Arum Rae dishes major league heat at ACL

Arum Rae kicks things off at ACL. Photo by Jay Janner, American-Statesman
Arum Rae kicks things off at ACL. Photo by Jay Janner, American-Statesman

Nevermind the polite early adopters–their legs crossed on blankets and littered around the Austin Ventures Stage first thing Friday.Brooklyn’s Arum Rae–massaging a red guitar, backed by only a black-clad drummer–was dishing major league heat.

The former Austinite (“We came in from New York . . . but I used to live here!”) has a reputation for penning head-nodding, hybrid electro pop. There’s strums, fuzz, Christmas tree ornament vocals.

But before edge-trimming the heartstrings with gems like “Warranty Queen” and “2001” (as in, “I had a bad breakup that year”), Rae hulked out a bit on her ax. The bedroom lullabies may be in fashion on the East Coast where apartments are tiny and the rent is too damn high; but in Texas you can crank the propeller and glide across Zilker.

In other words, drum machines and lo-fi aesthetics are second: Arum Rae is a showoff talent first and foremost. Lyrics like “I’m not worried about money baby, we got gold shining all around us” hit optimistic tones, but Rae closed sober with a solo ballad about her brother, “Heaven,” that folded the darkness and demons, put them in the linen closet, and peaced out.

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