The most wonderful time of the music calendar, St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, is back! An overwhelming success, it drew a crowd of thousands at last year’s inaugural show, and is set to happen once more at Fort Canning Park on 12 Feb 2012. This year, 5 more performing acts will be there to turn the stage into an indie utopia.
We’ve already gone over how to metamorphose into the ultimate indie hipster butterfly in Part 1 of our Laneway survival guide. But for tasteful festival-goers, knowing at least an info-bite about each artiste is as crucial as having your ABCs down pat. UrbanWire gets you prepared for the 12-hour, 14-act festival with this all-inclusive guide.
1 2 3 4 Feist!
Leslie Feist, better known as just Feist, is a Canadian songwriter who shot to fame through an iPod Nano advertisement campaign. Having amassed legions of fans, she’s also recently released her 4th album, “Metals”.
She’s also worked with the Muppets on an episode of Sesame Street, and her tracks have been featured in several films and TV shows, such as Grey’s Anatomy and Paris je t’aime (this feisty songbird’s French warbling is just too awfully cute!).
With her androgynous facial bone structure, the quirky finger tricks she graces her banjo with, and that playful hip swing she’s always showing off, this commercially-successful singer looks set for bigger and brighter endeavours.
(For more on Feist, check out the Laneway 2012 Special by fellow writer Ulysses Goh!)
Indie Folk Darling
At 21, talented songstress and folk poetess Laura Marling is on the rise after beating out formidable contenders like Ellie Goulding and Cheryl Cole to claim the title of Best British Female Artist at the Brit Awards 2011.
What sets this pale, lean musician apart from haughty teen pop singers are her humble, down-to-earth strumming and passionate drive to make music out of street performing. Her 3rd and latest album, “A Creature I Don’t Know”, is a refreshing hybrid of Joni Mitchell and Jason Mraz with a dash of free spirit.
Her 2 previous albums were largely shaped by her experiences with past lovers – among them Marcus Mumford from Mumford & Sonsand Charlie Fink from Noah and the Whale. Highly sentimental, her emotions ring right through in her music.
Ex-beau Fink had once professed that the muse, Marling’s divine vocals could “summon the fairies” and her loveliness could “bring the dead to life”.
Sounds of the Galaxy
Fronted by electronic dream-pop inspiration Anthony Gonzalez, M83 catches the ambient sounds of true hipsteria in the single ‘Midnight City’ from their 6th and latest album “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming”.
Having been invited to tour alongside Depeche Mode, Kings of Leon, The Killers, and Midnight Juggernauts, M83’s certainly matured due to these experiences, and gained the confidence to record songs that have never been done before.
Indie music webzine Pitchfork has also recently picked up the European-infused electro synth band’s shiny new track as the best song of 2011.
Check it out here:
Evangelising Rock ‘n’ Roll
Fret not – Cults doesn’t engage in any shady religious practices. Apart from rattling your skulls and delighting you with their magnetic harmonics, of course.
New Yorkers Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin certainly have a winning formula, as 2 tracks (‘Go Outside’ and ‘Abducted’) from their self-titled EP were selected as Pitchfork’s “Best New Music”.
The thrilling pair bring out the true nature of their melodic desires in sweetly sick bedroom pop that delves unexpectedly into the pains of growing up.
Listen to a sample of their music here:
Chairlift, a duo consisting of Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly, jazzed up their pop-infused creations with a dose of hazy romanticism in their previous album, “Does You Inspire You”.
After ‘Evident Utensil’ was nominated for “Breakthrough Video” at the 2009 MTV Music Video Awards, the band’s next single, ‘Amanaemonesia’, meant for their upcoming album “Something”, came out late last year.
If you’ve been hooked on their pop-psychedelic humour, watch out as their forthcoming tracks have themes as crazy as faux-jazz sulk, pizza punk, road-rage surf, infomercial spiritual, and gothic pastoral!
Does Your Heart Belong?
It’s definitely not easy being pure at heart, as these 4 New Yorkers explain in their hits. And it’s clear that The Pains of Being Pure at Heart sure knows how to steal them, too.
These obsessive music nerds have come a long way from “emo” in their early days to indie sonic bliss, complete with strong songwriting.
Not So Summery
There are some bands that you remember by their harmonious whistling, and The Drums is 1 of these. Brooklyn lads Jonathan Pierce, Jacob Graham, and Connor Hanwick engaged listeners with their escapist collection of beach pop in 2010 and quickly rose to fame, especially in the UK. It wasn’t long before they scored a 6-week USA tour and sold-out shows in 13 countries, including Singapore, throughout 2010 to 2011.
Their latest album, “Portamento”, features more obscure, but still cheery, tones that reflect great introspection by the band.
Vocalist Pierce, explained that he took inspiration from every issue that he “couldn’t get away from even if he tried”, such as extreme religious roots, violence, and heartbreaks, to create the broader palette of sounds in “Portamento”.
Now, this is the band you’d want to get personal with.
And don’t be surprise if you catch a 5-piece band on stage, as Myles Matheny and Danny Lee Allen are added to the equation for “sonic expansiveness”.
New Age Funk
Columbian-raised Chazwick Bundick, better known as Toro Y Moi (pronounced as Toh-roh E Mwah), has been incorporating French house, 80’s R&B, hip hop, and Brian Wilson’s pop into his solo work.
With his chillwave style, he’s garnered much acclaim and plenty of fans since the release of his 2 albums, “Causers of This” (2010) and “Underneath the Pine” (2011).
Spacey disco, pervasive funk, and sonic beats make it tough to put a finger on his genre, but the prolific composer is, if anything, a die-hard musical experimenter.
Don’t you wish that you were as cool as Chaz?
They’ve been compared to Sonic Youth, The Cure, and even Dinosaur Jr., but the throngs of YUCK supporters beg to differ. The band’s wonderfully strange fuzzy guitars, noisy grunge, and twisted music videos are certainly one-of-a-kind.
Made up of Daniel Blumberg, Max Bloom, Mariko Doi, and Jonny Rogoff, with Ilana Blumberg putting in an occasional appearance at live shows, this sadly underrated band hailing from New Jersey recorded and self-produced their 1st album at home.
There are so many layers in their sound that their “ugh” essence is completely unique. For example, the song ‘Rubber’ is about a hot chick languidly daydreaming about being a dog groomer. How’s that for surreal?
Out to Boo Your Mind
5-member English band The Horrors, made up of Faris Badwan, Joshua Hayward, Tom Cowan, Rhys Webb, and Joe Spurgeon, started out with a frantic, crazed sound, leading to their gigs being jammed with young punks “dumb with lipstick and blind with mascara”.
3 albums later, their exploration of different combinations of sub-genres has resulted in the trippy psychedelia of their latest album Skying. Their hit single ‘Still Life’ outsold all the previous ones and was even listed on Radio One for 4 weeks.
The process of getting there was quite a horror, but those trying times have brought out the true passion and commitment of this inventive British group.
Girls Don’t Shy Away
Put together hardcore-punks-turned-indie-slackers Christopher Owens and Chet “JR” White and you get Girls. Their refreshing ensemble of shows, lyrics, and chemistry propels their influence beyond just a band movement.
The latest addition to their discography, “Father, Son, Holy Ghost”, is even more unorthodox than usual, but critics and fans have raved about the depth and personal development it shows.
Moving on, it looks like the deft pair will be working on new tracks bearing a blend of Girls’ past and present.
Your Favourite Daydream
Raw and powerful. That’s the Twin Shadow thrown by American musician George Lewis Jr.
Dip into his debut album, ‘Forget’and you’re on an absolute hipster ride. He’s known to blend intimate R&B textures of with the sophisticated harmony of his lyrics, and credits Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear for fine-tuning his 1st release as his producer.
Don’t miss his 2nd album, coming out in the 1st half of 2012!
Canadian indietronica trio Austra, formed by Katie Austra Stelsmanis, Maya Postepski, and Dorian Wolf, put out their debut dance album “Feel It Break” just last year.
Lead singer Stelsmanis had wanted their tracks get people to completely let loose and dance. The band’s certainly achieved that, as their synth-driven new wave act has gotten much attention for being a poppy, spellbinding musical escapade.
Armed with towering vocals and a marriage of classical and electronica, this ‘holy’ trinity (Austra is the Latvanian goddess of light) will only be burning brighter.
Powerful and Fearless
Anna Calvi deals with the inevitable tragedy of life by creating a sense of hope through her music. Such is her drive that the intensely laconic figure produced her 1st album alone in a basement.
The classy Calvi, who describes her songs as “sexual”, always picks out the microscopic details in her visual music such as the middle section, crescendos, and bravados. She’s also acknowledged influences like the opera, flamenco dancers, and the orchestra on her music.
As her music deals with themes such as, lust, dramatic surrealism, and devils, the soft-spoken blonde puts on a different, more seductive persona whenever she performs live.
Her arresting vocals have earned her a Mercury Music Prize 2011 nomination for Best Debut Album.
Now you’ve got these little gems, go and be awesome!
St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival
Date: 12 February 2012, Sunday
Time: 1:30pm – 1:30am
Venue: Fort Canning, Canning Rise
Official Promoter: Chugg Entertainment
Tickets are sold through SISTIC at $135 and an additional $3 for booking fee.