Low Key: Your Guide to the Best Non-Headliners at Sound on Sound Fest

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Back in May, Fun Fun Fun Fest founders and longtime Transmission Events principals Graham Williams and James Moody (who also owns popular ATX venue The Mohawk) left the promotions company after it was purchased by Stratus Properties, a prominent Central Texas real estate company. Striking out on his own, but continuing in the same vein, Williams founded his own booking company, Margin Walker Presents, which, among many other things, now runs much of the booking at Paper Tiger.

That Margin Walker will be, and already is, uber-successful is almost a forgone conclusion. The relationships, skills, and communication channels that Williams established so adeptly at Transmission will continue to serve him well in the new venture, much to the benefit of the Central Texas live music scene. But, the big question on everybody's mind was concerning the familiar, not the new. What about Fun Fun Fun Fest? 

While there's been no word on whether or not the popular ATX festival will be continued under Transmission's new corporate ownership, Williams wasted no time birthing its fraternal twin. That twin, alike in DNA and in character, but not identical, was announced back in June, and is called Sound on Sound Fest.

Like Fun Fun Fun Fest before it, Sound on Sound is a three-day affair with music, including a bevy of big names, ranging the gamut from metal and punk to EDM and hip-hop, from left-field pop and indie rock to post-rock and ambient, and practically everything in between. And, that's not even to mention the comedy acts or lectures/presentations (including a Conversation with Pussy Riot).

As we all eagerly anticipate the inaugural Sound on Sound Fest, we thought, in the spirit of the little guy waging war against big-moneyed interests, it would be nice to read the fine print, to highlight some of the best non-headlining acts of the festival. We all know you can't skip Run the Jewels (did you hear that new song?), Beach House, Courtney Barnett, Big Boi, Guided by Voices, and Young Thug. But, here's a brief rundown of six other acts, two per day, that we think you'd be remiss to overlook.

Hinds - 9:20pm, The Forest Stage

A Spanish bubble-grunge band that recently took the blogosphere by storm with its debut album Leave Me Alone, Hinds is all about slackerfied pop-rock filled with summer haze, bong smoke, and a sanguine/cynical dichotomy that makes its music more endearing and enduring than it seems like it should be.

Thundercat - 11:40pm, The Keep
The solo recording project of uber-talented bassist, vocalist, and Brainfeeder associate Stephen Bruner, Thundercat, who has worked with artists like Kendrick Lamar, label-mate Kamasi Washington, Erykah Badu, and many more, has released three tremendous albums of psychedelic r&b, infused with jazz elements, over the past five years. And, since he's slated to release another album sometime this year, we can reasonably expect to hear some new material in his Sound on Sound set.

Car Seat Headrest - 7:10pm, The Forest Stage
Since 2010, Will Toledo—who has now recruited a full band to support his Car Seat Headrest project—has nearly single-handedly churned out messy, emotive, lyrically sophisticated rock music at breakneck speed (dig the ten albums and two EPs). Car Seat Headrest basically sounds like everything that was beautiful about indie and alt rock from 1995-2005.

METZ - 8:15pm, The Keep
METZ is the baddest Canadian band you've ever seen. The Sub Pop, noise-punk trio from Ottawa will melt your face with its doom-heavy melding of grunge and punk with noise rock and even hardcore elements.

Psychic Twin - 1:30pm, The Forest Stage
Erin Fein, who records and performs as Psychic Twin, makes dreamy, lackadaisical pop music that manages to make the death of love sound mildly effervescent. Layered with nervous rhythms and synthy nods to soft rock radio, Psychic Twin's jams are probably just what you need to nurse your broken heart in the afternoon sun.

Kero Kero Bonito - 6:05pm, The Forest Stage
Incorporating elements of J-pop, dancehall, and video game music into its bubbly and neurotic pop music, British group Kero Kero Bonito sounds a whole lot like the Spice Girls woke up in Japan one day and went clubbing.

Sound on Sound Fest
$85-$445, Fri-Sun, Nov 4-6, Sherwood Forest, 1883 Old Hwy 20 McDade, TX, soundonsoundfest.com.
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