New taping: Nickel Creek

Austin City Limits is happy to announce a new taping with Grammy Award-winning and multi-platinum Nickel Creek on August 25. The recently reunited Americana trio return with their first new music in nine years and for their third appearance on the show. Mandolinist Chris Thile (who also visited us with his band Punch Brothers), guitarist Sean Watkins and violinist Sara Watkins (who recently appeared with the Decemberists) came together as Nickel Creek in the late 80s when they were pre-teens, becoming a bluegrass sensation with a pair of albums released just a few years later. But the band truly came into its own with its Alison Krauss–produced third and fourth records, Nickel Creek and This Side, which helped forge its distinctive bluegrass/roots/pop identity.

Following 2005’s Why Should the Fire Die? and 2007’s Farewell (For Now) tour, the trio took a few years off to work on individual solo careers and side projects. 2014 brought the surprise announcement of a reunion and a new album, with A Dotted Line and its subsequent tour coinciding with the band’s 25th anniversary. And since we’re celebrating our 40th anniversary, who better than Nickel Creek to return for their third ACL appearance as part of our milestone season?

Want to be part of our audience? We will post information on how to get free passes about a week before the 8/25 taping. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notice of postings.

 

Giveaway: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

Austin City Limits will be taping a performance by Thao & The Get Down Stay Down on Thursday, August 14th, at 8 pm at ACL Live at The Moody Theater (310 W. 2nd Street, Willie Nelson Blvd).  We will be giving away a limited number of space available passes to this taping. Enter your name and email address on the below form by 9 am August 11th. Winners will be chosen at random and a photo ID will be required to pickup tickets. Winners will be notified by email. Passes are not transferable and cannot be sold. Standing may be required.

No photography, recording or cell phone use in the studio.

White Denim’s thrilling evolution

“It’s always a thrill to introduce one of our own,” said ACL’s Terry Lickona as he set the stage for White Denim’s debut taping. While Austin City Limits casts its net far and wide around the world, we’re always happy to showcase homegrown talent. So we were thrilled to welcome White Denim to our fair studio. The Austin band has firmly established itself as an international draw on the club and festival circuits, and with the release of its latest acclaimed, Jeff Tweedy-produced LP Corsicana Lemonade, the time was right, and the Moody was packed with fans cheering them on.

Having evolved far beyond their garage rock origins, the band presented clusters of songs, layering together tunes from Corsicana Lemonade and D into jazzy suites that drew equally from prog rock, psychedelia and the jam band tradition. “Pretty Green,” “Corsicana Lemonade” and “River to Consider” illustrated the quartet’s evolution well, seguing from pounding, riff-oriented verses and choruses to jazzy bridges and long solo passages, sprinkled liberally with compressed wah-wah guitar. The tightly-knit duo of “Comeback” and “At the Farm” continued the trend with heavier riffs, busier rhythms and even proggier interplay, featuring singer James Petralli’s scatting and kazoo solo.The suite of  “Anvil Everything/Sometimes I Don’t Wanna Shake/I Start to Run” threw in everything except the kitchen sink: psychedelic grunge, heavy rock riffs, fast-talking vocals, airy arrangements and even a mutated Bo Diddley beat – the band’s current approach in a (large) nutshell.

Not everything involved extended jams – “Distant Relative Salute” essayed a frisky, jazzy rocker, “A Place to Start” evinced soulful pop and “Street Joy” ran its power ballad atmosphere on the fuel of Petralli’s powerful vocal chords. The set ended back in jamland with “At Night in Dreams,” a song that reveled in both the melodics and the expressive musicianship. A quick redo of the choogling “Dreams” and a frenzied meltdown of “Mess Your Hair Up” brought the set to a howling close, the fans going wild. We couldn’t be prouder of hometown heroes White Denim, and we can’t wait for you to see this episode when it airs later this year as part of our 40th season. Stay tuned.

Encore: Jim James and The Black Angels

Austin City Limits explores new sonic directions in a double bill with Jim James and Austin’s own Black Angels.  My Morning Jacket leader Jim James plays songs from his acclaimed debut solo album Regions of Light and Sound of God while Texas psych-rockers The Black Angels highlight songs from their latest release Indigo Meadow.

The versatile Jim James commands a spellbinding set in his first-ever solo outing on ACL, marking his sixth appearance on the program—having performed twice with his main outfit My Morning Jacket, in addition to appearances with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Bright Eyes and Monsters of Folk.  Declaring his solo project a “new adventure”, James invites the Austin audience to come on the journey with him, and they are more than happy to oblige.  He reaches into new territory in an intimate and hypnotic performance that combines hints of old school R&B, flickers of hip hop, operatic pop and delicate instrumentation.  James and his four-piece band open with the 70s soul of “State of the Art” and “Know Til Now” and segue into the spiritual love song “A New Life” and the atmospheric “Actress”.  It’s a captivating and completely danceable set, with James himself getting in the groove while holding a bronze panda up and adding his own sliding dance steps.

“Jim James has found many ways to pursue his musical muse, and it’s amazing that this is his very first solo album,” notes ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “What better way to bring it to his legions of fans than ACL?”

photo by Scott Newton

Carrying on the long Texas tradition of psychedelia, Austin’s Black Angels round out the episode, making their long-awaited ACL debut with their unique brand of psychedelic music for the 21st century.  It’s a fitting showcase for ACL, as the psych rock movement has its roots in the Lone Star State thanks to 60s acid-rock heroes the 13th Floor Elevators, who were the first band to apply the term psychedelic to rock & roll.  Named in tribute to the Velvet Underground number “The Black Angel’s Death Song,” The Black Angels found themselves the spearhead of a new psychedelic revival soon after their formation in 2004.  The band’s carefully crafted blend of melody and noise won over fans of both modern indie rock and old school acid rock, and established it as a major force in underground rock & roll, even starting its own festival in 2008, the still-running Austin Psych Fest.  Opening with the heavy duty headbanger “Evil Things”, the Angels create a dark, brooding mood with their trademark vocal reverb and fuzzy, distorted guitars on a stage complete with fun-house optic, psychedelic images swirling on projection screens.  The Black Angels take the Austin crowd into the psychedelic heart of darkness and back out into the light, proving why they have become one of the foremost acts in the psych and garage rock revival.

“Whether you remember 60’s acid-rock first-hand or this is your first ‘psych’ experience, The Black Angels have taken a classic rock form and turned it into their own,” Lickona says. “It’s got an other-worldly vibe but at the same time it’s totally accessible.”

Check out the episode page here and tune in this Saturday to see the show for yourself. Click over to our Facebook and Twitter pages or our newsletter for the latest ACL skinny. Next week: Emeli Sande and Michael Kiwanuka.

Giveaway: White Denim 8/4

Austin City Limits will be taping a performance by White Denim on Monday, August 4th, at 8 pm at ACL Live at The Moody Theater (310 W. 2nd Street, Willie Nelson Blvd).  We will be giving away a limited number of space available passes to this taping. Enter your name and email address on the below form by noon July 31st. Winners will be chosen at random and a photo ID will be required to pickup tickets. Winners will be notified by email. Passes are not transferable and cannot be sold. Standing may be required.

No photography, recording or cell phone use in the studio.

Encore: Phoenix

French band Phoenix celebrates their ACL debut with an epic, career-spanning full-hour episode that showcases their impeccably crafted rock. “We are Phoenix from Paris, France,” announces frontman Thomas Mars as they open a stellar performance, although no introduction is necessary for the rapturous Austin crowd.  French alternative rockers whose music resonates around the world, Phoenix kick off with a blistering rendition of “Entertainment” from their latest release Bankrupt! The band segue into the massive hit “Lisztomania” off their 2009 breakthrough Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, which won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Album. Called “one of the most influential post-millennial acts” by the NY Times, Phoenix earned headlining spots at 2013′s Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals. As the group connects the dots of its decade-plus career in their ACL outing, they pair older tunes with newer material: “Too Young” from their 2000 debut is woven into a seamless melody with the more recent “Girlfriend.” The opening synth notes of the intro to their smash “1901” draws raves from the audience as Phoenix cap a glorious set, with Mars calling the ACL appearance “a pinnacle moment” for the band.

“Phoenix has been on my hit list since they won their Best Alternative Album Grammy three years ago, but it’s been well worth the wait,” says ACL executive producer Terry Lickona. “Their new music shows remarkable growth, and their live shows are always electrifying. Their songs transcend geographical and musical borders.”

photo by Scott Newton

Check out the episode details here and tune in this Saturday to see the show for yourself. Click over to our Facebook and Twitter pages or our newsletter for the latest ACL skinny. Next week: Jim James and The Black Angels.

photo by Scott Newton