It’s go-time! The seventh annual St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival Singapore will feature a stacked indie music line-up, some whose names are already familiar and others whom we’re betting on to make it big. Electronic, hip-hop, R&B, dance, future soul, pop-folk, punk… Laneway has it all.
Among the many artistes exhibiting their cool at Laneway Festival Singapore 2017, here’s a peek at what’s in store. While one of the biggest names in Singapore’s history of shoegazing, Astreal, is performing at the festival this year; for the very first time, acts from Japan – Wednesday Campanella and KOHH – have also made it to the lineup!
My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Curve prominently influence ASTREAL, known for its shoegaze post rock and ambient rock sounds. The band, having played at Zoukout, Lime Sonic Bang, Baybeats and clubs in the region, is famous for its contentious gigs. Two albums, a three-year hiatus and several metamorphoses since its inception in 1992, the group continues to rouse the crowd. Astreal’s third album will be released end 2016 or early January – yes, just in time for Laneway!
Preternaturally talented songwriter AURORA whisks in from Norway. The teen sensation’s fantastical, assured debut, All My Demons Meet Me As A Friend, is filled with euphoric pop moments that belie the introspective nature of her thoughtful lyrics. Her performances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Conan and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert were nothing short of mesmerising. Have a listen to her breakout single ‘Running With Wolves’.
Canadian high-school buddies Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance makeup BOB MOSES. Producing late-night dance floor numbers with a guitar-driven, pop sensibility, Bob Moses effortlessly glides from genre to genre, borrowing from electronica and indie-rock but a slave to neither. Entertainment Weekly, Billboard Magazine, Dancing Astronaut and Hilly Dilly called Days Gone By, the duo’s debut album, one of the best of 2015, while online music mag Resident Advisor ranked the master of its craft among 2014 and 2015’s top 20 live acts. Bob Moses is tipped to be a surprise hit at Laneway.
From Indonesia come Anggung Suherman (Angkuy) and Ryan Nobie Adzani. Together, they are BOTTLESMOKER. Experimental electronic pop, or indietronic instrumental, is Bottlesmoker’s forte; the alchemy of toy musical instruments – the glockenspiel, the hand bell and the melodica – and customised equipment, its signature; and intimate harmony in catchy and unusual music, its goal.
New Jersey hip-hop producer CLAMS CASINO is widely credited with setting the
template for modern rap music, thanks to his influential Instrumental Mixtape series and production credits for heavyweights like Vince Staples, Lil B, Danny Brown and FKA twigs. His debut album, 32 Levels, features an expertly curated slew of guests, including Laneway grad Samuel T. Herring (Future Islands) and Staples. It also oozes versatility, establishing him as a talented artist in his own right.
Floating Points (DJ Set)
Already a respected DJ in the league of Four Tet and Jamie xx, Eng-land’s FLOATING POINTS is now creating a stir as a dance-music trailblazer. His debut LP, Elaenia, is an abundance of sweeping, complex sounds and slow-building energy, making for timeless and poignant electronic music. ‘Nespole’, the album opening, is particularly captivating: a musical analogy for all things Sam Sheppard – a producer, a neuroscientist, a label founder, an ensemblist and a visual artist.
Gang of Youths
GANG OF YOUTHS has earned its mantle as one of Australia’s most enthralling live acts. Fronted by the charismatic David Le’aupepe, the five-piece band employs a wall of sound guitars and stadium-ready vocals to compelling effect. Gang of Youths’ critically acclaimed debut album, The Positions, scooped a number of Australian music award noms in 2015.
Back in 2014, experimental pop outfit GLASS ANIMALS captured the attention of both critics and music fans with Zaba. With its recently launched album, How To Be A Human Being, the English quartet has scored again. At once wildly imaginative and meticulously crafted, the triple j Feature Album is replete with charming characters, interesting beats and polished pop hooks. Its exuberant, ambitious and engaging live performances are icing. At this rate, Glass Animals is destined for greater things.
JAGWAR MA returns to Laneway. Its sizzling debut album, Howlin’, has won fans all over the world, achieved through its danceability and innumerable hooks as well as the band’s furious touring. October 2016 has seen the Australia-raised, UK-based trio dropping its second album, Every Now & Then. The exuber-ant blend of sunshine, soul and techno sounds like nothing and nobody else. The lead single ‘O B 1’ and the album centrepiece ‘Give Me A Reason’ explain the group’s popularity.
Japan has never been known for its hip-hop scene. KOHH may just be the one to change all that. Over several years, the rapper produced mixtapes, one after another. In 2014, he released his debut full-length, Monochrome. But it was 2015 that lauded KOHH with the attention he deserves. His guesting on It G Ma, the YouTube viral smash by Korea’s Keith Ape, left a mighty huge impression on viewers. He layered on the buzz with two albums, a mixtape and a truckload of videos. KOHH’s Dirt release, a combination of rock influences and defiant positivity brewing in dark, hard undertones, popped at no. 2 on the indies chart and nabbed the top spot on iTunes’ hip-hop chart just 30 quick minutes of its launch. June 2016 ushered in Dirt II. Is it as good as Dirt? You tell us.
The endearing melodic punk group, LUCA BRASI, unleashed its third album in April this year, a labour of love that was put together over a couple of years amid a frenetic tour schedule. If This Is All We’re Going To Be marries melody, trademark meandering guitar lines, big drum sounds and self-examining lyrical content with the foundational punk and rock ideals that have inspired the band. The result is a dynamic package of cohesion, power and emotion. If This Is All We’re Going To Be received a triple j Feature Album nod, made an impressive debut on the ARIA Charts, and blasted to the top of the AIR Charts.
Swift, socially conscious lyricism and no-BS delivery are the hallmarks of MC and poet MICK JENKINS. The wordsmith has collaborated with Joey Bada$$, the breakout star of rap collective Pro Era, producer Kaytranada, and rap and hip hop artistes Vic Mensa and Chance the Rapper. Following two outstanding mixtapes in 2014 and 2015, The Water[s] and Wave[s] respectively, his debut full-length[T]he [H]ealing [C]omponent came in hot in late September, likely to be the most important hip-hop release of 2016.
MR. CARMACK occupies a frontier some-where in-between genres. Tasty, inventive hip hop beats form the bedrock of his music. The American is efficient and braced with a grinding work ethic, too: Just two months after sharing his 2016 Yellow EP, he let loose an epic 54 tracks on SoundCloud. There’s more where all that came from, as hints of new music abound.
Future-soul singer and songwriter NAO is on track to make it big. Her killer single, ‘So Good’, and debut EP of the same name were deserving standouts of 2014. In 2015, NAO appeared on electronic music duo Disclosure’s Caracal, and this year, she made a huge impact with For All We Know. The debut full-length release saturated with glossy R&B, sculpted grooves and sultry coos got people on both sides of the Atlantic talking about one of the UK’s brightest new talents.
NICK MURPHY makes his first trip back to Singapore after dispensing with his alias, Chet Faker. His dynamic performance will be a showcase of existing catalogue and new material. ‘Fear Less’ gives a preview of Murphy’s brilliant new sound that amalgamates past and present influences. Murphy’s debut album, Built On Glass, has gone platinum, and his recent collabs with musicians Marcus Marr and Flume were also winners. The international artiste has sold out headline tours and played throughout Europe, Asia and North America at longstanding music festivals, such as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Annual Festival, the Glastonbury Festival and the Primavera Sound Festival.
Sampa the Great
Born and raised in South Africa, and now based in Australia, SAMPA THE GREAT created a massive buzz with her debut The Great Mix-tape in 2015. The adventurous mind bent on pushing the boundaries wove dense lyrical mazes with her verses, conjuring a lush, imaginative world, with music ranging from the spoken word to pure rapping; stops at psychedelic and bluesy waypoints called for attention. After recently nailing a slot supporting rapper Kendrick Lamar, Sampa The Great is on the fiery trail to releasing an EP later this year.
SAM RUI makes it clear that R&B is alive and kickin’ in Singapore. The vocals that previously gave strength and purity to folk and indie-pop tunes now pack an equal punch with sensual, sassy numbers, proving why it was a stunningly brilliant step on her part to move past singing YouTube covers to writing her own R&B songs.
Stars and Rabbit
Raw simplicity in composing, arranging and performing pop-folk music is what STARS AND RABBIT is all about. Each song is steeped in personal experiences, threaded through with filaments of imagination. Performing at Laneway and having its song, ‘The House’, featured in British short film Wander: The Indonesian duo’s dream of travelling around the globe and spreading magic may be on its way to fulfilment.
At just three years old, TASH SULTANA picked up a guitar. Now 21, the self-taught and self-made pocket rocket is blessed with vocal dexterity – she beatboxes! – and an enviable skill with the guitar. Tickets have been flying out of the door for her first run of headline shows across Australia, Europe and the UK; no small feat for an artiste who got her big music break filming home videos in her bedroom.
The Julie Ruin
Frontwoman of THE JULIE RUIN, riot grrrl and punk icon Kathleen Hanna is back to finish what she started. Six years after the raucous debut of The Julie Ruin, the band flaunts its sophomore album, Hit Reset, and a new direction merging Hanna’s punk-rock roots and the electroclash sound of her previous incarnation, Le Tigre. The punchy single ‘I’m Done’ shows why Hanna is a living legend.
Grammy-winning songwriter and UK heart-throb TOURIST, or Will Phillips, has released U, a highly anticipated debut full-length album. It is an unsuspecting break-up album overflowing with dance-floor burners and high contrasts. Topping the Hype Machine twice, landing triple j Feature Al-bum status and selling out his first run of Australian shows in a matter of days: Tourist is indisputably one of the most in demand electronic acts of 2016 and 2017.
T-REX produces eclectic, bombastic and multi-textural sounds. Playing post-rock to progressive metal to jazz, one of the latest bands to hit Singapore is fast cementing its name as an incredible live music act. The band’s seamless switching and swapping of instruments adds to its performances, which brim with dense and complex rhythms often tied to math rock.
Under his nom de plume of TYCHO, US-based visual artist, Scott Hanson creates conscientiously composed minimal techno. Awake, his gorgeous, eight-track release emanating warmth, was an electronic standout of 2014. Earlier 2016, Tycho returned with the single, ‘Division’. It precedes his upcoming studio album, rumoured to drop around the Laneway run.
Somewhere in Japan’s coexistence of the idol sphere, the J-rock reality and the programmed beats enclave lies WEDNESDAY CAMPANELLA, or Suiyōbi no Campanella. Consisting of Komuai, Kenmochi Hidefumi and Dir.F, the trio has rocketed towards popularity within four years. The enigmatic cocktail of house, techno and chill out music covers unexpected subjects like guided bus tours, vampires and Hokkaido food. Wednesday Campanella has shown their pretty darned memorable stuff at various music festivals: Summer Sonic 2015, Rising Sun Rock Festival 2015, Arabaki Rock Fest.15 and SXSW 2016. And soon, Laneway Festival will be part of the list.
WHITE LUNG is an uncompromising punk band with talent and ambition in equal parts. Signed to the legendary Domino Records label, Mish Barber Way, Kenneth William and Anne-Marie Vassiliou produce forceful social commentary over razor sharp, visceral songs. Over the course of three LPs, the Canadian band has maintained relentless progressiveness – White Lung is as interesting now as it was during its youthful rage-fuelled days. Outspoken frontwoman Barber-Way’s perspectives of feminism culled from her varied experience as an advice columnist and journalist shine through in the trio’s fourth album, Paradise, which was released in May 2016.
Chicago band WHITNEY charms folk with deep lashings of soul. Light Upon the Lake, its debut, was anointed Best New Music by Pitchfork. The album is infinitely enjoyable but what’s more amazing is how Whitney makes well-crafted, easy-on-the-ear music seem so easy to produce. Lyrically, Whitney (mostly) woos with the universal theme of heartbreak. Still, the toe-tapping vitality of the music invites endless joyful listens. We believe it’s the happiest sad music you ever did hear.
St Jerome’s Laneway Festival 2017
Saturday, 21 January
– SINGAPORE –
THE MEADOW, GARDENS BY THE BAY
Thursday, 26 January
– BRISBANE –
BRISBANE SHOWGROUNDS, BOWEN HILLS (16+)
Saturday, 28 February
– MELBOURNE –
FOOTSCRAY COMMUNITY ARTS CENTRE (FCAC)
THE RIVER’S EDGE
Monday, 30 January
– AUCKLAND –
To be confirmed
Friday, 3 February
– ADELAIDE –
HARTS MILL, PORT ADELAIDE (16+)
Saturday, 4 February
– SYDNEY –
SYDNEY COLLEGE OF THE ARTS (SCA), ROZELLE
Sunday, 5 February
– FREMANTLE –
ESPLANADE RESERVE AND WEST END