Austin City Limits’ 2012 Lineup: One Day Later


ACL logo 2012 Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Austin City Limits’ 2012 lineup is officially one day old and that means it’s time for some post-reveal analysis. In the pages that follow, we run through the biggest highlights and surprises appearing on this year’s bill, in addition to the most glaring omissions. We also highlight five names worth knowing as you prepare for your October getaway down South.


Neil Young & Crazy Horse

neil young crazy horse Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

If there’s one act to always count on it’s Neil Young. Pair him up alongside Crazy Horse and you’re in for a night full of gritty surprises. Although he’ll be slinging his distortion around San Francisco (Outside Lands) and New Orleans (Voodoo), Young is a great grab for Austin City Limits, and we’re willing to bet he’ll be one of this year’s top headliners by year’s end. Then again, maybe we just dig his new covers album – the forthcoming Americana – too much. -Michael Roffman

The Avett Brothers

avett brothers 2012 Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Who doesn’t love some good folk? The Avett Brothers are a welcome inclusion to the festival’s lineup; after all, they performed on an episode of Austin City Limits back in 2010. The time, however, the North Carolina brethren should return with a slew of new tunes for fall, all off their long-awaited, Rick Rubin-produced follow up to 2009’s stellar I and Love and You. Just by going off their latest track, “The Once and Future Carpenter”, it’s looking to be a good one. -Michael Roffman

Big K.R.I.T.

bigkrit e1337714476632 Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Big K.R.I.T.’s inclusion in this year’s lineup is just another validation for the uber talented producer/rapper from Meridian, Mississippi. The last few years have seen him dropping highly-lauded mixtapes yet he’s mostly been ignored by the Dirty South mainstream. With this slot at ACL, in conjunction with his forthcoming debut album Live from the Underground, K.R.I.T. finally gets the chance to shine on a stage that both accommodates his ginormous skill set and showcases him to arguably his most eclectic crowd to date. Meridian, prep your best parade, cause your hometown hero’s about to put you on the map in a very big way. -Chris Coplan

The Afghan Whigs

afghan whig Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Every festival needs a reunion act. This year the title goes to Greg Dulli’s The Afghan Whigs. With several European dates in the bag, including hosting duties at ATP, there’s a lot on the singer’s plate at the moment. That’s a good thing for ACL, though. With October several months away, Dulli will have plenty of time to sort through any odds and ends that might come about (as they do with any reunion) – remember, it’s been over a decade since they’ve performed. -Michael Roffman

The War on Drugs

thewarondrugs e1337714936252 Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

It’s as simple as this: The War on Drugs put on a great show. The band seamlessly incorporates the effects that drench their records into their live performances. Watch in wonder as lead singer/guitarist Adam Granduciel balances his voice with his often eerie, sometimes playful guitar work, never drowning despite the constant rushing wave of keyboards. Here’s to hoping they cover Grateful Dead’s “Touch of Grey” again. –Justin Gerber


Iggy and the Stooges

iggypop debidelgrande Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Photo by Debi Del Grande

They’re billed at European festivals throughout the summer, but with the exception of a recent slot at Chicago’s Riot Fest in September, Iggy Pop and his Stooges were nowhere to be seen in the U.S. Quite an amicable surprise since they’ll be working mostly off of 1973’s Raw Power, which c’mon, it doesn’t get better than that. -Michael Roffman


cos weezer pinkerton feature Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Photo by Heather Kaplan

Back in January, Rivers Cuomo & Co. sailed away on their Weezer Cruise, and then they came back a few days later. Since then, they haven’t done much, save for releasing The Pinkerton Diaries. With nothing new to promote (which, admittedly, might not be a horrible thing) and only a couple of small fests booked, these veterans came out of left field on the ACL lineup. -Michael Roffman

Rufus Wainwright

 Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

To date, it’s his only U.S. festival appearance, which makes it a pretty good get. It also helps that his latest album, Out of the Game, is pretty swell. Oh, Rufus! -Michael Roffman

Willis Earl Beal

willisearlbeal2012litowitz 03 Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Photo by Drew Litowitz

Usually an artist at his level takes at least a year to hit one of the Big Four. Or, as Chicago bloggers might say, “First Pitchfork, then Lollapalooza.” Kudos to Mr. Beal for changing the game. -Michael Roffman


 Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Wait, they’re doing stuff right now? -Michael Roffman


Bon Iver

boniver930feature Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Photo by Drew Litowitz

Bon Iver is playing ACL 2012, according to one of the festival’s “lineup lottery” scratch-off cards. Or so we were led to believe. A rep for C3 tells us that the supposed scratchers revealing Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bon Iver were both fake, even though Red Hot Chili Peppers did actually end up on the lineup. Bon Iver, of course, did not. Maybe next time. -Alex Young

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

bruce springsteen nola 2012 2 Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Photo by Michael Roffman

Okay, so there weren’t really any strong indications The Boss would be at ACL this year. However, he is touring stateside this fall and he’s yet to return to Austin following that “secret” South by Southwest gig of his back in March. That’s not a whole lot to go on, but really, isn’t Springsteen more or less a shoe-in for ACL? Oh well, we’ll just have to cope with Neil Young. #firstworldproblems -Michael Roffman


yeasayer 2012 Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

After ACL appearances in 2008 and 2010, the pattern suggests that Yeasayer should be on this lineup. Couple that with the release of one of what is sure to be one of the summer’s most anticipated indie albums (Fragrant World, their third), and their non-appearance seems downright shocking. The psych/prog-rockers have been steadily climbing the ranks of indie royalty, and they’ve already got a handful of European festivals booked, so a big American tour might just have to sate the fans (fingers crossed). -Adam Kivel

The xx

the xx 2011 e1337715449747 Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

The xx played ACL when xx blew our minds two years ago, so it would have made perfect sense to showcase their upcoming sophomore album with a sophomore appearance. -Harley Brown

Who to Know


cavemanfeature Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Woozy folk rockers Caveman seem determined to play as many live shows as possible, from hometown gigs at BAM and the Brooklyn Museum to one of many shows in Austin for SXSW. So, it’s no surprise they’re trucking back to the “live music capital of the world” for the last of the Big Four. Despite their moniker, Caveman are a gentle band that should be filed next to the Dodos with gentle harmonies and tribal rhythms that still, surprisingly, fly under the radar. -Harley Brown

Kishi Bashi

kishibashi e1337715541729 Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Violinist Kishi Bashi only recently released his debut LP, but he’s been the go-to string guy for Regina Spektor and of Montreal for quite some time. He’s the sonic compliment to both acts, elaborately weaving together strands of psychedelic and electronic music without forgoing his classical edge and pop sensibility. -Chris Coplan

Ben Howard

benhoward e1337715597115 Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

British surfer/songsmith Ben Howard works from a crowded square of beach with his brand of acoustic music, but the US release of Every Kingdom creates waves aplenty. A UK top 10 album last autumn, Howard’s recent debut shows he has absorbed a refreshingly broad range of musical and lyrical influences, both contemporary (Bon Iver) and past (John Martyn and Paul Simon). These color his work sufficiently so that it can’t simply be labelled alt-folk, folk-pop, or whatever. Still, the folk influence is there in much of the songs’ constructions and agile guitar work, but the Devonian’s warm, soulful, and emotive music reaches far beyond the genre confines. -Tony Hardy

Moon Duo

moonduo e1337715701113 Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

The droney psych-rock churned out by under-the-radar Moon Duo should make an entrancing impact in Austin. The pairing of Erik “Ripley” Johnson (guitarist for San Fran psychedelic maestros Wooden Shjips) and keyboardist Sanae Yamada blend rough-edged mysticism with blurry soundscapes, hitting upon surprisingly pop structures. The duo may not be as well known as Johnson’s other outfit, but they should win over fans with their groove-friendly washes of sound. -Adam Kivel

Patrick Watson

patrick watson e1337715781511 Austin City Limits 2012 Lineup: One Day Later

Canadian band Patrick Watson, named after singer/songwriter and head of the band, has been making a strong name in the crowded, talented Montreal music scene since their surprise Polaris Prize win in 2007 for Close to Paradise. Watson’s brand of orchestral and melodically saturated music has drawn critical praise–and comparisons to Antony and the Johnsons and tour mate Andrew Bird–but for whatever reason, it hasn’t pushed them further into the indie-rock mainstream. With new album Adventures in Your Own Backyard, the songwriter makes a strong case for the band’s rightful place near the top. -Nick Freed