Daryl Braithwaite has reached “icon” status finally with his induction into the Falls Festival lineup.
Braithwaite has won a whole new generation of younger fans in recent years with thanks to his (and Rickie Lee Jones) classic ‘The Horses’. The song started to resonate with school-aged female teenagers around 15 years ago. That audience is now aged in the mid-20s – 30s (the Falls audience).
While Falls has the usual suspects like Fleet Foxes, The Kooks and The Stones (Angus & Julia, not Mick and Keef) I’m guessing the one moment that will get the biggest reaction will be when Daryl sings ‘The Horses’.
The Falls Festival lineup is:
FLUME (NO SIDESHOWS)
In the intervening half a decade since he was first seen at Falls on our Victorian leg way back in 2012, it’s fair to say that our man Flume has been keeping himself relatively busy. In fact, it wouldn’t be particularly difficult to mount a case that since that show (which took place just after his 21st birthday mind you) the man known as Harley Streten has become one of (if not the) most talked about Australian artist of his generation. Riding high on the release of his latest atom bomb Skin, its gigantic single ‘Never Be Like You’ and an accompanying remix album, Flume possesses a born-with-it knack for dance, adventure and collaboration which he rides like a fader inspiring our heads, heart and feet.
Existing in our time but seemingly timeless, Fleet Foxes are a special experience. Much loved for their delicate self-titled masterpiece and its Grammy nominated follow up Helplessness Blues, the harmonious folk vignettes created by this Seattle based troupe and their erstwhile leader Robin Pecknold reside deep in the chest cavity of their legion of fans. Returning this year after a prolonged and keenly felt absence, their galloping, complicated and richly rewarding return Crack Up was worth the wait. It also ensures that we’ll have a chance to get thoroughly lost as we’re enveloped in Fleet Foxes’ skyscraper-high instrumentation and signature 3-part, 4-part, 5-part, million-part harmonies.
RUN THE JEWELS
Admit that when you read the words ‘Run The Jewels’, Zach de la Rocha popped up like a little devil on your shoulder shouting “run the jewels fast, run the run the jewels fast” into your ear. Admit it and we can move on. Okay. You know how this goes. Run The Jewels are an unstoppable dream team living and dying by the sword of two legends: El-P and Killer Mike. They are experts in flow, conscious lyricisms and just hip-hop in general. They’ve released three albums (numbered sequentially), the latest of which shot to number 1 on the US Billboard charts. They’ve also released a remix album called Meow The Jewels which is made up entirely of cat sounds. They are absolutely unmissable. Run the jewels fast, run the run the jewels fast…
Currently winding their way around the world celebrating the 10-year anniversary of their classic debut album Inside In/Inside Out, The Kooks will arrive in Australia with one eye on a glorious past and the other on a sparkling future. While tracks like ‘Naïve’ and ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’ helped establish a blueprint for British guitar pop that is still gaining devotees a decade later, these Brighton natives have never stopped developing. More recent records have displayed a penchant towards bombastic beats and hooks that have continued to tickle crowds in just the right spot. Their recent The Best Of… So Far showcases all of this and ensures that The Kooks will be mining a deep well of hits at this year’s festival.
GLASS ANIMALS (NO SIDESHOWS)
A slippery, crunchy, joyous delight, Oxford lads Glass Animals have gone from mysterious upstarts to main-stage mainstays in the blink of an eye. Emerging in 2014 with their infectious debut single ‘Gooey’, very little was known about these boys. As information and tracks began to tumble out, it became clear that there was a big fish on the line and subsequent debut album Zaba was all the confirmation we needed. Jagged guitars and squelching synths combined with quixotic vocals to create perfect singles. Flying in the face of second album syndrome, the follow-up How To Be A Human Being has fared even better, earning Glass Animals a Mercury Prize nomination and confirming them worldwide as a must-see live act. Exclusive Australian shows.
As they spare no expense in pursuit of the ultimate live experience, local boys Peking Duk could be forgiven for resting on their laurels. As DJ’s and producers, they’ve reached dizzying heights already, clocking four entries into this year’s Hottest 100, peaking at number 9 with monster single ‘Elliphant’. Apparently though, this is not enough for Peking Duk. They must level up, and they have done so by incorporating live instrumentation into their show. Not content simply smashing our faces in with banger after banger on the decks (although they do include a ripping, international hit filled mid-show set) – they now wield guitars, drums, violins and countless guests into an unforgettable live experience.
ANGUS & JULIA STONE
Australia’s resident sibling sweethearts have been away for far too long. Sure, they’ve been working on their own jams: Angus hazily grooving us with his smoky side project Dope Lemon and Julia quietly following the beat of her own drum, but it’s been long enough. There’s been a hole in our hearts as deep as a well since they last serenaded us in 2014 with their brilliant self-titled effort, a record which hit the top 10 in 8 countries and became the Stone’s 3rd Platinum release after 2010’s Down The Way and 2007’s debut A Book Like This. Hearing our cries, they’ve readied a new release, the incoming Snow and if the initial buzz is anything to go by, it’ll be another Aussie classic for us to swoon to at this year’s festival.
FOSTER THE PEOPLE
A little fact you may or may not know: the version of ‘Pumped Up Kicks’, Foster The People’s smash debut single that took over the world in 2012, is actually frontman Mark Foster’s original demo of the song. While that goes some way to explaining the idiosyncratic nature of the tune, it goes further in complimenting the effortless nature and cosmic vibe of this sun-drenched Californian outfit. Now onto their third record, the critically acclaimed Sacred Hearts Club, the boys have built a reputation for fist pumping choruses and melodies that worm relentlessly into your brain, refusing to leave until you hear them just one more time. A band built for the live stage, Foster The People are primed and ready.
A one-man walking, talking hit machine, Liam Gallagher would have to possess one of the most recognisable voices in popular music history. As the front man for Oasis, he not only scaled the mountain but stopped for a lager when he reached the top. His clarion call sounds loud and clear throughout classics like ‘Live Forever’, ‘What’s The Story Morning Glory’, ‘Wonderwall’… do we need to go on? His debut solo album, so many years in the making, is called As You Were and it confirms that Liam is as much of a giant now as he ever was back in the heyday of BritPop. For his first ever headline shows in Australia with a crack band and a setlist that takes in classics old and new, this promises to be the best opportunity to lose your voice mid-singalong at this year’s festival.
Taking rave-rap to the masses, Vince Staples is a different kind of cat. One of the hottest artists on the planet right now, this Californian pocket rocket has described his own creations as “Afrofuturism”, and indeed, there’s something in the break-neck beats and wonky flows that points directly at a future that we can only just imagine. Breaking out this year with his huge sophomore album Big Fish Theory, Staples has also displayed a talent for collaboration – hooking up with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Damon Albarn and even our very own festival friend Flume (could an on-stage collab be in the works?). Outspoken, quick-witted and supremely talented – Vince Staples is truly something new.
In possession of one of the finest break-out singles heard in years, London-based soul / funk outfit Jungle flew right onto the radar in 2014 with their instant classic Busy Earning. This joyous menagerie of past and future styles immediately put this hardworking collective on “band to watch” lists worldwide and sent their debut self-titled album into charts worldwide (eventually going Gold in the UK). Formed in 2013 by likely lads (and childhood chums) J and T, Jungle as a collective puts an emphasis on a true connection with their audience, achieved with a powerhouse 7-piece live band. The on-stage effect is spectacular and with new material planned next year, we’re in for a treat.
Calling your second album The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit is a bold move. Who says they’ll know? They might not know! What if it’s not actually bullshit? See, these guys are sneaky. Staking their reputation on a seriously fun blend of stoner punk and pop rock, Dune Rats are a couple of Brisbane bad boys with nothing better to do than to infiltrate our stages and festivals with crazy live shows at the same time as invading our brains with hook after syrupy hook. What they don’t want you to know? They’re super smart. You can’t write crunchy bangers like Bullshit or Scott Green without a decent bit of grey matter. Their reward was an ARIA number one album: preposterous as it was deserved. Get loose again with Dune Rats.
THE SMITH STREET BAND
Officially an important band in the annals of Australian music, The Smith Street Band’s latest album More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me confirms these Melbourne natives (taking their name from a street just as poetic and ramshackle as they are) as the voices of their suburbs. Forever following the lyrical exorcisms of frontman Will Wagner and expertly moulding them into fist-in-the-air anthems of love, loss and life in contemporary Australian society, TSSB have built a discography and reputation based on pure spirit and belief. On stage they are a force of nature, hurling themselves and their instruments around venues with reckless abandon and inspiring their rabid fanbase to do the same.
D.R.A.M. as a technical term refers to a type of random access memory that stores each bit of data in a separate capacitor (we’ll assume you know what this means…). D.R.A.M. as an artist refers to 29-year-old American rapper Shelley Marshaun Massenburg-Smith. Both are important – only one will be appearing at this year’s festival. Lucky for us, we snagged the rapper. Coming in hot on the back of the release of his debut record Big Baby DRAM, its single ‘Broccoli’ (which features fellow buzz king Lil Yachty) and a huge collab with Gorillaz on their single ‘Andromeda’, D.R.A.M has been said to combine childlike giddiness with old-school-crooner charm, emerging with a mix of classic funk, soul and R&B. Call it trappy-go-lucky.
When they said technology was cyclical, they were wrong. Nobody wants a Mini-Disc player in 2017. When they said fashion was cyclical, they were right. Have you noticed happy-hardcore raver pants are back? When they said Daryl Braithwaite was cyclical, they were bang on. Of course he is. As the lead singer of Sherbet, one of Australia’s most popular bands through the 70’s and early 80’s, Braithwaite gained a reputation for his silky smooth voice and stage presence to match. Hits like Howzat and I Have The Skill set him up for a huge solo career which features the unforgettable Horses. Recently dropped mid-set by Duke Dumont as an Australian classic, it is a song that, like Daryl, ages like a very fine wine.
An instrumental and music mind-warp with melodic and vocals skills better than the best pop bands, Everything Everything are a brilliant dichotomy. Much loved in Australia, these Mancunian candidates first came to notice over here as triple j smashed their single ‘Cough Cough’ taken from ripper sophomore album Arc. The tune joined other favourites ‘Kemosabe’ and ‘Duet’ an idiosyncratic masterpieces and signs of things to come as Everything Everything continued to build on their elastic talents. Newest album Fever Dream is hot off the presses and features the typically addictive ‘Can’t Do’ – which seems purpose built for the stage to get bodies moving in multitudinous motion.
Like an adorable puppy growing into his too-big feet, Allday has made good on expectations with his ripping new album Speeding. Utilising varied beats, top notch production, unique flow and laid back voice, the man known as Tom Gaynor to his fam rides an easy wave of self-depreciation directly into our hearts. He says it himself on latest single Raceway: “my life is as stupid as it sounds” – it’ll only get stupider. Currently touring through the US on a wave of adoration, Allday has a knack for engaging his audience, making ‘em laugh and making ‘em cry all in one sitting. Speeding follows on from a multitude of successful EP’s and albums which will ensure there’s something you like in Allday’s musical kaleidoscope.
THE JUNGLE GIANTS
Quietly and diligently becoming one of Australia’s best pop bands, The Jungle Giants are a bit like an A+ student that is still the king of the cool kids – smoking unpunished in the media room. No longer the crew of ramshackle teenagers bursting out of the Unearthed set way back in 2013 on the back of debut album Learn To Exist, The Jungle Giants honed their skills on excellent sophomore album Speakerzoid and have now emerged as big old pop superstars on their latest record Quiet Ferocity. A recent feature album on triple j, the release delivers yet another set of hopped up pop tunes ready made for the festival stage. We’re pumped to have Sam Hales and the crew back at Falls for the first time since 2013 this year.
A big deal these days, Thundamentals have never been afraid of the hard graft. As an up-and-coming collective they trod the boards for show after show as they focused on putting together hit after hit and cutting through the noise. Their reward? Spoils for days. Hailing from the Blue Mountains, Morgs, Jewson, Tuka and Poncho have just released their fourth record, the dense and euphoric Everyone We Know, which landed them in the top 10 of the ARIA charts. On stage they are absolute monsters, with a knack for whipping the crowd into a delirious frenzy with their tight flows and massive hooks. You’ll know tracks like Smiles Don’t Lie and Something I Said. Thundamentals have done all the hard work – your job is to just get down.
A band steeped in innovation and quicksilver melodies, Perth’s Methyl Ethel have been the act in everyone’s ear of late. Led by Jake Webb, who many describe as the natural heir to Kevin Parker’s throne of genius, these supernatural sandgropers have mastered their own brand of musical mysticism. You’ll know their singles by now: the persistent and hypnotic Ubu with it’s unforgettable lyrical hook of “why’d you have to go and cut your hair”, the smooth saxophone featuring Twilight Driving or the latest salvo Drink Wine. Signed to prestigious label 4AD worldwide (label mates Bon Iver, Grime, The National), Methyl Ethel are at the forefront of a worldwide charge in experimental Australian pop music.
With stream counts flying into the millions, sold out shows stacking up and fans clambering to get on board, Perth-based dance duo Slumberjack are red hot right now. Saying of their tunes that they “want to create club tracks that have a story to them,” Morgan Then and Fletcher Ehlers pride themselves in pushing their audience to think as well as to move. Their latest EP Fracture presents a masterclass in bass-heavy club anthems and hook-driven pop tracks and comes replete with a stand-out title track featuring performer of the moment Vera Blue. Never afraid to experiment or push the envelope, Slumberjack’s tunes regularly expand into different realms – never leaving behind a focus on audience satisfaction.
A unique and distinctive voice in Australian music today, D.D Dumbo is the solo concern of Castlemaine native Oliver Perry. Wielding jagged guitars, ingenious melodies and mind boggling loop abilities, D.D Dumbo’s first record Utopia Defeated could make a compelling case as the most impressive local debut of the last 5 years. Irrepressible tunes like ‘Satan’ and ‘Walrus’ are immediately recognisable in their extravagant charm and saw the record crowed as 2016’s J Award recipient. Subsequently, shows began to sell out nation-wide and international festivals came calling. With echo’s of Talking Heads and David Bowie and a tip of the hat to his Australian forefathers of song, D.D Dumbo is one out of the box.
As their first woman to mix for Ministry of Sound Australia, the legend of Anna Lunoe has been longstanding. First cutting her teeth with Sydney based community radio station FBi, this cooler-than-cool beat maker used her impeccable taste and considerable skills to build an impressive career here down under. Not content to sit on her laurels, Lunoe packed up and heading for La La Land where she has been enjoyed some good old fashioned Californian hospitality. Tours with the likes of MIA, The Weeknd and Diplo have seen her earn some multiple stars and stripes, with Lunoe recently sharing the stage at Coachella with none other than Skrillez… while 8 months pregnant. Amazing would be an understatement.
The sound of a 6-pack. A powerful, grinding, fun-filled crescendo of noise and jubilation: DZ Deathrays. Returning this year after completing a final victory lap on the back of their hugely successful second album Black Rat, this powerful machine has roared back into life with their newly released single Shred For The Summer. An ode to… well… shredding and summer, it contains everything we have come to know and love about these Brisbane rockers. Guitars that lie heavier than boulders, vocals with fearless attitude and a sense of good-times that now comes naturally after spending the better part of half a decade raising hell all over the globe. Jack yourself back in and get in the crosshairs of the Deathrays.
Recently hailed as the best new band in Australia by triple j, Confidence Man are a Brisbane based dance pop that describe themselves as making “confident music for confident people”. You’ll definitely know their debut single – the bouncy, humorous and funner-than-should-be-legal Boyfriend (Repeat), mostly because it has been inescapable lately. Rightly so too, as it is one of those songs that is such an obvious hit, you’ll wonder how it hasn’t already been written before. Wielding a live show packed to the brim with synchronised dancing, pure pop melodies and non-stop fun times, Confidence Man are at extremely short odds to be one of the highlights of this year’s festival.
Arguably the finest young singer songwriter to emerge onto the Australian scene in the last year, Blue Mountains native Julia Jacklin deals in devastatingly beautiful lyricisms presented with a glassy and wondrously emotive voice. Her debut album Don’t Let The Kids Win saw her nominated for J Awards for both Album of the Year and Unearthed Artist of the Year, and it’s not hard to see why when you delve deep into the beauty of tracks like Leadlight, Pool Party and the hugely affecting title track. The Blue Mountains have been a happy hunting ground of late, giving us bands like Cloud Control and Hermitude. Julia Jacklin is yet another precious gift sent by one of the most picturesque areas of Australia.
BAD // DREEMS
Forged in the dinki-di fire of their Aussie ancestors, Bad//Dreems draw a pulsing line in lyrically forthright guitar rock that has gained momentum quicker than last years Western Bulldogs premiership team. Unleashing their second album Gutfull this year amidst a firestorm of hype and excitement created by their previous record Dogs At Bay, these crow-eating crazies are hitting their straps in a major way. Tunes like Dumb Ideas, Cuffed & Collared and Mob Rule demonstrate power with a keen ear for a hook and coupled with a relentless touring schedule, have earned Bad//Dreems a rabid following all over the country. Their live shows are 100% go and 0% woe so get there early.
Indisputably Australia’s most talented set of musical twins, Cosmo’s Midnight have forged a solid reputation for party starting that kicked off quick and has not slowed down. First shooting to prominence on the back their signing to Future Classic (brokered after they won a competition to remix fellow Falls alumni Flume’s track Sleepless) Cosmo and Patrick have made a habit of collaborating with legends and producing bangers. They’ve worked with the likes of Nicole Millar (Phantasm), Wild Eyed Boy (Snare) and Kučka (Walk With Me) and have recently smashed it through the big sticks with their latest release History. Think sparkly electronica presented with a class, skill and cool.
A smooth and easy ride into the world of soul, hip-hop and pop, Sydney’s Winston Surfshirt are the aural equivalent of a cold beer after a hard day catching breaks. Having worked with world renowned producers, Winston originally began as a solo artist before folding in musicians from all over the country and locking in a solid six-piece groove. Since then, their singles Be About You and Ali D haven garnered global interest and have proven hits on streaming services as well as throughout the airwaves. Describing themselves as the “auditory equivalent of A Tribe Called Quest splitting spliffs with your parent’s favourite band”, Winston Surfshirt should be a simple yes on your festival planner this year.
Tasmania’s hardest working and most endearing melodic punks stepped up their game in 2016 with third LP If This Is All We’re Going To Be. Debuting at #18 on the ARIA charts and topping the AIR charts, the record also notched up a triple j Feature Album nod while the band’s touching Like A Version rendition of Paul Kelly’s classic ‘How To Make Gravy’ punched the nation right in the feels. In 2016 the intrepid, ever passionate quartet have nailed a wall to wall sold out national single tour in January backed up with another sold out album tour of the nation. They’ve seen three new singles scoop up triple j, community radio and media adoration alike, demolished venues around Australia, Asia, Europe and the UK with Violent Soho, The Bronx, Moose Blood, Turnover and Pup, and brought their most energetic performances to Laneway, Unify Gathering, and this year’s Splendour In The Grass.
“You don’t think you like people like me!” – came the battle cry from Melbourne based solo songstress Alex Lahey. Problem is, it’s an incorrect assumption. We do like people like you Alex. Specifically: you! A grunge-laden, lyrical superstar who has captured the attention of the likes of Tegan & Sara (who, upon hearing her tunes, immediately asked her on a world tour), Alex Lahey has rolled out hit after hit in an extremely short period of time. Songs like Ivy League and the aforementioned banger have become triple j staples and anticipation for her debut album I Love You Like A Brother is hitting fever pitch. A dynamo on the stage, we are stoked to have an icon in the making tearing it up at Falls this year.
A band gifted with purpose and considerable powers, Camp Cope are one of the most talked about acts of 2017. Ladling out a distinctive soup of jagged, rolling guitars, crashing drums and the vocal intricacies of front-woman Georgia Maq, their album debuted in the Australian Top 40 chart, won multiple end-of-year awards, earned universally positive reviews and locked them in for a huge future. A fearless focal point, Maq’s intense lyrical talents hold up a mirror to modern life; lending a debt touch to topics like mental illness, politics, womanhood, love and growing up in suburban Australia. There are very few bands around these days with the bravery and raw energy of Camp Cope.
As far as rallying cries go, Detroit based future-pop superstar Flint Eastwood’s newest single Queen is up there with the best. “I’m a queen, I’m a soldier – got something to fight for” goes the hook, and to doubt the conviction behind the sentiment would be to dangerously underestimate a powerful new voice. Originally earning her straps as a full band, Flint Eastwood morphed into a solo concern in 2015, delivering indie-pop with all the flourishes and executed with an inspiring dose of power. In explaining Queen, Flint has remarked that it is about “taking charge and owning up to your own kingdom, and in a way I wanted it to showcase mine.” Make sure you bend the knee this year at Falls.
Melbourne based atom bomb Ecca Vandal is a blast of punk attitude wrapped in prog-rock musical mastery. If it sounds intense – that’s because it is. Gloriously so. A distinctive voice in the Australian music scene, Ecca is South African born with Sri Lankan heritage. Her parents left South Africa after Apartheid in the late 80’s, eventually landing in Melbourne where their daughter found a significant voice, influenced by the likes of Bad Brains and Refused. Ecca’s latest EP End Of Time has been pricking up ears all over the world lately as she tours the globe and gets in as many faces as possible. If you like your punk rock with a blast of attitude and a side of danger, front and centre for Ecca Vandal is where you want to be.
Dave might be your best mate. Dave might be the bloke down the pub that always disappears when it’s his round. Dave might be the IT guy at work. Dave also might be one of the best new rappers to come out of South London in a long time. Dave the rapper is the man we’ve tapped (although it would be fun to just chuck an IT guy on the main stage and see what happened…). Representing the mean streets of Streatham, Dave (yes, his name is actually just Dave) turned heads with his YouTube debut back in 2015. Black Box was a monotonous monster that spawned a devastating run of killer tracks. Grimy, propulsive and raw with lyrics that are both beautiful and confronting, Dave has also collaborated with the likes of Stormy and Drake!
Renowned dance-floor fillers and intercontinental good time suppliers, Total Giovanni ride a wave of acropolyptic disco-bangers directly into the heart of the Milano sun. Living for the live stage, these Melbourne locals have built a reputation for their classy cuts of European produce. Latest single Your Light is just another example of some increasing studio mastery – and fans of recent tour mates Client Liaison would attest to Total Giovanni’s healing powers in the bright lights of international fame. After years of burning up festival stages, this quintet has finally hit their straps and in full flight their epic dance moves, smooth beats and addictive vocals are truly something to behold.
Lorne VIC: 28 Dec, 29 Dec, 30 Dec, 31 Dec (est. 1993) 18+ event
Marion Bay TAS: 29 Dec, 30 Dec, 31 Dec (est. 2003) All ages
Byron Bay NSW: 31 Dec, 01 Jan, 02 Jan (est. 2013) 18+ event
Fremantle WA: 06 Jan, 07 Jan (est. 2016) 18+ event