Words by Zoe Sainsbury
The Big Day Out 2013 lineup marks a return to form in bringing big name artists to our shores who have or are just about to release new albums, as well as some more obscure ones who haven't been a part of an Aussie festival of this size ever before... Discovering new artists is what makes a festival in my book! Before you head off to see them live, I thought I'd give you a bit of an idea of what you can expect from some of the less familiar names...
BRING on January!!! Here goes...
1. Pretty Lights
Pretty Lights aka Derek Smith produces such a mixed bag of electronic music, it’s hard to box him into a single genre; fusing together hip hop beats, a crazy range of soul vocal samples, his sound can switch from trip-hop to grime in one set.
He’s done some play-clocking remixes of Kanye, Run DMC & even radiohead! Jamming tents just previously at Coachella, I’m thinking we can pretty much thank the Big Day Out’s new US alliance for this add. Or maybe you already caught him at Stereosonic or one of his sideshows last year? Kills. It.
Here’s a video I found which pretty much shows you what to expect:
2. Delta Spirit
Delta spirit are a bunch of earthy looking dudes from San Diego and their sound pretty much parallels their image; indie rock with a hint of twang and a big dash of soul. They haven’t been back here since 2008 when they supported Cold War Kids and graced a stage at Splendour. This clip is of the band performing “California” live at SXSW…. Three rhythm guitars… sold.
3. Hunting Grounds
The Ballarat sextet (formerly Howl) have just released one of the best Australian albums of this year (in my humble opinion) and it’s only their debut. This is their latest official single “Flaws”, and what a solid piece of indie pop it is – carefully layered hooks in all the right places. Thick bass lines, and spacy synth melodies play tag with the qualities of three different voclalists: Lachlan, Michael and Galen too! I for one am excited to see how they bring this to the stage. If like what you hear, take a punt on their entire album, purchasing deets on their facebook.
4. Jeff the Brotherhood
Two brothers from Tennessee Jake and Jamin who make this dirty garage rock – a sound a lot of Aussie bands are putting out there at the moment (Dune Rats, DZ Deathrays, Bleeding Knees Club) – and that punters are really getting into. Part of the their music’s appeal is the general ‘I don’t give a shit what you think’ attitude that’s entrenched in the song structure. C’mon, who can’t relate to that! The boys were last out here for Meredith in 2010 so my guess is a LOT of people missed them. Now’s your chance!
5. Death Grips
Recently caught Death Grips at a UK festival and I can assure you they are as manic and explosive live as they seem in their videos. If you like your hip hop hard and oddly experimental – definitely check these guys out. The Californian trio are fronted by the Stefan Burnett, and he’s nothing if not enigmatic…. See for yourself. This is probably the only chance you’ll get to see them too considering they had to cancel their independent dates scheduled for January earlier this year. Boom!
6. Adventure Club
A Canadian dubstep duo Christian Srigley & Leighton James which interestingly haven’t received that much press here in Australia despite artists like Skrillex being played on commercial radio – then again they’ve only started releasing tracks last year. These guys have produced some pretty killer remixes: including ones of Flight Facilities “Crave You” and Temper Trap’s “Love Lost”. Check it out below (and find more free downloads on their soundcloud).
These guys are going tear it up for sure.
7. Jagwar Ma
Remember the Lost Valentinos? (I still have a commorative coin from one of their gigs – genius marketing idea that one), well Jagwar Ma is the new solo project from former member Jono Ma. First listen of his new material had me seriously intrigued, subsequently hooked 10 seconds in. I especially love how this track morphs from a 60’s inspired structured pop track into a pacey dance anthem around 4:50 – I may just lose it seeing these guys live! Although I have no idea who’s going to make up the band: the vocals are by Ghostwood’s frontman Gabe Winterfield and drumming by Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa…. Even more intriguing. Fun Fact, Jono Ma also had a hand in producing Foals last album Total Life Forever… according to Yannis, this means the party is on!
Toucan are Jess & Shea, a colourful, musically trained, Sydney duo who’ve already been making waves with their first EP Brave New World (2011, Inertia), supporting the Kooks last year after it’s release. I managed to catch these guys opening for Last Dinosaurs and they had a room full of first time listeners cutting some serious moves with their soul-infused pop – so don’t worry if you don’t know their entire back catalogue! Here’s a taste of it anyway, their latest single, “Mr Television”.
He’s a fresh face to the Australian hip hop/electronic music scene, but one that’s already gained the respect of industry counterparts and fans with ears of the same nature. The kid is a gun producer who as the name suggests, has turned fusing odd vocal samples & SFX with hip-hop based beats into somewhat of a science experiment – one that’s hard to classify – except in the ‘damn good’ pile.
He can obviously, on the side, tailor his mixing skills for different audiences, having remixed audio/video for the Wiggles and Chris Lilley. Our mates Luke & Gus from Hermitude recently staged a remix competition which Sampology won, check out his efforts below.
His Big Day Out appearance will follow the release of his debut LP 'Doomsday Deluxe' (out now), subsequent Australian tour & a European tour after that.
10. Sleigh Bells
This Brooklyn duo are pretty well known right? You would think since they have over 200K facebook fans – but they have such a distinct sound, I think their following still might fall into the ‘cult’ category. Heavy, thrashy metal riffs iced with bubblegum chime-set keys and Alexis’s high-pitched vocals sometimes known as “noise-pop”. Meshing two completely opposing genres never makes for an easy listen, but damn it’s a good one! This first single “Comeback Kid” off Reign of Terror (2012) is a killer and I’ve heard their live show is totally raucous. I for one, am psyched!
11. Animal Collective
One of my favourite experimental electronic acts of all time (Reegan’s rips me off about the obsession), each of the Baltimore four are so creative; they must find it hard to suck themselves away from their various side projects (Panda Bear, Geologist etc) and into the same studio. But that they have managed to do, releasing their 9th studio LP this August Centipede Hz. They haven’t been out here since their Merriweather Post Pavilion tour back in 2009. Yowza! My body is jerking awkwardly in anticipation as I type. Here’s the 1st single off the new one, “Honeycomb”.
I put these guys on this list not because I thought you wouldn’t know their music – but if you haven’t seen the Oxford 5 piece live yet – YOU HAVEN’T LIVED! They show is a rickety rollercoaster ride taking you from limb-flailing highs (one of which I almost lost in the mosh) to intense, spot-lit stretches (when they play Spanish Sahara). They always play a good mix of old and new tracks from Antidotes (2008) and Total Life Forever (2010) and frontman Yannis is always up for a stage dive too… depending on how many rums the guys punch pre-show apparently.
They also have a new album coming out and we spoke to Yannis about it just this week. LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE.
Get loose to this one:
Catch your breath on this one:
Does anyone know why they don’t play “This Orient” live?
13. Gary Clark Jr
Gary is a guy, he’s from Texas, and he plays the blues. You’d best be doing some neck stretches before you check him out as you’ll be doing that slow head roll continuously all set long; most likely uncontrollably. Get ready for some fat old school chord progressions, air guitar worthy solos (he’s a guitarists first & foremost) and Gary’s rich vocals; they feel weighted in history.He's never been out here before, so hopefully he makes his own moments just for us...
Check him out live at SXSW this year,
Or sink your teeth into this little sampler:
Another Aussie band that’s relocated to London to have a crack at the market – not a bad move I would think! Their sound rebounds between old glam-rock power ballards (Darkness style) to intricately arranged symphonic rock (Muse style). I’ve never seen them live, but discovering new bands is what makes a festival in my book and it will be interesting to see what we’ve been exporting undercover! Anything’s better than Fosters.
This is one of their singles “Westward Backwards” and it’s pretty fine:
15. Crystal Castles
Another big name experimental electronic act people should know and one you should definitely scratch a red ring on your timetable around. If you’re not too au fait with Crystal Castles, they’re a duo (Ethan & Alice) from Toronto and they make this screechy noise-electro, laden over some really hectic thumping beats… topped with really beautiful melodies – I know ‘beautiful’ is not normally a word associated with the group, but you can really get swept up in them. Alice goes mental on stage too… it can’t be missed.
Here’s the 1st single off their second LP Crystal Castles II “Baptism”
AND you have to hear this killer track they whipped up with Robert Smith from The Cure….
16. Avalanche City
Dave Baxter aka Avalanche City is a Kiwi folk singer songwriter – you might be thinking hmm that name’s not familiar, click play below... Oh yeeeeah! I know this track! I’m hoping Dave scores a sweet sunny afternoon time slot as his heart warming folk pop seems like it would be best enjoyed with a beer in one hand and someone else’s in the other… hand that is. I’ve never seen Avalanche City, strange as he only lives over the channel, so this should be a real treat.
17. Every time I Die
Metalcore fans will already know this 5 piece from Buffalo, maybe even seen them when they were here in early 2010 or at Soundwave Revolution in 2011… hold up, that was cancelled! If you like your metal crazy heavy, yet slickly produced – you’ll get into these guys for sure; and their choruses aren’t void of melody, sometimes channelling one of my fave bands of the 90’s, Deftones. This is one of the singles from their latest release Ex Lives, "Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space", (which could quite possibly be about some girls I went to high school with...)
Logo are a French duo signed to that uber cool label Kitsune who also look after Citizens!, Delphic & Two Door Cinema Club. The boys, Thomas & Hugues produce epic floor-board bending tracks; their sound, a pulsing combination techno, trance, house with some tribal beats on occasion thrown in the mix. They’ve only released two EP’s but they’ve also managed to churn out some killer remixes – like this one of Yelle’s “Que Veux Tu”.
19. Morgan Page
This guy has produced SO many epic remixes on top of his own original tracks… he could seriously play a week long set. If you haven’t heard of Morgan Page, he’s a prog-house/electro producer form LA – we’ve been spinning his 2012 singles “In The Air” feat. Angela McCluskey and the most recent “Body Work” feat. The quirky vocal stylings of Canadian duo Tegan & Sarah. Check it out below. He always seems to pick interesting vocalists to feature on his tracks, who bring something really unique to the desk. If you’re a Kasakde fan from way back (also on the bill) you’ll dig this guy. I have no doubt his set is going to go off!
20. Nicky Romero
Nicky is a drummer turned DJ/producer from the Netherlands (also progressive house, but his sound is a little less commercial than Morgan’s) who really started to make headlines with a few different remixes he produced and this original track below sampling Groove Armada, “My Friend”. Check it out. He’s played some massive European festival slots alongside Tiesto, David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Adrian Lux etc so we’re pretty lucky to be getting him back downunder again.
So you tell us, who are you most excited to see?