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ACL Fest 2014: Sunday's critics' picks

Staff Writer
Austin 360
Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam were headliners in 2009 and will be back both Sundays to close out of the Austin City Limits Music Festival 2014.


Hard Proof (11:15 a.m. Austin Ventures). Wake up your body and soul with Fela-inspired afrobeat rhythms and a wall of brass.

Mø (12:15 p.m. Honda). With sensuous, bold and brainy electropop, the young Danish artist was one of the most compelling breakouts at South by Southwest 2014.

Vic Mensa (1 p.m. RetailMeNot). Hailing from the same crew as fellow Chicago emcee Chance the Rapper, the whip-smart 19-year-old will give you hope for hip-hop’s next generation.

Bernhoft (2 p.m. BMI). Soul-maven Jill Scott blessed a track on the Norwegian R&B singer’s latest, a credible cosign for an artist who deserves a listen.

Jhene Aiko (3 p.m. RetailMeNot). The long-anticipated full-length debut from the Kanye and Drake collaborator dropped last month and it’s a dreamy collection of watercolor soundscapes, plaintive and occasionally profound.

Phantogram (5 p.m. Miller Lite). Layering gauzy electrop pop with distorted fuzz and the occasional break beat, the NYC duo is part of a new generation of artists who defy genre expectations to push music as a whole forward.

Replacements (6 p.m. Samsung Galaxy). It’s a tough call vs. Spoon, but the real question to ask yourself is “Which of these bands might I never see again?”

Chromeo (7 p.m. RetailMeNot). Slick and sexy electro funk straight outta Montreal.

Pearl Jam vs. Calvin Harris vs. going home. Say you were a ’90s girl who never really got the whole grunge thing, or someone who prefers a DJ with turntables. Or both. Man, that hot shower and comfy couch sound good.


Dawn & Hawkes (noon, Austin Ventures). A decent run on “The Voice” behind them, this local duo may go places with their easy-on-the-ears folk-pop.

Elizabeth McQueen (1:30 p.m. Austin Kiddie Limits). A master of many musical forms, McQueen is perhaps the best option on the AKL stage throughout the weekend.

Nikki Lane (2 p.m. Austin Ventures). Country-western in tone but indie-punk in attitude, Lane’s approach isn’t necessarily original, but her presence is compelling.

Wild card (3 p.m., various stages). No clear winner between Jhene Aiko, Cults and Gramatik, but sampling a little of all three might be worth the walking exercise.

The Gaslight Anthem (4 p.m. Samsung Galaxy). If high-octane, guitar-driven, old-school sounds are your thing, the New Jersey rockers are a must-see.

Jenny Lewis (5 p.m. Austin Ventures). “The Voyager,” the indie-rock singer’s first solo record since 2008, proved worth the wait.

The Replacements (6 p.m. Samsung Galaxy). Spoon’s the home team, but if they weren’t in the same slot, we’d bet even Britt Daniel would be catching the long-awaited Westerberg/Stinson reunion gig.

Turnpike Troubadours (7 p.m. Austin Ventures). The red-dirt roadhouse roots-rockers from Oklahoma outpace most Texas bands at this stuff.

Pearl Jam (8 p.m. Samsung Galaxy). Twenty-three years to the week after their Austin debut in early October 1991, Vedder and company are older and wiser but no less passionate about what they do.


Hard Proof (11:15 a.m. Austin Ventures). Sunday mornings should always start with afrobeat rhythms and dancing.

The Districts (12:15 p.m. Samsung Galaxy). Catchy indie rock with a rootsy twist has given this rising young Pennsylvania band some buzz.

Kongos (2 p.m. Samsung Galaxy). An innovative approach to rock that makes these band of brothers stand out. Their fresh sound includes influences from South Africa, where the brothers grew up.

Jhené Aiko (3 p.m. RetailMeNot). Chill out to the music of this L.A.-based songstress on the rise with her soulful mix of R&B plus hip hop and pop.

Lettuce (6 p.m. Sculpture). While everyone is watching Spoon and the Replacements, get your funk on with Lettuce.


Haerts (11:30 a.m. Miller Lite). Darkly dance-ready, mystic-futuristic electronic pop.

Miniature Tigers (1 p.m. Austin Ventures). Genre-hopping indie dudes with a synthy, dreamy core.

Bernhoft (2 p.m. BMI). Your best bet for Norwegian retro-soul at the fest.

Jhené Aiko (3 p.m. RetailMeNot). Purveyor of confident, ethereal R&B who recently released an excellent album.

Imelda May (4 p.m. Sculpture). Rockabilly hellraising from a souped up, present day Patsy Cline.

Jenny Lewis (5 p.m. Austin Ventures). The queen of indie rock, for our twentysomething money. This year’s “The Voyager” is on repeat.

The Replacements (6 p.m. Samsung Galaxy). Go watch their recent performance of “Alex Chilton” on “The Tonight Show” and prepare yourself emotionally.

Chromeo (7 p.m. RetailMeNot). Ironic dance machines whose inexplicable decade-long staying power became more explicable with the release of this year’s “White Women.”


Nostalghia (11:30 a.m. RetailMeNot). Gypsy punk that dabbles with industrial electroclash noise, by creators that like costumes—quick reminder that festivals are about just kinda watching some wild stuff.

The Districts (12:15 p.m. Samsung Galaxy). Lancaster County, Pa., indie rock by teenagers that Rolling Stone felt compelled to peddle earlier this year. I like every scattered MP3 that’s come across my desk and am also sympathetic to kids from remote towns being existential.

Vic Mensa (1 p.m. RetailMeNot). The 21-year-old Chicago emcee runs with Chance the Rapper and has the charisma to be a solo commodity.

AFI (2 p.m. Honda). 2003’s “Sing The Sorrow” was a comprehensive masterpiece that had all the ambition of a precocious student film. Where’s my black eyeliner?

Cults (3 p.m. Austin Ventures). Cults is has offered up two subtle, deftly composed records since 2011 — for a bare bones outfit that runs on two people, what keeps the trains on time here is the expert songwriting.

The Gaslight Anthem (4 p.m. Samsung Galaxy). The Jersey time travelers dress like craft bartenders and love the Boss, but the goodwill of 2008’s “The ’59 Sound” lingers.

Phantogram (5 p.m. Miller Lite). This year’s “Voices” is a sublime 40 minutes of collage pop — hip-hop breaks here, gorgeous vocals there, thickly drenched synths for all.

The Replacements (6 p.m. Samsung Galaxy). Spoon is probably the best Austin band ever and a local delicacy here to rock big jams like “Rent I Pay” during homecoming — but the Replacements are pioneering immortals reunited for a limited time before “Can’t Hardly Wait” goes back into the Disney vault.

Zedd (7 p.m. Miller Lite). Russian-German DJ Zedd is warm, pop-laden electro house for the neon crowd. It’ll be a bright show-stopper.

Calvin Harris (8 p.m. Honda). The song he did with Florence (from the Machine) is just brilliant. I want to see the idol pop spectacle — no matter how deplorable this summer’s “Summer” single was. Then we’ll all politely nod along to Pearl Jam.


Haerts (11:30 a.m. Miller Lite). Ease into Sunday with the warm, eclectic electro­pop of Haerts, with romantic vocals of German­-born lead singer Nini Fabi, or try the simultaneously powerful and fragile, Bjork­esque “gypsy punk” of Nostalghia in the same slot (RetailMeNot).

Elizabeth McQueen (1:30 p.m. Austin Kiddie Limits). Former Asleep at the Wheel singer is the perfect reason to head over to the underrated Kiddie Limits stage, whether you have tots in tow or not.

Imelda May (4 p.m. Sculpture). Amp up the afternoon energy with Irish rockabilly and the infectious grin of frontwoman/multi­instrumentalist Imelda May.

Jenny Lewis (5 p.m. Austin Ventures). One of indie rock’s great songwriters, Lewis will always be Rilo Kiley to me­­ and that is more than enough. Here’s hoping for new gems and absolutely anything from the pure perfection of 2002’s “The Execution of All Things.” (Former bandmate Blake Sennett will also be at ACL with his new band, Night Terrors of 1927.)

The Replacements (6 p.m. Samsung). Paul Westerberg and his band of Minneapolis alt-rock pioneers exceeded even hardcore fans’ expectations with a tight, raucous reunion shows at Riot Fest in 2013. This is the ACL set Austin indie fans have been longing for.

Pearl Jam (8 p.m. Samsung). I remember lying on the floor in my bedroom in eighth grade, putting my ear close to my yellow jambox so I could hear every quiver of Eddie Vedder’s voice on debut (now classic) album “Ten.” However, for the life of me, I can’t remember the last time I willingly listened to Pearl Jam. The ACL die­hards will rock out to the final headliner. The rest of us will stagger home to soak our tired feet.