By this time Tuesday, we will all know who is playing the Austin City Limits Music Festival in October. Damn, it seems like we have speculating about the line-up since, well, we got the last of the "Dillo Dirt" out the middle of our toes after last year's muddy and rainy ACL weekend. Tuesday bright and early, the organizers will be announcing the final list of artists who will be gracing Zilker Park from October 8-10 on the official Web site, and Rocks Off will run out the list for you just as soon as we can. Its weird doing this all the way before Summerfest and before the heat of summer even sets in. So far we have come up with a handful of artists who we believe are virtual locks for the schedule. Of course, we even took off the ones that we want personally, meaning no Them Crooked Vultures, no New Order or Talking Heads reunions, Lily Allen, Meg White solo project or even Queens of the Stone Age performing a set of ZZ Top songs (though both could both be outside possibilities). We tried to play this one straight.
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The Strokes: The whole time we were watching Julian Casablancas' solo gig last month at the House of Blues, all we were thinking was how much we want another Strokes album. A decent one though. Something to recapture the spirit of Is This It, albeit with the band a little more grown up should be coming by the fall. Pavement: A week before ACL, Pavement is playing a bill in California with Sonic Youth who ended up canceling last year's appearance at the festival due to an injury in the band. It would make sense to have these two play in tandem, and the reception for Pavement in Austin would be immense. Soundgarden: We shouldn't get our hopes up for this, but after hearing bootlegs of their first show back in Seattle last month its hard not to. Chris Cornell's voice is still there and Kim Thayil is still a damned god. They are making the festival rounds, so what's a trip down to Austin? Hopefully they will play a side gig at Stubb's or something too. Red Hot Chili Peppers: Strangely, these boys have never played ACL. They have either been off the touring grind or just in between albums, we assume. With the band now down John Frusciante and trying out a new guitarist and recording an album this summer, they may be ramping up appearances by October to stretch their sea legs. LCD Soundsystem: Yet another band making the festival circuit, and a severely rumored late addition to Summerfest - and apparently filming a video in Houston suspiciously close to the June 5-6 festival - LCD played ACL behind Sound of Silver in 2007, when they cut their set two songs short so the crowd wouldn't miss the start of Queens of the Stone Age. M.I.A.: The rapper's new album won't be missing in action by October, and she is now the kind of caliber artist who could maybe even command a closing set one night. This new record will more than likely be making people soil themselves to laud it, so we think the odds are amazingly in our favor we will see her.
Neil Young/Lou Reed/John Mellencamp: Each year there is a landmark artist who ties everything together in a nice package, encompassing history and also drawing in older fans. Last year we had Levon Helm, 2008 offered up David Byrne, Robert Plant and John Fogerty, and Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty all played Zilker in previous years. This year we wouldn't be surprised to see one of these three, considering Mellencamp has a new T-Bone Burnett-produced album in the wings and Young looks to be stirring for the rest of the year. As for Reed, well, that would just be badass. Fleet Foxes: The band last played in 2008 and was part of that year's titanic Iron & Wine/Conor Oberst/Band of Horses folk hoedown and has a new album due this year. Hopefully the weather will get cooler by then, seeing that listening to Fleet Foxes while sweating is ludicrous. Antony & the Johnsons: This is one of Rocks Off's pet dreams. We have never seen Antony live and that voice of his would kill live. It could be one of those shows that folks lie and say they went to instead of Grizzly Bear so they can look cool on South Congress the next day.