Beck Leads Harvest Bill

14 June 2012 | 4:17 pm | Dan Condon

Sigur Rós, Grizzly Bear, Mike Patton, Ben Folds Five, Santigold and more complete first line up announcement.

Sigur Rós, one of the festival's headliners.

Sigur Rós, one of the festival's headliners.

More Beck More Beck

The line up for the Harvest Festival's second year has dropped this afternoon and it features a couple of surprises as well as a few confirmations of some of those hot rumours doing the rounds.

The first announcement features Beck, Sigur Rós, Grizzly Bear, Mike Patton's Mondo Cane, Ben Folds Five, Santigold, Beirut, Cake, The Dandy Warhols, The Black Angels, Chromatics, Ozomatli, Liars, Fuck Buttons, The War on Drugs and Dark Dark Dark.

Have a listen to the bands on the bill and read all about it!

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One of the most excitingly diverse figures in alternative music over the past two decades, Beck never fails to find new ways to endear himself to audiences as he continues to evolve from album to album. His Modern Guilt record of 2008 was the last full length release to come from the artist, but recent production credits and guest appearances with the likes of Thurston Moore, Stephen Malkmus and Childish Gambino have kept him busy more recently. What is Beck going to bring when he headlines Harvest 2012? Will he have new material? Will we get a selection of the classics? We don't know but we can't wait to find out.

A strong rumour for the festival, Icelandic post-rock masters Sigur Rós will indeed return to Australian shores this year. It's been a decent break between drinks for the band, they were last out with Splendour, and they'll be back in the wake of their new album Valtari. If Beck is this year's The Flaming Lips, they these guys are surely this year's Portishead. Ethereal and potent, they're proof that music is the universal language - good thing too, because we certainly can't speak Icelandic. And if you wanted to know who to thank for their return, look no further than frontman Jón Þór “Jónsi” Birgisson's boyfriend Alex Somers, who they admit inspired this new album.

 Straight outta Brooklyn are Grizzly Bear, the indie-psy-rock heroes of the last three years. Already boasting a strong contingent of devotees prior to 2009's Vecktamist, it was that record that really put them on the radar internationally. They toured heavily on the back of it and as a result their name hasn't been mentioned too heavily this year – that was until they announced a new album and the Harvest rumour mill went into overdrive. They justify a billing this high, because they've well and truly arrived.

What hasn't Mike Patton done? With Faith No More, Mr Bungle, Fantomas and a prolific solo career, he'll bring Mondo Cane back to life for Harvest this year, which sees him take on classic Italian tracks from the '50s and '60s, in a way that only he knows how. The show was brought out for the Sydney Festival earlier this year – and what a show that was.

It's one of the reformations that has had music lovers around the world grinning since its announcement at the start of this year; Ben Folds Five are back and they're hitting Australia, one of the territories that loves them most, for Harvest 2012! Led by Ben Folds himself, the band made the piano (kinda) cool again in the mid-'90s with a whole swag of hit songs from their enormously popular 1997 album Whatever and Ever Amen. Fifteen years later (oh shit, now we feel old) we get to see if they're still as exciting a live force as they were back then!

Goodness knows they made some waves on their first visit to our country...

She burst out of nowhere (as Santogold) as a 31-year-old pop singer with serious guts with her 2008 eponymous debut album and as Santigold she continues to kick arse all around the world delivering a unique blend of pop, reggae, dub, electronica and hip hop that is catchy, powerful and just plain bloody awesome. If you saw her performances last time she was here, you know that she absolutely destroys on the live stage and she'll no doubt be a very popular inclusion on this year's Harvest bill.







Yep. The Distance, I Will Survive, Short Skirt, Long Jacket, Sheep Go To Heaventhat Cake! Now we know full well that there will be plenty of people reading this very excited about seeing these guys out here again, while we might not see it all that much down here, this band are still very popular with their latest record, last year's Showroom of Compassion, debuting at number one on the Billboard charts! More importantly, they're still really good and they still sound like Cake; the lyrics are witty and the music sounds like no one else. This is their first Australian tour in many years, there'll be plenty of singing along to be done!


Enduring stalwarts of the alternative rock explosion in the '90s, The Dandy Warhols are still kicking and releasing albums 18 years into the career. Songs  like Bohemian Like You, Godless and We Used To Be Friends soundtracked the transition of alt rock from the 90s to the 00s,  while This Machine, released this year, received typically polarizing reviews (although many considered it to be their best out of the recent bunch). That's the Dandys, and their live show will be nothing if not addicting.

The project of Zach Condon, Beirut has gone about its business quietly since forming in 2006. Mixing Balkan and other world influences into a contemporary indie rock sound, it's a band that rarely stands still and it's even rarer that they disappoint. If you're not familiar with them already, they may not be the band that grabs you at first glance at this year's Harvest, but by the third or fourth take they may be the band you go home with.

Who ordered the party… because it will come by the post-punk load with synth-pop Americans Chromatics. With a new album Kill For Love released this year through Italians Do It Better (a label whose name seems to suit the band quite well…) Need a late afternoon/dusk pick me up – Chromatics are your answer.

Apart from having one of the best band names in recent memory, Fuck Buttons have plenty going for them. Glitchy electro plus drone plus experimental post-rock equals a festival freak-out. Signed to the uber-cool ATP label which kickstarted their career, they are fucking loud in a small room. But them on a festival stage with a big back line and who knows how this one will end up? Mogwai-esque, probably.

Austin psych exponents The Black Angels blew us away on their Australian tour last year and they looked like they were having a pretty good time doing so. If you're unfamiliar with this band at the moment, you'd be wise to change that very quickly as they are one hell of a rock'n'roll band who are great on record and even better on the live stage. Their heavy, stoned riffery is injected with a little garage swagger that opens their sound up significantly. They'll win plenty of new fans at Harvest.

These guys love Australia, for a while there they were here every year without fail. Forget pretty much everything you've heard of this band on record, Ozomatli in the live arena is a very different proposition and one of the most uplifting experiences you're likely to have at any festival. Their mix of hip hop, latin, blues, jazz and funk and their unbelievable onstage energy set them apart from everyone else in the live music world. Bring your dancing shoes to Harvest this year, and get ready to smile a lot.

You can expect some political and social commentary while they're here too...

They just dropped their latest LP WIXIW a couple of weeks back and, for a band on their sixth record, it's stunning to hear how fresh Liars can keep their music sounding. The new record is their most heavily electronic based but probably their most accessible at the same time and it has been getting absolutely slathered in praise all over the place over the past few weeks. We've given up trying to tell you what to expect when you see Liars play live, but in our experience it tends to be pretty unforgettable no matter what the band do.

Slave Ambient, the second record from Philadelphia's The War On Drugs, was consider by a number of pundits to be one of the better records of 2011. It's certainly very good, we've just been a little sad that we haven't been able to see the band performing songs from it live. Well, their inclusion on Harvest has changed all of that and we're now going to listen to the record with a heightened sense of anticipation. The band's chugging, anthemic rock will appeal widely; there are elements of American roots rockers like Springsteen and Petty, modern indie leaders like Arcade Fire and Kurt Vile (who was actually a founding member of the band) and a distinct sound all of their own, thanks largely to their lush beds of guitars, motorik beats and Adam Granduciel's unique voice.

 And then there's Dark Dark Dark, the Minnesota folk collective rooted in New Orleans influences. They're an unknown quantity for Australian audiences, but they've a cool name, they're on a cool festival and they have a really good fucking vibe. That's enough isn't it?