Before you dismiss the Laneway Festival line up as another hipster party full of obscure music you won’t understand, you’ll be happy to note that Of Monsters and Men and Mumford and Sons are just some of quite a few acts that have gone on to mainstream success. You never know, you might just find the next band that’s going to dominate the airwaves in the near future.
In case you come down with a bout of #FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out — no, even I couldn’t have come up with this one), we’re all psyched to brief you on some of the coolest bands at this year’s festival that are probably already on your hipster friends’ worn out playlist.
Get your Kleenex ready for this one. Daughter comes with a huge dose of melancholy. Lyrics drip with miserable heartache (I want you so much/ But I hate your guts) that borders on disenchantment (We are the wild youth/ Chasing visions of our futures/ One day we’ll reveal the truth/ That one will die before he gets there).
Beautifully dark and hauntingly heart-rending, one listen to their work will leave you damaged on the inside with a bucket load of feels. You’ll probably need a long phone conversation with your best friend (or therapist) after. They even manage to reduce Daft Punk’s recent upbeat revival of club hit “Get Lucky” into a gut-wrenching rendition that you slow dance to with a lover who is no longer.
These valley kids have made it big. Starting out as a family band with their Mom and Dad playing at street fairs, the sisters went on to hold their own while touring with the Mumfords. They’ve even got Mike Shinoda singing their praises — “ferocity” was the word he used.
It’s not hard to get what the Linkin Park MC is getting at once you listen to Haim, especially if you’re a 90s kid. Their sound is one of 90s pop-rock updated with R&B, hip-hop and even indie-folk influences. Percussive and rhythmic, you can expect an electric live set from these girls.
But everyone’s got an embarrassing Let’s Go To The Mall video tucked somewhere on Youtube, and the Haim sisters are no exception. For them, It’s A Hair Thing.
3. Frightened Rabbit
These Scottish indie-folk rockers are on the cusp of a breakthrough. Frightened Rabbit, or Frabbit as they call them, rock out to stadium-sized anthems that carry well-written lyrics seeped with heavy honesty.
But even in the emotional gloominess, with aspirations battered and bruised (She’s accustomed to hearing that she could never run far”¨/ A slipped disc in the spine of community”¨/ A bloody curse word in a pedestrian verse), Frabbit still manages to salvage a faint slimmer of hope (But if blood is thicker than concrete/ All is not lost/ All is not lost).
4. Vance Joy
Vance Joy is one of us. The Aussie indie folk singer/songwriter was working on his law degree when he decided to dabble in the Melbourne open-mic scene. With his intimate folk-pop styling, one thing led to another and he’s now label-mates with the likes of Bruno Mars and Skrillex. He’s also been tipped by TIME.com as “Artist to Watch”. And he doesn’t even have an album out yet.
His debut EP God Loves You When You’re Dancing features Riptide, the catchy tune that has catapulted Vance to this newfound success. But Vance shows he’s also capable of sweet sentimental with Emmylou.
5. Jamie xx
Beat-maker Jaime xx takes his last name from the London band he and his mates formed — The xx. Yes, that’s the same band that got your hipster friends and their bits all excited sometime last year; the one they wouldn’t shut up about. He makes magic from behind his deck.
6. The Observatory
For the first time, Laneway is presenting local acts in the festival line up. And The Observatory is probably the most indie of all local bands to #represent.
Consisting of members that are alums of prominent local bands, The Observatory has run a gamut of genres from electronica to avant rock, psych folk to art pop (even before Lady Gaga, although they don’t quite mean the same thing), so much so that they’ve decided to put aside this preoccupation with genres altogether. Nonetheless, their sound remains largely atmospheric and stubbornly experimental, even as they lean towards a more primal, new dark wave sound.