Of course St. Jerome's Laneway Festival is going to be massive this year - the variety of acts that play every year always manage to excite and energise the diehards as well as the average punter who catches any of them by chance.
With today's announcement of Dune Rats (who have stepped in for the withdrawn Young Thug), all the acts for the 2017 edition are locked in. Here's our hot picks - both international and local - to catch while they're here.
A.B. Original were revealed as Laneway's first 2017 act and MCs, and the barometer for acts to follow was set incredibly high. The duo of Briggs and Trials are channeling classic 90s hip hop like N.W.A., but they're also here to provoke and aggravate thoughts that need to be heard about Australia's indigenous community; Briggs told the Guardian that 'the best comedy comes from tragedy, so we either laugh about it or we cry and flip out'. And the dark humour is definitely there - from their debut album's title 'Reclaim Australia' (a sly poke at the right wing political party of the same name), to the themes that lie in the songs - a key example is 'January 26', which is a full-on assault on the controversial holiday that is Australia Day.
Melbourne's Camp Cope recalls everyone's favourite 90s rockers Pavement sonically while retaining something extremely unique. On their self-titled album, titles such as 'West Side Story', 'Jet Fuel Can't Melt Steel Beams' and 'Lost (Season One)' have a dry wit about them, but upon listening to them, vocalist Georgia Maq's words of sadness are on display ('I know you're out feeling everything and I'm in bed watching season one of Lost', for example). The rhythm section of Kelly and Thomo make you feel like you're listening to a break-up in musical form, with a garage rock fluster that not only recall 90s indie rock, but everything from slowcore to classic rock minimalists the Velvet Underground. A heartbreaking break-up, but a very invigorating one to say the least.
You might not find Clams Casino familiar, but you might find the influential American hip hop producer's sound to be so - he's worked with Lil B, A$AP Rocky, FKA Twigs, and Vince Staples, just to name a few. His dark, melancholic beats have earned him critical acclaim; while his debut album '32 Levels' was released last year, working through a similar, but finessed path. Listen to his classic 'I'm God', and then try to find somebody who can turn an Imogen Heap song into something more heartbreaking than this.
Twisted basslines, vocal melodies that channel an alternate dimension Beach Boys, combined with steady but subtly glitchy drums mean the bliss-pop of Adelaide's own Lonelyspeck (aka Sione Teumohenga) is a force to be reckoned with. On their latest single 'Happy New Year', Teumohenga captures lightning in a bottle; fragile, beautiful, but also anthemic. Keep an eye out for the 'Lave' EP, due for release on March 3.
This stands as a blatantly obvious one - surely Kevin Parker and pals are sitting in the echelons of classic rock by now, alongside Kiss? Of course, having more bangers than a Bunnings sausage sizzle always helps.
However, this stands as the last chance to catch Tame Impala for a while. Headlining Laneway will also mean wrapping up an extensive worldwide tour for their latest album 'Currents', with Parker looking at the festival as a 'bookend' back in November. Now's as good a time as any to see one of Australia's most important music acts in their prime. Of course, listen to vintage track 'Alter Ego', all while you remember that it's aged like a fine wine.
Header image via St. Jerome Laneway Festival's Facebook page.
All other images via St. Jerome Laneway Festival's website.