Austin City Limits Music Festival has the difficult job of giving Austin musicians their fair shot at fame while simultaneously attracting noteworthy acts from across the globe. It's that down-home appeal the brand has maintained for more than a decade, though, that consistently draws in a smattering of standout artists from beyond U.S. borders — and 2013 will be no different.
We're not talking about the obvious choices – Phoenix, Muse, Atoms for Peace, The Arctic Monkeys and so on. These are the international artists to catch between the headlining acts, from indie crooners to psych-rock legends in the making:
Watch: "Two Fingers"
If he lived in Austin, he'd be an anti-mainstream darling. Having recently called Mumford & Sons "posh farmers with banjos," Jake Bugg has won over the likes of spitfire and fellow Brit Noel Gallagher. When he was just 19 years old, the unique highs and lows of his voice and nostalgic Brit-twang style thrust him out of high school (where he generally just cut class and smoked cigarettes) and into the spotlight.
Friday, October 4 | 5-5:45 pm, Austin Ventures Stage
Friday, October 11 | 5-5:45 pm, Austin Ventures Stage
Watch: "From Nowhere"
Dan Croll earned rave reviews during this year's South by Southwest Music festival and turned heads as your standard hip, glasses-wearing, good-hair-having indie artist du jour. Looking beyond the buzz, you'll find that he cut his teeth as a musician in high school, training at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, founded by Paul McCartney. Croll's music can be described as electronic singer-songwriter (what combination isn't there these days?), with much of it grooving bombastically in all the right places. He does, however, occasionally go back to his roots, letting his falsetto shine against a single acoustic guitar.
Saturday, October 5 | 12:15-1 pm, AMD Stage
Saturday, October 12 | 12:15-1 pm, Lady Bird Stage
Little Green Cars
Watch: "Harper Lee"
Beautiful harmonies by a beautiful quintet of young Dubliners. Fittingly enough, Little Green Cars recently supported Jake Bugg on his 2013 UK tour. The band's tracks are robust and emotionally charged (as one would expect of a catalog of songs written by musicians between the ages of 16 and 20). Little Green Cars' debut album was produced by Markus Dravs, who also lent a hand on Arcade Fire's influential Neon Bible.
Saturday, October 5 | 4:30-5:15 pm, Austin Ventures Stage
Saturday, October 12 | 4:30-5:15 pm, Austin Ventures Stage
Watch: "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards"
Tame Impala rose to prominence with its second album, Lonerism, which delivers a steady, unconfined, rolling ride of psychedelic rock. Led by Kevin Park, who writes and records almost all Tame Impala tracks alone, the band set out with the intention of crafting a sound that would be the opposite of the sharp, angular rhythms of today's popular dance rock. Still, it's pretty groovy and has all the makings of a powerful live show, especially when coupled with the hypnotic artwork the band projects onstage during performances. According to Rolling Stone, Tame Impala is a better live band than Tool.
Sunday, October 6 | 6:30-7:30 pm, Honda Stage
Sunday, October 13 | 6:30-7:30 pm, Honda Stage
Watch: "Rope and Summit"
Frontman Jose Gonzalez has certainly made strides as a solo artist, and his trio Junip has enjoyed modest success with a worldwide tour in support of its 2010 debut album Fields. There has always been a quiet, beautiful discomfort to Gonzalez's projects, and this year's self-titled Junip is no different. The melodic psych-folk guided by Gonzalez's even-keeled voice is, as Pitchfork so perfectly said, "music for making dinner or babies" — and there's nothing wrong with that.
Saturday, October 5 | 3-4 pm, Honda Stage
Saturday, October 12 | 3-4 pm, Honda Stage
Austin City Limits Festival takes place October 4-6 and October 11-13 in Zilker Park in Austin. You can purchase tickets online.