It's now less than a month away from most people's musical highlight of the year - Splendour In The Grass. The festival moves back to its home of Byron Bay this year, and it's bringing a solid lineup with it.
We all know how good Jack White, Kimbra, Bloc Party, Miike Snow and Tame Impala are going to be, and I've already told you how unmissable Chet Faker and Pond are, so I'm going to give you some of my hot tips from a little lower on the bill.
I can't stop listening to this band's debut album. I was impressed at first by their lead single, Default, and all the subsequent hype they received at the last South By South West Festival. But since I've gotten to know their self-titled full length, the single has been demoted to one of my least favourite tracks, such is the strength of the album as a whole.
What's really impressive is that, with just four members on standard instruments (guitar/vocals, drums, bass and synthesisers), they've managed to create a sound instantly recognisable as Django Django - think jangled Western guitars with flourishes of african percussion, a croon similar to Beck's, and driving blues bass lines, all filled with hooks and peppered with psychedelic synth squiggles. That's supposed to sound good, so if it doesn't to you, have a listen to Default and just try not to like it.
The discerning ear could tell almost instantly that Trevor Powers' music as Youth Lagoon was made in his bedroom. A hinderance to most, this trait only adds to the music's eerie but youthful charm. The songs often start out small and frail and grow to become big and triumphant, like they are trailing him crawling out of his dark room, down into the semi-lit kitchen and finally out into the front yard's beautiful blue skies.
A very musically-inclined friend of mine in Melbourne managed to get his hands on a ticket to his sold-out tour of Sydney and Melbourne in February and couldn't sing his praises highly enough. That he bought a ticket to the Splendour Side Show in Melbourne as well, is enough to make me ensure I don't miss Powers on the Friday afternoon. Perfect music to de-stress to and ease into the weekend, I think!
Zukuzoo isn't actually a band, it's the name of the one-piece furry animal suits that adults can embrace their nostalgic childhood memories in. They come in heaps of different species (I almost wrote flavours!) including a koala, turtle, sugar glider, owl etc. Imported from Japan by a couple of Brisbane locals, you can check out the full range on their Facebook or website.
Why I am plugging animal suits on a music post? They have a stall at Splendour this year! I've walked back to Byron town from the Splendour grounds in the freezing cold plenty of times and I couldn't think of a better way to warm up than with a big, cosy koala hugging my body.
So, if you suddenly feel the cold after walking out of the big tent after the last act, I recommend making a stop past the Zukuzoo stall and rugging up with your favourite animal for the walk home!
Check out Adam's Splendour Warm Up Round Two... Including a few more must-see acts from the smaller font on the poster!