BRANNAVAN GNANALINGAM previews the Big Day Out’s first and second announcement of acts for 2009.

ANOTHER summer is coming up, which means another Big Day Out. And it’s a bit of doozy this one (it took a little bit of growing into, but it’s good, really good) – there is a lot already announced, and there are some considerable highlights, making it one of the best value-for-money music fests around the world. BDOs around Australia are selling out in record time, so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Auckland’s one go too.

Neil Young: While I’m not the world’s biggest Young fan, I can’t deny his influence and popularity. He’s probably the biggest headliner the BDO has had in its history (maybe a little band called Nirvana excepted), and I’m interested to see if many of the tickets are being snapped up by Neil Young fans who are usually outside the BDO target demographic. But with classic songs and albums spanning decades and an aura firmly wrapped around musical history, if you’re a newbie, he’ll be well worth checking out when he plays his ninety minute set.

TV on the Radio: Definitely my pick from the line-up announcement, Brooklyn’s TV on the Radio have made some incredible soul, funk, indie, electronic, post-punk music since their Young Liars EP. Their latest album Dear Science is great, and their song ‘Wolf Like Me’ is one of the best coming out of America this decade.

The Prodigy: Like most teenagers in the mid to late ‘90s, I loved the Prodigy. Their music videos were infamous and their beats were infectious. I still think their late work is slightly underrated too. Their performance in 2002 is still regarded as one of the all-time greats, and they’ll be sure to get the crowd bouncing around.

The Arctic Monkeys: In times to come, the Arctic Monkeys might simply be a band talked about as reflective of shifts in music distribution. But it takes a bit to have the fasting selling debut album in British history, and getting a number one single before even having a record deal. Alex Turner’s wry lyrics, and the nod back to late ‘70s British punk will translate well live – and to be fair, it was their live shows which got everyone buzzing in the first place.

The Ting Tings: The English band either provoke people to shout profanity-laden invectives at them or giddily dance along. I don’t see these two reactions as being mutually exclusive.

My Morning Jacket: The versatile My Morning Jacket straddle a number of genres, from classic rock to space-tinged psychedelia, and have had comparisons to the likes of Wilco, Neil Young and the Flaming Lips. Hugely regarded, they might be one of the sleeper hits of the day.

Headless Chickens: I might be one of the Luddites who yearn for the pre-Fiona McDonald days but the Headless Chickens are a great New Zealand band. Chris Matthews is some kind of god. They were the first Flying Nun band to top our charts with their song ‘George’ and exposed the brilliant, much darker side of the iconic label to a wider audience. Also, ‘Gaskrankinstation’ may be my favourite New Zealand song of all-time.

Lupe Fiasco: The hip-hop line-up was looking a little light at first. The second line-up does a little bit to rehabilitate this – Lupe Fiasco, who has stepped forward with his lyrical dexterity, and compelling and funny story-telling. His latest album The Cool is a great sprawling concept album, and his previous BDO performance was very well-received.

Hot Chip: One of the more popular party bands of the last decade, Hot Chip have been making incredibly fun music for some time now. Casting aside indie nods and stares in favour of all-out partying, Hot Chip have been regarded by many as a killer live act.

Black Kids: Having listened to a lot of Motown and good pop music in their lifetime, the Florida based Black Kids announced their presence with The Wizard of Ahhhs EP. Their follow up album wasn’t the best, but they’ve gained a reputation for their live shows which are full of furious energy and good times.

Dropkick Murphys: A Boston based Celtic-punk combo, they’re an even angrier version of the Pogues if that’s possible. Taking punk back to the political, fast and no-nonsense approach of the late ‘70s of other Irish luminaries such as the Stiff Little Fingers, their live shows are legendary.

Simian Mobile Disco: Sly electronic artists, Simian Mobile Disco, have remixed artists such as Muse and the Go! Team, have toured with the Klaxons, and produced the Arctic Monkeys – so they’ve been at the forefront of popular English music recently. The BDO line-up so far is suggesting that the British know how to party.

Other Acts Announced: Serj Tankian (formerly of System of a Down), Holy Ghost! (DFA stablemates), Z*Trip (early mash-up pioneer), Pendulum, P-Money, Bullet for My Valentine, The Black Seeds, The Datsuns, Tiki Live, Elemeno P, The Living End, Zane Lowe, Cornerstone Roots, Horsemen Family, Pee Wee Ferris, Ethical, The DHDFD’s, Brand New Math, George & Queen, the Sidekicknick, Subtract, Nesian Mystik, The Living End, Sneaky Sound System, Luger Boa, Cobra Khan, Ladi, The Naked and Famous.