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REVIEW: St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Melbourne

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For a festival that started with the humblest of beginnings, in a Melbourne laneway, it’s somewhat startling to see the event sold-out at $160. For the purpose of comparison, when Big Day Out raised its ticket prices to over $150 in 2012, the event failed to sell-out and forced organisers to offer two for one tickets in Sydney. So why does it work for Laneway? Probably because punters can see the heart that goes into the festival. Each year the lineup makes total sense, the venues are carefully picked and the experience is paramount. This year was arguably the festival’s greatest lineup, justifying every dollar of that $160.

If we’re going to chatter on a little more about the excellent lineup, might we add that at 3pm the Footscray venue was almost packed, a testament to both the festival and Aussie artist Andy Bull who pulled an excitable crowd. Despite the blaring sunlight, Bull captivated with his collection of melodically on-point tunes. Baby I Am Nobody Now proved early on his heighty vocal-chops while a cover of Everybody Wants To Rule The World kicked the crowd into full-gear. He may have been one of the more no-frills performers of the day, but with his keyboard at his side, he delivered perky renditions of Talk Too Much and Keep On Running.

A performer who captured the energy of Laneway perfectly was Chicago’s Vic Mensa who hyped the crowd into an absolute frenzy. Almost ignoring the blazing heat, Mensa’s DJ hyped the crowd up so much that by the time the rapper entered the stage they were bouncing off each other to every shuddering beat. Without an album to his name, Mensa easily entertained full the whole set traversing both traditional hip-hop and electronic styles. It takes an impressive rapper to effortlessly open a set with Wimmie Nah and finish it with Down On My Luck despite their obvious stylistic differences. Mensa was an absolute warrior on stage thrashing around the microphone stand, launching into the crowd and climbing on stage scaffolding. Never was there a dull moment, event when he took some time to showcase his vocals on slow-tempo numbers. The response to Drive Me Crazy which is all of a week old proved just how dedicated the crowd was.

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Sneakers were aplenty this year, both as a fashion statement and a measure of practicality. The Footscray site is beautiful but spread out and making it to the main stage directly after an act proved to be a workout. It’s why we only caught the end of the charismatic Mac Demarco, floundering about on the main stage. Thankfully, we were given a little more time to return to see his Mum, Annie Demarco, introduce British band Jungle like a pro. Jungle were last here for Splendour In the Grass but their on stage entourage was noticeably bigger this time around. The leading duo were dressed in a baseball outfit and an ARMY uniform, ready to bring the funk.


And bring the funk, they did. With the extra band mates they were able to deliver a far more instrumentals-dense set, that added just that little bit more gusto to their performance. It’s nice to see a band that’s been touring for so long still show signs of joy and as such it was heartwarming to see Tom and Josh look to each other and smile when they realised just how far back the crowd stretched. Busy Earnin’ was the highlight of a brilliant set, largely thanks to a guest appearance by Vic Mensa who prolonged the song’s end and made us realise that we’d be happy for him to add a verse to every song today.

From one Brit to another, the crowd waded towards the main stage for FKA twigs. There had been murmurings for the Laneway’s previous that twigs was the one to see and it seemed those Chinese whispers had spread as a massive crowd turned out. As three (!!!) drummers took to the stage it was pretty clear that this one was going to be a rib cage shaker and it turned out to be exactly that. Twigs is probably the only solo performer who could’ve weathered the shuddering beats and somehow come out as the centre of attention. Her ethereal, slight vocals pierced above all else as she stalked around the stage like a beast searching its prey. The way she moves to the, mostly irregular, beats is utterly mesmerising. She understands fluidity in a way no other does. She hits accents with hearty force and in between moves like a gust of wind over water, extending limbs beyond the impossible. All of this comes together most evidently on Pendulum where she acts as if the drum stick is within her body, beating her around the stage. As she ends on Two Weeks, it all comes together. The voice sounds crystalline, the instrumental is full-bodied and she dances like a pop star who actually understands the artistic power of movement. Quite frankly it’s hard to remember a performer like twigs. She’s not weird, her friendly encounters with the crowd prove that, but she’s got a sharply artistic mind which she conceives with perfection.


When the sun goes down at Laneway there’s always a strong sense that shit’s about to get real. And when you’re standing front-row at Caribou where the entire band is illuminated and the bass is shuddering through every inch of your body, nothing could be more true. Dan Snaith aka. Caribou was one of the older members of the lineup, but he’s as relevant as ever. His set melded together warm melodies with hard-hitting bass and forceful synths making his performance one of the more profound of the day. Set opener Our Love kicked the dance-vibes into gear while a mid set drop of Odessa raised thousands of arms in the air. He focused more on his most recent record Our Love more than anything else but nobody cared. The record is a knock-out and nothing proved it more than when he added an extra chorus to Can’t Do Without You and knocked the crowd-over with a rush of the most textured yet abrasive synths you’ve every heard.


Caribou was always going to be hard to beat but if anybody was going to do it it’s Annie Clarke, better known as St. Vincent. A little like twigs, Clarke is otherworldly. As she enters the stage all her movements are clean yet a little alien. She shuffles about the stage as if she’s on a conveyer belt on Mars and also moves her arms about in a robotic yet beautiful motion. Essentially her songs operate in the realms of pop but live she brings a real rock grunt to them. She absolutely shreds on the guitar and despite her crisp look, she gets down and gets to work. It’s never more evident than on Birth In Reverse where she marries pop synths with a growling guitar, fusing for a massive chorus. Her voice is also crystalline for the entirety of the performance making quieter numbers like Cheerleader captivating. She deserved every bit of the Grammy she won today even if she herself couldn’t give a toss.


Running down the hill to catch the final moments of American BANKS, we were immediately hit by a flurry of smoke and lights in which she waded around in her dark gown. There were rumours that she only wanted photographers to take photos of her left side and as such photographers were blocked from shooting from a certain side of the stage. She’s definitely got the songs, as brilliant closer Beggin’ For Thread proved, but the whole thing felt a little measured. That’s why it was so good to hear her let loose and say “Melbourne, this has been one of the best fucking shows of my life”.

On that point, BANKS’ sentiment was one that many of the acts echoed. Many were overwhelmed by not only the size of the crowd but the palpable energy which occupied every space of the festival. There was barely any rogue behaviour, rather just 12,000 plus who appreciated good music and showed their appreciation respectfully. Every year Laneway reminds us why festivals aren’t dead. They just need to be treated and attended with love.

GALLERY: St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival Melbourne

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REVIEW: Mac DeMarco at The Hi-Fi, Melbourne

Maccy D jammed out to Salad Days to kick start the Converse/Vans convention at The Hi-Fi on Tuesday night. Kicking off the night with one of our favourite tunes from this gap-toothed dreamboat made it a solid start to the set. The energy from this band is that of a wild child teenage escapade, with tantrums from members and Mac climbing and jumping into the crowd from the venue mezzanine. When Mac’s bassist left the stage during the gig, he was soon to be replaced by The Murlocs‘ bassist; just another pleasant Mac Demarco surprise!
We’re so glad Agnes Demarco, Mac’s adorable mother, was there to introduce the gig because she is the best and is the older, female version of Mac. What a fam.

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REVIEW: Raury At Oxford Art Factory


If you haven’t heard of Raury Tullis, a.k.a Raury, then get yo shit together, man.

His Sydney show at The Oxford Art Factory on Monday night opened with a great set from relative newcomers Milwaukee Banks. With the venue filling up fast, the Melbourne based duo were well received, delivering some pretty chilled out electro hip-hop vibes. The guys were awesome; vocalist Dyl was as good as the recordings, and had so much energy I couldn’t get a photo where he wasn’t blurry. Many of the punters weren’t familiar with the tracks, but there were some good comments going through the crowd, and Van Gogh, their collaboration with Andrei Eremin, was a definite stand out.

After a longer wait than was comfortable, Raury finally entered, engulfing the audience with a sonic onslaught, complete with rock star entry and Michael Jacksoninspired prancing. His hat and mic stand were used as a prop for some pretty dynamic moves. There were some sound issues, but Raury took it in his stride like a seasoned performer.

He then went into Higher, his track with SBTRKT, which was a big favourite with the crowd. The only drawback was that there was a backing track of the original song playing, with Raury rapping a harmony over his own vocals, and then running out of breath, leaving his backing track to pick the rap up.

Raury’s confidence and charisma belied his tender age, not failing to impress with a high-energy show while adoring fans looked up in awe to the stage, and leaped at the opportunity to touch the rising stars’ hand. Unfortunately the crowds’ energy didn’t match the performance, but this didn’t seem to dissuade the self proclaimed Indigo Child, who populated his set with motivational anecdotes between songs.

Things got a super preachy after Super Fly, with Raury encouraging his audience to follow their dreams, saying that money doesn’t make you happy. Cigarette Song was probably the most popular track, spurring on a hearty sing-along from the crowd.

Lost Souls saw Raury fronting the band with the acoustic guitar, with a spiritual atmosphere created by the audience waving lighters and iPhones along to the track. The show ended with God’s Whisper, with the song getting another play when the call for an encore was met, cumulating with a mighty water fight using water bottles supplied by the band.

Raury gave a wonderful, powerful show with the only drawback would be that there were not enough quiet moments interspersing the loud, majestic performance, leaving my ears fatigued by the end of the show.

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First Impressions: Feat. Daniel Johns, Kaytranada, Shlohmo & More


First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on their first (or second) listen. Each week we review six new songs from the past week, each giving them a score out of five and awarding our pick of the week. Today we pick apart tracks by Daniel Johns, Kaytranada, Shlohmo + more.

Courtney Barnett- Pedestrian At Best

Donna: All Courtney Barnett’s songs sound the same to me. My honest opinion is that she’s not that great. The lyrics to Pedestrian at Best are sombre and depressing, and her Aussie twang doesn’t help matters. 2
Sam: I said it when I wrote this up and I was pretty pleased with myself so I’ll say it again- Courtney Barnett is doing for Aussie accents what Alex Turner did for British accents. It’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea but every artist with a clear distinction has been divisive and Barnett is no different. This is her bringing her A-game. She’s angsty and sings like a runaway train, allthewhile making the mundane sound raucous and thrilling. Love her who vibe and her in general, actually. 4

Sam: I said it when I wrote this up and I was pretty pleased with myself so I’ll say it again- Courtney Barnett is doing for Aussie accents what Alex Turner did for British accents. It’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea but every artist with a clear distinction has been divisive and Barnett is no different. This is her bringing her A-game. She’s angsty and sings like a runaway train, allthewhile making the mundane sound raucous and thrilling. Love her who vibe and her in general, actually. 4

Bianca: Courtney B has got such a unique twang to her singing style. Slightly ocker Aussie without being painfully bogan, she manages to portray her lyrics with an honesty and wit that enable her songs to be received in an amusing way, much like the comical Australian poetry and yarns found in the most woop woop of pubs. Like Vegemite, I feel people will love or hate this song. And I loooove my Vegemite. 4

Shlohmo- Buried

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/shlohmo/buried/[/soundcloud]

Donna: Not overly familiar with Shlohmo, but Buried is a dark, rock-centric track that takes a while to get going. While every facet of the track is painstakingly obvious, it is not necessarily a bad thing, and I found myself being drawn into the song. Shlohmo shows off his musical dexterity, and grasp of structure within Buried, and while I couldn’t picture the perfect setting for it, I imagine there would be ravers and/or goths dancing to this track. 3

Sam: I’ve been watching rock creep into electronica for a while now and it’s actually really doing things for me. Shlohmo is the dark king and Buried is exactly what you’d expect from him if you’d just seen him for the first time. It sounds like an old, creaking church whose bells chime when rats scurry over them. It’s the middle section climax that really drives it for me. That’s when it’s no longer unbearably mysterious. I’m also feeling some Metallica vibes in there. 4

Bianca: When releasing this track, Shlohmo was quoted as saying: “You don’t have to like it, just listen to it.” And I’m doing as told. This one is a bit too sci-fi for my liking, the dark synths and pitter-pattering melody kind of leading nowhere. Buried belongs as an intro or interluding track on his upcoming album, Dark Red, and nowhere else. 2.75

Kaytranada- Drive Me Crazy (Feat. Vic Mensa)

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/kaytranada/drive-me-crazy-featuring-vic-mensa[/soundcloud]

Donna: Since I heard his remix of Erykah Badu’s “Love of My Life”, I have been a staunch fan of Kaytranada, and Drive Me Crazy solidifies that love. Vic Mensa changes it up with hard, choppy rapping, and then soulful singing in the chorus (and thank gawddd he doesn’t once say “bitches” or “hoes”). Kaytranada’s production prowess is evident, as little bits of melody created with dreamy synth sounds are carried by thumping kick drum, and goes from hard and trappy in verses to soft in the choruses. The 2nd single off his upcoming album, Kaytranada does not fail to impress. 4.5

Sam: Well this is pretty much a who’s who of hyped artists. Vic Mensa and Kaytranada are a match made in heaven with Mensa perfectly slotting his rap into Kaytranada’s electronica come hip-hop aesthetic. It’s woozy and a little unsettling but that’s what makes it interesting. I think the hook could have been a little bit more memorable but to do that would be to damage the vibe of the song, so I don’t know what I want. 3

Bianca: Vic’s velvety vocals really make this for me. He manages to smooth out the track just as the rap portion becomes a little bit monotonous. The production leaves a little to be desired, however. A second over 4:02 and I would have certainly become bored. 3

TALA and How To Dress Well – The One

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/howtodresswell/the-one[/soundcloud]

Donna: How To Dress Well is an artist I have labeled as part of the elite “white boy RnB” club, and rarely misses when it comes to releasing new tracks. From the #songsfromscratch series, How To Dress Well worked with TALA to create a stellar track. TALA, although pretty new on the scene, delivers some nice vocals, explaining how her first live show sold out last week. I love the intermingling of the male and female voices at the end, and HTDW’s vocals are on point as usual. While it is a good addition to the summer playlist, with just the right amount of trap/tropical vibes, it’s not a massive standout within the genre. 4

Sam: I just love this so much because it’s so abrasively melodic. Tom Krell is a master of melody and TALA is becoming an innovative force within the electronic music sphere; together they’ve created something that’s a definite RnB throwback but one that also sounds futuristic. You know how in turn of the Millennium video clips everyone was obsessed with space and metallic outfits? That’s the visual I get from this. I want to direct a video and have the two of them floating around in some loved-up embrace. Aside from that, it’s really nice to hear TALA’s vocal potential straight up without the experimenting she does on her own work. I think that’s Krell’s doing. He’s the best. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Bianca: I love it. Krell’s voice really shines with the fast-tracked, skittering backbeat. You can definitely hear TALA’s influence making an appearance; the Middle-Eastern-cross-Caribbean melodies creating a sonically beautiful cross of cultures. Bianca’s Pick

Daniel Johns- Aerial Love

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/danieljohnshq/ariel-love[/soundcloud]

Donna: Well, this is different, and as one Soundcloud commentator pointed out: I can’t believe this is not rock. No, it definitely is not! What Ariel Love is, is a sexy, steamy and intimate song to enjoy while sipping some red wine in the spa. The song, with its throbbing kick drum pulsating all the way through, adds an element of heat, with the inviting vocals and harmony in the pre-chorus drawing the listener in. Despite being a drastic change for Johns’, this song is effortless, remaining simple, with layered vocals creating a satisfying ebb and flow effect ensuring the song continually moves, and the listener is never bored. One point: this track, while extremely “on trend”, sounds like what many artists are currently doing – very Drake/Sohn sounding. In saying that, this is Donna’s Pick 5

Sam: When I was a kid my two idols were Ian Thorpe and Daniel Johns. When Thorpe came out last year, I found this fire in me that felt like I had to defend him against the naysayers, like some paternal instinct. I feel the same with Johns. Aerial Love is so far removed from Silverchair, that I don’t even really feel as if they have to be mentioned in the same sentence, but I just did it so…That track definitely doesn’t have that pop-smack that radio would eat up but it doesn’t seem Johns is endeavouring to go down that path. Instead he crafts a minimal, mellow track that’s the most soulful thing he’s done. His voice is wildly unbelievable but it’s really nice to hear him pull it back and show some restraint. 3.5

Bianca: It’s so refreshing to hear someone making such a subtle comeback. This track oozes experience and self-reflection; Johns has had some time away from the limelight, re-visiting his music career and approaching it in a new light. The R&B influence suits him surprisingly well and I look forward to hearing the rest of his upcoming EP to see if he follows the same direction. 3.75 (Side note: This is my Mum’s pick of the week.)

Mike Will Made It- Drinks On Us (Feat. The Weeknd, Future, Swae Lee)

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/theweeknd/mike-will-made-it-drinks-on-us-feat-the-weeknd-swae-lee-future[/soundcloud]

Donna: I find this track to be pretty average and the chorus lyrics uninspired (and repetitive). I enjoy the rapping –  both rappers have a good flow and feel within the track, but it would have been good to see them more integrated, instead of just tacked on at the end. Nothing monumental is happening in the instrumentation, which is by large repeated throughout the whole song on a loop. This clocks the track in at a relatively uninteresting 5 minutes. I feel this track could have had some more work on structure, however, the Weekend doesn’t disappoint on vocals. 3

Sam: I love Mike Will Made It but this song pisses me off to no end. I think if he began the song with the Future verse I would be able to prepare myself for The Weeknd but starting with his slimy vocals on that annoying hook is just unfair really. I feel like they’re channelling a Move That Dope vibe but failing. There’s something about The Weeknd that really irks me and he really has to be in the pocket for me to come around. Unfortunately, he makes this feel limp. Future’s verse is on point though, so it’s a shame it only comes in after 3 minutes. By that time it has already lost me. 2

Bianca: Well, this is quite monotonous. You’d think with all the guest spots, the rhythm would have been shaken up a bit? I’m also going to take a point away because The Weeknd’s hair was a bitch to photoshop. 1.75


First Impressions: Rihanna, Kanye, Paul McCartney + more


First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on their first (or second) listen. Each week we review six new songs from the past week, each giving them a score out of five and awarding our pick of the week. Today we pick apart tracks by Rihanna + Kanye + McCartney, Petite Meller, Tobias Jesso Jr + more. 

Rihanna, Kanye, Paul McCartney- FourFiveSeconds

Sam: I honestly have zero idea what Kanye is doing at the moment. All of his sound reinventions (even 808s and Heartbreaks) made sense but this Paul McCartney ballad territory is totally out of the box. Literally everyone has been waiting for a Rihanna comeback and then she delivers this. It’s not made for the clubs, it’s not even made for the car, but that’s the greatness of it. Melodically it’s a sucker-punch and Rihanna has never sounded better but the best thing about it is how conceptually confusing it is. By doing something so simple, Rihanna, Kanye and Paul have, oddly, done something revolutionary. Sometimes you should just keep it simple, stupid. This is brilliant. 4.5 Sam’s Pick

Donna: I used to be a massive fan of Kanye West, and knew all the words to the “Graduation” and “College Dropout” albums. But from the release of Yeezus, I have honestly not given a stuff about his music, because I feel as though his whole life since Kim Kardashian is just a ridiculous publicity stunt. (Also, likening yourself to Jesus? Give me a break.)

But I did find myself enjoying this song, far more than I care to admit. It’s refreshing to hear Rihanna’s voice sounding so natural, and a relatively acoustic track released by Kanye? Wahhhhh?

I don’t know what to make of all this. However, I do wonder where Kanye is going with these past 2 releases. I feel as if he is trying to be overly sincere, and after his recent shenanigans, I don’t buy it. Soz Kanye. 2

Caitlin: What happens when you mix two extremely prominent musicians of the noughties with an iconic 60s legend? The answer, fourfiveseconds (of genius). To be honest when the internet began to blow up this track I expected Rhi Rhi to be singing about strip clubs and diamonds with Yeezus demanding world domination but to my surprise both artists were belting out heartfelt lyrics to a breathtaking acoustic track laid down by no other than Sir Paul McCartney. Even though I’m still trying to figure out what the term “wildin” means, this track will definitely be on repeat all day every day. 4.5   Caitlin’s Pick

Tobias Jesso Jr- How Could You Babe

Sam: Every time I listen to Tobias Jesso Jr, I have to double-check to remind myself I’m not listening to Lennon. The fact is Jesso Jr is so effortlessly an old soul that it doesn’t sound cliche or forced. You can produce things within an inch of their life and layer like you’re baking a cake but all great songwriters need is a simple tune. How Could You Babe is so simple from its melody to its subject matter, but it’s so beautiful and so heartbreaking a little like Lennon’s Oh Mother. 4

Donna: I listen to a lot of new music on a daily basis, so I am kicking myself wondering how I missed Tobias Jesso Jr. How Could You Babe could be a Beatles song, with its simple chords, mellow vocals, and understated sound. Unlike Kanye, the sincerity in this track is believable, and the simple songwriting, while cliché, is effective. 3.5

Caitlin: Sitting in front of a fire place with a nice glass of red is what comes to mind when I hear Tobias Jesso Jr stroke the piano keys and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. How Could You Babe may possibly be an anthem for anyone experiencing a break up before Valentines Day but don’t fret, Tobias knows exactly how you feel. With the announcement of his debut album set to drop in March, I can guarantee you will never feel alone again. 4

Petite Meller- Baby Love

Sam: When the first Florence and the Machine record Lungs came out, I wanted to burn copies and take it to everybody at school because it had this energy that made me want to tell everybody about it. Of course, piracy restricted me from doing so but you get the idea. I feel the same about Baby Love. It’s got this flaring energy, delivered by the manic keys jabs vivacious bongos, that make it impossible to sit down. It feels like we’re being taken to church. It feels like we’re being taken to a club. It feels like we’re dancing at an outdoor festival. Its influences are so confused and yet tied together so brilliantly by the burgeoning chorus. Petite Meller’s fashion is spot on too, might I add. 4.5

Donna: There are so many things I don’t like about this song, mostly because I watched the film clip first and it just annoyed me to no end. I don’t like Petite Meller’s vocals. I don’t like her juxtaposition of wealth, clean buildings etc. with dusty African villages. As an African person, the music video offended me for the stereotypes it painted about Africa (villages, huts, dusty, barefoot children, dancing in the street). In saying that, Baby Love has feel-good vibe that makes it very hard not to tap your foot along to, at the very least. 1

Caitlin: Brb, going to go dance in Africa for a little while. There is nothing much to say about this song other than the energy and catchy chorus will brighten anyone’s day no matter the circumstances. 3.5

Denai Moore- Elsewhere

Sam: Moore has a startling voice so packed full of emotion that you always feel she’s a note away from a tear but her solo tracks haven’t exactly made me do handstands. Elsewhere is another track that sees her rely on her beautiful, melancholy voice but really struggles to give me anything apart from that.its definitely nice but I reckon she has more in her than just nice. 3

Donna: YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. This track carries a distinctly James Blake vibe, with that unique British take on sparse, emotional electronic music that artists of African descent seem to muster so easily (Kwabs, Vicktor Taiwo, Oyinda). The balance of vocals, emotion, sparse instrumentation, and harmony are perfect. Elsewhere is simple, but pulses with life. This slow burner is exactly what I will be adding to my Soundcloud playlist. Will be waiting in anticipation for Denai’s album release in April! 5 Donna’s Pick

Caitlin: Elsewhere is a song that will definitely take the listener elsewhere. Personally I rarely listen to slow soulful songs but there was something about this track that kept me listening until the very end (and left me wanting more). There is no denying Denai has amazing vocal cords and musical talent beyond her years but understandably this type of music is not for everyone. If you do however give it a chance, there will be no regrets after having a listen to this little gem! 3.5

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/denaimoore/denai-moore-elsewhere[/soundcloud]

Good Love- Alone

Sam: This song is all about that breakdown with the howling guitar. It sounds like it would sound right at home on Prince’s Purple Rain soundtrack if the vocals were just a notch higher. It’s definitely in the lane of RnB but it has a rock edge which gives it a little more organic grunt. This is begging to be remixed with a four to the floor beat. 4

Donna: 0:00 – 0.37: I’m loving this

0:37 – 0:57: His voice is getting a bit annoying but still a pretty cool song

0:57: All hope is lost. Chorus spoilt the whole song.

I don’t know what is happening here, but somebody got lost along the way. Alone started off as a track I would share with all my friends, but the song is all over the place in terms of style, and the electric guitar laden chorus is just cringeworthy. 2

Caitlin: Alone has me conflicted. One minute I don’t want to listen to it again, the next I am singing it as I prepare a meal. Good Love (formally known under his stage name Patrice) provides smooth R&B influenced vocals over an equally supportive beat to get that head bobbing and those fingers clicking. But do keep in mind; this song is highly infectious so play it in the car with family on a long car ride to ensure they have Good Love permanently stuck in their cranium. 3

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/goodlove/alone-1[/soundcloud]

Trinidad James- T James Express

Sam: I loved 100s mixtape last year because it had this sexy-cross-creepy feel but was oh so smooth and I think I like this one for the same reason. I’ve been playing a lot of music out loud over the holidays and this one is the one that has raised eyebrows. Some laugh at the chorus, some start to groove a little bit but no one so far has said its awful. If you’re going to write a song that has the potential to be creepy, it’s a good thing if no one calls it awful straight off. As for me, I reckon it’s got the potential to be a runaway hit…all aboard. 4

Donna: Despite trying hard not to, I found myself dancing around to this track… shuffling was involved. I guess I have been moving away from American rap and hip hop culture for a good while now, but I am still so surprised by how insulting the songs lyrics are. In saying that, this song is fun, and seems to have been created with good humour in mind. 3

Caitlin: I’m no train expert but I do believe the T James Express is very different from the Polar Express. However, it is a catchy HipHop/R&B tune that may appear in nightclubs for people to grind to in the future. I wouldn’t under estimate T James just yet after all he has had 2 Chainz, T.I and Young Jeezy feature on a remix of a track from his debut mix tape. So who knows what T James will come up with next? 2

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/derekallendja/trinidad-james-t-jame-expre-prod-by-dja[/soundcloud]


A Day at Sugar Mountain: Featuring Nas, Iceage, Banoffee & Ariel Pink


Sugar Mountain kicked off what was going to be a rad day for music fans in Melbourne with acts like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, How To Dress Well, Banoffee, ODESZAIceage and Nas on the line up. Walking in to the Victorian College Of The Arts had a similar feeling to walking into a Primary School fete with glitter and streamers hanging from above and beside. The majority of the punters and myself headed straight to the Dodd Street stage to get a spot for King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard while trying to stay out of the roasting sun. A quick look around VCA and I knew that Sugar Mountain was going to be a day full of good vibes.

It’s well known that getting to a music festival on time is one of the more difficult tasks in life but it certainly has its benefits. No line for the ATM, food or sunscreen was probably one of the biggest scores of the day considering the dense lines to come later. If you have been to Dodds Street imagine each line being as wide as the street but also bending to allow for more festival-goers to line up (it’s not ideal lining up for sunscreen in the heat). Not only did I get the cash to purchase a delicious Pastrami sandwich from Uncle RB’s but also the much needed sunscreen from the paramedics tent was there for the taking and boy am I glad it was.

Top Four Acts 
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

I had never seen the Melbourne locals play live before but I have only heard good things and they were the perfect way to kick off a day at Sugar Mountain. With the festival having a few psychedelic features such as the art and decorations, it was fitting that King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard opened up the day and go into everybody’s minds. They put on a ripping show and played one of the tightest live sets I’ve ever seen with their songs like Cellophane that anyone could boogie to. Both of the drummers carried the set through with the constant beats and in-sync fills that led the songs into one another with only one or two breaks in between songs.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - 2All seven members of the band could capture the audience’s attention. Whether it be the vocals or the harmonica, there was something interesting happening throughout the whole set. A flute solo was not something I was expecting to see at Sugar Mountain but I was absolutely stoked that Stu, the vocalist, busted out into what I would call a shredding flute solo. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard made my top four easily not only from their rad live performance but also for being one of the strongest opening acts at a festival that I’ve seen.


Intense is the best way to describe an Iceage set. Even the sound check had me on edge, it was gut wrenching listening to the minor chords, loud drums and grunts of Elias being played over and again until their set began. The stand out song of their set was “How Many”, after hearing the track live I went home and compared it with the recorded version and the difference between the two were outstanding. It wasn’t the quality that was different but the aggressiveness of the live performance would have scared anyone who hadn’t heard Iceage before. It was hard to decide how I felt watching Iceage due to the colourful surroundings and the sun beaming down but at the same time I hade four blokes from Denmark playing dark and aggressive music that I couldn’t look away from. There were a few technical issues during the first song with the guitar cutting in and out but Johan without fault pulled it back together like nothing had even happened. Iceage are a no frills type of band and they don’t mess around, between songs there was no talking only the name of the next song. It was exactly what you would expect and want from a Danish punk band.

Slum Sociable

These guys were a lucky find. I thought I’d go and check out The Theatre and I found “Mordialloc’s Filthiest Animals” setting up. By the time soundcheck was finished, the Theatre was full and the crowd were ready to dance. I may have been seated at the back of the Theatre but these guys made it seem as if myself, and everyone else in the back row, were right in front with the rest of the punters, dancing. The lads from Slum Sociable knew exactly how to work the crowd and nailed their mix of lo-fi jazz hop. Slum Sociable were another treat that played earlier in the day proving the point that getting to a festival early has its advantages.



Photo Credit: Superteam Studios

There is only so much I can say about seeing Nas perform Illmatic live. I made the rookie mistake of making it back to Dodd St late, leaving me close to the back of the crowd. Despite being only just able to see Nas, what I heard was enough. Nas’ flow has always been part of the reason I started listening to rap because I’d never heard anything like it and he did not disappoint at Sugar Mountain. Although some of the punters may not have been there to see Nas, everyone was on the same vibe regardless of who they were there to see and, whether it was NY State Of Mind or Represent, heads we bobbing and the crowd was bouncing. Anyone can listen to Illmatic but seeing it live is a totally different experience. Obviously it ain’t hard to tell that Nas absolutely nailed Sugar Mountain.


Photo Credit: Andrew Bibby. 

Honourable Mentions:

Ariel Pink‘s drummer for playing in an aqua bikini and cowboy hat.


Photo Credit: Andrew Bibby. 

Banoffee for pulling off denim-on-denim.

BanoffeeHow To Dress Well for his all-white matching outfit.
 2 Bears for bringing out some insane dance moves.


Photo Credit: Chip Mooney. 

And Uncle RB’s for making such a delicious pastrami sandwich.


First Impressions: Django Django, Lido + More Reviewed


We’re into our third week of 2015 and we thought it’s about time that we started to get our teeth sunk into some of the new music coming through. This week, we’re reviewing new tracks by Ciara, Lido, Django Django and more. And while it’s only early days, it’s looking like 2015 could give us the goods. Particularly if the six artists mentioned below drop albums.

Ciara- I Bet

Sam: Ciara is one of my favourite female artists on the planet. She’s chipped away at the scene quietly for more than a decade as an under-appreciated RnB artist who had a few hits in the early hours of the Millennium, but she’s really come into her own recently. Her last album was brilliant and this track sees her head in the same direction. If you’re going to do a mid-tempo breakup song, do it like this. It’s so simple but her flow is on point and the production is deliciously nostalgic. The ironic thing is, it actually would sound at home on a Future album. 4 Sam’s Pick…obvs

Bianca: Good to see Ciara has 1, 2-stepped back into the spotlight. It’s a faultless track that sees the RnB songstress laying her hallmark vocals on the subtly skittering backbeat. Side note, can anyone remember when the vicious rumour went around back in the day that Ciara was a man? lol. Memories… 

Krissy: I have just been transported back to the early 2000s where every Destiny’s Child lyric was etched into my brain and Usher was my ideal future husband. Where it’s no surprise that Ciara is great vocalist, this just doesn’t tickle my fancy. It’s pretty boring. Also, what’s with the dude randomly chiming in every 4 seconds? Pointless and not needed. 2.5

Lido & Hasley- Slow

Sam: Seeing Lido late last year was a religious experience. The Norwegian producer lives and breathes music, with a surprising gospel undertone to all his tracks. This one leans further towards RnB than any of his songs so far and it suits him. Hasley’s vocals soothe the soul while Lido’s production would no doubt have a few hip-hop producers jealous. 3.5

Bianca: Lido blew our minds with his live set last December. With that fond memory firmly tucked away into my brain, any sort of material coming from the producer is gold in my opinion. With its trappy undertones and slow-mo vocals, this track won’t make you go anywhere in a hurry. 3.5 

Krissy: Genius. Geeenniiiusss. I love this. This remake of Jaden Smith’s Fast takes a trap-hop approach which accentuates and highlights the incredibly smooth vocals of Hasley. The slinky yet hard-hitting production from Lido is insane. I was (shamefully) unaware of these two before this collab- they are now on top of my radar. Hopefully there’s more to come from these two. 4.5 Krissy’s Pick

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/lidogotsongs/slow[/soundcloud]

Django Django- First Light

Sam: This track is a solid return for Django Django. And if it was on their debut album, I would’ve had absolutely no problem with it. But as the track is a return, my issue is that it doesn’t really extend the band’s capabilities. We’re seeing Django Django in the same light as the first album and I probably would’ve liked something a bit different. That said, the vocal layering and jangling beat are on point. 3

Bianca: Like an old friend that you haven’t seen in years, Django Django have returned. Hurrah! But just like meeting with said old friend, the conversation revolves around now-stale past jokes, the friendship begging for new experiences and fresh memories to be made. It’s really quite pleasant but it’s nothing new from the band, leaving me hankering for something new from these guys. The best thing this track has done for me is re-introduce me to an old favourite, Default. 3.5  

Krissy: I’m on the fence about this track. There’s nothing terrible about it, but there’s nothing amazing that stands out for me. Note: Don’t listen to this before your morning coffee… you may fall asleep. In saying that, it will probably be stuck in my head for the next couple of days. 3

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/djangodjango/first-light[/soundcloud]

Purity Ring- begin again

Sam: begin again is probably one of the most accessible things Purity Ring has done. The chorus is shimmering, driven by Megan James’ beautiful voice. In terms of aesthetic, it’s similar to the debut in the way that its a dim-lit, minimalist sound that would sound at home on a Hunger Games soundtrack. Given that their debut teetered on the edge of RnB, it’s interesting to see that they’ve shed that skin now that the genre is in vogue. It’s probably a good move and makes the song less disposable. 3.5

Bianca: This track is deliciously dark and brooding; the slowly-building crescendo further adding to the atmospheric nature. Megan’s voice is ethereal as usual, taking this track to seventh heaven. 3.75 Bianca’s Pick 

Krissy: A pinch of darkness, a splash of vivacity and a generous drizzle of soaring synth. begin again explores light and dark dynamics thoroughly which made it mesmerizingly catchy for the first half – but I felt like it was tiring toward the end. I can sense a million remixes are about to come! 3

Juce- The Other One

Sam: At this point, I’m trying to figure out why Juce haven’t quite cracked it in the way HAIM did. They’ve nailed the look and they’re committed to the funky sound but I think what’s missing is that killer hook. The Other One has brilliant, textured verses but kind of falls flat when it comes to the chorus. I’m a big fan of these guys though, I think they’re holding back some great stuff and are going to smack us with it right when it counts. 3

Bianca: Juce are one of those bands that you can throw onto a playlist and they will blend into any scene, instantly lifting the mood. This unfortunately might not work in their favour, putting them in danger of fading into the background and becoming lost in the crowd. And they’re so, so much better than that. Shine bright, you glorious diamonds. 3.5 

Krissy: Sorry I’m late… I’ve just been taken for a cruise around Funky Town. If you’re looking for a Summer-vibing track, this is it. I’m hoping that these British gals come to Australia very soon – I’ll be the crazy one tearing up the d-floor. You could probably find me playing this track as I leave the office every Friday. 3.5

Eves The Behavior- TV

Sam: This song is the very definition of brooding. Now signed to Dew Process, this is the first time I’ve really sat up and paid attention to one of her songs. I think the deep, heavy synths make it sound profound and really accentuate her voice. I love the final third where the production gets a little more experimental. Eves The Behavior is definitely one to watch in 2015. 4

Bianca: This track transcends the confines of the boob tube, its namesake. Mammoth in vocals and production, it’s a cinematic and arresting beast that belongs on the big screen. Following the likes of Lorde and Grace Mitchell, I now should be used to these incredible voices coming from people almost a decade my junior but they never cease to render me surprised/jealous 3.75 

Krissy: Woah… 19 year old Eves The Behavior kind of makes me wonder what I’ve been doing with my life (not making awesome music, like her– obviously.) Her maturing talent shines through on this track and I’m looking forward to more releases from this gem. The only thing I could fault this track on is the abrupt ending which just left me hanging. 3.5

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]http://soundcloud.com/dewprocess/eves-the-behavior-tv[/soundcloud]


The Falls Festival, Byron Bay | Day Two


Day Two (or three if you count New Years, but we’re only counting days we can remember), brought with it some more steamy lineup and a whole bunch of great acts on the Forest Stage. That meant permeating heat, sweat and plenty of smoke.

Glass Animals took to the heat like seasoned pros, showing why they’d chosen tropical designs for their album and stage designs. The new band has found more favour here in Australia than anywhere GlassAnimalselse, and they were clearly taken aback by the adoration that they received from the Byron crowd that was spilling out of the tent. For a band with only one album they managed a set jam-packed full of gems. Gooey was an obvious crowd pleaser but it was the more upbeat closer, Pools, that impressed the most. Australian audiences love tropical percussion at the best of times and Glass Animals brought that aplenty. A cover of Kanye West’s Love Lockdown saw lead-singer Dave Bayley, balancing on the rails, surrounding himself with the audience. The band looks as if they’re straight from a Topshop commercial but they put on a lively show which is hard to criticize.

Scott Hansen aka. Tycho was next up, with much of the crowd leaving for Milky Chance. Milky Chance will no doubt be fleeting and it’s likely that should the two acts visit again in 12 months, Tycho will be the far more popular choice. His 2014 record, Awake, was a brilliant combustion of ambient and post-rock genres and in the live arena it expanded. His soundscapes were rich and kept the crowd mesmerised throughout a near perfect set. It’s probably music best enjoyed in a dimly-lit environment but he adapted it well to daylight.

Somebody who probably also would’ve benefitted from a night time slot was German DJ, Tensnake. He released his debut album, Glow, last year, boasting collaborations with the likes of Nile Rodgers and MNEK. His set at Falls fell oddly in between a live set, with occasional vocals from Fiora, and a DJ set. With his closing track, See Right Through, going off we couldn’t help but think he’d be better off doing the whole record live. As a DJ set it felt a little lazy, as if we were at Marco Polo at The Ivy.sbtrkt

Maybe Tensnake should take a few cues from SBTRKT, who arrived on the Valley Stage with a stage-full of instruments. His set up is phenomenal and he really does a lot to prove to doubters that electronica is more than just somebody standing behind decks. Opening with Hold On from his debut record, the British producer performed a short set with only a smattering of songs from his second record, Wonder Where We Land. New Dorp, New York off that album, sounded brilliant with Ezra Koenig’s vocals creating space in an otherwise packed amphitheatre. The visuals behind him were also stunning. Unfortunately the set was somewhat ruined by a number of punters who obviously thought they were on the lineup. Shirtless guys stood on shoulders, chanting over much of what was happening on stage (my goodness, we sound old. No?). They quietened up for the brilliant, Wildfire, but became more and more restless each time SBTRKT crafted an extended outro. As much as SBTRKT is a mastermind, a wide-eyed festival crowd is perhaps not his best audience.

We’re going to contradict ourselves once more and say that electronica is something that can be executed brilliantly behind decks. Case in point:
jamiexx2Jamie xx. The brains behind the xx, creates an after-dark, strobing atmosphere like no other, taking you on an emotional journey with his DJ set. He moves from introverted club music to hands-in-the-air, gospel flavoured music, making sure that he earned every last drip of sweat that dropped from the punters. Short samples of Feel Better and the xx’s VCR, stirred excitement but at the end of the day it didn’t really matter if you knew what they hell he was playing. He was the master of puppets and was commanding the crowd to do whatever he wanted them

As the end of Falls drew near, the sadness was setting in. Once again, the festival was brilliantly organised and for the most part drew a crowd that was passionate and friendly amongst strangers. As many of them ascended up that hill once more for Alt-J, there was really only one man capable of curing that end of Falls depression – Todd Terje. The Norwegian producer drew a small but happy crowd as worked away on his keyboard. Terje’s It’s Album Time! istoddterje without a doubt one of the best albums of the year and worked into an hour-plus set, it sounded even better. He started with a moody, brooding selection, bookmarked by Delorean Dynamite, before moving into his more light-hearted tunes. At one point during Oh Joy, the crowd, waiting for a drop, crouched down on the ground, however, after two minutes, it became apparent that Guetta-style drop wasn’t going to come. Terje seemed to appreciate the sentiment anyway. Two fools also stormed the stage trying to take some of his attention but Terje gracefully switched off the music and ushered them to the side. That act garnered a huge cheer, with the excitement continuing into Inspector Norse. A remix of Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance WIth Somebody made it easy to squeeze out those final dance moves from a weary body. Well done, Mr. Terje. We’re now considering replacing 12am on our watch with album time, in your honour.


Beyond The Valley, Phillip Island | Review


New Years Eve is one of the busiest times for Australian festivals and, while Falls Festival once again delivered a great lineup in three different locations, Beyond The Valley offered a tempting alternative. In its first year, the festival gathered together acts like The Preatures, AlunaGeorge, Danny Brown and more. We sent two rogues to Phillip Island to count Penguins, sample Indian cuisine and occasionally soak up some tunes.


The beauty of living in Australia is having the ocean as our backyard. Phillip Island was the ocean-bordered location for Beyond The Valley Festival, a Penguin paradise 2 hours out of Melbourne. A location we both agreed was one of the most beautiful spots for a music festival.

Weather: (because us Aussies love talking about it)

Considering the onset of what we like to call “Hurricane Pingu” during the first day and the last minute changes made to the schedule, we were impressed with how efficiently the festival handled these windy conditions. Even though this meant that Fractures had to be moved from main stage to the Pavillion, he still had a killer set and the sound was perfect.

The Music:

On the road to the Island playlist-

A Mix by Annie Mangen, Karina Wilson, Siri and special guest, Rei Barker.

The drive to Phillip Island in our little Avis rental involved a bit of a mashup between Siri’s great directions and:

John FarnhamTwo Strong Hearts

CreedHigher (Thanks Karina)

UsherU remind me


Layo and Bushwacka Vs. FinallyLove Story

Drake– Every song he has

Jennifer LopezWaiting for Tonight

All Saints Pure Shores

Natalie ImbrugliaWrong Impression


As great as the music selection above was, nothing compared to the live music we were about to be spoilt with at Phillip Island from the following artists:



The Preatures




Vancouver Sleep Clinic




One Day


Midnight Juggernauts




If hearing Imaginary Air by Rufus, live in the middle of beautiful Phillip Island, just after midnight is setting the bar for the rest of the year, then we are in for a good one.





Danny Brown


Key Festival Stats: 



  • Overdosa food stall- Thank you, Tyson for your hospitality and incredible Indian cuisine.
  • The Security guard, Sam, at the Media room entrance was a legend.
  • Our camp neighbours, the girl crew from Geelong who kept us entertained on the morning of New Year’s Eve.
  • The Coffee was delicious…That ice coffee.
  • Dancing to Sail Away by Enya at 3am on NYD.


  • Missing one of our favourite summer tunes, Shooting Stars by Bag Raiders.
  • Missing Peking Duk‘s live set of Sandstorm, especially after hype around the announcement of Darude’s return to Australia. #reibarker
  • Not having a hammer for our $20 tent and ending up having to sleep in the car.
  • Missing the fairy Penguins we were so excited to meet.
  • Potato Swirls are bad.

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The Falls Festival, Byron Bay | Day One


After a huge New Years Eve ushered in by Alison Wonderland, the Falls Festival Byron Bay crowd looked surprisingly bright eyed and bushy tailed as they tackled the sun. Storms were forecasted for majority of the festival but it seemed they were nowhere to be seen today as Cold War Kids took to the stage in the heat of the day.dudeonshoulders

The Californian band who’ve just released their fifth album Hold My Home, recruited a loyal crowd, many of them hoisted up on shoulders. The band sprinkled tracks from the new album all the way through their set but it was the older ones that drew the biggest reaction. As lead singer, Nathan Willett, took to the piano at the end of the set it was clear we were about to be treated to Hospital Beds. It was a stirring finish to a strong set. While the quality of the bands studio albums may have dropped over the years, there is no doubt that they still know how to command a crowd.

jagwarma2Jagwar Ma took to the stage next admitting that they had, had no sleep the night before. Despite that they seemed to be loving the energy of the crowd, with their weariness quickly dissipating. A pulsating beat ricocheted around the natural amphitheatre as the band laid on top a woozy concoction of reverb-soaked vocals and dizzying guitars. Their set was built with tracks from their 2013 debut Howlin’, which, if anything, had got better with age. Come Save Me, benefited from the sunny atmosphere and instrumental track, Four, made it impossible to stay away from the mosh. Let’s hope next time we’re watching Jagwar Ma, they have a new album under their belt.

Speaking of bands that need a new album out, The Temper Trap took to the natural amphitheatre next armed with a few new tracks from an album that is due out this year. The two new tracks that they played stuck with a Coldplay-esque, arena-rock aesthetic with oohs and aahs that immediately resonated with the crowd. It helped that the tracks were surrounded either-side by favourites like Love Lost and Fader. Even Trembling Hands from their lesser-received second album found favour, with an amphitheatre-wide singalong. Of course, Sweet Disposition was the main event and, maybe it was just nostalgia, but it was stirring event after all these years.

It seemed nostalgia was the theme of the day with The Presets following Temper Trap. The duo who peaked with their second album, Apocalypto, still drew a huge crowd and delivered a hearty-set of thumping electronica. The darkness definitely worked in the bands favour with the whole set sounding like an underworld disco, particularly with the strangely creepy, Ghosts. My People is always a spectacle but some of their newer tracks gave it a run for its money with Youth In Trouble going harder than any other song.RTJ

A quick dash from The Presets, over the hill, found us in the sweltering arms of Run The Jewels. The duo of Killer Mike and El-P took to the stage promising, “…we will burn this mother f#*ker to the ground!” And that is exactly what they did. The energy in the Forest Tent was palpable with sweat dripping from the brow of every punter. Run The Jewels gave no time for rest as they churned out heavy-hitter after heavy-hitter. Blockbuster Night P.2 was an incredible sight to see as was 36″ Chain. At one point it seemed like everybody in the tent was creating the Run The Jewels logo with their hands. As “run them jewels fast, run them, run them, run them jeweles fast” swirled around our heads, it was pretty clear that it’s going to be near impossible to beat Run The Jewels this year. The duos chemistry, probably created by an unlikely friendship, is unbelievable.

Switching the dial just a notch, punter hiked back over the hill and into the tropical world of La Roux. La Roux’s second album, Trouble In Paradise, was criminally ignored and this seemed like her chance to prove to the crowd just how good it really is. La Roux’s live show is a well thought-out, perfectly manicured set that never strays from its ’70s-rooted, tropical style. It took barely moments from the crowd to start bopping along to newbies like Kiss And Tell aLarouxnd Sexotheque. The latter had people singing along by the second chorus. Highlights from her second album kept the crowd hanging on and despite one punter throwing a shoe on the stage and some others chanting, Bulletproof, out of turn, it seemed she’d charmed with her smokey British accent and sleek moves. La Roux thanked those who bought her second album before she launched into Bulletproof, giving the largest singalong of the festival to date. It was goosebump-inducing to look back on the massive crowd, all with hands-in-the-air. Let’s hope people go home and give La Roux another listen.

From the underrated to the overrated, Empire of The Sun took to the stage to finish the night. They were the replacements for Robyn and Royksopp, and while they definitely brought the beats and the energy, the whole thing was quite a trip. It felt as if we’d stumbled into an Eastern European nightclub and were gyrated by giant luminescent sword-fish. Props where props are due, We Are The People still dazzles with its euphoric chorus and Standing On The Shore is as hearty as it ever was. Empire of the Suns helmsman, Luke Steele, is clearly a creative mastermind but sometimes less is more- both audibly and visually.

With Jamie xx, SBTRKT, Todd Terje and more in our sights for day 2, bed was beckoning.



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