Oh me, oh my, oh May. The month of dreading winter and savouring every last drop of summer’s sweet elixir. Musically, May usually offers an entrée-sized garden salad in comparison to the succulent mixed grill of the warmer months. With the irresistible Courtney Barnett selling out the Forum twice already, this year might be a fizzer for music fans in Melbourne. Still, don’t give up hope, as these two fantastic bands may mend your May.
ALT-J (∆) Supported by Ásgeir
Standing alongside vinyl records, man buns, typewriters and the soy chai latte, Alt-J is truly a hipster’s wet dream. I mean come on, their name is the computer shortcut for a triangle, the unofficial emblem of Hipsterdom.
Alt-J’s unique blend of lyrical oddity, distinctive vocals and rambling composition has propelled the band onto the world stage. The quality of their debut work, An Awesome Wave, is unquestionable. The band was rewarded for their work with the prestigious Mercury Prize and comparisons to the experimental genius of Radiohead. The Leeds lad’s live shows are also of the highest order, enchanting crowds with a dazzling mystique.
After their second festival run in Australia, headlining Falls Festival over the new year, Alt-J bring their intimate sophomore album This Is All Yours to Rod Laver Arena in May. If this gig wasn’t already good enough, supporting the band is one of 2014’s breakout acts, Ásgeir. The young Icelandic singer’s angelic vocals saw him become a favourite among Triple J audiences, taking 10th place in the 2014 Hottest 100 with his stunning ‘King and Cross’. So be sure to trim your beards, iron your funkiest shirt and shine your Doc Martens, because if you are there, you don’t want to be looking like an effing square.
May 10th at Rod Laver Arena. Tickets $90.
Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders
The first time I saw Jack Ladder, lone on stage, curled over a guitar to support The Horrors at The Forum, I thought the same as most people – damn this guy sounds like Nick Cave.
While Ladder prefers to be as ‘indie’ as he can, his deep baritone, lanky limbs and sweeping hair don’t help to avert a comparative gaze. Although the vocal similarities are uncanny, Jack Ladder’s discography is an eclectic beast, with a mix of lazy psychedelic guitars and timeless ‘80s synths taking turns to lead the Sydney crooner’s sound from piece to piece. While his musical styles morph, Ladder’s lyrics of love and death have stayed constant.
Ladder and his band, The Dreamlanders, are touring for their new LP, Playmates, which also features talented American songwriter Sharon Van Etten, and production work by Kim Moyes of the The Presets. Playing at what is establishing itself as a leading music venue in the northern suburbs, Jack Ladder at Howler won’t let you down.
May 8th at Howler. Tickets $28.