Five Acts We're Dying to See at Laneway

Scott Wallace
23rd Sep 2014

Every year, St. Jerome's Laneway festival showcases a crop of home-grown Australian talent, as well as bringing a wealth of upcoming and established international bands to our shores. One artist, cheeky, slightly deranged guitar pop maestro Mac DeMarco, has already been announced, and like every year the line-up for the one-day festival (announced October 2nd) is likely to be an incredible mix of all genres and styles, from beat-head DJs to low-key singer-songwriters. Even those not lucky enough to attend the festival can hold out hope of seeing their favourites at side shows at various venues around Sydney. Here, in alphabetical order, are five artists that just need to be at Laneway in 2015.

Aphex Twin

This year, after 13 years without any new music from electronic maven Richard D. James, a blimp was seen flying over London, bearing the iconic Aphex Twin logo. Just over a month later, Syro, the new record from the enigmatic producer, has arrived. The 12, sticky, gooey pieces of electronica on Syro feature their respective tempos in brackets on the record sleeve, so this was a record made for remixing, reconfiguring and most of all, dancing. A live set from Aphex Twin would be sure to please longtime fans, as well as newcomers, with hearsay suggesting that Aphex Twin's live sets are a mixture of mind-bending beats, sonic trickery and trolling the audience just for shits and giggles.

Charli XCX

This young singer is not just Iggy Azalea's sidekick on the unescapable pop-rap hit "Fancy," nor is she just the woman whose "Boom Clap" soundtracked this year's most vomit-inducing teen romance flick, but she is also the heir apparent to The Spice Girls, Madonna, Kate Bush and Siouxsie Sioux. Taking a more punk-inspired route on her upcoming album Sucker, which is due out later this year, Charli XCX would be the perfect pop element for next year's Laneway Festival, following in the footsteps of 80's-inspired family band HAIM this year. With a gift for earworm melodies and a voice like Geri Haliwell's slacker teen counterpart, Charli XCX's brashness and attitude is sure to delight on-stage.

FKA twigs

Last year, the artist formerly known as twigs emerged from relative obscurity with a minimalist, art-damaged take on R&B. Following two well-received EPs, LP1 dropped in August to rave reviews and a strong commercial breakthrough. FKA twigs is new, exciting hip and very now, and may very well be The Next Big Thing. The woman born Tahliah Barnett is a trained dancer, having appeared in several music videos, which guarantees that she's going to pull some amazing shapes on-stage. Her nocturnal mixture of current dance trends (dubstep and grime) with silky smooth R&B makes her the perfect candidate for Laneway, where dancing and contemplation take place in equal measure.

St. Vincent

The fourth album for Annie Clark under the name St. Vincent came out earlier this year and remains one 2014's best reviewed records. Taking a more direct approach this time out, Clark has synthesised influences as diverse as Peter Gabriel, Brian Eno, Talking Heads and David Bowie, crafting a cerebral mix of funk, rock and pop, all tied together with her jaw-dropping guitar pyrotechnics and Disney Princess voice. With her shock of purple-white hair and porcelain features, St. Vincent would be sure to be an incredible sight, but she would also deliver a rocking, hip-shaking performance that would get even the most cynical audience members nodding along with approval.


Swans are the comeback that won't quit. After the first steps of the smaller-scale My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky is 2010,  the band returned with the two-hour monolith The Seer in 2012. This year, they released To Be Kind, an album that is bigger, longer, bolder and meaner in every conceivable way. Lead Swan Michael Gira and his cohorts make music that is noisy and uncompromising, but also surprisingly beautiful. Swans have released several live albums in the past couple of years, making it clear that on-stage they are just as forceful, unnerving and awe-inspiring as they are on record. It would be a wonderful treat to hear Gira's husky bark echoing across the Sydney College of the Arts at Laneway Festival next year.

Sydney's Laneway Festival is to be held at Sydney College of the Arts, Rozelle, on February 1st 2015.