6 Acts You Need To Hear Before Laneway


Photo by Josh Groom

Laneway is one of… scratch that, Laneway IS Australia’s most exciting festival for music discovery. Thanks to some sort of freaky voodoo magic, they always manage to book a bunch of artists who blow up just after the festival. Seriously, look back over any Laneway lineup and you’ll be kicking yourself over all the massive bands you probably saw but didn’t notice.

To save you the pain, we’re cheating and giving you the chance to discover these six bands before checking them out at the festival. Although we love so many bands on the lineup (Tame ImpalaKing GizzLuca BrasiGlass AnimalsCamp Cope) we’ll be purely sticking to the smaller names here…


Genesis Owusu ??

We kick off the list with one of the most recent, but also most exciting additions to the lineup. Oh, and also one of the most difficult acts to describe. Despite only having a handful of songs across Soundcloud and YouTubeGenesis Owusu has already carved out a distinctively jazzy sound, topped off with some epic rhyming.

If you need any convincing, check out latest track ‘Goondocks/CBR ZOO II (Sabretooth)’ which expertly blends programmed beats, live drumming (wait for dat drop), piano and sly sax with truly excellent verse work.



Car Seat Headrest ??

It’s probably cheating including Car Seat Headrest (aka Will Toledo) being that he’s already released 12 albums via Bandcamp, but latest album Teens of Denial is his first label release* and first to be recorded with a traditional studio set-up.

The album, as with Will’s earlier work, is proudly lo-fi, somewhat reminiscent of early day Beck. His lyrics are brutally honest, often dry and witty and only get better on repeated listens. This is gonna be a damn good set.

*Well technically second, but his first was a compilation of reworked songs previously released via Soundcloud



Julia Jacklin ??

Bring tissues to this set. Seriously.

Singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin‘s debut Don’t Let The Kids Win is a work of beauty, with her sparse indie-folk/country instrumentations placing all emphasis on her soulful voice and emotive lyrics. Julia Jacklin was one of our clear highlights at Fairgrounds Festival so I’m excited to see her playing to a (well-earned bigger) crowd at Laneway.



Whitney ??

Although neither Max Kakachek (former guitarist of Smith Westerns) or Julien Ehrlich (former drummer for Unknown Mortal Orchestra) are particularly new to music, Whitney marks the first time that both are soaking up the limelight that they deserve.

The duo’s debut album Light Upon The Lake is an upbeat and rather tasty blend of indie and psychedelic influences, with a twist of Americana, and topped off with breezy falsetto vocals. Live, the guys are backed by a a full band (including a silky smooth trumpet) helping them recreate the full, warm sounds of the album.

Check out our interview with lead singer and drummer, Julien Ehrlich, here.



A.B. Original ??

First of all, if you’re super slow on the uptake like me, then re-read this duo’s name a couple of times until it dawns on you…and then listen to their intense debut Reclaim Australia. Although I love hip-hop, there’s no denying that sometimes Australia’s take on it can sometimes come across as a bit inconsequential, especially when compared with the searing political history of the genre in America. That isn’t to deny that it’s fun rapping about chewy bacon and cold coffee, but just to say that Reclaim Australia comes in like an adrenaline shot to the heart.

Briggs and Trials pull no punches on the album, dropping provocative and necessary verses about the terrifying rise of the right-wing and racism still so entrenched in Australian culture.



White Lung ??

What’s any festival lineup without a healthy injection of punk? Whilst Canadian trio White Lung have previously released three great albums, their fourth effort Paradise is by far their most focussed and assured (and probably poppiest) yet, bringing them the recognition they sorely deserve.

With powerhouse drumming, big catchy hooks and bold, outspoken lyrics, it represents everything that good punk should feature. Oh and it still sounds remarkably fresh.


Check out the full line-up and score tickets here.

About Mark Royters

Many years ago I was given an Arctic Monkeys EP. Everything changed from that moment onwards. I'm a Sydney-based music writer, reviewer and interviewer.

View all posts by Mark Royters

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