Creeping up on bona-fide international pop icon status as she prepares for the release of her third record, Halsey is hitting the absolute peak of her powers, the extent of which will be on display as she headlines Falls Festival in 2019/20. First noticed in 2014 as she self-released tracks via a quickly building social media presence (which has now grown to include over 11 million Twitter and 15 million Instagram followers), the distinctive voice and bold ambition of a young Ashley Nicolette Frangipane was plain to see. The gritty electro-pop twinges of early tracks like Ghost and New Americana from her debut album BADLANDS have blossomed into fully realised pop visions likeHim & I (taken from her massive sophomore record Hopeless Fountain Kingdom) and recent mega-hit Without Me.
Probably the most consistent guitar band of the past 15 years, former Oxford Comma’s who have evolved into Fathers of the Bride, a buzz-band who became legends with a legacy, Vampire Weekend continue on a hell of a journey. Their fourth and latest album is (as we mentioned)Father of the Bride, and it marks the third time that Ezra Koenig and co have entered the American charts at Number 1. Collaborations with Danielle Haim, Mark Ronson and Steve Lacy are dotted throughout another brilliant collection of forward thinking guitar pop that includes irresistible singlesHarmony Hall and This Life, which will sound marvellous stacked up next to previous winners A- Punk, Run, Dianne Young and countless others on the Falls main stage.
Joining Falls for an extremely special DJ set will be Croydon brothers and English house royalty Disclosure. They’ll be packing up their vinyl collection and displaying a deep well of UK garage, synth pop, dance, electronic and house tracks, the likes of which they have been mirroring since 2013 to build their untouchable back catalogue of originals. Tracks like When A Fire Starts To Burnand Omen, taken from their two studio albums Settle and Caracal, have displayed a deep and encyclopaedic affinity with both the history and future of music, so it’ll be an absolute treat to see what they whip up on the DJ decks.
Arguably one of Australia’s finest ever dance acts and absolutely the best thing to come out of Canberra in many years, Peking Duk are known for their tireless dedication to frivolity. Last year alone they should have been busy unleashing and touring their huge singles Wasted and Fire, butthis well coifed duo still managed to find time to open their very own speakeasy, New York style bar in Melbourne and release an illustrated book for kids titled DJ Duks. 2019 has been no less hectic as the lads revealed collaborations with Jack River (Sugar) and Al Wright of Cloud Control (the dreamy Ur Eyes) as they wound their way across the country on a massive, completely sold out tour.
A cacophony of melody, energy and gorgeous Icelandic mystery, Of Monsters and Men are huge favourites in this part of the world, and that love affair has continued with the recent unveiling of their stunning new album Fever Dream. Released in July this year, this third record represents a shift to some more muscular sounds (exhibited in the pumping single Alligator) while still maintaining all of that glacial, spectral brilliance scattered throughout well known singles Little Talks and Mountain Sounds. Iceland is often rhapsodised over as one of the most spectacular places on the planet, so it’s extremely fitting that a band like Of Monsters and Men should represent its rare beauty on the world’s stage.
20 odd years after the release of their game changing debut album Sambanova, you could forgive PNAU if they snuck a look in the rear view and put their feet up for a while…. Maybe a tropical holiday or (another) side project or two? Perish the thought! These dance denizens are actually busy adding another chapter to their sparkling biography by dropping a brand new banger namedSolid Gold. Continuing their ongoing work with vocalist Kira Divine, the tune comes as the dust settles on 2017’s epic comeback record Changa, a release which thrust this newly expanded trio back into the spotlight they’d fostered through years of top shelf live shows and iconic tunes likeWild Strawberries, Baby and Go Bang.
Arriving in Australia armed with the fastest selling UK debut record of 2019 in Divinely Inspired To A Hellish Extent, Scottish lungbuster / heartbreaker Lewis Capaldi is as humbly unassuming as he is incredibly successful. After a sensational 18 months in which his lovelorn songcraft and mind- blowing vocal abilities have bewitched listeners both at home and abroad, Capaldi will join Falls Festival in the middle of a mile-wide winning streak. His singles Someone You Loved and Bruiseshave cut deep into the souls of his dedicated listeners, proving a tonic to the jangled emotions of music lovers worldwide, especially here in Australia. Also showcasing a well honed sense of comedic timing with some tongue-in-cheek video clips (check out Grace for some pole-dancing fun), Lewis Capaldi is a delight.
Fresh from a recent AIR Awards gong, where his killer track Beautiful took out the Best Independent Dance Single, Sydney sky-walker What So Not will be joining Falls exclusively in Lorne – sprinkling a little of his disco dust on an already stacked line-up. Having spent the last decade or so touring the world and slaying festivals like Coachella, Pukkelpop and Lollapalooza (you might’ve heard of them…) What So Not recently released his debut album Not All the Beautiful Things to a critical tornado of praise. Featuring guests like Skrillex, Slumberjack and even previous Falls alumni Toto, the record was produced by Jono Ma (from Jagwar Ma) and unfurls as an addictive mix of dance, hip-hop, house and some extremely tasty sonic explorations.
Having stormed the charts and pinched our hearts back in 2013 with the adorable Stolen Dance,German folksters Milky Chance return Down Under on the back of their much anticipated third record. Debut Sadnecessary was a sensation, popping up at the top of the pops all over the world as listeners fell for the breezy, harmonic tones of these Kassel based legends. Since then they’ve forged a reputation as one of the hardest touring acts around, taking their sophomore effort Blossom to more than 26 countries in 2018, including a visit to Australia as they said g’day to their legion of local fans. On the verge of their next release, Milky Chance will arrive ready to share a whole new bag of tricks.
Maintaining a rare warmth and connectivity while still projecting mystery and ambiguity is a hard tightrope to walk. LA-based gem BANKS pulls it off with ease. Fresh from the release of her latest album III and operating at the absolute peak of her powers, Jillian Rose Banks has spent the last 6 years perfecting an addictive mix of trap-hop, R&B and sub-soaked electronica. Her singles Beggin’ For Thread, Fuck With Myself and Gimme have resonated with lovers of Aaliyah and seen her stand with contemporaries like Billie Eilish in a universe filled with washed out grooves, hyper- coloured harmonies and an undeniable current of emotional perseverance. A powerful, important Artist with a capital A, BANKS is essential.
Whispering Jack himself. On the main stage. Falls Festival. Game, set and match. Known and loved the world over for his almighty, man-sized vocal chops, his veritable dictionary of hits (You’re The Voice, Pressure Down, A Touch of Paradise, That’s Freedom) and his iconic, sonic 80’s mullet (since nicked by Client Liaison) John Farnham is a true Australian icon. He’s won 19 ARIA Awards, was the 1987 Australian of the Year, possesses the 2nd highest selling album in Australian history (1986’s Whispering Jack) and, when it all boils down to brass tacks, is just honestly, a ripper bloke. Picture a field of friends and family all belting out You’re The Voice in perfect unison on New Years Eve: this is your new reality.
What started as a side project and a bit of light relief from Angus Stone’s well known day job, has now bloomed to become its very own beast. Dope Lemon recently unleashed their second studio album Smooth Big Cat and if the reaction is anything to go by, they might soon be the main concern for this multi-talented tripper. Coming just over three years after the last Dope Lemon LP, Honey Bones, and just under two years after the last Angus & Julia Stone album, Snow, the release displays Stone’s knack for easy grooves, laid-back vocals and adventurous studio experimentation with crunchy guitars and thunderous percussion. It’s a real trip and it unfolds on the live stage in a massively satisfying way.
Like a shimmering wave of cascading melody and undeniable talent, here’s Vera Blue to tease out those Falls feels. Currently spruiking her latest piece of song-craft in The Way That You Love Me, Ms Blue has had a stunning start to his career since she burst onto the scene in 2013. Achievements since the release of her 2017 record Perennial include two tracks in the top 30 of the 2017 Hottest 100 (Regular Touch and Mended), a couple of cheeky ARIA nominations and sold-out shows all over Australia and the world. Rhapsodic acclaim follows Vera Blue wherever she goes and, with that intoxicating voice and those dazzling songs, it’s absolutely no surprise.
A prodigiously talented rascal with energy to burn and the tunes to match, YUNGBLUD is returning to Australia on the back of his recently released Live In Atlanta record. A collection of tracks from his debut album 21st Century Liability as well as some older cuts from previous EP’s, the record documents a young artist in the midst of a meteoric rise to prominence. YUNGBLUD’s singles I Love You, Will You Marry Me and Polygraph Eyes represent an intersection between punk, hip-hop and English guitar pop that has proved irresistible to fans the world over. Also collaborating recently with girlfriend Halsey on the cinematic cut 11 Minutes, the man known as Dominic Harrison to his mates is a certified excitement machine.
A maelstrom of talent, colour, melody and super solid drums, Melbourne legend G-Flip exploded into our lives back in February 2018 when she uploaded her now timeless tune About You to triple j Unearthed. Recorded after a year of hibernation in which she shed her former skin as a drummer for Melbourne rockers EMPRA and dedicated herself to becoming a one-woman hit machine. About You was the first step and, as far as debuts go, it was seismic. Immediately whipping up a frenzy of online love and hype, it wasn’t long before the tune was plastered all over Pitchfork, who remarked “who needs a backup band when you can alchemise a ridiculously catchy synth-pop gem all by yourself?. They’re not wrong, and deals with major international labels, festival slots and sold out shows have been streaming in ever since.
Sitting pretty after unleashing their sophomore album Langata on a hungry and devoted fanbase, electronic dance trio Crooked Colours are busy making good on early promises. Building slowly since 2013 when they arrived armed with with breakout singles Come Down, Capricious and Another Way (all three of which hit #1 on Hype Machine), these Perth lads have forged a reputation for carefully constructed electro-dance which tips it’s hat to the quixotic domains inhabited by the likes of Alt-J while still kneeling at the altar of legends like The Chemical Brothers. It’s a hell of a rush and is on full display throughout Langata and its undeniable singles Hold Onand Never Dance Alone (feat. Ladyhawke).
Rising International superstars who had to leave their Byron Bay home to really get noticed, Parcels are a timeless surf/folk/psychedelic explosion. First moving to Berlin in 2015, when they were barely out of their teenage years, these five musical magpies take influences from the likes of The Beach Boys and Steely Dan while still coating their tunes in a very distinctive sheen. They’ve used this ability to fantastic effect, spending the last few years travelling the globe, and impressing people of influence wherever they go. Actress Milla Jovovich is a big fan and appeared in the video for their tune Withorwithout and they’ve also co-written with the elusive Daft Punk and supported Phoenix on their recent European tour.
A hugely important voice in Australian music today, Thelma Plum presents with class, grace and head turning tunes. Better in Blak is her recently released debut LP and it stands as one of the finest Australian debut albums in recent memory. An up-and-comer ever since she picked up triple j’s National Indigenous Music Awards competition gong in 2012, Plum’s gorgeous voice and deft songwriting chops served her well as she rose through the ranks with tunes like How Much Does Your Love Cost and Clumsy Love from her first two EP’s. Bursting into full colour with Better in Blak, Plum made it a sure thing by working with the likes of Paul Kelly and even Paul McCartney (no, really) when putting the album together.
Our favourite fathers of feels, #1 Dads join Dope Lemon as 2019/20 Falls alumni that began as side projects but are quickly becoming something a bit more important. The baby of Big Scary’s Tom Iansek, #1 Dads was originally created as an outlet for his multi faceted studio musings. These noodling began to take on new meaning once released into the public though, and the appetite for more Dad rock grew. Second album About Face featured guest appearances by Ainslie Wills and Tom Snowdon – whose haunting vocal tones are unmistakable throughout.
With their debut album Big Grief ready for release in August this year, and a swathe of razor sharp, goosebump inducing guitar rock gems in their back pockets, Brisbane champs WAAX are set to go off in a big way at Falls this year. Paying their dues in the form of several years hard tour and toil since they kicked things off in 2013, these Sunshine State soldiers are watching their ships come in as they set their long awaited debut free. Produced by Powderfinger frontman Bernard Fanning, Big Grief features the killer singles Labrador and FU and is set to propel WAAX into rarefied air.
Inspirational, über-talented and cool as hell – Baker Boy hits this years Falls Festival at top speed. Growing up in the remote Arnhem Land communities of Milingimbi and Maningrida, our man honed his early taste by devouring his Dad’s classic hip-hop collection. After hearing Puerto Rican reggae star Don Omar’s Spanish rap tracks, he decided it would be a good idea to rap in his own native tongue – that of the Yolngu Matha. From this point, Baker Boy was unstoppable as he developed a passion and skill for hip-hop and dance that has seen him win over countless crowds and industry bigwigs. The current Young Australian of the Year, his tracks Cloud 9, Marryuna and Cool As Hellcelebrate his incredible heritage and fully display his exuberant personality.
Hailing from WA and basking in a slightly lysergic lava lamp light, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets are becoming rapidly infamous for their break-neck riffs, mind-boggling musical dexterity and infectious sense of fun. Flying high after the recent release of their recent album And Now For The Whatchamacallit and it’s galloping single Bills Mandolin, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets have one foot in the past as they pay tribute to legends like Jimi Hendrix and Cream, one foot in the present as they breathe in Tame Impala’s florid fumes and a whole body spiralling into an extremely exciting and hallucinatory future.
From heroic hometown hi-jinx in the seedy underbelly of Melbourne’s punk scene to ricocheting across the globe under the wing of the internationally infamous Rough Trade Records, Amyl & The Sniffers have had a fairly substantial couple of years. Riding high on their just released self-titled debut album, this fantastic foursome are pub rock til they die. All Harry Highpants denim wash jeans, mullets better than an 80’s era full back and, not least, a rip-snorting collection of dirty 70’s style pop punk anthems, spat out by soon to be iconic front woman Amy Taylor and backed up by the erstwhile “Sniffers”, who bop around like 3 tins of VB on the top shelf of a malfunctioning back shed fridge.
As the solo concern of English singer songwriter Amber Bain, The Japanese House presents a beguiling, melodious wash of folky energy and electronic temperaments. Hailing from Buckinghamshire, Bain has been biding her time by quietly releasing four EP’s of increasing beauty, finally setting forth her debut LP Good at Falling in March this year and garnering rave reviews in the process. DIY Mag called it “magical” and we can’t wait to see the textures and colours of tunes like Maybe You’re The Reason and Saw You In A Dream (YouTube plays now approaching 1.5 million) on the Falls stage this year.
A man apart from a world of processed beats and trap-hats, Pink Sweat$ doesn’t rely much on the percussive world, preferring to let simple instrumentation and his syrupy vocals lead the way. “I’m tired of hearing the same varieties of styles,” Sweat$ explains. “I hear songs, and I know that’s a hit, but damn, I heard that flow…”, and if that sounds like the words of a man who knows his sounds – it’s because they are. His two EP’s to date Volume 1 and Volume 2 have garnered millions of streams, proving that Pink Sweat$’ penchant for tranquil harmonic flow is shared by listeners all over the planet.
Hailing from sunny Mandurah, Good Doogs are the West Coast’s answer to the surf-rock bonanza kicked off by the likes of Dune Rats, skeggs and Hockey Dad. After a massive 2018 in which they released three killer singles (Nothing To Do, So Dumb and Want That), all of which hit high rotation of triple j, these three likely lads have made several laps of the country, sharing the stage with kindred spirits Tired Lion, Ruby Fields and USA’s Cloud Nothings. They’ve also sold out several of their own shows and hit festival stages at full speed, and will look to package up their breakneck riffs, bouncy vocals and catchy-as-hell melodies into one of the funnest sets on offer at this years festival.
CXLOE is a soaring, Sydney-bred siren with friends in high places and talent to match. Recently working with Maroon 5’s Sam Farrar on her tune Show You, CXLOE has also shared the stage with the likes of Broods and King Princess. Her songs have amassed millions of streams as audiences cotton on to her wealth of talent and potent collection of dark-pop tunes. Splitting her time between her Sydney home and Los Angeles, he also performed at the inaugural Industry Observer Awards and reunited with her Maroon 5 mates on a national Australian tour earlier this year.
A hard-hitting shed rock outfit straight outta Wollongong, Totty are cut from the same sloth as their mates Dune Rats, Hockey Dad and fellow Falls 2019/20 alumni Good Doogs. They want nothing more than to law down some solid four-to-the-floor slabs and ease right into a singalong chorus replete with searing guitars and ear-worming hooks. They actually recently signed to Dune Rats’ Ratbag Records and have landed themselves on festival stages all over the country, as well as selling out their own shows in the mean time. Check out their debut EP Cut The Poppies for a taste of the fruits of the Gong’s best shed.