LNWY Recommends: May’s Best New Music

Laneway Festival’s Dom O’Connor picks out the best tracks of the month – from Julia Jacklin’s old/new side project to “a match made in ideal chart heaven”.

‘Fuckin ‘N’ Rollin’

Phantastic Ferniture

It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from Julia Jacklin, so it’s delightful to hear her breezy voice over a downright-groovy bass line in the first few seconds of ‘Fuckin N Rollin’. There’s an airy ease to the instrumental that contrasts well with Julia’s higher-register, and the entire song feels like an exceedingly casual romp for one of Sydney’s most likeable new bands. Above all it’s a joy hearing a debut single as refined, effortlessly cool, and cohesive as this.


Squaring Circles

A spiralling vortex of a first song, ‘Anima’ rides washy cymbals and formless, Sigur Ros-like coos to create a blissful soundscape. It’s ambient music, but only on a technicality. The motorik drums and twinkling keys are as immediate as they come, disparately building and colliding with the percussion to create a fully-realised world within the song’s four minutes. ‘Anima’ reminds me of the propulsive drive of Steve McQueen’s famous car chase in Bullitt, occasionally going off-track but always moving forward with a propulsive drive to it.

'Shoota' (ft. Lil Uzi Vert)

Playboi Carti

Calling Playboi Carti a rapper feels like the wrong tag. He’s more of a cheerleader throughout his songs, more interested in exploring the sounds coming out of his mouth than actually rapping. ‘Shoota’ is one of the more conventional songs on his major label debut Die Lit, but it’s still a futuristic piece of 808-baiting trap with a typically motor-mouthed effort from Carti, a reliable ear-worm of a hook from Lil Uzi Vert and the energy of a punk song.

Culture Abuse

Calm E

Culture Abuse’s particular brand of fuzzy, tuneful garage rock feels right out of the end-credits of a ’90s teen movie, and ‘Calm E’ chugs through several hooks in its three-and-a-half minutes. Frontman David Kelling’s voice is perfectly suited to the loser-fatalism archetype. “It takes time to learn,” he repeats to himself in the chorus, like he’s trying to will himself to a fight he knows he’ll probably lose. On ‘Calm E’, Culture Abuse continued to refine their sound and present themselves as the loveable underdogs you can’t help but root for.

Girls On The TV

Laura Jean

‘Girls On The TV’ unfurls a wistful narrative of adolescence through the use of several vignettes and the melancholic instrumentation of ’80s synth pop. Laura’s vocals are virtuosic and effortless in their controlled execution, switching to a resonant falsetto to the chorus for maximum emotional impact. Laura offers an insight into her early years with an eye for detail, and presents every character as a fully realised being; a wholly impressive feat to achieve in the context of a five-minute pop song.


Jay Rock

There’s a triumphant feel to ‘Win’ that Jay Rock’s music has rarely explored in the past- a flexing confidence that feels invigorating. Over ad-libs from his label mate Kendrick Lamar, ‘Win’ trades in Jay’s previous vocal dexterity for a more streamlined and simplistic approach, resulting in the most immediate song he’s made yet. Between ‘Win’ and previous single ‘King’s Dead’, Jay Rock‘s made the step up to the majors and is clearly revelling in it.

'Why Don’t You Come On'


LA production duo DJDS (formerly known as DJ Dodger Stadium) have found their own comfortable niche, mixing hard hitting Chicago house synths with the type of outsized, stadium-level hooks that typically fill arenas. The jumping, skittery production and cacophony of voices on ‘Why Don’t You Come On’ aren’t typical pop fodder. But between Khalid and Empress Of’s beautiful harmonising and the ominous, bassy buzz-saw synths it’s a match made in ideal chart heaven.

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