The traditional preface to any discussion about FunFunFunFest is to remark upon the saturated music festival market here in Austin and question the need for another outdoor, multi-day, indie music love-in. However, if SXSW is the world-dominating industry-driven behemoth of Austin festivals and ACL the family-friendly big-name-attracting mainstream darling, FunFunFun gives us wannabe (and legit) hipsters 3 days packed full of underground treats, all in one manageable lake-side location. Running the gamut from crushing metal noise, through reggae-dancehall influenced dub-electro and indie local-boys-done-good, we end up at a middle-eastern wedding troubadour and a sure to be unforgettable weekend.
So to help make sense of the seemingly endless choice this weekend, here are a few acts we suggest looking out for. Starting with a little bit of something you may already know and ending with a couple of picks that, perhaps, you don’t.
If you were asked to pick an electronic musician working today who could lay claim to being both one of the top producers and top DJs in the world – at the same time – you could do a lot worse than to look to Four Tet. London-born and recently NYC-based ex-Fridge member Kieran Hebden has been recording and DJing under the Four Tet pseudonym since the late 90’s when he kicked off the “folktronica” movement that has recently brought huge success to such names as Bibio and Caribou. Spanning nearly every urban-centric genre you can think of, Four Tet has gained a devout following that straddles scenes as diverse as underground hip-hop, dubstep, techno and post-rock. If you’re new to the Four Tet party, don’t race to try and identify all the influences in his tracks – there are just too many to mention. Instead, congratulate yourself on happening upon one of the most exciting electronic musicians working on redefining independent music today.
Starting out a decade ago as a duo with an ambitious, soaring self-titled debut, M83 has since streamlined into the moniker of French button-twiddler extraordinaire Anthony Gonzalez. Taking a heavily shoegaze-influenced electronic sound and refining it into the soundtrack for the best 80’s teen movie you’ve never seen, M83 have succeeded in ramping up their mass appeal throughout the 00’s culminating in this summer’s epic “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming”. First single “Midnight City” fuses dreamy synths with a more vocal-driven sound and couples this to one of the creepiest/best-produced music videos of recent times.
We Were Promised Jetpacks
You would think that there may only be room for one thickly-accented Scottish acoustic indie rock band to breakthrough in the late 00’s, but alongside label-mates Frightened Rabbit, We Were Promised Jetpacks are representing the Edinburgh-Glasgow corridor admirably. Proving that there is no substitute for an almighty injection of raw emotion into a catchy, guitar-centric LP, We Were Promised Jetpacks have been successfully plying their heart-on-sleeve trade across the world, not just in support of a number of big-ticket acts but also well within their own right. Simultaneously wrenchingly emotional and pop-idol catchy, We Were Promised Jetpacks will have you in full anthemic singalong mode before the end of their set.
If the above 3 daily picks aren’t enough to get you started, may I interest you in teddy-boy San Franciscan revivalists Girls and their timeless mix of surf-guitar riffs and sneering, harmony-backed vocals? Or how about some dueling boy/girl vocals from veteran synth pioneers Mates of State? Then there is always Anticon Records’ own Baths – a warm, electronic mix of Toro Y Moi style chillwave backed by cut-up and crunchy Flying Lotus inspired hip-hop beats.
All the musical shenanigans getting a bit much for you? Then pull up the nearest camp-chair and enjoy some fine spoken word from ex-Black Flag legend Henry Rollins or some video-based comedic mockery from the Alamo Drafthouse’s own Master Pancake. And none of this even touches on the numerous free FFF Nites after-parties going on every night of the festival at your favorite Red River locations. Wanting even more? What are you, a monster?