Fly Under The Radar: Blank’s Festival Picks

Summer means festivals, lots and lots of festivals of the musical variety! And one thing’s for certain, you’ll be bombarded with a brain scrambling array of acts whichever outdoor event you manage to make it along to.

Of course we all know what to expect when it comes to the big-ticket headliners, but scratch a little below the surface and you’ll be rewarded with some of the best new music you never knew you liked…yet.

But hey festival line-ups bat deep these days, sometimes across a multitude of days, and with so much choice out there picking the right ‘speculator’ act to latch onto can sometimes be a bit of a musical minefield.

Never fear though, Blank is here to give you the insider’s tips on who you simply must schedule time for during this bulging festival season!


Falls Festival, Byron Bay, December 31 – January 3

A southern festival institution, the Falls Festival has now spread its wings north, lucky us!

Hanni El Khatib: In turns gritty, soulful and just plain rockin’, this Californian cat with Filipino and Palestinian heritage is sure to win over a legion of new converts as he delivers tracks off his new record Head in the Dirt, which was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys.

White Denim: a ridiculously versatile four headed rock beast outta Austin, Texas, White Denim may just leave your jaw agape with their ability to switch seamlessly between southern rock/jam band tendencies, punked-up psychedelia, with a dash of blue eyed soul…get eclectic!

The War on Drugs: from Philadelphia and originally featuring Kurt Vile (another killer artist soon to be visiting these parts for the Laneway Festival) the band deliver hypnotic, swirling, widescreen sound-scapes through an anthemic classic rock filter. To steal a quote; ‘it’s as if the Spiritualized and Springsteen albums filed alphabetically next to one another in your record collection melted together on a hot summer afternoon.’

Think Oz, go.. The John Steel Singers: six piece Brissie collective, who named their first album after local island resort Tangalooma. They’ve just dropped a pop-licious new record full of warm, harmony drenched, quirky indie-pop moments.


Big Day Out, Metrican Stadium and Carrara Parklands Gold Coast, January 19

The grandaddy Oz music fest of ’em all…

Bo Ningen: get in on the ground floor and take the trip with this four piece Japanese acid-punk warriors knowns as Bo Ningen. Mind melting psych flourishes married with fuzzed out riffola – banzai!

Toro Y Moi: Chaz Bundick, better known by his stage name Toro Y Moi, is an American recording artist and producer who peddles in laid back, organic, beat driven, lo-fi pop-funk. Ride the chillwave…

Mudhoney: Seattle grunge pioneers, who those of an elder persuasion may be well acquainted with. But for those Nirvana t-shirt sporting youngsters, be sure to get thee in the presence of these fuzzed out garage masters as part of your Big Day Out experience.

Think Oz, go… Cosmic Psychos: beer swilling, tractor driving, pub-punk legends experiencing somewhat of a renaissance on the back of their excellent career documentary Blokes You Can Trust.  Hooray Fuck!


St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, RNA Showgrounds Brisbane, 31 January

This little gem of a festival is generally tailored to bringing cutting edge ‘buzz’ bands to the collective musical consciousness, so make sure you get along and try these for size…

Kurt Vile: J Mascis by way of Springsteen and Tom Petty, Kurt Vile (real name!) delivers chimingly laconic, finger picking guitar slacker anthems. Be bewitched…

Savages: There’s quite the proliferation of all girl bands in this years Laneway line-up, including the moodily moving Warpaint and new ‘it’ band Haim, both outta Los Angeles. And then there’s Savages, a London all-girl 4 piece currently making waves by authentically channeling the post-punk early 80’s heyday of acts such as The Slits and Siouxie and the Banshees. Don’t miss this one…

Parquet Courts: New York based Texans Parquet Courts peddle in a wallop of sharp, driving, garagey post punk, framed by the biting, sing-speak ruminations of vocalist Andrew Savage.  Fans of Eddy Current Suppression Ring and classic indie-rock take note…

Think Oz, go… Dick Diver: ramshackle guitar-pop collective and featuring members of other top notch Melbourne indie acts such as Boomgates and Total Control, they bring a uniquely Australian slant to their subject matter and vocal delivery.


Soundwave Festival, RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane, 22 February

Raise your devil horns to the skies, as Soundwave yet again delivers a bumper line-up of music from the heavier end of the spectrum. Lots of big big names on the bill here, but be sure to make time for these somewhat lower profile gems:

Rocket From The Crypt: recently reformed and legendary San Diego horn driven punk rockers, featuring the talents of John ‘Speedo’ Reis, also of seminal bands Hot Snakes and Drive Like Jehu. Yeah hup!

Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats: English psychedelic-doom warlords, their fuzz-encrusted riffage will resonate for those with 70’s hard rock tendencies. And with a band name like this how can you go wrong!?

Graveyard: Channeling the cream of 70’s classic rock and metal, these retro-Swedes are sure to go down ghoulishly well for those in the know..wink-wink.


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