1. RINA SAWAYAMA
DJ Pick: Jane Palacios
This Japanese-British singer-songwriter released a debut mini-album last year that quickly turned heads everywhere and surely would have done the same at ACL. Aside from having some ridiculously powerful stage presence, she's doing something truly innovative with pop music.
DJ Pick: Sam Paulsen
There wasn't much world music showcased at ACL this year and we would have liked to see some more. Antibalas is a Brooklyn-based afrobeat band that is echoed after Fela Kuti's Africa '70 band and Eddie Palmieri's Harlem River Drive Orchestra. This group would have easily stunned the ACL crowd with their soulful charm and improvised solos.
3. DANIEL CAESAR
DJ Pick: Beth Wigton
It feels like Daniel Caesar was at just about every other music festival this year besides ACL. So how come this R&B superstar didn't make the cut? We love you Daniel and forgive you, ACL. Sort of. Just please bring him back to Austin soon.
4. SHECK WES
DJ Pick: Aaron Martinez
Rap could have been better represented at ACL this year. Even in past years when there are more rap acts on the lineup, ACL tends to focus on big-name artists to tag on to their headliner. We love Travis Scott and Brockhampton as much as anyone else, but there's a whole other world of rappers in the game that deserve some spotlight. Sheck Wes blew up earlier this year when his track "Mo Bamba" took SoundCloud by storm. Trap fans everywhere would have lost their minds to see this performed on a festival stage.
DJ Pick: Meagan Otten
Yaeji creates dreamlike house music infused with elements of hip hop. Most recognizable in her sound are the vocals: quietly whispered confessions that are carefully coupled with unforgettable dance beats. We have a special place in our heart for Yaeji since she got her start in college radio at Carnegie Mellon's WRCT. There was some electronic music at ACL like Justice and, well, ODESZA, but nothing like the ethereal sound Yaeji produces.
6. JAVIERA MENA
DJ Pick: Jane Palacios
We're glad ACL had Mon Laferte at the fest this year, but some more Latinx artists would have been refreshing to see. Javiera Mena puts on one hell of a show, and has become an essential name in electro-pop at festivals in Spain, Mexico, and Argentina. Why not come to Austin too?
7. VIOLENT FEMMES
DJ Pick: Emily Wilson
One of the biggest reasons why many attend ACL is to see the iconic classic rock headliner. What we've noticed is that a lot of the time ACL picks classic bands or artists that still tour frequently or are typically in town fairly often, like Willie Nelson or Paul McCartney. It would be nice to see other influential classic artists that are more difficult to see these days (but still tour) like the Violent Femmes.
DJ Pick: Karla Bruciaga
Boogarins are a four-piece psych rock band hailing from Brazil. They are a part of the huge new wave of psych music taking over the indie scene, but they're able to distinguish themselves through tropicalia pop influences and Portuguese lyrics. They also really know how to keep a crowd entertained. During a recent show at Hotel Vegas, frontman Dinho Almeida was constantly jumping on stage, and even took a shot with an audience member mid-performance.
9. Video Age
DJ Pick: Thea Robinson
Video Age played one of our DJ's backyards during one of our unofficial SXSW showcases this year, and they quickly became a station favorite. Using an array of vintage synths and a Sequential Circuits Drumtracks machine, this New Orleans-based experimental pop group keeps their audience on their feet through the entirety of a set. ACL goers would have become instant fans as well.
Descriptions by Meagan Otten and Karla Bruciaga