)

We are back from ACL Fest 2023 Weekend One, and boy are we not returning empty-handed. That’s right, KUTX once again collected quite a few exclusive backstage performances that we can’t wait to share with the world…startin’ off strong with electro-funk tour de force Chromeo.

These Montreal multi-instrumentalists have been adding their polish to the genre for two decades now, with an exigent emergence at the start of the millennium that’s made them a household name for a whole generation. And by mingling retro-gold formulas against a modern pop backdrop, Chromeo’s created a flashy, flirty, and carefree character that’s earned them industry-wide collaborations and enormous crossover appeal.

Well, never a pair to be defined by genre terminology, next Valentine’s Day Chromeo boxes up their latest batch of synth-funk drizzled pop chocolate with Adult Contemporary. And as a matter of fact, last Saturday, before taking the Tito’s Handmade Vodka stage at ACL, Dave 1 and P-Thugg stopped by the KUTX tent, dressed to impress with AC‘s Prince-meets-Zapp lead single “Personal Effects”.

KUT Afternoon Newscast for May 09, 2023

Central Texas top stories for May 09, 2023. Daniel Perry sentencing hearing. Del Valle ISD pay raises. Search for new Austin Energy GM. Hutto city council runoff. Kyle growth plan option input. ACL lineup announced.

KUT Afternoon Newscast for October 17, 2022

Central Texas top stories for October 17, 2022. Not summer arrives. Austin City Council candidate forum. AISD electric bus plans. Texas crypto power concerns. Indentifying human remains. Weekly COVID report. Austin FC advances. ACL Fest 2023.

R&B’s Diminishing Dominance

In this episode, Confucius and Fresh break down what happened to R&B as a dominating force before debating whether or not Austin City Limits Music Festival has “gotten better” at showcasing rap in recent years.

On Hip-Hop Facts you’ll hear about Lil Jon’s double distribution of the “Yeah” instrumental, birthday boy Ginuwine’s real name, and the first of many Belly film trivia tidbits.

Fresh’s Unpopular Opinion goes meta when he defends the significance of The Breaks itself for playing local artists.

And no news from Confucius this week; Instead he talks up his headliner comedy gig this Wednesday at The Pershing, hosted by Fresh!

Dehd: “Control” (ACL Fest Pop-Up)

Oh boy, after two long weekends out at Zilker Park, we’re betting the vast majority of fest-goers are dead tired after Austin City Limits. Not us though! Our impeccable multimedia team’s been hard at work turning around an exclusive batch of intimate, backstage performances, starting today with Dehd. Six years since their eponymous debut, these Chicago indie rockers dropped their fourteen-track fourth full-length Blue Skies back in late May. Post-Blue Skies, Dehd’s been dominating a tour that extends to Scandinavia and the UK before a three-night New Year’s Eve wrap-up back in their hometown’s Empty Bottle.

That tour included a couple pit stops here in town for our humble festival, and following the first of two Sunday afternoon performances on the T-Mobile stage, Dehd was kind enough to treat us to something a little more stripped down than what the rest of the fest got. Rather than double down on their usual dose of decibels, instead Dehd took a minimalist approach for the arrangement of Blue Skies‘ short-but-sweet anxiety-inspired album opener, “Control

Las Añez: “Como Si Fuera Yo” (feat. Lido Pimienta)

The gate’s are open and Austin City Limits Music Festival 2022 is a go! And here just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month will be Latin-American music-melter Lido Pimienta. Born in Barranquilla, Colombia and raised in Ontario, this Toronto-based singer-songwriter has spent the past twelve years infusing flavors like Bullerengue and Cumbia with synth-driven art-pop. Pimienta’s 2016 Polaris-winning LP La Papessa catapulted her into international awareness, but just as she was heating up for the Miss Colombia tour in 2020, COVID crushed her plans.

Fortunately for us fest-goers, Lido Pimienta is slated to play ACL 1:30PM tomorrow afternoon on the Barton Springs stage. As a visual artist and curator that just launched her variety web show Lido TV, extravagant outfits are the norm when Pimienta performs, so gorgeous music aside it’s sure to be a festival-defining spectacle. Want a preview? Pimienta’s latest finds her teaming up with Bogota twins Las Añez for a cruise-ready cross-cultural composition, “Como Si Fuera Yo“.

How to Run a Modern Day Taqueria

Learn from two Chingonas making it in the taco world including Lis Mariscal, Veracruz All Natural and Victoria Elizondo, Chef/Owner of Cochinita & co. Moderated by Taco Journalist, Mando Rayo. Recorded live on the podcast stage at Austin City Limits Festival 2021.

Calder Allen: “Bend of the River” (ACL Fest Pop-Up)

As the grandson of Lubbock-raised creative polymath Terry Allen, singer-guitarist Calder Allen has been raised with a set of songwriting sensibilities that few have been privy to. But despite that huge leg-up heritage-wise, Allen only made his live band debut just a couple weeks ago with Charlie Sexton during the first Sunday of ACL Fest.

Calder unleashed a batch of previously-unheard Americana originals, leaving the Tito’s Handmade Vodka Stage thirsty for much more from this poet extraordinaire beyond ACL. So while we all eagerly await to hear Calder Allen again, appreciate the fact that this up-and-comer doesn’t need a backing band to give a great performance, as evidenced by a stripped-down rendition of his earliest compositions, “Bend of the River”!

David Ramirez: “Friends Forever” (ACL Fest Pop-Up)

Since the salad days of KUTX, Austin songwriter David Ramirez has been a major staple of our airwaves. And David’s growth alongside ours over the years makes us feel like we’ve got a special bond between us. So imagine our elation when this six-time Studio 1A veteran visited us backstage at ACL Fest and treated us to a preview of an unreleased track all about his preference for platonic pals, “Friends Forever”!

The Breaks Live at ACL Fest 2021

This week on the Breaks:

  • Confucius and Fresh were out at the Austin City Limits Festival for weekend 2.  You’ll hear their interviews with Austin artists Mike Melinoe and Sheila, recorded live at the ACLfest Bonus Tracks stage.
  • In this week’s installment of Hip-Hop Facts, you’ll hear about the surprising connection between Megan Thee Stallion and Q-tip, how 50 Cent passed on Freddy Gibbs,  Aaliyah’s intro to 4 page letter, how Rick James felt about MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This,” the story of Prince and Michael Jackson’s Bad and more.
  • Confucius and Fresh discuss OG Ron C’s assertion that DJ Screw didn’t actually chop and screw beats.
  • Fresh puts forth the Unpopular Opinion that Texas Hip-Hop deserves more appreciation than it is currently getting and should get its flowers now!
  • In his Confucius Says segment Confucius says that even though he’s been a fan of comedian Dave Chappelle he thinks the comedian needs to shut the hell up.

You can hear the latest full broadcast of The Breaks Saturday night show.

Mike Melinoe: “Vacation” (feat. JaRon Marshall)

Born in Detroit and based right here in Austin, polymath painter-producer-vocalist Mike Melinoe is a must-see for this weekend of ACL Fest. The psychedelic-minded model enjoys an enigmatic aura and incorporates the best bits of pop, rock, and R&B into his genre-inclusive hip-hop style, conquering each new venture with remarkable verbal skills and outstanding flow.

Mike Melinoe performs at Austin City Limits Music Festival a quarter past noon at the Vrbo stage and to transport you right out of that mid-work-week mindset, indulge in “Vacation” featuring co-producer JaRon Marshall!

Riders Against the Storm: “Flowers For The Living” (feat. Clarence James)

Whether you’ve attended those legendary Body Rock ATX dance parties, celebrated the official RAS Day (August 29th), or seen their name pop-up on KUTX’s playlists, chances are you’ve heard of Riders Against the Storm. Since their 2013 eponymous EP, this eclectic hip-hop duo has continued to defy any expectations of the genre by incorporating a variety of worldly sounds, most recently on this year’s feature-stacked full-length Flowers For The Living.

These three-time Studio 1A performers and previous My KUTX hosts take the Tito’s Handmade Vodka Stage 1:30pm this Friday at Austin City Limits Music Festival, so in this proverbial calm before the storm, you can bloom alongside the boom on Flowers For The Living‘s title track!