From the first flawless note, The Harpoons will have you hooked (no pun intended). With layers of soul and R’n’B, sparingly used yet shoulder shimmying drums, vocals from Bec Rigby that border the line between ethereal and entirely possessing, and songs that have been designed to make you desperate to sing along- and feel free to do so.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: This is music you’ll feel in your bones, and the backups and instruments are so perfectly arranged it may just be criminal.
THE CACTUS CHANNEL
The Cactus Channel are a ten piece explosion of music bringing the big sounds of New Orleans style soul and funk to a stage near you. Horns, percussion and guitars will have you dancing and grooving to near-injurious levels, and
humming along to them for days to come.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: Five horns, two guitars, drums and an organ. In this case, quantity most certainly adds up to quality. If you’re after something to get your feet and limbs flailing in pure joy, make sure you get along to the Cactus Channel.
Last years Triple J Unearthed competition winners, GL mesh sharp vocals with dreamy pop synth to create music you could listen to until you lose track of time and space- L’s Madonna-esque vocals may have you wanting to bust out the hair crimpers while the beats behind the voice will keep you moving.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: GL are being lauded as being one of the Next Big Things outta the Vic music scene, and you can bust out some of the classic dance moves you’ve always secretly practiced in your room.
SEX ON TOAST
Nine men in suits, some wearing turtlenecks, and choreographed dancing. That should be all that needs to be said for you to come along,
but turns out they make pretty damn good music too- 1980’s jazzy R’n’B, synthful music with sweet, sweet horns and sweeter bass.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: If you’re not dancing along by the end of the song you might already be dead. This is groovin’ music, pure and simple. Bring sunglasses.
A guitartastic experience (with the sole drummer keeping everyone cruisy), SMILE will take you back to that classic 90’s jangly vibe with simplistic lyrics and catchy riffs that will at the very least have you busting out a little smirk; but on the day maybe they’ll get you going the full grin as you fall into their raw laidback tracks.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: The cruisy-ness of each song can lull you into toe tapping before the tempo picks up and you’re suddenly involved in a proper little dance party.
A Melbourne multicultural three piece (Kiwi, Canadian and Aussie), ScotDrakula are kicking off some quality garage punk. Prominent bass lines, manic tambourine and a snare drum thicker than Tony Abbott’s skull all come together to give everyone a little something to boogie to while Matt Neumann’s vocals punctuate through with catchy lyrics.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: See them before the Kiwis claim them, along with Crowded House, Pavlova and everything else good in the world (They can keep Russell Crowe though).
Geoffrey O’Connor is an old hat in the Melbourne music
scene, under many names (Sly Hats, a member of Crayon Fields), and has a third album under his belt as of last year. Beautifully produced mixes of music and lyrics let you escape any of your boring mortal woes.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: If you trust the judgment of Fleet Foxes, Jens Lekman and Andrew Bird, who have all had O’Connor as a support, you should come and see what it’s all about.
Originally a queen of hardcore drumming, Evelyn Morris has adopted a softer sound for her act Pikelet.
With dreamy vocals, beautiful rhyme schemes, synthy goodness and bass, clarinet and quality drums, Pikelet have come together to bring full adventures in each of their songs, and are bringing them to the masses.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: Each song is literally like taking a little journey with flowing lyrics keeping audiences captivated- come along with us!
BAPTISM OF UZI
Bringing their playful version of psychedelic pop to our stages, this band aren’t afraid to experiment with their craft, molding two lead guitars to their will along with good ol’ bass and drums and of course, an ever present synth contributing to the sound that saw Uzi to the mainstage of 2013’s Splendour.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: Each song is just flat out fun with hooks aplenty and subtle throwbacks to different genres hiding in plain sight. Bring your dancing shoes!
THE PRETTY LITTLES
The Pretty Littles have morphed their own little mix of rock, garage and indie into a genre they attribute to influences Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Mess Hall, and The Vasco Era. The boys have done a bit of touring, and a bit of recording, and are back to performing live shows for all you lucky kids to get your dance on to!
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: A super high energy live band with super catchy tunes that you’re guaranteed to be shouting along to by the end of the set.
*guarantee not legally binding.
SUNBEAM SOUND MACHINE
Nick Sowersby and band have just come off the back of a brilliant year with the release of their debut album Wonderer- described as a ‘soft doona…you can pull over your head’. Vocals that sound how you expect your subconscious to, atmospheric noises and a dreamy dreamy theme throughout, these kids will give you fuzzy feelings.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: The new album in it’s recorded form is an experience in itself, sure to be even more of a journey live.
Bacchus Marsh boys Hollow Everdaze have a hard to pin down vibe going on, but describe it themselves as ‘Neo Psychedelic alternative rock’, with the psychedelic subtly coming through with lilting melody lines bound to get your head swaying along to amazing guitar and percussive teaming. Perfect listening for anyone up for some theatrical grooves (and that should be everyone).
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: Hollow Everdaze have their layering and strong beats downpat, leaving them to play around with all the other elements of the song. Something to witness and dance along to all set long.
Jonny Telafone’s live show is something different entirely. Not constrained by any usual social norms or musical genre, Jonny has been cited as ‘a twisted genius of modern Australian music’ with lyrics that range from humorous to uncomfortable or creepy, and sometimes even gentle and sweet.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: This looks like it’s gonna be an experience and a half, expect the unexpected from this artist and go along for the ride of your life.
Melbourne via Adelaide group Terrible Truths are deep into their post-punk style grooves, with grungy vocals and a surf/garage vibe from the guitars as well as funky funky bass. There’s always something interesting happening and dancing along is sure to get your pulse racing. A successful 21st century Aussie take on of quintessentially 80’s UK style.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: High energy, head swingy goodness, with all the grungy shouty layered vocals your little heart truely desires
Hip moving music with sharp exciting vocals
are just the beginning of the Infants qualities. Consistent beats and unpredictable shows have given the group a following and their throwbacks to the punk side of the 1980’s mixed with psychedelic synths will let you see why.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: These guys push themselves with each live performance- no joke. “With Jack throwing up after sets from pure exhaustion, or Blaise lashing white paint over herself, The Infants are a band that feel at home in their performance space”. Let’s hope they bring it big time for Inca.
Leisure Suite describe themselves as ‘indie, electronic and dance’, and they own every one of those adjectives. Bridgette Le’s voice is an experience in itself, chilled out and exciting simultaneously, and once it’s together with all the other elements of each song you’re already swaying your way into a special dreamland.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: Leisure Suite kind of sounds like what one of those glitter bath bombs would be if it were a band. Fizzy, relaxing, and so glittery it’ll stay with you for days.
Contrast are ‘a coupla blokes who like skateboarding and loud music’, and what’s not to like about that? A warm mashing together of synths and laidback vocals and passionate drumming slots these boys into a post-punk/shoegaze genre.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: Definite atmospheric boogie band with a bit of a grungy Cure vibe going on. It’s gonna be loud and good.
An experimental electronica band playing plenty of gigs around Melbourne town at the moment, Habits have their own style that explores harmonies and contrasts smooth vocals with shouting and more chaotic singing. The pair have worked with Oscar Key Sung to record their EP and are now bringing it to the stage.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: Habits are sure to have an unpredictable set full of smooth vocals and unconventional samples
Think ukuleles, cute little harmonies, soothing vocals and some ditties that will have you toe tapping and put a lil smile on your face. It’s not quite pop, not quite indie… as their debut album says, they’re bringing a little relaxing Down Time to your ears.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: Their lyrics aren’t always as angelic as their vocals and arrangements, which is a brilliant contrast.
Milk Teddy’s recordings are an interesting mix of sampled sounds, synth, clean drums, pretty guitar and selectively crooned singing punctuating the instruments every now and then. A dreamy experience with unpredictability becoming the norm during a set, each song takes you somewhere, although you probably won’t be sure where until you’ve arrived. At least you know the journey will be eventful and pleasing to the ears.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: A beautiful mess of music that comes together to create something beautiful. Bring on the magic to come out of that little synth!
THE SAND DOLLARS
The Sand Dollars are in their own words, a ‘surfadelic’ rock ‘n’ roll four piece who cite being influenced by Harrison Ford and James Dean, but that’s more evident in the department of their good looks. The group has worked up a reputation for creating a hep hip shakin’ live show, with smoothly interlocking lines from guitarists leading audiences along a
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: Tight 60’s pop and rock n roll songwriting brought into the current day with a boppiness and sing along rhymes that’ll have you confused about whether you’ve accidentally time travelled.
More than just a tasty overpriced food, Crepes are a laidback lo-fi 5 piece band also playing on home ground in their native Ballarat. They only have one single online so far but if it’s anything to go by, their upcoming EP will be a goodun, as will their live show.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: Catchy tunes with humalong harmonies and unenthusiastically optimistic lyrics. Gen Y to a tee.
High school friends-come-music-making-buddies, Good Morning may have the least googleable name in the world but at least their music makes up for it. And hey, they’ve been googled for you and are being conveniently placed on a stage for your listening pleasure! Sunny and melodic, Good Morning are the right start to the day at any time of day.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: Good Morning are undeniably chilled, and sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered. Still plenty of slow-mo boogies to be had while you sway away the day.
Solo project of Nick Mulhall, a talented multi-instrumentalist with many fingers in many pies- As Queen Magic he has turned his skills to vocals and synth and has made beautiful tracks as a result- atmospheric and smooth to the ear, it’s no wonder the accolades have already begun for the Queen.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: Queen Magic is soothing and grooving and will leave you wondering why Nick didn’t get his hands on a synth sooner, and why your ears hadn’t heard it yet.
Sydney kids Huon Kind are on board the 80’s pop train, but have dragged it screaming into modernity. Funky R&B will have your shoulders sliding precisely when Huon Kind intend them to, and smooth vocals and lines might make you feel a little bit seduced.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: Somehow these boys quite literally make your worries melt away… within minutes you’re reduced to their dancing pawn. And you won’t even mind.
Glaciers have a dreamy-surf-pop sound going on with guitars and clever rhyming coming from slightly ragged vocals (but ragged in the nicest of ways). Drowned in sweet reverb, the live show is likely to have you swaying like your parents did back in the day (but with slightly more style).
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: One song in and you’re likely to be throwing your arms up in the air in the gentlest way- No thrashing here, just some good dreamy tunes to dance to.
CABBAGES AND KINGS
Cabbages and Kings vary between 7-10 pieces of instrumental brilliance spanning ‘blues, folk, rock, roots, punk, and gypsy’ with a strong dark fairytale influence. Clanging wires, fiddles gone mad and banjo plucking and an ever changing lineup make for a live show ‘designed to inspire psychological breakdown’… in the very best way.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: Come and bear witness to a hammer and chain being used as a legitimate musical instrument.
THE SCRIMSHAW FOUR
The Scrims are a high energy jazz/bluegrass band with the magic ability to start an impromptu dance party without an electronic instrument in sight. Their songs are straight from a parallel universe where Django Rinehart got stuck on a chain gang in rural Kentucky. Husky harmonies will rouse your soul, double bass will rattle your bones and snapping guitar and piping hot violin will send you into a frenzied state to which dancing is the only cure.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: They do a mean Kylie cover and some bluegrass Gaga. Demand it if it is not offered.
A combination of hypnotic guitars, light
drum grooves, melodic bass and intimate vocal harmonies all create the Sleepy Dreamers’ unique brand of electric urban folk. These four guys have paved their path to stand out amongst the ever growing field of ‘Indie folkies’ as one of the most engaging, resonant and rhymically interesting
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: The Sleepy Dreamers combine the best of shoegaze atmosphere with folk songwriting that will lead you into a warm musical haze you’ll never want to leave (you’ll have to one day though).
Dreamcoat are probably likely to win you before their first song is over- they currently have one song on the big bad internet but it’s a good’un. Con
stantly compared to Grizzly Bear, they have a way with love songs that would melt the hardest of hearts, and a synchronicity in their music that grows and swells and knows the right moments to pull right back and begin it all again.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: If their first single is anything to go off, their live set should not be missed. These boys are wonders at their craft.
ARTHUR PENN & THE FUNKY TEN
With rough ‘n’ tumble Aussie vocals on
top, creating slightly more of a hard rock edge than expected. Multiple vocalists and dynamics as well as an always-welcome brass section and some well-placed rap have these guys jumping out of the boundary of any singular descriptor.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: Expect a live set that will go far beyond a soul revival and straight into making you want to scream and shout for a funk boogie revolution.
PAPA G & THE STARCATS
Having just released their debut single, Papa G and The Starcats are moving up in the world. The nine piece funk and soul band have been playing legendary live gigs for the last year and are returning for their second Inca Roads! Amazing vocals set the tone for each song as they take you on a journey through old school funk, hip hop, latin, reggae and soul.
#1 reason for making them top of your to watch list: Flawless songs with heavy beats and horns. Smoother than a really really smooth thing that you’ll probably fall in love with.