Words by Zoe Sainsbury
Whenever a big festival lineup gets released, like Splendour in the Grass, often all everyone talks about are the major players, the headliners... glossing over some of the most exceptional up and coming artists further down the list. So we thought we'd rescue a few from the fine print and profile them for you so you don't miss out on seeing them this year.
As us Aussies know all too well - sometimes you only get one chance!
If you missed the full lineup, dates or ticket details, check them out here.
Plus there are still tickets to come sideshows of these artists left, if you missed out on actual festival tickets! Head here for all the info.
Youth Lagoon (pictured)
Californian born Trevor Powers is the man behind his onomatopoeic moniker Youth Lagoon: it sounds like his music… dreamily nostalgic, with an erring sense that if you dive to far back, the past will swallow you…. And perhaps that’s what happened in the making of his 2011 debut release The Year of Hibernation. Regardless, he is an act that is not to be missed live. Considering his voice takes a muted backseat to piano, samples and a drum machine, boy can he project it (I caught him on tour in Australia late last year). The Year of Hibernation was number 50 on Pitchforks Top 50 list of 2011 albums, it was in my top 10, but I’ll let you make up your own mind. Check out “July”…
Youth Lagoon - July from Tyler T Williams on Vimeo.
Friends are cool-as-f*@k new Brooklyn collective (wow, a cool band from Brooklyn – who would have thought!), a quintet of multi-instrumentalists fronted by the enigmatic Samantha Urbani and Lesley Hann (friends since 2nd grade) bringing a sound touted as “post-disco”. Sounds like music-journo wank right… until you hear the influences threaded through their music: thick bass-lines and Blondie-style breathy vocal lines - it actually makes sense! Their forthcoming album Manifest! Is set to drop just before Splendour via UK label Lucky Numbers who boast artists like Darwin Deez - even Gotye and Little Red are their OS reps! Friends amongst friends it would seem. This is their latest offering “Friends Crush”.
Big big fan of this new producer out of Melbourne, he had me at first listen. There’s something so sensual about his sound; whether he singing about losing love or being in it – you feel every earnest note, breath, beat. You'll get what I mean when you have a listen to his latest single from his EP, Thinking in Textures. The tracked peaked at NO.1 on Hype Machine (now has over 70,000 soundcloud plays too), which is actually where he first got picked up with his cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity”. This is the new one, ‘I’m Into You’… and I so am!
Here We Go Magic
Another band from… you guessed it, Brooklyn! The driving force behind this outfit is a dude called Luke Temple. He’s taken his original indie-folk style and layered it with loops of hazy electronic and vocal samples; it’s music that makes you daydream and softly sway your body without even knowing it. His new album, A Different Ship is due out in May – another well timed release. This track “Tunnelvision” is an oldie, but has to be one of my faves. See what you think…
This 5 piece from London were nominated by NME last year as one of the “Bands to Watch in 2012” and in this case, I think they were on the money. They have a really smooth indie-rock sound – to give you an idea - they are about to support Keane on their UK tour and you could liken their sound to some of Keane’s earlier work: swapping out the piano for guitars of course. Having never seen these guys live it will be exciting to see what they bring to the Splendour stage. This track, “Let’s Move Back to Front” is an unreleased B-side… and a total tune. Their latest “Silver Tongue” featured in our Top 5 Tracks of the Week too.
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
8 men (brothers actually) and enough brass to throw your body into a trippy limb-jerking dance you have no control over. They were here late last year for Harvest Festival so you may already know what I’m talking about. Their family, father in particular, Philip Cohran played a major role in the rise of black jazz music (and power) back in the 1940’s - and you can feel the history in their music. That loose, improv style that only comes from being technically brilliant to begin with, to then go back and break all the rules. This is “War” - I dig it.
Get ready to daisy-chain your way back to the 60’s with Howler’s reinvention of pop – the pop of that era – remember when it was good? Frontman, Jordan Gatesmith only got the band together last year and they’ve already received so much press, it’s hard to fathom! Their sound is reminiscent of older bands like the Yardbirds or newer bands like The Libertines or Girls – but with weightier riffs. I have a feeling they are going to tear us a new one live! Psyched!
Michael is a breakthrough British soul singer that there’s been a lot of chatter about recently, mostly due to him taking out the BBC Sound of 2012 award. He also recently showcased at SXSW: apparently a standout act (although I think I’ve heard the same said about every artist there this year!). His vocal is reminiscent of Ben Harper, but he sounds more like those old soul musicians of the 60’s like Otis Redding, but with slicker production. Have a listen for yourself: this is his most commercially successful track “Home Again”.
Father John Misty
Former Fleet Foxes drummer, singer and resident band comedian Joshua Tillman has remerged under a new name, Father John Misty. Considering most of us have only seen him live in such a capacity, it will be really interesting to see what he brings to the Splendour stage as a frontman. Not the most recent, but my favourite of his new releases “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” you must check out below. There’s a nice echo-y effect on his vocal that is Fleet-Fox-esque, but his sound in comparison, is a lot less structured and raw. If you want to check out J.Tilman’s earlier work, check out at an earlier story on our Tumblr. He's also a bit of a babe... am I right?
Who is Ben Howard? With such a common name like that you’d think he employ a sparkly stage moniker, but Ben is intent on letting his music speak for itself. He’s a UK folk artist who’s gone gold in his native land but hasn’t made that much of a name for himself down here – and they can be THE most exciting artists to see – the ones on the verge of breaking (also good for bragging rights after they do – c’mon – we all do it!). I hope he brings the full band and string section with him that appear in this video “The Wolves”…