Who's headlining, what's it about and how does it look?
Welcome to the weekend, those en route to Austin. Or wish they were in Austin. This weekend marks the 11th Austin City Limits music festival, in Zilker Park in the Texas capitol.
Below, I outline ACL, for those on their way and those who missed out.
When does it run?
Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 12-14.
Is it sold out?
Big time. All regular weekend and one-day passes are sold out, and have been since May 22. But you can get schmancy VIP passes at $1,050 each and Platinum Passes at $3,600. About 50,000 people go.
What time does it start every day? Is it worth going early?
Around 11:15 a.m. And yes, there's some great acts like Caveman, Asleep at the Wheel, the Deep Dark Woods, Alt-J and the Kopecky Family Band that play super-early in the day?
Wait, the who, who and who? Just tell me who the big acts are.
The headliners are the Black Keys (8:15 on Friday), AVICII (8:15 on Friday), Jack White (8 on Saturday), Neil Young and Crazy Horse (also 8 on Saturday) and Red Hot Chili Peppers (8:15 on Sunday).
What makes ACL different from the other music festivals?
ACL is basically in downtown Austin, a notoriously awesome party town. It is not in the middle of a desert or field somewhere, like Coachella and Bonnaroo are. It's on par with Lollapalooza, the Chicago-based fest that is also run by C3, the fest producers who are actually based here. So, in a way, this is their home territory, which shows in the familiarity with the vendors and the lay of the land.
ACL is also heavily rock-based, as is reflected in its headliners. It skews a little older in its programming, a little safer, but the upshot is early end-times, so that you're not wasted at tired at 1 a.m.. Instead, you're wasted and tired at 10 p.m. They have night programming at local clubs with some of the same bands that you missed during the day so that you, too, can get a lay of the land.
How about the park itself, how's the weather? Texas is hot, I hear.
Yeah, it is hot. It's also gonna rain a little bit this weekend.
WHAT, BUT I THOUGHT IT'S TEXAS.
It's rained the last couple of years, too. Just be glad, it keeps the temperature down.
What else are the perks?
Man, get this: NO SMOKING. Now, I know you're trying to quit...
It's hard man.
I know buddy. But there's no smoking, so all patrons including kids can breathe your BO safely. It's one of the biggest no-smoking fests in the country.
What about parking?
There's no parking at the fest. Bike, walk or take a shuttle there.
Again, It's really close to downtown. Not gonna say this makes things simpler, but organizers are centered around sustainability, "green" festival-going and recycling and hug the earth stuff.
What are you doing there all weekend?
I'll be taking photos, interviewing artists, reviewing the big shows and pulling out artists-to-watch. Stay tuned.
I can't go. Is there some way I can watch stuff?
Santa's li'l helpers are back
The music video for CeeLo Green's "Run Run Rudolph" features footage likely taken from the same shoot as the video for his "Silent Night." That is, sexy Santa's li'l helpers in their underwear, doing cute things in the street as models are want to do.
This one features a convertible (heaven-bound!) a taco truck (nurturing!) and confetti (starlight!). Santa, in the front seat of his sleigh, needs to deliver his toys (hint: they're in the back seat) to good little boys and presumably girls. All that's left on your Christmas list is a healthy body normative.
Rapper's new track has the man seeing white
Put your swagger face on: Two new tracks from the soundtrack to RZA's "The Man with the Iron Fists" have a lot of funk and blues sensibility. The Black Keys have unleashed their gnarly movie theme "The Baddest Man Alive" featuring the Wu-Tang mang and Kanye West released his contribution "White Dress."
The former has all the low end expected from the rock band, but has a break beat fit for RZA's hypnotic rhymes, flashing behind a veil of distortion. "I'll snatch food from the mouth of a tiger / Take a gasoline bath then I walk through fire," RZA raps. Killer.
Black Keys and RZA previously combined on a couple of tracks for the former's "Blakroc" album from 2009.
West's "White Dress" has people hearing wedding bells, as Ye odes to his lady love ahead of the presumed dressy refrain. No word when he actually composed his tune, but signs point at current flame Kim Kardashian, his "perfect b*tch," to whom he's directed his nuptial intentions in song before.
You got him noivus
Jack White found a break dancer laying around somewhere and hoisted him into his music video for "I'm Shakin'," the cover clip also featuring White performing in a battle against himself.
This complicated matter ends at that. It features all his new, favorite adoptive colors -- black and blue instead of his previously heralded red and white -- and styled his gifted backing band so that they're ready for a Quentin Tarantino fight scene. The Buzzards vs. the Peacocks, to be precise.
Amazing physical performance
Let it be said that "Try" should have been Pink's first single from "The Truth About Love," in lieu of "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)." The latter title has all the bratty, attitudinal connote to be expected from the pop star, but it's "Try" that has heart.
And "Try" got the better video. Pink shows off her showmanship and physical abilities with a partner in this emotional dance piece, set in the desert (oh, goodie, a desert!) and an empty house. They depict the toil a warring couple goes through to get to stasis -- or before they collapse into each other's arms. It seems less to insinuate actual abuse, but the emotional peaks and valleys between lovers. It's very powerful, particularly since both performers hold their own in the give-and-take of command.
Plus the styling is rad and I kinda want to live in a cloud of neon pink. But A- because of flying chairs. What the hell.
It's a challenging, sexually charged and not-always-pleasant piece for Pink. The singer -- whose pride has been on her rebel-girl, outsider's prom queen moxy -- has me thinking about the year 2000. That is, that same year, she had her first two top 10 hits, sharing the charts with other solo female pop stars Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears ("Oops!... I Did It Again," my gosh), Jennifer Lopez, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Aaliyah and Madonna. (I'll even through Destiny's Child in there, but that's about the time it was Beyonce's show anyway.)
Talent show judge, talent show judge, recovering talent show judge, deceased, talent show judge, semi-retired from music, deceased...
Innocence in slow-motion
As I've mention in my reviews of the band before, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros have a man-child wilderness about them. In the video for "Child" off of their latest "Here," they go full indulgence mode of this guiltless, youngster embrace, as an old man rises from his hospital bed to go on a slow-motion journey.
It's actually very sweet and totally in earnest. Bubbles, mimes, farmers markets and cloud-staring abound in this strong tea of memory.
'Ball' gets a butt cover; Will #troublemantuesdays catch on?
Kanye West had his G.O.O.D. Fridays, now T.I.'s gunning for Trouble Man Tuesdays. The rapper has officially launched the #troublemantuesdays initiative today (Oct. 9) with the release of some behind-the-scenes photos of his video shoot with Lil Wayne for their single release "Ball." That song is not yet available, but has a promised Oct. 16 iTunes sales sticker on it.
Photos from the video shoot appear to feature some partying around New Orleans and some newly erected houses, and since it co-stars NOLA's own Lil Wayne, there's a skate ramp. Of course.
As for its cover, it's decidedly less community-oriented, rather it features the picture of a woman's butt in some flattering underwear. Now, given that said woman's butt will help to propel sales, I fully expect that the song -- when it is released -- will feature nothing but positive and edifying things to say about women.
This being the umpteenth single/promotional single/teaser single for "Trouble Man," Atlantic is crossing its fingers that
"Butt" "Ball" will stick, and have selected the last onsale date for an album pre-Christmas this year for the drop of "Trouble Man": Dec. 18. This appears to be the final release date, after "oft-delayed" and "Trouble Man" have become synonymous throughout this summer and fall.
Every hero needs an origin story
It was back in June that Coldplay announced they'd be releasing a comic book series based on their album "Mylo Xyloto." With the drop of the video for newest single "Hurts Like Heaven," the British band has opened up a sneak peek into its namesake's start.
The clip is composed of comics panels rendered into 3D views, but not animated in the traditional sense. It follows a fivesome of colorful mischief-makers, oppressed by the overlord Major Minus (which, notably, is the same name as one of the tracks on the album "Mylo Xyloto). They plaster the streets in graffiti as they're chased, with two of the leaders in love.
See, it seems Major Minus hates sound, color and love. You see how this love story may end. But every comic book hero needs an origin story. At the end, Mylo is made known.
Beach Boys didn't split after all...
Arcade Fire seemed to be dormant there for a minute, but the band popped up late last week to perform at a charity gig and brought a new song with them.
"Crucified Again" springs forth from a similar lyrical vein as "Neon Bible" -- religion, hypocrisy, personal value -- but has some serious '60s girl group and Beach Boys vibrations in it slow-moving organ part and three part harmonies.
The fan group over at ArcadeFireTube mentions that "Crucified Again" made its debut in 2011 in Haiti, but nobody had captured the performance on camera. This New York gig marks a first for that.
The Partners in Health 25th anniversary party was held at Guastavino's; the non-profit has been among the band's favorite groups.
No word when the Montreal-based crew will be dropping a follow-up to "The Suburbs," but they were around for the Canadian Polaris Prize last month.
What do Daniel Kitson, Eugene Mirman, John Oliver and John Benjamin have in common?
Demetri Martin's a master of one-liners. For a little more than a decade, he's built off that trade, starting with his first big segment of standup on Comedy Central's "Premium Blend," then touring and fulfilling stints on "The Daily Show" and writing for "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." You could say now he's a renaissance man of comedy, writing books, launching his short-lived sketch show "Important Things with Demetri Martin," acting in "Contagion" and "Taking Woodstock," penning and selling screenplays and other TV concepts.
However, this week, he's circled back into being the quick, clever standup comedian for the moment -- and wouldn't you guess, it's called "Demetri Martin. Standup Comedian," aired on Comedy Central and out now on CD/DVD. It's his first since 2007's equally dry-titled "Demetri Martin. Person," and it contains the drawing segment and musical interludes that have snuck their way into his usual act. Whatever that is.
But the "Standup" version will last just this little while, as Martin finishes another screenplay and book, the latter due in March, dubbed "Point Your Face at This."
Below is an abridged conversation with the comedian and writer, who's still studying to find a balance.
You can buy a fat bundle to of "Standup Comedian" on DVD, CD and a T-shirt and print here.