I’ll have to admit one thing: this year’s Wanderland line-up felt underwhelming. But then again, such is a risk a music festival takes, more so those of an indie persuasion, because “indie” means everything and nothing at the same time. But tomorrow the festival returns with a line-up led by the Drums, and also includes Architecture in Helsinki, Lucy Rose and the Paper Kites. Tomorrow we’ll see the cool kids show off again (if they could, because DSLRs are not allowed anymore). And tomorrow the rest of us will wonder if next year will have acts that we like. Well, we think we have cracked the formula for a Wanderland act – and we suggest six acts that would do fit nicely with the festival. And no, this is not us being critical or something.
So, that formula – it is hard to pin down, but Wanderland’s acts tend to be quirky, if not twee. There’s a bit of groove to their step. But the line-up will always have a relative mainstream success (this year, the Royal Concept), and it will always be dominated by Australians (The Last Dinosaurs and Woody Pitney round off the four from down under). That’s what we had in mind when we put this thing together. Again, we could be wrong – but again, we could be right. Oh, and one more thing: I was supposed to have Echosmith (responsible for surprisingly annoying “Cool Kids”) in the list, but in between that thought and today, Bazooka Rocks booked them, so no, no dice. [NB]
Also note that some of the acts here have been mentioned on the blog previously – actually, the first three on this list. Gossling‘s the first: the Melbourne-based folk-popster with the quirky voice and keen sense of a good pop tune. Her first three EPs swung towards the folky side of her repertoire, but her 2013 debut Harvest of Gold saw her move towards more electronic territory – a bit jarring initially, but somehow it all works. But then she still has the really quiet stuff (“A Lover’s Spat” being a good example) which is emotive enough to get you swooning.
We also wrote about We Were Evergreen before, the French-via-London indie pop with that cute song “Leeway” and that cute female member. In the year since we’ve written about them, the band have finished work on their debut album: Towards just hit stores early this month. The song I’m posting has this different vibe, though: a bit like the Bombay Bicycle Club, a bit like Vampire Weekend – I wouldn’t be surprised if that alternative radio station is already playing this. This is catchy indie pop that is, well, definitely on target for the festival.
And then there’s Mr Little Jeans, the Norwegian singer-songwriter whose career trajectory is a bit similar to Gossling’s: organic beginnings, debut sounding a bit more electro. Pocketknife came out last March and it has cute tracks like this one (and more intense stuff like this one) but, again, I will mention her Arcade Fire cover, because it’s just a blissful piece of work, a track that built on the original without claiming the title of “best version ever”. I mean, it’s not really an ideal situation, being the best version of a good song.
Frankly, I’m surprised Wanderland hasn’t got Vance Joy on board. Sure, he’s an Aussie, so there’s that, but there’s also the fact that he’s had a spectacular year. “Riptide” topped Triple J’s Hottest 100 for the year – it was, oddly, branded as the first song with a ukelele to top the seminal Aussie chart – capping off a whirlwind year for the Melbourne-based (again) singer-songwriter. But no, he has yet to release a full-length album: “Riptide” is off his only EP, God Loves You When You’re Dancing, which he released last year. So, yeah, it has been a whirlwind year.
Now, a band that is technically Australia, but you wouldn’t really think that considering their success. Atlas Genius actually hails from Adelaide, but their sound is very, uhh, American, for lack of a better term. When It Was Now, their debut album, spawned a bunch of hits (like “Trojans”, which I frankly don’t feel much for) and made them a prominent name on American alternative radio. The band’s got a bit of a Kings of Leon situation, actually: three of its members are brothers, although one of them – Steven Jeffery, who played bass – left before the band hit the big time. Must be awkward at the family dinner table.
Okay, yes, we did write about MGMT before. But of course. They, like, started the whole electro-influenced hipster indie scene. (I made that up.) I was kinda torn on who to include here, actually – Passion Pit and Vampire Weekend were also options – but I ultimately went for the band who, apparently, were almost a lock for this year’s Wanderland. And by that, I mean those in the know were treating this as a fact. But, well, they’re not coming here, which is a shame because it would’ve been a big, bombastic end to the show… but an awkward set, nonetheless, since their last two records have had a bit of a tepid reaction. But for the chance to sing along to “Electric Feel”, I don’t see why nobody would take the risk.