My Lineup Wishes for 2024: Band Edition

2024 is here, amidst the waves of nostalgia and musical reflections that come with the new year, my anticipation builds for the unveiling of festivals’ lineups. While it’s customary to predict festival appearances based on recent and upcoming tour announcements, my focus is not from predictions, but to a more heartfelt desire for the bands that I crave to see more frequently on festival stages. Here, I share five acts that resonate deeply with me, each possessing an undeniable presence in the sonic realm.

1. Glass Beams

The mysterious Glass Beams, the masked quartet rising from Naarm (Melbourne), radiates a psychedelic aura characterized by repetitive riffs and mesmerizing melodies. Festivals ran on the basis of psychedelica, and Glass Beams has become a reminder of the elemental and visceral nuances that psych music can bring. 

Glass Beams’ self-recorded studio material transforms into an immersive live show, featuring hypnotic renditions performed by a masked quartet. Much remains unknown about the enigmatic Glass Beams, but their debut release, ‘Mirage’ serves as a grand entrance to music actualization, leaving the listener with more questions than answers. ‘Mirage,’ was recorded in early 2020 and showcases the Glass Beams’ affinity for cosmic instrumentation, Eastern scales, and kraut-influenced polyrhythms. The album comprises four compositions that draw from a diverse range of sounds and influences. 

Speaking about the creative process, Glass Beams shares, “My father, who migrated from India at 17, became a significant source of inspiration for my music. Seeking new energy and inspiration, I explored the music of his hometown and surrounding areas, uncovering a rich tapestry of Indian classical, 70s disco and pop music. These diverse influences served as the foundation for this record. Once I had a clear vision of what I wanted to create and why I wanted to create it, the songs flowed effortlessly.” 

The band has rarely performed live, but the music festival scene, I think, is where they need to be. 

Listen to their EP ‘Mirage’ here


Next up is SAULT, yet another mysterious collective, bursting onto the scene with a unique blend of soul, funk, electronic, and experimental sounds in 2019. The group, centered around producer Dean Josiah Cover (Inflo), is known for their anonymity and shying away from traditional promotional tactics, gaining widespread acclaim for their thought-provoking lyrics and genre-defying music. Iflo is known as the leader of the group, with Cleo Sol, Little Simz, Kid Sister and Chronixx as uncredited vocals, based on vocal familiarity. SAULT is a symbol of artistic innovation and social consciousness. Their ability to seamlessly weave together various musical elements while addressing poignant social issues has solidified their place as one of the most intriguing and influential acts in contemporary music. 

Last month, SAULT had their debut live performance, which was three hours long, reinforced the buzz, positioning Inflo and collaborators as time-travelers navigating Afro-legacy and Afro-future. The transitions from dancehall lament to kalimba reverie to quawwali song showcase their mastery. Masked visionaries cycling between humility and audacity, their versatility suggests there’s nothing they can’t beat. 

We see the past, present and future in this band. With a one-and-only show, there is plenty of room for unpredictability and unique shared experiences. I don’t see them mass touring, but I expect in the future for them to make a presence at a couple of carefully selected festivals that are tailored to their unique power. 

Listen to my favorite project, ‘5’, here 

3. Kraftwerk 

I had to incorporate an iconic electronic band in my list of ultimate desires… 

Kraftwerk is a pioneering German electronic band that emerged in the 1970s and played a crucial role in shaping the landscape of electronic music. Formed by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider (who sadly passed away a few years back), Kraftwerk is known for its innovative use of synthesizers, drum machines, and vocoders to create a unique and futuristic sound. 

Pioneering the integration of synthesizers into popular music and serving as a major influence on the founders of techno and electronic music, Kraftwerk has left an enduring mark on  the 20th-century musical landscape. Their groundbreaking album, “Autobahn,” demonstrated that synth-driven compositions could produce chart-topping hits. Through a series of inspired electronic pop albums, Kraftwerk explored themes ranging from the Cold war and travel to robots, emerging technology, and the growing isolation of contemporary society. Their distinctive style is evident in the creation of rhythm and melodies that resonate globally. 

So Kraftwerk rarely, rarely performs in the U.S., and when they do it’s Los Angeles. But, who can blame them? They recently announced a nine-show residency in Los Angeles at the end of May, celebrating their 50th anniversary of ‘Autobahn’. Each concert will be dedicated to a different project, which will be absolutely phenomenal, and I hope I can make it. That said, these pioneers are getting older, and the world needs more Kraftwerk experiences before the end. Therefore, I propose more Kraftwerk. The modern-day electronic music lover must know the groundwork of all their favorite rhythms and beats. 

Listen to ‘Autobahn’ here

4. Jungle 

Jungle, the London-based modern soul collective, considerably revitalized the sound of funk and soul. I fell in love with them for their magnetic performances and their perspective of groove. Founded by Tom McFarland and Josh Lloyd-Watson, the band curates a blend of funk, electronic, and soul, exposing a sound that we feel to be nostalgic, but a new introduction to instrumental collaboration. Jungle’s first album “Jungle” (2014) was monumental, and the progression of their latter albums only shocked us more. Jungle has carved a distinct niche for themselves, giving us reason to properly dance to rhythms on the soul time continuum. As they continue to evolve and experiment with their sonic palette, Jungle, to me, is a force to be reckoned with in the realm of modern funk and soul music. 

They perform often on tour, but they’re a band I need to see more on festival lineups. Because I know if they started making more of a festival presence, an entire population would hop on that bandwagon. 

Listen to literally their entire catalog here

5.  Palace

Last but not least is my emotional breakthrough with Palace. The British indie rock band writes some of the most introspective lyrics that resonate with authenticity in today’s age. The four members formed in 2012, and they’ve pioneered a new age of alternative and indie by captivating audiences with such an emotionally charged sound. Palace’s music navigates the realms of indie, folk, and rock, creating this sonic landscape that is both intimate and expansive. With albums like “So Long Forever” and “Life After,” Palace tells narratives and delivers compelling performances. They’re proper storytellers and have a melodic craftsmanship that would make a huge impact on the indie/alt sector of festival lineups. They’ve performed many times in the last decade, but to know they’re on only two festival lineups this year… I selfishly want more. 

Sing along, shed some tears, live a little here

There are infinite bands and artists, dead and alive, I just crave to see in the festival space. There is wonder in these musicians not performing in the ways that we want them to, because it creates a different kind of relationship – something personal and introverted, but beautiful. But the groups I have named are those that should be considered, predicted, as they’re relevant and impactful for 2024. Festival lineups are continuously dropping, so maybe my wishes will be granted. But based off of my musical choices, I guess I like the mystery… 

– Kai

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