Leave it to Laneway Festival to always throw in a mixed bag of headliners and genres on the bill – and this year proves no different. It’s probably the only gig in town where you’ll find Japanese hip hop getting cosy with psychedelic, folk-pop shacking up with house music, and (the best bit) local acts sharing the stage with regional giants. These are the acts to get familiar with and make time for on festival day.
For fans of Björk and Sia
Never mind that she’s only 20, because Norwegian artist AURORA has already captured the world with her ethereal vocals and otherworldly folk-pop tunes. Sporting a platinum blonde bob like a mini Sia and Björk’s eccentricity, the singer-songwriter has also opened for Icelandic sensation Of Monsters and Men, and received nods from pop icons Katy Perry and Jaden Smith.
LISTEN TO 'Runaway'
For fans of Skinny-jeaned British indie
Even if you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Glass Animals’ breakout psychedelic indie pop single ‘Gooey’. Putting on a record by the British quartet is much like stumbling into a neon-lit jungle: a head-tripping mix of deep grooves and moody rainforest sounds. Time to get your slow rave moves on.
LISTEN TO 'Youth'
For fans of Kero Kero Bonito, DJ Krush and kawaii-desu!
Mix a hint of UK garage, a dash of J-Pop and a whole lotta programmed beats, and you’ll get the whimsical Suiyoubi no Campanella, otherwise known as Wednesday Campanella, a Japanese electronic outfit comprising members Komuai, Hidefumi Kenmochi and Dir F. Rapping and singing about everything under the sun – from vampires to guided bus tours – you can bet this group’s far from your typical Japanese idols.
LISTEN TO 'Matsuo Basho'
For fans of A$AP Mob and Ta-ku
Hip hop aficionados have probably already heard of 'cloud rap' producer Clams Casino – real name Michael Volpe – long before the release of his hotly anticipated debut album 32 Levels in 2016. Having worked with American rappers A$AP Rocky, Vince Staples and Lil B, the New Jersey-based beatmaker is serious about churning out polished rap instrumentals and lush R&B ballads that show off his versatility and craft.
LISTEN TO 'All Nite'
For fans of Slow-burning choons
Fun fact: William Phillips co-wrote pop heavyweight Sam Smith’s Grammy-winning ‘Stay with Me’. But at the set of his dance project Tourist, ballads make way for electronic beats as he shuffles out house music. Sampling sounds like crashing water (on a track named ‘Waves’, no less) and footsteps, the English musician brings to the decks an atmospheric performance you can kick back with a drink or two, after the high of all the other indie and punk acts.
LISTEN TO 'U'
Sampa the Great
For fans of Afrobeat, future hip hop and soul
‘Great’ is barely adequate when describing this Zambia-born, Australia-based performer. Channelling soul from legends Lauryn Hill and Nina Simone in her work, Sampa the Great’s (real name: Sampa Tembo) music infuses her African roots with elements of rap and jazz. Recognised by music blogs and critics as Down Under’s new hope in hip hop, this singer-songwriter’s show is one you’d definitely want to check out.
LISTEN TO 'Blue Boss'
For fans of Nao, DOJA CAT, Kehlani
It wouldn’t be complete if the Singapore leg of the festival didn’t include an act that reps the Lion City. And one of this year’s flag-bearers comes in the form of rising R&B talent Sam Rui. Although the homegrown singer has yet to release her debut EP, rest assured she’s got plenty of sultry singles to knock out on stage.
LISTEN TO 'Better'