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Diving deeper: 10 lesser-known acts you can't miss at Splendour In The Grass

There's much more to this lineup than Kendrick Lamar, Lorde and Vampire Weekend.

A year since The xx, LCD Soundsystem, HAIM and Queens of the Stone Age stepped into Splendour’s mystical expanse and the paddocks have been restored, the marquees reinstated and the live music gods are set to pry open North Byron's proverbial pearly gates.

As you wade through the stage clashes -- Lorde v Miguel, Khalid v The Presets, Lil Xan v Chvrches -- take liberty in the fact that the lineup is a hundred strong. You might miss Franz Ferdinand banging through ‘Take Me Out’, or Khalid’s syrupy ‘Young, Dumb & Broke’ but that’s ok, from 11am in the morning to 2am at night, the bill is awash with avenues of exploration that might trump chilling at the campsite and sinking tins.     

Your Splendour pamphlet will be well graffitied by now -- Kendrick has a big tick and so does Lorde, but how deep have you looked? Here are the 10 best lesser-known acts that deserve your attention as the festival goes around for the eighteenth time.

Superorganism

Superorganism are a bit of an enigma. Fronted by 17-year-old Japanese phenom Orono Noguchi, this energetic eight-piece create music that’ll stick in your head for days and days and days on end. It’s colourful, vibrant, infectious and sure to be magical in a live setting.

Hot take: The vibrant track ‘Everybody Wants To Be Famous’.

When: 2.45pm on Saturday at the Mix Up stage.  

Tim Sweeney

Over the years, Splendour has heightened its focus on excavating the underground -- exhuming artists that elude our initial gaze. Jump over to the Tiny Dancer stage and you’ll be bequeathed with a warm array of stellar electronica. Tim Sweeney has been around the traps for a while now, enlivening New York dancefloors for nearly 20 years with his pioneering fusion of house and disco.  

Hot take: Sweeney’s 2018 Sugar Mountain Boiler Room set -- marvellous.

When: 9pm on Saturday at the Tiny Dancer stage.

The Babe Rainbow

The immersive psych-poppers that transport us back to the ‘60s where Pink Floyd had the lay of the land as the Grateful Dead nipped at their toes, one album to their name and The Babe Rainbow purvey territory no one dares to explore in the 21st century. Cosmic guitar licks and sugary falsettos combine to create levitating melodies and deliciously intoxicating tracks. 

Hot take: The song ‘Secret Enchanted Broccoli Forest’. Yep, that’s its name.

When: 1pm on Saturday in the Amphitheatre.

Two People

Snakadaktal had reached the height of their powers, residing in their own dream-pop realm and seizing the imaginations of listeners the world over. Then, in 2014, they broke up and everyone was in shock. Two People is the ensuing project of former Snakadaktal bandmembers Phoebe Lou and Joey Clough, creating misty electro-pop which heaves and pulsates.

Hot take: ‘Fading’ takes us to the stars and back.

When: 4pm on Saturday at the Tiny Dancer stage.

Girl Talk

Scour the lineup top-to-bottom and there are plenty of names that stand out, yet there is one artist with the tag ‘only Aus show’ next to his name that many would’ve overlooked. Girl Talk, the moniker of mashup genius Gregg Gillis, was huge during the noughties but has been relatively quiet since. His most recent album, 2010’s All Day, bore glamorous fusions of Black Sabbath and Ludacris, Radiohead and Ol’ Dirty Bastard, even Beastie Boys and Lady Gaga. Plenty are saddened this will be his sole Australian show.

Hot take: The song ‘Here’s The Thing’ will get you right in the nostalgias.  

When: 10:15pm on Sunday at the Mix Up stage.

Bully

Bully are the definition of a potent rock band. Since forming in 2013, frontwoman Alicia Bognanno has rallied her three sidekicks to create unabashedly honest grunge. Their music isn’t all rough around the edges, there are pop sensibilities in the melodies welcoming listeners closer to the surface. This will be a show.

Hot take: The guitar-pop gem ‘Trying’ off their debut 2015 album Feels Like.    

When: 1.45pm on Friday at the GW McLennan Tent.

Ara Koufax

Generals of Melbourne’s electronic underground, Ara Koufax go about things unassumingly. Regulars at esteemed venues Hugs&Kisses, Boney and Lounge over the years, the duo have pedalled their code of serene house music across the world through acclaimed labels such as Downtime, Cut Copy’s Cutters Records and the New York-based CSCN. The atmosphere will sparkle when Ara Koufax perform, don’t miss it.

Hot take: The colourful house track, ‘Brenda’.

When: 5pm on Saturday at the Tiny Dancer stage.

Teischa

Western Australia’s Teischa is an incredibly talented songwriter and infectious vocalist all the same. At 21 years of age, she has lived in Thailand and spent time up and down Australia’s coast forging imaginations to colour her music. Drawing from a love of modern alternative pop, soul and classical music, Teischa’s music is awash with inspiration with faint reminiscent rumblings of Billie Eilish and MØ.

Hot take: The blissful dream of ‘Before’.

When: 5pm on Sunday at the Tiny Dancer stage.

Lord Huron

Another outfit not in any haste to be showered with attention, LA’s Lord Huron embody a country roadtrip down the Route 66. Cosily merging folk, pop and threads of Americana, their music could be described as a more passive tone of heartland rock. Their set is stuck between DMA’s and Angus & Julia Stone, though highly worth the punt. 

Hot take: The song ‘The Night We Met’, if you’re willing to shed a tear.

When: 7pm on Friday at the GW McLennan Tent.

Haiku Hands

Haiku Hands have been making some serious noise of late, releasing banger after banger with no restraint. They’ve got an attitude akin to Confidence Man and their live show is just as animated -- expect a huge crowd at the Mix Up stage on Saturday, this all-girl collective knows how to party.

Hot take: ‘Not About You’ takes us into a rave cave and that’s where we want to be.

When: 12:15pm on Saturday at the Mix Up stage.

Splendour in the Grass is happening at North Byron Parklands from Friday July 20 - Sunday July 22. Find this year's playing times and festival site map here.