We're not gonna lie. Predicting the Laneway Festival line-up every year has undoubtedly one of the most fun things we can do. Shortlisting the bands we expect (and hope) to see at the eminent indie fest, it's a test of our knowledge in 2015 music and how well we can make use of Google.
Of course, with every lineup comes with a certain number of acts who let slip of their appearance for the following year. So far, we've received news of producer Hudson Mohawke, electronic duo Purity Ring and The Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. all confirming dates in Australia around the same time as Laneway, but whether or not they'll head over to Singapore remains to be seen.
However, as always, we've come up with a list of acts that we think will grace our shores. Laneway themselves have opened up the floor to you guys, so feel free to drop them your own predictions and you may win some sweet passes or festival vouchers.
We've added a few more acts in the equation than the usual 16 slots as it looks like the lineup's growing every year, last year featuring a total of 19 sets. After days of tense deduction and questionable amounts of Red Bull, here's who we think will attend the Class of 2016 for Laneway Festival.
Florence + the Machine
Last here in 2010, indie rock band Florence + the Machine has had quite the year so far. Aside from releasing their much anticipated third album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, the English band, led by darling vocalist Florence Welch, stepped up their game to become Glastonbury headliners after Foo Fighters had to pull out due to Dave Grohl’s broken leg. Though Florence + the Machine will already be touring Down Under in November, we are keeping our fingers crossed that they might swing by Laneway as a special treat. It has been way too long, after all.
Love him or hate him, psychedelic rocker Kevin Parker and his main project Tame Impala undoubtedly released one of the most talked about albums of the year (so far) in the form of Currents. With their third studio effort, the Perth band became the first act to snag top spot in the inaugural UK prog rock charts. While Parker and co will already be touring Australia and New Zealand in November under a series of Laneway Presents shows, air relations with the organisers could mean a return to our shores as a Singapore-only exclusive act.
Critically adored 2015 album — check. Long-standing recognition — check. This one isn’t just feasible, it should be a no-brainer consider Sufjan Stevens can draw in younger fans with an amazing new album and older fans looking for Seven Swans and Illinois nostalgia.
Her long-awaited follow-up is due out in late October or early November so a world tour is likely in the offing! This one’s a dark horse candidate, but the timing makes sense considering she isn’t booked up in January yet, and it’ll be quite a coup for Laneway. Easily a viable headliner contender.
We had the pleasure of witnessing them at Laneway’s first outing here in 2011. Then at the cusp of their popularity, fresh off their excellent third album Teen Dream, Beach House is now indie pop's supreme darlings, holding court as (possibly) our generation’s Cocteau Twins with their fifth album Depression Cherry. As their first set here had an awkward slot during the humid afternoon, we’re hoping for a sublime late-night experience with Victoria and Alex.
The Laneway formula for local acts appears to boil down to one indie band & one electronic act (typically Syndicate affiliates like Gema and .gif). Going by that trend, it feels like Intriguant should be a lock for 2016's edition since he's the hottest producer in Syndicate's roster at the moment. Seeing as this will be his biggest platform thus far and he'll be looking to add a dash more dynamism on stage, we're guessing that he'll be backed by a full live band as well!
Hear us out first. Better known as one third of The xx, English producer and DJ Jamie xx has been relatively active on the solo front. After releasing his second album In Colour, the 26-year old even found time to compose a score for the ballet, Tree of Codes in between touring. Having proven to be a great multitasker, along with a fresh batch of new, hotly-demanded material, we don’t think that it wouldn’t be too much to ask if the Laneway Singapore organisers asked Jamie down for a second appearance.
Otherwise known as Bridie Monds-Watson, SOAK is an up-and-coming Northern Irish singer songwriter who recently came under the spotlight with her debut album, Before We Forgot How to Dream. Her brand of music has already won over the UK and Australian public with The Guardian calling it “a vivid portrait of teenage deep-thinking”. And with Laneway’s longstanding penchant for strong female voices on their line up, we can’t help but have a hunch that we will be listening to SOAK’s breakout single ‘Sea Creatures’ live come next January at Gardens by the Bay.
If Animal Collective can’t make it, we suppose Panda Bear would be the next best thing. And with Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper delving deeper into dub and fantastical pop, Noah Benjamin Lennox’s repertoire might present an offbeat palette cleanser to contrast with the more standard indie fare on offer.
If the Laneway organisers are looking to add some much needed Singaporean energy to next year’s proceedings, then local rockers Cashew Chemists are da way to go. The four-piece band are a proven quality act, having performed at major regional festivals such as Baybeats and Urbanscapes. And with their first album due out later in the year, Cashew Chemists seem like the perfect candidates for the Laneway 2016 roster.
We love Odd Future but since Laneway Singapore seems to be wary of rappers, the usual suspects like Earl and Tyler are out. And we’re guessing Frank Ocean may be too pricey these days. Which leaves Odd Future’s sole soul act to represent. Hot off Ego Death and the indie scene’s recent acceptance of smooth, thumping R&B — The Internet seems like a timely choice.
No stranger to Singaporeans, BP Valenzuela have already endured her music to local audiences when she was in town for this year’s Music Matters. The 19-year old Manila-based electropop producer/ singer songwriter charmed us on the Bandwagon stage with her songs of heartbreak alienation and generally, growing up. Is now the time for her to take her place on the Laneway stage? Well, she has our support for sure.
There appears to be a special spot reserved for one fuzzy, shoegaze-y, noise-pop band every Laneway — and this year we’re predicting No Joy to fill that niche. Looking at their tour dates, this seems entirely possible and judging by the universally positive reaction to More Faithful, Laneway might strike while the iron is hot.
Sharon Van Etten
Yes, we’re banging this drum again. Every year will be a good year to bring Sharon Van Etten because the woman is timeless. Her tour for Are We There skipped by our side of the world entirely, so we’re probably due.
Father John Misty
We straight up adore J. Tillman aka Father John Misty, and his accelerated rise to indie stardom has been well-deserved. After his lovely debut as FJM titled Fear Fun, he blew our expectations once he dropped I Love You, Honeybear earlier this year. A wonderfully theatrical and brutally honest record that built on the strengths of his first album, he’s also vastly improved his live show, channelling the magnetic, devil-may-care charisma of Jim Morrison or even The National’s Matt Berninger.
We realized that we haven’t had an adventurous instrumental band in Laneway since 2011, when Holy F*ck dominated the stage. It's only perfect timing that eccentric three-piece band Battles will be making their grand return this month with third album La Di Da Di, and we couldn’t think of a better way for them to promote it than to do an extensive circuit through Laneway.
Singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield aka Waxahatchee has been having a stellar year since she dropped Ivy Tripp, an immersive guitar-driven album that’s endlessly witty, not unlike 2015’s Laneway pick Courtney Barnett. Making appearances through the festival circuit, including an acclaimed set at Pitchfork Music Festival, we’d love for her to grace our shores next year.
Honest to God, we need our fix of ferocious rock bands every year at Laneway, so we think METZ would be a great fit in 2016. Owing much to noise rock greats Sonic Youth and Big Black, METZ present a brand of cacophony that’s surprisingly easy to lose yourself into, with catchy choruses and deliciously angular guitar riffs abound.
He’s only 20-years-old but he’s been making big waves in the US and Europe. Describing himself as a "musician, comedian, singer, rapper, twerker, chef, writer, filmmaker, tumblr, skinny fat ass” on his Twitter, Shamir embraces glitzy disco grooves and sharp songwriting indebted to early Prince. Judging by the reception received by Jungle earlier this year, we think the local Laneway audience would dig the hell out of Shamir.
We’ve almost given up any hope of seeing a hip-hop act at Laneway, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed we’ll at least get to witness Scottish group Young Fathers on a local Laneway stage. The hip-hop trio ventured south and pushed their sound toward lo-fi, indie pop-flavoured territory, challenging the public’s expectation of them as a hip-hop group. This resulted in the supremely well-made White Men Are Black Men Too, and we’re hoping this could result in a ticket to Laneway’s sixth trip to Singapore.
Judging by their choices of Pastel Lite and Enterprise this year, we’re thinking Laneway will probably dip into the indie pool across the Causeway once again. And figure that KL indie-pop darlings Tenderfist might fill the bill quite nicely. Their sound is compatible with Laneway’s ethos and we’re sure their large following back in Malaysia might say the odds in their favour.