Cassandra Wilson taping to stream live on Apr. 28

CassandraWilson_square

Austin City Limits is pleased to announce that we will be streaming our taping with Cassandra Wilson live on Tuesday, April 28, 8pm CT/9pm ET. The taping will webcast in its entirety via our YouTube channel.

 Grammy-winning American jazz musician, vocalist, songwriter, and producer Cassandra Wilson makes her ACL debut, armed with her acclaimed new LP Coming Forth by Day (Legacy Recordings), an homage dedicated to the beauty, power, and genius of Billie Holiday. The album boasts a surprising cast of characters: produced by Nick Launay (Nick Cave’s producer), string arrangements by Van Dyke Parks, guitar from T Bone Burnett and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner, and rhythm section from The Bad Seeds (drummer Thomas Wydler and bassist Martyn P. Casey).  Critic Gary Giddins describes Wilson as “a singer blessed with an unmistakable timbre and attack who has expanded the playing field” by incorporating blues, country and folk music into her work.  A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Wilson moved to New York City in the early 80s, met saxophonist Steve Coleman and became one of the founding members of the M-Base Collective. She signed with Blue Note Records in 1992 and released the landmark album Blue Light ‘Til Dawn, which paved the way for a new generation of jazz singers seeking an approach and repertoire that challenged the supremacy of the American Standard songbook.

The broadcast version of this show will air this fall on PBS.  Join us for this live webcast of the Austin City Limits debut of Cassandra Wilson.

Sleater-Kinney wow ACL fans with 22-song set

photo by Scott Newton

When innovative indie rockers Sleater-Kinney reunited in 2014, fans were thrilled. The excitement doubled earlier this year when the Pacific Northwest trio released No Cities to Love, a brand new, highly acclaimed record. That energy reached an apex of sorts when we welcomed the band to their first Austin City Limits taping, which we also streamed live on our YouTube Channel.

The band opened with little fanfare but tons of energy on the jagged rocker “Price Tag,” the danceable power popper “Fangless,” both from No Cities to Love, and crowd-pleasing new waver “Oh!” The cuts showcased not only the band’s way with uncommon hooks, but also the combustible chemistry between the clashing guitars and vocals of Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein and powerhouse drums of Janet Weiss. “This is one of our favorite cities and we’re so excited to be playing Austin City Limits,” noted Tucker in a rare between-song comment, before the band launched into “What’s Mine is Yours,” a sprightly rocker that detoured into grinding guitar noise. Following that avant interlude, Sleater-Kinney eschewed respites and simply rocked out for another hour, hitting tracks from nearly every LP they’ve released. The band ripped through the bouncing power pop of “Get Up” and “Words and Guitar,” urgent punk of “Light Rail Coyote” and the ironically titled “No Anthems” and the bristling rock & roll of “Bury Our Friends” and “Start Together.” With a one-two punch of the excessively melodic “Entertain” and “Jumpers,” both from the band’s masterpiece The Woods, Sleater-Kinney brought the main set to a close.

Packed with loyal fans, the crowd didn’t want the band to leave. Fortunately, their persistence was rewarded with a four-song encore, including “Sympathy,” “Dig Me Out” and the early fan favorite “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone,” closing with the winsome pop tune “Modern Girl.” At a generous 22 songs, there was no way any Sleater-Kinney fanatic could be unsatisfied. We think you won’t be either when you see this episode, broadcasting this fall on your local PBS station.

 

New taping: Courtney Barnett

photo by Mia Mala McDonald

Austin City Limits is happy to announce the ACL taping debut of Australian singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett on June 4th.

Mixing witty, often hilarious, occasionally even heartbreaking observations with devastating self-assessment, Courtney Barnett’s debut album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, cements her standing as one of the most distinctive and compelling new voices in indie rock. After leaving art-school in Hobart, Tasmania, Barnett moved to Melbourne and became a mainstay of the local scene. She paid her dues and honed her chops in short-lived garage outfits before playing lead guitar in the twang-psych band Immigrant Union. When she went solo, Barnett launched her own label, which she dubbed Milk! Records, to release her own material as well as music by some of Melbourne’s finest singers and songwriters. With the 2013 release of The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas (which combined her first two self-released EPs), she embarked on an almost never-ending tour that took her to North America and Europe, barely stopping long enough to record her first true album. Sometimes I Sit and Think is a beguiling collection of songs that reveals her as an ambitious writer with an ear for clever turns of phrase and an eye for story-song details that are literate without being pretentious – Barnett even did the artwork and hand lettering for the liner notes. The Guardian calls the record “fun, intelligent and sets up Barnett as a voice who can tread between both high and low culture and treat them the same.”

“There’s something about the way she sings where I feel like I know that person,” says Britt Daniel of Spoon, who have invited her to play a show with them and the Decemberists at Red Rocks. “Her songs are fairly simple in their construction, and they’re carried by her lyrics, the way she finds humor in the mundane.” We’re thrilled to host this rocking singer and songwriter. Please join us in welcoming for the first time: Courtney Barnett.

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

 

The War On Drugs’ psychedelic classic rock

photo by Scott Newton

For its debut ACL taping The War On Drugs lived up to the critical acclaim that’s been showered upon them since their 2011 breakthrough Slave Ambient. Drawing mostly from last year’s Lost in the Dream, widely praised as the Philadelphia band’s best so far, topping critics year-end Best lists, TWOD performed a strong set of its patented blend of spacey psychedelia and classic rock to an adoring audience.

Starting with a hazy synth intro, the sextet eased in “Under the Pressure,” also the first song on Lost in the Dream. Over a driving motorik rhythm, leader Adam Granduciel overlaid Dylanesque vocals and tasteful guitar solos, painting a vibrant picture that coaxes attention instead of demanding it. TWOD worked that formula even more successfully on “Red Eyes,” “Baby Missiles” and the midpoint anthem “An Ocean Between the Waves,” crowd-pleasers all. The band didn’t stick only to that groove, however. “Disappearing” added an almost disco rhythm to the drumming, giving the song its own buoyancy. “Lost in the Dream” and “Eyes to the Wind” worked more dynamic melodies, adding a certain wistfulness to the vibe, even as Granduciel traversed his fretboard. TWOD combined everything into “In Reverse,” the penultimate tune that served as the set’s climax.

Following that peak, the band closed by taking the crowd into the lush green valley of “Suffering,” the cathartic ballad pushing us gently into the good night. Eschewing the Big Rock Finish was the perfect way to bring this stunning, shimmering show to an end. We hope you’ll feel the same when this episode airs this fall on PBS.

 

Sturgill Simpson’s forward-thinking tradition

photo by Scott Newton

Country singer Sturgill Simpson is exactly the kind of artist we like on Austin City Limits: mindful of tradition but with a forward-thinking attitude. Inspired equally by Waylon Jennings and Carl Sagan, the Nashville-based Kentucky native makes hardcore country that comes from another place, as his acclaimed breakthrough LP Metamodern Sounds in Country Music proves.  Aaron Taylor, one of our live stream viewers on YouTube, remarked, “No boots like a fake cowboy, no cowboy hat, just pure country.” So we were thrilled to welcome the recent Atlantic Records signee to his debut ACL.

Simpson and his four-piece band wasted no time once they hit the stage, launching into “Sitting Here Without You,” a high-speed burner with plenty of room for skillet-licking guitarist Laur Joamets to shine. Indeed, Simpson often featured Joamets’ picking, letting the Estonian native rip through the trucking “Long White Line,” the hot-rocking “Life of Sin” and the bluegrass-blazing Ralph Stanley cover “Poor Rambler,” on which Simpson traded licks with his lead guitarist. “Found myself stomping my floorboard,” exclaimed theoskeewhoat on our YouTube live stream. As happy as he was to showcase his band, though, Simpson ultimately is about songs, and he has plenty of good ones. From the philosophical “Time After All” and “Water in a Well” and the angry “Some Days” to the romantic cover of synthpop band When in Rome’s “The Promise” and the pitch-black “Living the Dream,” Simpson gave a masterful performance. He and his band closed the main set with the back-to-back killers “Turtles (All the Way Down” and “It Ain’t All Flowers,” which started honkytonkin’ and ended rockin’.

Of course, it wasn’t quite over, as the audience didn’t want the band to leave. Simpson paid tribute to the outlaw country scene that inspires him with a cover of “I’d Have to Be Crazy” by Austin cosmic cowboy Steven Fromholz, before digging into the repertoire of his old band Sunday Valley for a ripping take on the Osborne Brothers’ “Listening to the Rain,” which incorporated T.Rex’s “The Motivator.” With that, Simpson brought down the house, leaving the crowd wanting more. “Hard to believe how absolutely great Sturgill is!” enthused Chris Durand on our Facebook page. It was a great show and a strong debut, and we can’t wait for you to see it when it airs on PBS this Fall.

 

TV on the Radio conquers ACL

photo by Scott Newton

When TV on the Radio hit our studio for its livestreamed Austin City Limits debut, the Brooklyn combo proved exactly why it’s one of the most acclaimed bands in the land. The quartet’s ingenious mashup of rock, soul and electronica makes it a favorite of both critics and audiences, and gives it a unique style and flavor that conquered onstage.

A slow, psychedelic intro signaled the atmospheric “Young Liars,” the title track from the band’s 2003 EP that introduced it to the world. But the mood didn’t stay dreamy for long, as the foursome (plus two auxiliary musicians) launched into the punk-rocking “Lazerray,” an aggressive track from TVOTR’s latest album Seeds. That record, described as “ a perfect distillation of what the band does best” by Exclaim, provided the backbone of the set. Stripping down its often elaborate production schemes to simply get down to business, the band hit hard on “Winter,” the synth-spiked “Happy Idiot” and the trombone-frosted “New Cannonball Blues” (from the group’s previous LP Nine Types of Light). “Could You,” the 6/8 “Love Dog” and the crushing “Wolf Like Me” (from breakthrough Return to Cookie Mountain) represented TVOTR’s lighter-waving anthem side, while the dreamy “Seeds” and silky “Careful You” embodied its skill with psychedelic balladry.

Following the nearly rapped demi-punk smasher “Dancing Choose,” from the record Dear Science, TVOTR closed its main set with the emotional anthem “Trouble,” which directly addresses the loss the band felt at the sudden death of member Gerard Smith with the repeated plea “Everything’s gonna be okay!”. “This song is dedicated to anyone seriously going through something right now,” noted singer Tunde Adebimpe, and the crowd responded with a standing ovation after the song’s gentle close. Though no encore was planned, the band couldn’t just leave us in such an overwhelmed state, and came back with “DLZ,” a loud, wordy groover from Dear Science that gave us the catharsis we needed. A stunning show, and one we can’t wait for you to see once the final edit hits the PBS airwaves this fall.

 

Live stream our taping with TV on the Radio Mar. 16

TVontheRadio_square

Austin City Limits is pleased to announce that we will be streaming our debut taping with TV on the Radio live on Monday, Mar. 16, 8pm CT/9pm ET. The taping will webcast in its entirety via our YouTube channel.

The Brooklyn-based quartet has been called  ”one of the most compelling American rock and roll stories of the modern age” by the BBC, “the most innovative band on the planet” by AV Club and “the most vital, current band in America” by the Associated Press. Their critically-acclaimed latest release Seeds topped 2014 Year-End Best lists including capturing the top spot on respected critic Jon Pareles’ New York Times’ Best Albums of 2014 list. The influential band stole the hearts of fans and critics with its 2004 LP Desperate Hearts, Blood Thirsty Babes. By the time 2006’s Return to Cookie Mountain took Spin’s album of the year honors, the band’s eclectic musical spirit – encompassing rock, soul, psychedelia and electronica –  had made it one of the most esteemed acts in the world, with collaborations featuring David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on its resumé. With a live show described as  ”sexy nerdiness letting go in a controlled blast of unleashed energy” (The Boston Globe), TV On the Radio will give Austin City Limits a stunning show.

The broadcast version of this show will air this fall on PBS.  Join us for this live webcast of the Austin City Limits debut of TV on the Radio.

 

New tapings: Sleater-Kinney, Cassandra Wilson and Shakey Graves

photo by Brigitte Sire

Austin City Limits is proud to announce new Season 41 tapings with Sleater-Kinney, Cassandra Wilson and Shakey Graves, all coming to our stage for the first time.

On April 15 we welcome acclaimed rock band Sleater-Kinney, out supporting their first new album in a decade, No Cities To Love (Sub Pop), which New York Times critic Jon Pareles called “the first great album of 2015.” Consisting of guitarists/vocalists Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein (also the co-creator/star of Portlandia), and drummer Janet Weiss, the powerhouse trio came crashing out of the Pacific Northwest, setting a new bar for punk’s political insight and emotional impact. Hailed as “America’s best rock band” by Greil Marcus in Time Magazine, and as “America’s best punk band ever. EVER” by Rob Sheffield in Rolling Stone, the band put out seven searing albums in 10 years before going on indefinite hiatus in 2006. Almost a decade later, the trio has come back together with the surprise announcement of No Cities To Love, which Pareles described as full of “hurtling, bristling, densely packed, white-knuckled songs that are all taut construction and raw nerve.” Can’t join us in the studio for this taping? Join us online on our  Austin City Limits YouTube channel where you will be able to watch the entire taping as it happens live on April 15 starting at 8 pm CT.

photo by Mark Seliger

Grammy-winning American jazz musician, vocalist, songwriter, and producer Cassandra Wilson makes her ACL debut on April 28, armed with her new LP Coming Forth by Day, an homage dedicated to the beauty, power, and genius of Billie Holiday. Jazz critic Gary Giddins describes Wilson as “a singer blessed with an unmistakable timbre and attack who has expanded the playing field” by incorporating blues, country and folk music into her work.  A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Wilson moved to New York City in the early 80s, met saxophonist Steve Coleman and became one of the founding members of the M-Base Collective. She signed with Blue Note Records in 1992 and released the landmark album Blue Light ‘Til Dawn, which paved the way for a new generation of jazz singers seeking an approach and repertoire that challenged the supremacy of the American Standard songbook.

On May 6 we open the stage to Austin-based singer/songwriter Shakey Graves, playing songs from his acclaimed 2014 LP And the War Came. An actor who had a recurring role on Friday Night Lights and appeared in several Robert Rodriguez films, the erstwhile Alejandro Rose-Garcia started making music as part of New York City’s “anti-folk” scene. Since returning to Austin, Shakey Graves has become so closely associated with his hometown that for the last three years, Austin has celebrated “Shakey Graves Day” by mayoral proclamation. With And the War Came, he extends the ground emotionally and sonically broken by his 2011 self-released debut Roll the Bones, which still ranks near the top of Bandcamp’s digital best-seller charts. As noted by Exclaim, And the War Came “displays remarkable growth as a songwriter, guitar player and arranger without entirely leaving behind the one-man-band, lo-fi aesthetic that made his debut such a captivating listen.” Please join us for the ACL debut of Shakey Graves. Watch KLRU’s Arts In Context documentary on Shakey Graves now

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