Laneway Festival is known for bringing out the latest in up-and-coming international acts, as well as being home to the most unholy mothers of all festival bar queues. Described as “Australia’s most insurgent and unique pop music event” by music media giant Pitchfork in 2007, that year saw the festival draw big names that most of your high school wouldn’t have heard of such as Peter, Bjorn and John, Camera Obscura and Yo La Tengo. Times have changed, however, the festival now sporting a more insipid brand of pop names such as Lorde, Haim, Frightened Rabbit and that Vance Joy guy that we all seem to have jjjizzed ourselves over in the Hottest 100.
This weekend however, it might be the case that the Australian contingent of acts gracing the laneway(esque) stages around the country are stronger than the internationals, if not almost certainly more tasteful. Without further ado, here’s our shortlist of local acts to see this year.
With a name on the cheeky side of your childhood innocence and a sound that succinctly defines the scene that is Melbourne’s Chapter Music, Dick Diver sing songs with a bit of a drawl and don’t like getting their guitars too dirty. Loose drums, good string based songwriting and lyrics that concern themselves more with the absence of activity, Dick Diver are our pick for Laneway’s surprise act of the day. Playing at 2:45 (Syd), these guys are worth making your way down to the Courtyard stage for.
When K.J.C.‘s name began circulating on the lips of music fans around two years ago, I was a skeptic. Having been recommended disappointing local solo artists with beards bigger than their hype by girls I’ve wanted to sleep with, I’ve feigned an interest in my fair share of bad solo acts. Happily, Kirin is different. He’s been a part of staple acts such as Mercy Arms, Lost Valentinos and Jack Ladder, the man’s solo project is less renowned than it is revered, less famous for his musical and performance style than he is notorious. Described as ‘Darkly Sexual’, ‘Noise-Terrorism’ and ‘Impossible to Pigeonhole’, his album Embracism quickly put him on the map of acts to see last year, and many people did, even if it was merely because of the superhype that blogs like us whip up. Whatever your reason, check him out down on the Park Stage at 1pm (Syd), perhaps over an $11.00 hot-dog or a $9.00 tinnie of cider.
Future Classic and Laneway are old mates. Equally hipster brands, yet equally deserving of their ‘hey check us out we’re heaps cooler than you so like whatever’ vibes, simply because they both deliver on the hype, providing what cool people have always wanted: music to take drugs to. Described (by myself in a previous review) as Perthadelic alternatronica, Scenic are where the psych scene in Australia could have found itself if it weren’t for the fact that guitars are cooler than DJ decks and drummers are sexier than producers. It’s downtempo, whooshing music for chiller dancefloors and the perfect soundtrack to the early afternoon. These guys are on at 11:50 at the FC/Red Bull stage and well worth checking out if you aren’t still pre-drinking.
Pronounced ‘Em Tee Warning’, Byron Bay’s MT WARNING is the name of the pop music project from Mikey Bee and filmmaker Taylor Steele, who apparently struck upon their musical style by being influenced by poetic imagery, drawing upon the name of a large (by Australian standards) mountain near where they were working. It’s thoroughly jjjcore, yet deep and moving. Check Youth Bird below and see what you think – we think it’s pretty great, and well worth the trip down to the festival early in the day (11:30AM for those in Sydney and 12:50 for those in Melbourne).
If these lists were in some sort of countdown order, I’m sure we’d get a much more positive response. People go nuts over top tens and countdowns and stuff – so much so that I don’t even think anyone cares about the subject matter. Upload a wittily phrased list of the top ten venereal diseases supported with lots of images and it’ll be #1 on Buzzfeed within an hour. Anyway, if we did lists at Happy, Cloud Control would be the #1 local act to see at Laneway this year.
Chances are you’ve already seen them if you live in Sydney, and chances are you’ve seen them for free on Australia day or at Manning Bar or wherever, so this is a suggestion for those of you in Melbourne (sorry Brizzy, we’re just too late). We can attest to the fact that there ain’t no show like a Cloud Control show for one simple reason – energy. The upbeat vibe that sometimes gets lost in production on their recorded works really comes alive on the stage, especially for songs with an evolving, progressive structure like Gold Canary and audiences should make the most of being able to see how their newest album Dream Cave comes across. Highlights include drunken rants from the bass player and the butt dance from the organ player when it’s time to break it down on the tambourine. Melbourne punters can check em out at 4:50 pm on the River Stage where they are clashing with Vance Joy and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, while Sydneysiders can see em at 8:25 on the Garden Stage where I would suggest getting down early before the post Lorde rush.
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