By James Pavel

5. Entertainment – Phoenix

David Bowie confetti flies through this French tribute to amusement. Phoenix demonstrates that the Wolfgang Amadeus album was the beginning of excellence and not merely an album flooded with temporary genius. Entertainment’s drums sound as though Thomas Hedlund is hammering down on the hood of two monster trucks as the persistent beating sends a shockwave of bliss into the soul of festivals not unlike ACL.


4. Worship You – Vampire Weekend

Nobody asked Vampire Weekend to grow up, but they laid off Tinker bell’s fairy dust anyway and put on their big boy pants for their latest album, “Modern Vampires of the City.” “Worship You” is the most complete track of the album and arguably the strongest of their sleep-deprived career. It has a sudden swell of momentum that can force a crowd eruption like a once dormant volcano that every band keeps tucked away until the climax of their set-list.



3. Coming Back Again – Kings of Leon

They are back. Again. The Kings of more than just a furniture store describe the sensation of having all the rock n’ roll machismo one can muster suddenly re-tighten its grip on the four war lords and force them to deliver another rock n’ roll classic. This year’s ACL festival should belong to the four southern boys, who are riding high on a mechanical bull that has more life and vigor than a Mexican bullpen.


2. Follow Me – Muse

The space explorers known as Muse use dub-step for the good of mankind by incorporating its robotic bolster into the soul of the ambitious track, “Follow Me.” The energy of this space odyssey rivals that of a departing rocket ship making it an almost guaranteed highlight for this year’s festival.

1. Do I Wanna Know? – Arctic Monkeys

The military boot-stomp introduction of the most energized rock track of the summer makes this a must-see in the heart of Texas come October. The Monkeys bare even more gifts on this four-minute English triumph, most notably Alex Turner’s seemingly infinite wisdom.

“Ever thought of calling when you’ve had a few?

Because I always do

Maybe I’m too busy being lost to meet somebody new,”

are the words every man or woman six drinks too many wish they could formulate in their cloudy world. The song is littered with clever remarks making it a joy to sing along to, not because the way it rolls off the tongue, (umbrella, ella, ella,) but because hearing such sheer brilliance echoing from one’s own mouth can make one smile brighter than the hot Texas sun.