The annual Laneway Festival is just around the corner, taking place at the beautiful new location Albert Park on January 30th. As with all festivals, the lineup is extremely important, and with Laneway, you are guaranteed to not recognize all the names. When people glaze over the lineup for the first time they are drawn to the big names, and this year the likes of Young Thug, Tame Impala, and Nick Murphy have pulling power. However, the beauty of this festival is that there are always acts to be discovered, and acts you don’t know much about, or perhaps have never heard of, but will ultimately fall in love with. The 2017 Laneway lineup is like this, with a great mixture of new and up and coming artists, including many who are already critically acclaimed.
So with this, I have decided to list seven acts to look out for this time around when deciding who to see alongside the likes of Thugger and Tame Impala at this year’s festival.
Car Seat Headrest
Car Seat Headrest is an indie rock band hailing from Virginia and is led by the charismatic singer-songwriter Will Toledo. Toledo began the group as a solo project releasing albums via Bandcamp, before expanding the lineup and releasing two highly successful albums in the last two years. 2016s “Teens of Denial” appeared in many best of the year lists, with critics and audiences alike impressed with Toledo’s lyricism in particular. The groups sound is a mixture of 90s alt-rock and 70s classic rock and is bound to suit a mid-afternoon slot in the greenery of Albert Park.
Key Songs: Something Soon, Fill in the Blank, Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales
Laneway will be this Australian electronic duo’s first performance in New Zealand, but they will fit right in, in a lineup packed with electronic acts. Formed in 2009, Flight Facilities consists of Hugo Gruzman and James Lyell who began their career by mixing songs by other artists before composing their own material which culminated in their debut album, 2014s “Down to Earth”. These guys have developed a strong live reputation on the international festival circuit and will be a must see if you want to have a boogie in the sun.
Key Songs: Sunshine, Hold Me Down, Why Do You Feel
Originating from Oxford where they formed at university, Glass Animals released one of the quirkiest records of 2016 in the form of “How To Be A Human Being”. Their brand of indie pop is fun and catchy and has caught the attention of many people over the last two years. Having performed at big festivals such as Glastonbury and Coachella you bet they will be primed and ready for their Laneway performance.
Key Songs: Life Itself, Season 2 Episode 3, Poplar St
Hip-hop is experiencing a bit of a golden age at the moment, and it is an extremely crowded market. However, one artist who flies under the radar quietly is Mick Jenkins. Originating from the hip-hop melting pot of Chicago, Jenkins has been around for a few years releasing four mixtapes, an EP, and his debut album last year “The Healing Component”. He also featured on BadBadNotGood’s most recent album. Although Young Thug will be the main hip-hop drawcard this time around, Mick Jenkins is a quality addition to this Laneway lineup, a festival which traditionally has done well in introducing new hip-hop artists to New Zealand audiences.
Key Songs: Your Love, Drowning, Plugged
Nao is a British singer who is currently one of the most exciting artists in R&B. Her music has a 90s feel to it in terms of the beats and production, while I have gone on record describing her voice as a cross between Diana Ross and Grimes. Her debut album “For All We Know” from last year was a solid first-up effort and her brand of “wonky funk” as she calls it is a welcome addition to this year’s Laneway.
Key Songs: Inhale Exhale, Happy, We Don’t Give A
Another band on this year’s Laneway bill who will arrive with a critically acclaimed debut album up their sleeve is Whitney. Whitney is a great addition to the global popular music landscape because of the type of music they play. This is old school roots rock or troubadour music as I like to call it in the style of the Band, a style of rock which hasn’t really been seen in popular circles for decades. They released their debut album last year “The Light Upon the lake” and much like Car Seat Headrest, this album appeared in a lot of best of the year lists. If the weather is nice, I am sure these guys will go down a treat in the lush green confines of Albert Park.
Key Songs: Golden Days, No Matter Where We Go, Polly
If you are on the lookout for a New Zealand act at Laneway, then Yukon Era is for you. I am so pumped for these guys getting a spot on the bill, a spot which means they will become the youngest act to ever play at Laneway given that they are still in high school. They released their second EP “Consume and Scratch” last year, one of the top New Zealand EPs of 2016, and their brand of alternative rock is sure to draw in a crowd at this year’s festival.
Key Songs: High Handed, Consume & Scratch, Echoes