Women of ACL 2017
Happy one week anniversary of the Austin City Limits lineup release, everyone! As per usual, the lineup has been met with equal parts praise and trash-talking, with myself leaning more towards the former. I’ve seen better and worse lineups come out of ACL, and I think overall there are plenty of acts to be totally thrilled about. While I could dive into the female to male artist ratio (it’s, uh, not great… C’mon, C3). I’ll leave that to Alanna. Instead, I want to take a quick moment to highlight a diverse handful of women on the lineup who are currently making a big splash in the music industry in their own unique ways.
Disclaimer: There are dozens of badass, talented women on the lineup this year that I didn’t include below. That absolutely doesn’t mean I’m not super psyched to see them! I chose to put a spotlight on the women below because I believe they are each making an specific and particular mark within their respective genres, styles, and personas.
Disclaimer Number Two: This list is not in any particular order. I’m not here to play favorites, y’all.
Romy Madley Croft of The XX
From: Wandsworth, London
You’ve Probably Heard: "On Hold", "Intro"
Stoked To See Her on the Lineup Because: As one-third of the indie electro-pop trio The XX, Croft brings the soothing vocals and mad guitar skills that makes this band the success that it is. Not only is she talented; Croft is also one tough chick. After suffering through the loss of both her parents and a cousin at a young age, she told Elle magazine: “Those tragedies 'have shaped me. It's been horrible, but it's made me who I am and made me stronger. I think I take that experience with me.'” You can hear Croft pay homage to these loved ones in "Brave For You" off of the band’s latest album, See You. Coachella-goers had great things to say about her performance last month, and I’m sure she won’t disappoint on the ACL stage. (P.S. Congrats to Romy on her recent engagement to visual artist Hannah Marshall!)
From: Houston, Texas
You’ve Probably Heard: "Cranes in the Sky", "Don’t Touch My Hair"
Stoked To See Her On The Lineup Because: Solange is NOT just Beyonce’s younger sister. I repeat: Solange is NOT just Beyonce’s younger sister. Solange has paved her own way in the music world, particularly over the past year, and she’s given no indication of stopping. She's funky, she’s progressive, and she’s down with being herself. Her 2016 album A Seat At The Table, which pays beautiful and relevant tribute to the struggles of the modern black woman, topped “Best Of” lists across the board with great reason. She’s a must-see this year.
Charity Rose Thielen of Head and the Heart
From: Seattle, Washington
You’ve Probably Heard: "Lost in my Mind", "Rivers & Roads"
Stoked To See Her On The Lineup Because: Head and the Heart had a complicated 2016 -- with the exciting release of a new album also came the news that frontman Josiah Johnson had entered a drug rehabilitation program. Therefore, he skipped out on the 2016 tour. I happened to catch their Austin performance last fall, and I’m happy to report that they soldiered on well without him. I personally believe the band has Charity to thank for that. Her expertise on the violin is truly incredible and provides the backbone for the gorgeous melodies that HATH is so well-known for. Then, there are her folksy pipes. Don’t let her habit of shying away from the microphone fool you -- homegirl can really sing. I can’t wait to catch her again in October, hopefully with Josiah healthy and back by her side.
Edith Frances of Crystal Castles
From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
You’ve Probably Heard: "Not In Love," "Crimewave"
Stoked To See Her On The Lineup Because: The future looked grim for Crystal Castles back in 2014, when long-time member and vocalist Alice Glass left the group for “personal and professional” reasons. Vocals and songwriting are (obviously) crucial for a band, both of which Glass provided, and I was anxious to see how they’d continue on without her. Enter Edith Frances. Loyal Crystal Castles fans didn’t exactly welcome her with open arms, so I give her major props for facing that firestorm head on. As far as I’m concerned, she’s proven herself as a worthy successor Glass, and I’m excited to see her prove that to any remaining haters out there.
Klara and Johanna Söderberg of First Aid Kit
From: Stockholm, Sweden
You’ve Probably Heard: "My Silver Lining"
Stoked To See (Them) On The Lineup: Sisters Klara and Johanna make up one badass duo, and together they front indie folk group First Aid Kit. These two gals aren’t showy, letting their undeniable talent and speak for itself. After originally gaining fame from a Fleet Foxes cover gone viral, the girls went on to eventually tour and play with some of their heroes, like Jenny Lewis. Although the band’s influences range between everyone from Britney Spears to Bright Eyes, their country-folk sound is focused and clear. Despite the fact First Aid Kit has been around since 2007, I only recently discovered them (sorry, diehards), so I can’t wait to see them in action for the first time.
From: Sydney, Australia
You’ve Probably Heard: "I Want U"
Stoked To See Her On The Lineup Because: Look, I have to admit that I’m generally not crazy about EDM. That being said, Alison Wonderland is one of very few women who has found wide-spread success within the genre, and she is absolutely kicking ass. The EDM industry is a man’s world, so it can’t be easy being a “female DJ,” (a term she actually detests) no matter how talented or deserving you are. Throw the words “Alison Wonderland Sexism” into your Google Search Bar and feast your eyes upon an upsetting smorgasbord of stories and headlines, some of which detail the horrific rape threats she’s received. I give Alison Wonderland all kinds of kudos for facing this behavior with such resistance and strength and continuing to make the type of music she’s so clearly passionate about. You go, girl.
Let’s hear it for these ladies and the many others that will be gracing the city of Austin with their presence come October. My fellow ACL-goers: Let’s show C3 why booking women does make money, by getting our asses to the stages to see these gals in action.