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This Week’s Playlist: ACL Fest critics’ top picks

Deborah Sengupta

Editor’s note: This article was originally published September 29, 2013

Well, here we are, Austin, it’s ACL Festival week (part one) and Team 360 just rolled out our 2013 ACL Fest critics’ picks. As all musical roads in Austin lead to Zilker Park this week, it’s only natural that This Week’s Playlistshould be a reflection of our critics’ picks, to help you plan your ACL Festival experience.

But here’s the thing: The Austin360 ACL Festival coverage team runs seven members deep and we have wildly divergent musical tastes. To put all of our favorite acts into a single playlist would have created a sprawling unwieldy monster that encompassed over half the acts playing the festival, and we already have that playlist. So for our main playlist this week we decided to distill it down to our top critics’ picks. That is to say, to be included on this list, an artist had to be recommended by at least two members of our coverage team.

So which artist is the collective hive of Team 360 critics most excited about? The winner, by a long shot, is Kendrick Lamar, the straight outta Compton rapper who’s been dropping some of the year’s meanest verses (and taking names) all year long. Six of our seven critics recommended the Black Hippy collective member’s 7 p.m. Saturday set. Tying for second place are bombastic rockers fun. who play at 4 p.m. on Friday and sunny California sister act Haim who hold down a 2 p.m. set on Saturday. Both of those artists won the votes of five of our critics.

When it comes to headliners, we split fairly evenly between Depeche Mode and Muse on Friday. It was also a toss up between Lionel Richie and Atoms For Peace on Sunday, but while not every critic specified a pick for the Saturday lead spot, those who did all cut for the Cure. I’m confident that Kings of Leon are not losing sleep over this and you probably don’t need our help picking which headliner you want to see anyway.

Beyond that, there was plenty of tacit agreement among the critics over the worthiness of artists like Vampire Weekend, Jake Bugg and Grimes. We also liked Thao and Get Down Stay Down, local upstart Max Frost and Autre Ne Veut. All of those artists are scheduled to start before 2 p.m., so inhale a breakfast taco and hit the park early. You can listen to the full rundown of our fest faves in This Week’s Playlist: ACL Festival critics’ top picks.

But wait, there’s more.

We want you to walk into Zilker Park each day as prepared as possible, and there are many artists on the bill who lack the starpower and buzz to command all of our attention, but are still doing amazing things. For this reason, we compiled daily playlists comprised of all of our critics’ picks for each day of the festival. Think of it as your daily breakfast mix, or something to play on your phone as you wait for the shuttle to take you to the park.

Here’s our daily ACL Fest breakdown