With Splendour just around the corner (less than 2 weeks, but who’s counting), I’m dusting off my gumboots, pre-emptively signing up for a new liver, and as far as Splendour rituals go, play-listing like a mother fucker for the road trip up. This year’s lineup strikes the perfect balance between veteran rock stars and fresh meat. So in the leadup to what is the best god damn weekend of the year, here are the top 10 acts I’m dying to see:
1. Electric Guest
Who is Electric Guest? I hear you ask. Just 2 dudes making some dope ass tunes produced by that Danger Mouse guy. No biggie. More specifically – Asa Taccone on vocals and Matthew Compton on beats. Taccone is no rookie to the music biz: his brother Jorma is a founding member of comedy rap crew, The Lonely Island. Proving that they really are from the same sperm set, Electric Guest will make you jizz in your pants. Their debut album Mondo is my favourite release this year. Every track is a winner, but if I had to choose one, Troubleman takes the cake, purely because it clocks in at 8:49 minutes and manages to make it feel like 1. If these guys perform half as well as their album, let’s just say a spare pair of pants will be mandatory.
2. Jack White
A man who needs no introduction, Jack White truly is a living legend. His resemblance to Edward Scissor Hands extends beyond the physical. A super-multi-instrumentalist, Mr White consistently creates eccentric musical masterpieces whether it’s with The White Stripes, The Raconteurs or The Dead Weather. Now doing the solo thing, his latest wonder Blunderbuss is pretty fucking great. But you already knew that.
3. Michael Kiwanuka
Awarded the BBC’s Sound of 2012, Michael Kiwanuka has been measured against the likes of Otis Redding and Bill Withers to name a few. Ordinarily when such outlandish comparisons are made, I usually scoff in a ‘you wish’ type of manner and carry on with my day. However, in this case, I’ll happily admit there is some truth there. His soulful croons possess a timeless quality that injects a whole lotta old-school love into his delicate folk tales. I have no doubt his live rendition will be stunning, empowering me to embracing random splendour-goers for some kumbaya action.
4. Father John Misty
When Fleet Foxes resident funny man and drummer Joshua Tillman left the nest and re-emerged as Father John Misty, at first I thought he was pronouncing himself as some kind of cult leader. Then I heard the music. Holy hindu it’s good! Although latest album, Fear Fun, is not his first solo venture, it’s by far his best. Considering it was inspired by a psychedelic road trip, Splendour will no doubt play the perfect setting for Mr Tillman to recount his charming tales.
5. The Shins
Garden State will forever be one of my favourite movies. Not only does it mark the early stages of my Natalie Portman lesbian lust, it introduced me to The Shins (anyone who says they were Shins fans before Garden State is lying). That moment where Sam passes Andrew her headphones playing New Slang proclaiming, “this song will change your life,” really did change my life. Four albums later and some cut throat band replacements heralded by frontman James Mercer, my love affair with The Shins continues. Let’s just hope Mercer’s douche baggery doesn’t make an appearance.
6. The Smashing Pumpkins
Another band that’s had its fair share of lineup changes and questionable frontman antics The Smashing Pumpkins have stood the test of time. Yes Billy Corgan is a pretentious douche lord at the best of times, but when it comes to the music, his genius is undeniable. Latest album, Oceania is a true testament to the fact that they’ve still got it. Admittedly, I’m more of a recreational user than a die-hard fan and I refuse to bandwagon jump for the sake of a festival, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t pretty darn excited to hear Tonight Tonight in the flesh.
7. Django Django
Django Django are one of those bands that caught my attention well before I heard their music. Mainly because ‘Django Django’ is really fun to say. More fun than their name, are their tunes. Their self-titled debut is highly danceable and I can’t wait to get foot loose to these kids at Splendour. I’m really hoping there will be some puddles about, because Default is one of those songs that you know will be oh-so-fun to puddle jump to!
8. Zulu Winter
I have a feeling that Zulu Winter is a name we’re going to be hearing a lot of this year. I’ve been happily bopping along to these British fellows for a while now with their delectably gratifying number, We Could Be Swimming. Surging through a maze of electrifying synths and rhythmic drums, lead singer Will Daunt throws some sharp cheek bones and even sharper vocals into the mix. I have high hopes that their live version will be just as charismatic.
Minneapolis five-piece, Howler, are straight up rock ‘n’ roll. For a band that only formed last year, these kids have taken off like a bat out of hell, gaining critical acclaim for their debut America Give Up from left, right and centre. Judging from their grimy and downright dirty anthems, I have an inkling that their live show will be a shit load of fun and then some.
10. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
I first came across the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble on a late night rerun of Jools Holland and was blown away by their sleek musicianship and swag. From appearances alone, these eight brothers look more like a rap crew than a mini brass orchestra, but don’t be fooled, their technical abilities are outstanding. An effortless swirl of jazz, hip hop and soul, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are guaranteed to impress.