Featured Taping Announcement

The Punch Brothers tape Austin City Limits on 5/1

Chris Thile – lead singer and mandolinist of the genre-busting band Punch Brothers, who will tape a show for us on May 1 — is no stranger to the Austin City Limits stage. The virtuoso musician has appeared twice with his former band Nickel Creek and once in Dolly Parton’s backup band. The Grammy–nominated Punch Brothers, which Thile formed six years ago, has released three albums, most recently Who’s Feeling Young Now?, and is currently on a sold-out US tour. The quintet’s boundary-less mix of indie-rock, bluegrass, classical music, jazz, folk, and pop has attracted critical acclaim, a slot opening for Paul Simon, two songs on the new T Bone Burnett–produced Hunger Games album, and a loyal, growing audience, including fellow musicians like Steve Martin, Elton John, and Marcus Mumford. We’re pleased to welcome the Punch Brothers to Austin City Limits.

Keep an eye on the blog, our Facebook page and Twitter feed regularly for news on the public ticket giveaway. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter as well.

Taping Recap

The Shins bring their best to Austin City Limits

What a whirlwind week it’s been here in Austin, TX.  And what better way to end our SXSW experience than with a taping of ACL with The Shins. Their new album Port of Morrow is out tomorrow and the band previewed a half dozen new tunes last night for our ACL fans.

“The Rifle’s Spiral” colored an epic pop tune with keyboardist Richard Swift’s electronic blips and swoops. “September” provided some Shinsized country music – it’s in much the same vein as their older tune “New Slang” (which was also performed).  “It’s Only Life” is a simply a brilliant song. “No Way Down,” “Bait and Switch” and “Simple Song” added a trio of magnificently shiny new pop gems to The Shins’ already stuffed jewel box.

The group rolled out plenty of classics as well, kicking the show off  with “Caring is Creepy,” the first song from their first album. “Australia” (“one of my favorites,” commented singer-songwriter Mercer) and the hit “Phantom Limb” upped the bouncy pop quotient, while “Mine’s Not a High Horse” and “So Says I” mined the band’s loud rock vein. The Shins really pushed themselves on “Kissing the Lipless,” which moved from quite to blasting and back, and “One By One All Day,” which closed out with a psychedelic guitar/pedalboard solo from guitarist Jessica Dobson. The band saved the best for last, bringing the show to a close (barring a redo of “Bait and Switch”) and the crowd to a roar with an amazing “Sleeping Lessons” – as @erinegg commented, “Holy rock n roll!”

This was The Shins second appearance on the ACL stage. (They last appeared in Season 30 in 2004). Perhaps one of our Twitter followers summed it up best:  @TStorm_Warning said: “New Shins is sounding as good as old Shins.”

Featured Taping Recap

Radiohead’s ACL taping is a triumph

Radiohead taped Austin City Limits last night. It almost feels like that’s all we need to say. This was a highly anticipated show, not only amongst the fans, but for us as well. Radiohead has been highon our wish list for years, so that rush of “When’s it gonna happen? It’s gonna happen! Now it’s happening!” has been buzzing through all of our veins for a long time.

Needless to say, the band delivered. Not the hits, necessarily – Oxford’s favorite sons have never been the pandering kind. A progressive rock band in the purest sense, Radiohead is always pushing itself forward, deconstructing and reconstructing its own aethestic, experimenting with its sound and presenting its latest iteration, rather than falling back on old habits and familiarity.  In Thom Yorke’s words prior to launching into one of the several brand new songs played during the night: “This is why we press on.”

In that sense, Radiohead gave us one hell of a show. “My face was melted at @radiohead” remarked @zee_funk on Twitter. Drawing almost exclusively from their last three albums Hail to the Thief, In Rainbows and The King of Limbs, the band blazed through some of its most daring material, adding drummer Clive Deamer (last on our stage with Robert Plant, who was in the audience) for extra polyrhythmic emphasis. “Little By Little”  made perfect use of the band’s distinctive three-guitar attack, the interlocking six-string lines slithering in and out of the skittering rhythms. “Myxomatosis” and “Morning Mr. Magpie” were jittery rockers seemingly influenced as much by caffeine as the electronica the band weaves into its rock tapestry. “The Gloaming” hit a unique balance between dissonant and ethereal, the instrumental parts almost fighting each other while singer Thom Yorke floated over the top. “Arpeggi” and the new song “Identikit” built a generous amount of tension into their swirling arrangements, smartly ending before the anticipated Big Rock Climax could happen.

We love it when artists play brand new material, and Radiohead graced us with the atmospheric, rhythm-heavy “Staircase,” the piano-heavy “The Daily Mail” and the lovely “Skirting On the Surface,” as well as “Identikit.” The band also resurrected the odd, intriguing “The Amazing Sounds of Orgy,” an old B-side that Yorke described as having “disappeared like a wet fart in the wind.”

The band ended the main set with the bizarre “Feral,” a strange but compelling mix of dub and Latin rhythms, and the frenetic “Idioteque,” a Kid A gem that got a huge response from the crowd. But not as huge as the final song of the encore – the towering “Paranoid Android” still stands as one of modern rock’s greatest achievements, and everybody gave the band’s fiery performance the love it deserved.

“After Radiohead tonight, I don’t feel the need to RSVP to any more sxsw events,” claimed @chu16 on Twitter. “My experience has already peaked.” While we’d never claim that a single show summarized an entire concert-going career, once the rest of the world sees this performance on PBS in the fall they’ll understand the hyperbole. Radiohead’s show represents what can be achieved by an artist determined to dive deep into the heart of its muse. Or, as @HeatherCuriel put it more simply and breathlessly, “passion, life changing, beautiful. rock and roll is alive.”

But you don’t have to take our word for it – check out what, Austin Metblogs, KGSR, and Austin Bloggy Limits had to say about Radiohead’s ACL taping. And don’t forget to visit our Facebook and Twitter pages and let us know what you think.


Radiohead tickets on Craigslist

Diehard Radiohead fans who did not win passes to tonight’s ACL taping have no doubt noticed the ads on Craigslist offering to sell tickets to this show.

We have messaged this in the past, but due to the high volume of ticket requests for this taping we feel the need to reiterate: ACL taping passes are never for sale. Attempting to sell passes jeopardizes our relationships with our donors and trade partners and, mostly importantly, inhibits our ability to contract with artists.

Also, as those you who’ve attended tapings in the past year have noticed, physical tickets are now a thing of the past. If you win passes on the blog, you’re getting a spot on the guest list, not actual tickets, and those spots can only be redeemed by coming in person and showing us your ID. So anyone on Craigslist or elsewhere who tells you they have tickets on hand to sell is, to be blunt, scamming you. They are counterfeit tickets and will not be honored. You’ll have spent an enormous amount of money for nothing.

We wish we could accommodate every fan who wants to see our tapings. But attempting to buy and/or sell passes to ACL tapings hurts us and hurts you. Please don’t do it. Thank you for your continued support of ACL and KLRU.

Featured News

Radiohead poster artist for Amnesty International

You may not recognize the name Stanley Donwood, but if you’re a Radiohead fan, you’ve undoubtedly seen his work – he provided the cover art for the band’s latest LP The King of Limbs. He also, at the band’s request, designed the poster for Tuesday night’s ACL taping with Oxford’s favorite sons.

Here’s the extra cool part. In lieu of a fee, Mr. Donwood asked us to make a donation to Amnesty International in his name. We’d like to acknowledge his generosity and progressive spirit – it’s great to know that even in the music business there are still folks who use their talents for good. We encourage you to click on his link above to support his work, and if you’d like to join him in supporting Amnesty International, you can do so here.

Taping Recap

The Civil Wars Take ACL to Barton Hollow

Last night, we formally kicked off Season 38 of Austin City Limits with a taping of the Grammy Award-winning The Civil Wars. The duo made an appearance last year in the ACL Presents special Americana Music Festival 2011, which is when we knew we had to have them do their own episode of ACL. Their performance exceeded our expectations.

Despite having met only three years ago, Joy Williams and John Paul White sound as if they were born to play together. “We couldn’t be more different – in every way,” remarked Williams, but it doesn’t inhibit their musical chemistry. Since she’s not tied down to an instrument (except on “Poison & Wine” and “C’est La Mort,” on which she plays piano), Williams could let the music take her wherever it could – her dances and gestures were, pardon the pun, a joy to watch. White is quite a picker, using his guitar as both melodic and rhythm instrument on the rocking “Oh Henry” (an as yet unrecorded song), the waltzing “Forget Me Not” and the bluesy “Barton Hollow.” The way the pair wove their voices around each other on “Falling,” “Tip of My Tongue” and “20 Years” was magical – as @timbasham commented on Twitter, “one guitar, two voices, an enormously beautiful sound.”

While they won Grammys for Best Country Duo/Group and Best Folk Act, they showed that they’re comfortable with more than just Americana during a fascinating range of covers. Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” (the second time that song has been performed on the ACL stage – see the Mos Def episode) became a bluesy, playful ramble, while the Jackson 5’s great pop tune “I Want You Back” transmuted into a slow, heartfelt plea. The pair’s version of Smashing Pumpkins’ “Disarm” – “the one place we do kinda cross,” remarked White after explaining how different the pair’s musical tastes are – stayed true to the original recording’s intensity. Their take on Leonard Cohen’s “Dance Me to the End of Love” was simply transcendent.

And we have to give a shout-out to the beautiful ACL audience. The Civil Wars’ music is quiet and austere, and the crowd showed their love without talking over the songs or the pair’s charming and witty between-songs patter. (“The @thecivilwars comedy is almost as good as their sound,” remarked @atxgingerman on Twitter.) The band went on a special journey and the audience was right there with them the entire time.

“This is one of many things on our bucket list,” said Williams between songs. “We are so amped to be here.” And we were so happy to have them. We don’t have an airdate lined up yet for this episode, but we can’t wait for you to see The Civil Wars on Austin City Limits.