Austin – Everyone recovered from ACL? Cool. It’s time for Fun Fun Fun Fest. Austin’s third-favorite festival starts this Friday, November 7, and while the name is trying a little hard, the lineup is enticing. The headliners are a mix of old favorites and new bands. Modest Mouse, Nas, Neutral Milk Hotel, and—big “Oh My God” moment for me— Lindstrøm. And uh, Ginuwine, I guess. That’s cool.
But as a smaller and up-and-coming festival, Fun Fun Fun Fest attracts a lot of great new bands. Here are four new artists I’m most excited about.
If I didn’t have a press pass, SOHN is the guy I would drop everything and throw down a ticket for. His debut album, Tremors, came out in April, and it was chock full of the lonely, kind of lounge-y electronic music that I haven’t loved since múm. That loneliness is perhaps a function of SOHN’s voice—there’s a spooky distance between the bass-trending music and vocals, either choral backup or his own falsetto. He’s on tour right now by the way, so if you don’t catch him at FFF then you’ve still got a chance.
We noted SZA’s appearance at Pitchfork Music Festival back in July, but this will be Austinites’ first chance to hear material off of Z, the neo soul singer’s new EP released in April (man, April was a good month). She’s grouped with artists like The Weeknd and Janelle Monáe as a “PBR&B” musician. Or, a little less derisively, indie R&B. Which, I mean, is that accurate just because it’s a woman singing, accompanied by a mix of Grimes, Toro Y Moi (who actually guest produced), and appearances from Kendrick Lamar & Chance the Rapper? Who cares, because that sounds pretty good to me.
Wildcat! Wildcat! is one of those bands for whom the big-tent label “electronica” is really the best description you can find. They’re a little too crisp-edged to be chill wave, not stoned enough to fall in line with MGMT, too mellow for a “-pop” affix. They’re your friendly neighborhood smooth electronic, tightrope falsetto group. The LA trio has a debut album out, too.
This is my “I was there” group—at a show in Dallas, with a crowd beneath the critical mass for being outwardly excited even as the band played a pop-punk set with not a single song I didn’t love. Eternal Summers the same fuzz-covered surf rock sound of a lot of bands that came out between 2008 and 2010, but with an unrelenting punk pacing that gave that intentionally beach bum-ish sound some badly needed juice. This band didn’t get the attention it deserved when the class of ’09 gained the attention of the media. Good news—they’re still young, and they’ve got a recent album to play for their Fun Fun Fun set.
It looks like tickets for Fun Fun Fun Fest are still available, so you still have a shot at getting in. While you’re there, check out the full lineup—it’s a surprisingly big lineup, and I’m confident you’ll find an artist worth the ticket price.
Top Photo: Wildcat! Wildcat! at Lollapalooza By Sarah Hess