Five Local Artists You Need to See at Float Fest

This year’s Float Fest features a multitude of talent from Austin, Texas. While the genres and sounds for each artist may be different, you can expect all of them to bring a lively, engaging performance to Float Fest. Here’s a list of five artists you can’t miss.

A-Town Getdown

What: Groovy Funk and Soul
When: Sunday from 2:30 to 3:15
Where: Water Stage

Why: The group is composed of a handful of talented local artists performing their contemporary taste on funk. According to their website, A-Town Getdown’s primary goal is making people “want to dance.” Their infectious, unique sound has earned them a loyal following in a city where the genres of indie rock and country reign supreme.

Wild Child

What: Acoustic Indie-Pop
When: Sunday from 5:30 to 6:15
Where: Water Stage

Why: The seven-piece band elegantly pairs uncommon instruments, for example a cello and a trumpet, with strong vocals. The result is complex songs with earnest lyrics and hopeful tunes. The honestly of their music has been internationally appreciated, and the band has sold out tours in North America and Europe.


What: Talking Heads Tribute Band
When: Saturday from 3:15 to 4:00
Where: Sun Stage

Why: Some of Austin’s most talented musicians came together to form a tribute for world-renowned band, The Talking Heads. Heartbyrne charms audiences with their high-energy performances of the legendary band’s many hits.

Resonant Frequency

What: Future Funk
When: Saturday from 2:30 to 3:15
Where: Water Stage

Why: Resonant Frequency has been on fire in Austin during the past few weeks. The group consists of three artists — Vince Seidl, Landon Reichle and Ben Slade, who each bring a different musical instrument to make up a cohesive electro-soul. They recently performed on the first-ever JamBarge, and they are set to open for electronic superstar, Pretty Lights.

Blunt Force

What: Funky Electronic
When: Saturday from 4:00 to 4:45
Where: Water Stage

Why: Blunt Force is an electronic due that mixes some funk with heavy bass to produce an unforgettable live show. After successfully headlining JamBarge in June, the duo announced their first headliner show at Empire. The also recently played their first set in front of a big crowd at the legendary Stubb’s Ampitheatre, and they’re set to play a few more festivals this year. May the Blunt Force be with you.

Other notable Austin artists performing at Float Fest include Walter Lukens, Los Coast, Sweet Spirit and UME.

Follow these artists as well as Float Fest on JamFeed for up-to-date information on the festival and updates on the artists. Happy Floating!

"(What's The Story) Morning Glory?"

Roll With It: Reflections on Oasis and Radiohead, then and now

Photo by Michael Spencer Jones

Cover Design by Stanley Donwood

“People in bands don’t have the kind of conversations people might think they have. The best things about being in a band are the things that are unsaid.” Thom Yorke

“I’ve never felt like I had anything important to say.” – Noel Gallagher


In 2006, I visited China with my aunt, uncle and cousins. Over the course of several weeks we travelled much of the country while also stopping in Tibet and, briefly, Japan. I recall enjoying some places, disliking others, drinking too much tea, and feeling homesick. The World Cup was happening at the time and while the Chinese National team was not very accomplished, there was a profound sense of pride throughout the country, due in part to the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics. My cousins and I would wake up at odd hours of the night to watch certain World Cup matches and I remember seeing France upset Brazil in the Round of 16 at 5 am.

On one of my last days in Beijing, I bargained for a replica World Cup trophy from a street vendor outside of my hotel for what amounted to roughly $20. I decided that I would present it to my friend Louis Miller who, at the time, was the biggest soccer fan I knew.

When I returned to the United States, I rode my bike to Louis’ house to deliver the trophy to him. I rang the doorbell, he opened the door, said a very soft “Cool, man. Thanks,” nodded his head a bit and made some excuse about being busy and not having time to hang out. I was confused and bitter.

After that, we grew apart. I don’t recall ever seeing Louis again. I know that can’t possibly be true but if you don’t trust your memories then anything is possible.


I thought of this the other day while listening to “Don’t Look Back In Anger” by Oasis from their 1995 album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? This song was the defining anthem of my middle school years. If you had asked me at the time to create a trailer for the movie of my life (we all do this, yeah?), it would have been scenes of me running cross country, tee-peeing houses, and struggling to talk to girls set to the gorgeous wailing of Noel Gallagher:

When you’re 13 years old, the way you make someone care about the same things you care about is to never shut up about them. If it weren’t for Louis Miller, I would have never cared about Oasis. Over the course of a few months he managed to not only convince me that they were perhaps the preeminent rock band in the world but that they were, in fact, closer in scope to The Who or even The Beatles. He burned me a copy of Morning Glory, and I bought Definitely, Maybe and Be Here Now. I was impressionable and Louis could play guitar better than anyone else my age so he seemed like a credible authority. He had the conviction of a much older man.

Oasis had a different kind of conviction. The crispness of their vocals, punching each consonant with their rough, Manchester accents, brought a vitality I had not heard before. For the first time I could quantify confidence – an absent quality in my teenage years – as a tangible necessity for any great rock band. They were loud and proud, brutal and boisterous yet skilled enough to suit their vocals to smart melodies and catchy lyrics. I had grown up listening to the early records of The Rolling Stones, before Altamont and the 70’s brought a new kind of energy and agency to their music. But Oasis was distinct. They were all energy and agency. All bravado, all the time.

I suspect that my father was aware that my taste in music was subject to influence, so around this time he introduced me to another British heavyweight. Radiohead had just released Hail to the Thief and my father kept the album in his car for many months. Whenever it played in his Chrysler mini-van, I would usually grab the case and struggle to make sense of its cover. Designed by Stanley Donwood, it features words like “Security,” “Drugs,” and “Oil” in multi-colored, non-symmetrical rectangles and was inspired by roadside advertising in Los Angeles. It looks almost like a sad, political checkerboard and has always symbolized my difficulties with the band from Oxford. I could not appreciate the Orwellian analogue systems behind a song like “2 + 2 = 5.” I could not even understand what was being said.


“His voice is so high. Why is he mumbling? What are these noises?” I asked my father.

“I don’t know.” he replied, impatiently. “Maybe one day this will be your favorite album.”

This isn’t my favorite album. It isn’t even my favorite Radiohead album. And my favorite Radiohead album, Ok Computer, isn’t one I go back to very often.

I don’t really like Radiohead. This is problematic since I’m 24 and white and sometimes sad and live in Brooklyn. I should like Radiohead. But for reasons that aren’t quite clear, reasons like Louis and my father and album covers and the Gallagher brothers, I’ve always compared them to Oasis and felt I had to choose sides.


Objectively, the “war” is over and Radiohead has prevailed. This is due primarily to their longevity, consistency, and an overwhelming critical popularity. Scrutiny seems to elude them at every turn. They’re a tenured college professor at the University of Rock and Roll. Thom Yorke could roast a turkey on stage for an hour and Rolling Stone would probably call it the best concert of the decade.

I concede that I have a hard time arguing against the creative merits of Radiohead because, as someone who practices a different kind of art (theatre), I admire the ingenuity of their process. They’ve managed to reinvent themselves several times over their career with deceptive ease. They’ve gone from rock to alternative to electronic to an amalgam of different genres.  In a sense, they’ve created their own genre and have done so without compromising the integrity of their artistry.

These are all logical reasons to like a band, but listening to Radiohead is only ever an intellectual exercise for me. I’m constantly concerned with melodic themes, wrestling with lyrical complexity and accepting the fact that a full listening experience may not be achieved on the first several attempts. At the same time, due in large part to the generosity with which they credit other artists, I’m aware of their wide array of eclectic influences: Sonic Youth, Charles Mingus, Queen, the Smiths. This awareness should make me respect Radiohead. But all it does is remind me of my admiration for these other artists even more. If I seem moody, play me the Smiths; when I’m feeling cocky, I turn to Queen; for some reason I like jazz when I’m hungry; and if I want non-linear lyrics why settle for Radiohead when I could listen to the Talking Heads or R.E.M. After all, what is “Karma Police” but a poor man’s “Losing My Religion”?

I realize this isn’t necessarily fair. I project these influences onto Radiohead more than is perhaps reasonable. But unlike these other musicians, they leave me searching for a clear identity. They have the appealing qualities of other artists I like but none of the deficiencies. They’re polite, principled, smart. I just don’t see any cracks in their shiny edifice. It’s not that I doubt their passion and sincerity. Only their humanity.

This has never been an issue for Oasis. They recognize their flaws and seem completely willing to accept them. As lead singer Liam Gallagher said, ”I don’t know what any of my tunes are about, they’re just out there. I’m not good with words. I just say the first thing that comes into my head.” Is some of their music low brow? Sure, but high brow rock bands aren’t really any fun. Radiohead injects more social and political content into their music, but Oasis has always felt more populist. They may have been snobs, but at least they weren’t elitist snobs. They may not be a serious band but no one could ever accuse them of pretending to be.


This is where everything becomes truly difficult: I appreciate art that is high brow and serious. I listen to Shostakovich and read poetry. I prefer Michael Haneke to Michael Bay. I’m even going to the opera next week. Damnit, I’m a serious man! Shouldn’t I love Radiohead? Isn’t Oasis just a bunch of over-amplified, ignorant nonsense? When people tell me they don’t like The Master (with a haunting score by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood), I explain that they need to see it at least three times before having an informed opinion. So why can I barely get through In Rainbows more than once? And I can’t knock Radiohead for ripping off of R.E.M. if Oasis did so more egregiously: “Morning Glory” is the insecure younger brother of “The One I Love” (to be fair, everyone in the 90’s was ripping off of R.E.M.)

Oasis broke up because the Gallagher brothers couldn’t find balance amidst their sensitive egos. Their petulance and complacency limited their overall potential. Radiohead has sustained success with each member delivering their own various side projects over the years. They’ve worked in tandem since the late 1980s and show no signs of slowing down. And Thom Yorke must get credit for understanding how diminutives work more than Toms’ Stoppard, Selleck and Brady. Isn’t that worth celebrating?

Twenty years ago, this was much more of a fair fight.  When it was released in October of 1995 (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? placed Oasis at the top of the BritPop movement and would become the best selling UK album of the decade. While it will always be remembered for “Don’t Look Back in Anger” and “Wonderwall,” I recently found myself more taken with other tracks like the the snotty but resolved “Some Might Say,” or the triumphant coda “Champaign Supernova.” You can feel the sense of longing in “Cast No Shadow” and admire the Beatles-like charisma of the playful “She’s Electric.”

Radiohead released The Bends the same year. Critically considered to be one of their finest albums, I’ve always viewed it as the band finding their footing for the first time. After the tepid respond to 1993’s Pablo Honey, a mix of indulgent grunge and self-consciousness (want to piss off a Radiohead fan? Talk about “Creep”*), the band rebounded with hits like “High and Dry” and “Fake Plastic Trees” while Yorke combined his indelible falsetto with more arcane and less personal lyrics in songs like “Nice Dream” and “Sulk.” It’s easy to see how an album like this would inspire a new generation of British bands from Coldplay to Keane.

1995 saw Radiohead ready for lift off and Oasis at its apex. One was a rocket, taking flight; the other a meteor, crashing to earth. Oasis, still massively popular even in their fractured state, had seen their best days. Their follow up album, Be Here Now, is a stylistic mess; a record that, as critic Steven Hyden notes, “requires a dump-truck unloading a metric ton of cocaine directly into your nostrils in order to sound like a masterpiece.”


So why do I feel so loyal to Oasis even if I can acknowledge they are the historically inferior band? Why do I care so much about a bunch of British people I’ve never met or about Louis, a kid who was good at sharing music but bad at being my friend?

There are three potential answers to these questions, which I will share in order of most complex to most likely:

1). My therapist once told me that the reasons we sometimes hold onto the past is to protect our younger selves. We do this to shield us from the abuse or shame or paranoia we once felt; to not apologize for connecting to people who weren’t right for us or for cheating or lying to others; to feel secure about enjoying books and movies and music that we would never think about liking today. Our past is still very much a part of who we we are and how we think. It is important to respect and defend its integrity.

2). I texted my father for his opinion on the subject and he said it’s because I secretly wish I had a brother. Upon receiving this response, I literally stood up from my chair and verbally exclaimed “Brilliant!” But which Gallagher am I – Noel or Liam? It doesn’t matter, my father explained. “Either way you’d probably get into fights with him and break up the band.”

3). Because reality is based in fact and memory is based, at least partially, in fiction, and fiction is always more interesting than reality could ever hope to be. This philosophy was confirmed by Oasis when they released their sixth album in 2005. The title? Don’t Believe the Truth.



*(It’s no secret that there is no love lost between these bands. In terms of smack talk, however, Noel Gallagher will always be remembered for eviscerating Radiohead with this epic taunt: “No matter how much you sit there twiddling, going, ‘We’re all doomed,’ at the end of the day people will always want to hear you play ‘Creep,’” he told The Daily Telegraph in 2007. “Get over it.” Devastating.)