8 Jan 2018

Laneway 2018: who's playing - a guide to the acts

From RNZ Music, 1:35 pm on 8 January 2018

Everything you need to know about all 29 acts performing at this year's Laneway Festival (you're welcome).

  • Where: Auckland's Albert Park

  • When: Monday 29 January (Auckland Anniversary Day)

Aldous Harding

Stepping into the rare acoustic world of Aldous Harding

Aldous Harding Photo: RNZ / YouTube

Aldous Harding is the most intriguing and captivating performer in the country right now. She’s funny, in a droll way, and heartbreaking in equal measures.

Different characters come through her, some naive and wild-eyed, some wisened and world-weary. Her voice varies from fragile, folksy and wavering to brassy cabaret belting. It’s no wonder she’s been winning audiences worldwide over the past couple of years.

Last time we saw her tour New Zealand in November it was in grand theatres, and she obviously felt the gravitas of those venues, preferring to stay reverentially silent between the songs. It’ll be interesting to see her take on a festival vibe - Kirsten Johnstone.

Read more about Aldous Harding:

  • Inside the world of Aldous Harding
  • The Mixtape: Aldous Harding
  • The Sampler: Party by Aldous Harding
  • Aldous Harding performs brand-new title track 'Party'
  • Aldous Harding takes on the United States
  • Amy Shark

    Amy Shark

    Amy Shark Photo: Cole Eastham-Farrelly

    She’s won two ARIA awards and in 2017 her song 'Adore' placed second in Triple J’s hottest 100, but Amy Shark is by no means an overnight success.

    After slogging her guts out playing bars and open mic nights for more than seven years, last year Shark's down-to-earth nature and easy-to-love songs took her into hearts and charts worldwide - Alex Behan.

    Read more about Amy Shark:

  • Amy Shark - live in session
  • Anderson Paak

    Anderson Paak

    Anderson Paak Photo: Eleanor Stills

    My hopes are high for a soul, RnB explosion to rock the Albert Park Laneway stage. Anderson Paak and his band the Free Nationals have been touring since his Grammy-nominated album Malibu was released in 2016.

    He's opened for Bruno Mars on his '24K Magic World Tour' and played Coachella, Sonar, and numerous international jazz festivals. Signs point to a slick, truly road-tested, genre-bending set that will no doubt have Auckland 'never coming down'. I cannot wait - Yadana Saw.

    Read more about Anderson Paak:

  • Album review: Malibu by Anderson Paak
  • BadBadNotGood

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    Photo: Supplied

    It’s fitting that this irreverent Canadian instrumental collective are on this year’s Laneway bill, as many of their musical collaborators have taken the stage in previous lineups – think the Odd Future stable and Future Islands. BadBadNotGood join the sonic dots between these diverse acts with their own woozy, improvised twist on legit hip-hop and serious jazz - Yadana Saw.

    Read more about BadBadNotGood:

  • BadBadNotGood: breaking the jazz mould
  • Baynk

    Jock Nowell-Usticke aka Baynk

    Jock Nowell-Usticke aka Baynk Photo: Amanda Jasnowski

    The last time I saw a Baynk festival set, the under-age and student-age front row were loudly chanting "I love Baynk! Baynk loves me!" to the local electro-dance producer while he was still plugging in his laptop for soundcheck.

    Now 23-year old Jock Nowell-Usticke returns to Laneway with his debut EP Someone’s EP and some serious international touring chops under his belt. Banging dancing good times ahead! Yadana Saw.

    Read more about Baynk:

  • Baynk on internet success
  • Billie Eilish

    Billie Eilish

    Billie Eilish Photo: supplied

    This 16-year-old Californian wrote one of the catchiest songs of 2017 from the point of view of a teenage killer.

    ‘Sittin' all alone / Mouth full of gum / In the driveway / My friends aren't far / In the back of my car / Lay their bodies’ she sings in ‘Bellyache’.

    She and her co-writer brother Finneas O'Connell come from actor/musician stock, they’re home-schooled and have been singing in the LA Children’s Choir since they were small.

    He’s had a starring role on ‘Glee’, and she almost became a professional dancer. They’re talented, good-looking and ridiculously cool, so it seems like an inevitable rise to the top of the charts for these two. Catch them before they start filling stadiums - Kirsten Johnstone.

    Read more about Billie Eilish:

  • Billie Eilish: 15 year old pop prodigy on fiction and family
  • Bonobo

    Bonobo AKA Simon Green

    Bonobo AKA Simon Green Photo: supplied

    Simon Green makes tunes that fall under the umbrella of beat music, but he’s constantly pushing himself into new territory, each release more lush than the last. Recreating this onstage requires both string and brass sections as well as a full band, giving the songs a fresh energy and urgency.

    It’s music that grabs you emotionally first, then compels you to submit to its groove.

    The veteran Ninja Tune producer played his first NZ show earlier in 2017 and he must have enjoyed it because he’s coming back already. If the enraptured crowd at the sold-out Auckland Town Hall are any indication, fans will be more than happy - Tony Stamp.

    Read more about Bonobo:

  • How Bonobo got his groove back
  • Review: Bonobo at the Auckland Town Hall
  • Connan Mockasin

    Connan Mockasin

    Connan Mockasin Photo: Supplied

    These days, you could almost call NZ’s favourite local fruitcake Connan Mockasin a veteran. He’s been at it for years. He formed his first band Connan and the Mockasins in 2003 and has been producing his own unique brand of psyche pop ever since.

    Since 2007, he’s been performing solo all over the world and working with the likes of Charlotte Gainsbourg, James Blake, Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim), Sam Dust (of Late Of The Pier) Liam Finn and Lawrence Arabia.

    Connan Mockasin's shows are wondrous, trippy journeys: slow and psychedelic. He genre-hops between what could almost be called funk to what a Guardian reviewer once described as acid-prog. Some songs are long, 10-minute plus meanderings, sending you into an almost trance-like state.

    Mockasin’s shows are hallucinogenic wonders: highly recommended - Alice Murray.

    Read more about Connan Mockasin:

  • Soft Hair, stand-up and the surreal world of Connan Mockasin
  • D.D Dumbo

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    Photo: Supplied

    With its throbbing, funky basslines, layered psychedelic textures, infectious melodies, skittering guitars and breathless, agile tenor vocals, the 2016 debut album from DD Dumbo had us addicted. Utopia Defeated saw him signed to 4AD and winning Triple J’s Album of the Year.  

    This dexterous, multi-instrumentalist Australian vegan shares a lyrical surrealism with his musical idol Captain Beefheart and his songs vaguely reference Foie Gras production and animal rights.

    While he was already a mesmerising and impressive performer alone onstage but for a looping pedal, he’s been playing this year with a band, creating a sense of theatre with clarinet, wooden flutes and wind chimes. If you like intricate, thought-provoking, weirdo music, this is one not to miss - Kirsten Johnstone.

    Read more about D.D Dumbo:

  • D.D. Dumbo, Australian avant-pop prodigy
  • Album review: Utopia Defeated by D.D Dumbo
  • Die! Die! Die!

    Die! Die! Die!

    Die! Die! Die! Photo: supplied

    Die! Die! Die! are a three-piece noise-punk band, originally from Dunedin. They've been around for ages (since 2003 to be exact) and they're probably one of my favourite bands to see live.

    The last time I saw them was at the sweaty underground cave that is Auckland's Whammy Bar. It was the perfect venue. There was a proper mosh pit complete with shirtless dudes, and the band were explosive. And loud.

    It's not just noise though - these guys come armed with a collection of very, very good songs that range from shoegaze to post-punk to garage-rock. Go see them, it'll be an electrifying show. - Alice Murray.

    Read More about Die! Die! Die!

  • Die! Die! Die! aren't dead just yet
  • Father John Misty

    Father John Misty

    Joshua Tillman as Father John Misty Photo: Supplied

    Father John Misty aka Joshua Tillman used to drum for the Fleet Foxes, but has been releasing a steady stream of solo material since 2004. He took the moniker Father John Misty in 2012.

    Tillman's made headlines with his outspoken opinions on Donald Trump (he called his inauguration a 'demonic clown pageant coronation of our next potential Idiot King'), the entertainment industry and the general state of the human race.

    He also makes incredible music, which I guess you'd call folk rock. By all accounts, his live shows are dramatic affairs, which include between-song rants, rockstar dancing/writhing and often-times a large troupe of musicians. He won't disappoint. - Alice Murray

    Read more about Father John Misty:

  • Father John Misty: comedy or tragedy?
  • Julie Byrne

    Julie Byrne

    Julie Byrne Photo: Jonathan-Bouknight

    Fingerpicking alto Julie Byrne’s songs are soothing serenades to the sky. The Buffalo, New York born songwriter has worked as a ranger in Central Park recently, and maybe consequently, the imagery in her latest album is heavy with clouds, gardens, and rainbows, and dwells on finding solitude in crowds of people, and of fighting the urge to escape.

    If you’re into Tiny Ruins and Nadia Reid, Julie Byrne might be for you. No loud talking in the crowd though please.
    - Kirsten Johnstone

    Read more about Julie Byrne:

  • Songcrush: Julie Byrne - Natural Blue
  • Loyle Carner

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    Photo: Supplied

    Loyle Carner is a 23-year-old rapper from South London. His music has been described as 'boom bap old-school hip-hop', by the Guardian, and he's a fan of Madlib, Common and A Tribe Called Quest.

    2017 was a big year for him: he released his debut album Yesterday's Gone to much critical acclaim (NME called it 'confessional, soul-searching and very, very good'); the album was then nominated for a Mercury Prize; he toured the UK and US extensively, and he kicked a fan out of a show for making sexist comments about his support act.

    Carner's live shows are soul-baring and confessional and they get very, very good reviews. If you check him out I don't think you'll disappointed. - Alice Murray

    Mac Demarco

    Mac Demarco

    Mac Demarco Photo: Mac DeMarco performing at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin, Texas in 2014

    Mac Demarco makes a lovely style of jangle pop, with fuzzy, psychedelic edges he calls ‘jizz jazz’. The Canadian singer-songwriter’s music is laid-back, quirky and occasionally tinged with a kind of pleasant melancholy.

    Demarco’s been making music since 2009 and has visited NZ a couple of times now – in 2015 for Laneway, then with his own headline shows in 2016. He also appeared randomly in the background of this Connan Mockasin live session wearing a wig and holding an umbrella.

    His live shows are super fun. He’s known for crazy on-stage antics and performs his laid-back songs with enthusiasm. - Alice Murray

    Read more about Mac Demarco:

  • This new Mac DeMarco documentary is hilarious
  • Melodownz

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    Photo: Supplied

    Melodownz proved himself a gifted storyteller on the 2017 album Avontales which focuses on the Auckland suburb of Avondale he grew up in. Distinct yet eclectic, Melodownz’ stories ring with authenticity and a direct relatability.

    Formerly of Young Gifted and Broke and the Third3ye crews, his solo effort sees him flipping between social commentator and young man finding his feet as he tiptoes across music genres and laid-back beats.

    With his 64 Bars set showcasing his technical prowess and favourite subject matter, 2017 has been the best year yet for Melodownz. It’s more than likely just the beginning for this gifted and genuine MC - Alex Behan.

    Read more about Melodownz:

  • Third3ye in Session
  • Moses Sumney

    Moses Sumney

    Moses Sumney Photo: supplied

    “This guy could sing the telephone book and it would sound great” said Nick Bollinger in RNZ Music’s ‘Best of 2017’ wrap up.

    His debut Aromanticism blew us away. There’s that voice, which croons and swoops, vulnerable and sensual, but also the album’s rich, intricate orchestration, songs that unfold and fall like rose petals and Sumney’s unconventional approach to writing about love.

    You’ll want to be up front for this one if you’re a fan, as the delicacy and intimacy of the music is probably best ingested without the hubbub of festival dudebros in your ears. This could be incredible - Kirsten Johnstone.

    Read more about Moses Sumney:

  • Album review: Aromanticism by Moses Sumney
  • Noah Slee

    Noah Slee

    Noah Slee Photo: supplied

    Keen eyes will note that Noah Slee has been a known musical entity in another guise – he was a founding member of a funk/soul/reggae group called Spacifix.

    Slee's set will be somewhat of a homecoming for the Brisbane-raised Berlin-based artist. Expect mo’ heat in the sensual electro-soul performance if fellow Laneway act Melodownz takes to the stage on the track ‘Lips’, which I've deemed one of the hottest songs of 2017 - Yadana Saw.

    Read more about Noah Slee:

  • Noah Slee - Soul, Sexuality and Spacifix
  • Polyester

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    Photo: Supplied

    So far they’ve only got a few singles to their name, but this newish Auckland band (formerly known as Kip McGrath) have proven they know their way around a pop hook.

    2016’s 'Lucky Me' was a ramshackle jaunt through Pavement-esque indie rock territory and, arriving a year later, 'Different For A Boy' is synth-heavy euphoric dream pop.

    Versatile, catchy, and most importantly fun, catching the ears of the Laneway selectors means they’re a band to keep a close eye on - Tony Stamp.

    Read more about Polyester:

  • Introducing: Polyester
  • Pond


    Pond Photo: Supplied: Matt Sav

    Pond are a psychedelic rock group that share a bunch of members with the hugely successful Tame Impala. In fact, all but one of Tame Impala’s members have been in Pond at one time or other, and the band’s founder Kevin Parker produces all of Pond’s records.

    The Perth natives are prolific, releasing seven albums and an EP in their nine years together. They've only visited NZ once to date – supporting Arctic Monkeys in 2014 – but by all accounts their shows are enthusiastic affairs that call for dancing.

    Their between-song banter gets good reviews and they’ve got great live chops when it comes to playing their instruments. Pond's show at Laneway will be a trippy, intense and rowdy one - Alice Murray.

    Read more about Pond:

  • Pond: "There's just not much to do in Perth"
  • Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

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    Photo: Supplied

    This Melbourne quintet are "like War On Drugs, The Go-Betweens, The Feelies and Real Estate rolled into one singular blend of surging melancholic guitar music" according to The Music.

    The poppy post-punk rock band recently signed to the prestigious Sub Pop label and if the critics are right, they're most certainly ones to watch. They'll deliver a tight, upbeat performance - Alice Murray.

    (Sandy) Alex G

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    Photo: Supplied

    Alex G describes himself as a shy, awkward person for whom performance and music provide a way to feel comfortable and communicate with others.

    The internet latched onto his honest and raw songs back in 2015, and since then the Philadelphia-based singer has become something of a social media sensation.

    Having charmed audiences over the US and Europe, Alex G will be sure to win your heart at Laneway 2018 - Alex Behan.



    Slowdive Photo: supplied

    For a band who went on a 20-year hiatus, Slowdive have pulled it all back together well. Rather than rely on the nostalgia ticket from old fans, they released an achingly beautiful self-titled album last year which made many end of year lists.

    It doesn’t feel like a throwback to the 90s heyday – it’s a mature, sonically immersive and progressive comeback.

    The range of guitar sounds, from densely layered fuzzes to clear bell-tone chimes, the perfectly grounded basslines, and chemistry of the introverted vocalists make Slowdive a rewarding listen.   

    While the band epitomised the much-derided Shoegaze style, recent concert footage shows them stepping up tempos live, and you might even find yourself dancing - Kirsten Johnstone.

    Read more about Slowdive:

  • Slowdive impress with their first new material in 22 years
  • Sylvan Esso

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    Photo: Supplied

    I guarantee this electro pop duo from North Carolina will get your feet moving at Laneway this year.

    Their show has been described as ‘sounding like an illegal rave taking place inside a Gameboy’ and far from delivering run-of-the-mill EDM bangers they offer something much more nuanced.

    Consequence of Sound describes their songs as having ‘unexpected rhythms and structures’, that capture a kind of ‘quiet beauty’.

    My favourite Sylvan Esso song is 'H.S.K.T' (head, shoulders, knees and toes)

    If you want to have a good old d-floor shuffle-around, these guys will definitely get you moving. - Alice Murray.

    Read more about Sylvan Esso:

  • Sylvan Esso: the purpose is joy
  • The Internet

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    Photo: Supplied

    Two members of the hip-hop collective Odd Future – Syd tha Kyd and Matt Martians – formed The Internet in LA in 2011. The band make funk and soul described as ‘slacker grooves’ and ‘jazz fusion’ by The Guardian and The Herald, respectively.

    They’ve worked with the likes of Janelle Monáe, Vic Mensa, and Tyler, the Creator.

    When The Internet played Laneway in 2016 reviewers praising Syd’s vocals. Reports from their headline shows in Auckland and Wellington later that year made special mention of the band members’ constant interaction with the crowd.

    Syd is the centre of attention in the band. She has a laid-back style, but occasionally lets go and has a major jump-around. Their live shows have been described variously as 'punk-y' (with stagediving, moshing, and crowd trolling), ‘geeky’ and ‘stonking’ - Alice Murray.

    Read more about The Internet:

  • The Internet: coming out from the shadow of Odd Future
  • Album review: Fin by Syd
  • The War On Drugs

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    Photo: Supplied

    Kurt Vile and Adam Granduciel formed The War On Drugs in Philadelphia in 2005. Vile left the band shortly after they released their first album, with Granduciel and the remaining members going on to release another three albums, all to much critical acclaim.

    Granduciel is often compared to Springsteen and he and his band make richly-layered and meticulously detailed indie rock. Their shows are matter-of-fact affairs that allow the songs to speak for themselves. Many songs end in extended jams and guitar solos.

    The band played in NZ in 2014 after releasing Lost in the Dream (which topped numerous ‘best of’ lists that year) and according to reviews, the shows totally lived up to punters’ expectations.

    Let’s hope they blow us away again this time round - Alice Murray.


    Jennifer Lee AKA TOKiMONSTA

    Jennifer Lee AKA TOKiMONSTA Photo: supplied

    Jennifer Lee has been making beats since 2008. She was the first female signee to Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label, and has put out forward-thinking productions ever since.

    Diagnosed with Moyamoya disease in 2015 (a disease that affects circulation in the brain), Lee required multiple surgeries to survive and was left temporarily unable to make music, or even listen to it, as her brain could only register it as noise.

    After a period spent recovering her cognitive functions, she created Lune Rouge, her most pop-focused album yet and a joyous response to a particularly dark few years.

    Vocalists like MNDR, Joey Purp and Selah Sue appear throughout, but the star of the show is Lee’s production, peppered with swollen kick drums, lush sampled strings and layers of her own voice.

    Standout track 'Bibimbap' nods to her Korean heritage with its title (a well-known rice dish), and a prominent gayageum (a traditional stringed instrument), while Lee emulates vintage Korean percussion by slapping various objects in her apartment - Tony Stamp.

    Read more about Tokimonsta:

  • After life-saving brain surgery, Tokimonsta had to re-learn how to make music
  • Unitone HiFi

    Unitone Hifi

    Unitone Hifi Photo: supplied

    The NZ dub merchants are back after an extended hiatus and still as sharp as ever. New track 'One Spirit' is a gloriously chill excursion into bassline nirvana, with enough fruitiness around the edges to keep you on your toes.

    The three gents have an impeccable record in the NZ music scene, but their love for this project have kept them coming back to it since the early '90s.

    Still avowed fans of analogue technology, new advancements in the digital realm have opened up all sorts of ways for them to festoon their tracks with sonic trickery.

    The NZ summer could well be the perfect time for them to reform, and Albert Park an ideal location to fill with their exploratory riddims - Tony Stamp.

    Read more about Unitone HiFI:

  • The Mixtape: Unitone Hifi
  • Wax Chattels

    Wax Chattels

    Wax Chattels Photo: supplied

    This Auckland post-punk trio describe their sound as ‘guitarless guitar music’ and are a "force to behold" according to Under The Radar.

    Nick Bollinger calls them an ‘intense and physical power trio, who combine the primitive passion of punk with the polyrhythmic complexity of math-rock’. They're not only dynamic, exciting and fearlessly musical, but quite unlike any other New Zealand band around at the moment, he says.

    Wax Chattels are singer/bassist Amanda Cheng, singer/organ player Peter Ruddell and drummer Tom Leggett. In the year-and-a-half they’ve been together, they’ve toured NZ and Asia extensively, released two excellent singles, and had one of their songs Tweeted by Gillian Anderson - Alice Murray.

    Read more about Wax Chattels:

  • Introducing Wax Chattels
  • Wolf Alice

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    Photo: Supplied

    Wolf Alice are a rock band and bloody good at what they do. They’ve been nominated for a Grammy, the Telegraph recently described their live show as ‘explosive, giddy and exultant’, and NME says their best is yet to come.

    The Guardian describes their sound as a combination of "psychedelia, krautrock and effects-pedal driven Beatley guitar pop".

    The four-piece from Camden are made up of frontwoman Ellie Rowsell (guitar and vocals), guitarist Joff Oddie (who also contributes vocals), bassist Theo Ellis  (a skinhead and apparently the most excitable of the four) and drummer Joel Amey.

    If you want to rock out at Laneway then these guys are your ticket - Alice Murray.

    For full festival details head to: http://auckland.lanewayfestival.com/

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