Emerging from a punk/alternative rock background, Benjamin Lancaster (Suicide Swans) and Jacob Lancaster (Old New York) have found an outlet for their pop sensibilities in their new project, Deserts. A year in the making, the brothers have drawn on their punk roots to create a fresh pop inspired sound. Applying the same DIY work ethic that is prevalent in their other bands, Deserts got to work on recording their 7 track EP in a basement in Brisbane.
After finishing recording the EP in late 2016, a monumental data crash lead to the loss of the entire completed recording. Reeling from the loss of this and many other projects, the band had to make a decision; ‘scrap it’ or ‘start again’. They chose ‘start again’. Using skeleton mp3 versions of the songs, the boys began reassembling the album piece by piece. Having only weekends and balancing newly married life with music making, it took about another 6 months to get the EP completed; or is it re-completed?
Combining a rock and roll aesthetic with a solid pop foundation, Deserts create a sound that is both familiar yet incongruent to the usual pop tropes. Living somewhere between Alt-Pop and Electro-Rock, the band experiments with strident synths, impacting live drums, fuzzed out fuzziness and vocals that straddle the path of classic pop and modulated, messed up noise. While the sounds and feel are distinctly pop influenced, there is no escaping the essence and ethos of a post-punk musical upbringing.
Benjamin Bones is the solo project from multi-instrumentalist, producer and engineer Benjamin Lancaster. Having spent the majority of this new century playing with, recording and producing his bands Old New York, Suicide Swans, Man Moot and Deserts; Benjamin had been squirriling away song ideas and building a backlog of ideas and scraps of songs. Taking inspiration from well known DIY-ers Ben Kweller, Kevin Parker, Badly Drawn Boy… Benjamin Bones decided to create this solo project by performing, recording and mixing everything himself (with the inclusion of some guest instrumentalists).
Having built up a decade's experience running his own studio, By the Living Grace Studios, Benjamin has produced over 20 records for other bands in Australia. The leap from studio nerd to solo artist was a natural progression.
Dirty Hearts are a 3-piece band from Brisbane who are putting their own slant on classic Australian rock ‘n’ roll. Playing with an energy and soul that leaves other bands in their wake, Dirty Hearts aren’t so much pumping on your stereo as they are blowing your speakers up.
Blending alternative ‘90s Australian and ’70s British rock, Dirty Hearts have carved out their own sound that demands to be listened to – loudly. Front man Matt Doe wails both lyrically and on guitar, while bassist T-Man and drummer Groovey Avalon provide the raw power.
Having supported some of the country’s most revered bands such as You Am I, DZ Deathrays, Peep Tempel and Velociraptor, the trio are more than the sum of their parts when it comes to their powerful and relentless live performances. Brisbane’s 4ZZZ have described the band’s sound as “the music that once ruled this country”. With their strong DIY work ethic and fistfuls of classic tunes, Dirty Hearts are ready to stake their claim for Australia’s rock ‘n’ roll throne.
Formed in 2015 to avoid suburban insanity, Elba Lane began with basement jams between lead vocal/guitarist Mitchell Smith and drummer Mitchell Blyth. The escapism of these early days centred on Mitchell Smith’s solo material, but as soon as third member, bassist Kris Griffin and his fuzzed out rolling bass was added to the mix, Elba Lane finally began their journey on refining and defining their blues/rock sound. Through a series of pummelling live performances their sound matured from singer/songwriter melodies into crushing bass, drum and guitar collages. Infusing and drawing upon 90s alternative rock/grunge, Elba Lane have produced in their debut album ‘Arctic’ a roaring behemoth that surges and shifts through crashing cymbals, thumping drums, fuzzed out guitars, throbbing bass and introspective vocals. ‘Arctic’ is not so much a group of songs but a statement of intention from an emerging, confident act.
Kyle Jenkins is an Australian visual artist, musician, singer and songwriter born and raised on a small farm outside the rural town of Dungog in New South Wales, Australia. After studying visual art at Sydney College of the Arts, he travelled and lived around Europe and the United States settling in Pleasanton, California 25 miles (40 km) east of Oakland. Now residing in Toowoomba, Queensland, Jenkins exhibits his conceptual / geometric abstract based paintings nationally and internationally and is represented by Minus Space (NY), Alexandra Lawson Gallery (Toowoomba) and NKN Gallery (Melbourne). Raised on a mixture of his parents country vinyl and his adolescent addiction to American 70s and 80s punk/hard-core, Jenkins found the immediacy and DIY aesthetic in this music to parallel his interest in conceptual based painting and from this, his various studio spaces over the years have become a place for sonic experiments and visual outcomes.
Jenkins is the songwriter, guitarist and lead singer for acclaimed Australian Alt-Country band Suicide Swans. During the past 5 years the band has released 1 self-titled EP and 3 albums: Ghosts We Forget (2014), Augusta (2017) and double album la Jungla (2018). Known for their unique take on Americana/Alt-Country, Suicide Swans’ distinctive sound tosses the twang of country and the chug of 60’s/70’s rock with dashes of pop, with a penchant for experimentation that expands upon the excitement of the band’s live shows producing a series of layered, present, energetic and forceful albums exuding with spontaneity and their early sound rooted in classic country and folk.
In the Australian summer of 2017/2018, while the Suicide Swans were taking a break between touring their sophomore album Augusta and releasing their new album la Jungla, Jenkins entered By The Living Grace studios in Brisbane to record a collection of songs that had been floating around in his head. Working within a different mindset to his song writing for Suicide Swans, Jenkins invited a group of musician friends to collaborate on the layered vision that was to become Meltdown. Based upon late night ruminations, Meltdown is Jenkins’ take on authoritarian control, socio-cultural politics, love, hope and degradation. Within the layered songs, built from collaged fragments, Meltdown expresses the underlying tension inherent within us all – a simultaneous desire to preserve and destroy everything good we hold dear (which is aesthetically suggested in the album cover). For Jenkins Meltdown, represents the current state of humanity, where a small light of hope is smothered by an overriding sense of isolation and masculine domination.
Meltdown sonically encapsulates a more indie sensibility for Jenkins that is situated within the 1990s and his love of bands such as Archers of Loaf, 3Ds and King Loser while at the same time still being enamoured with Leonard Cohen, Fred Neil and the Velvet Underground. The album moves between parred down isolated laments such as See Saw(opening track of the album) to the scuzzy pulse of Sons & Daughters. The remainder of the album is a dynamic array of ruminations on the world both internal and external. Meltdown is a late night listen with a daytime stare.
Man Moot are an Australian music project from Brisbane / Toowoomba Queensland. Formed in 2017 the band consists of Kyle Jenkins (vocals, guitar), and brothers David Lancaster (bass) and Benjamin Lancaster (drums/guitar). The band’s sound incorporates a wide range of genres, including 1960s garage rock, punk, post-punk, art-punk, noise and psychedelic rock.
The band became an outlet for Jenkins (Suicide Swans) and B. Lancaster (Suicide Swans/Old New York/Deserts) while they were mixing their other bands’ albums. With a desire to create something that was energetic, whimsical, without inhibitions and basically just fun Kyle and Ben invited David to play bass and over three summer days they bashed out their debut album ‘Ta Da’.
The album incorporates everything the other bands they are involved in aren’t. The main goal of Man Moot, to not really have any goal and just go where the noise took them. What is left is an album of 10 unapologetic post-punk (and everything in between) songs. Who knows if the band will play live, who knows if they’ll record another album? Whatever happens enjoy the spontaneity of their debut album ‘Ta Da’ that was three days of having fun writing on the spot and having more fun recording what was left. Dig in.
OLD NEW YORK
Forming in early 2009, Old New York quickly developed a presence on the Brisbane live scene and have played their brand of late 80’s, early 90’s alt rock around the country. After a short hiatus, Old New York is back and set to release their third album 'Before We Hit The Ground'.
Old New York has developed from the collaborative efforts of previous bands into something that reflects each member’s musical preferences and tastes. Equal contribution to songwriting and performing keeps the band focused on producing the very best they can with what they can manage to scrap together. Their DIY attitude reveals their ambition to be heard in the current "No Budget" landscape of the music scene.
The band derives great pride in being personally responsible for all their own recording, mixing, PR, artwork, filming and web design. Old New York mix sixties style vocal harmonies with 80’s and 90’s indie rock and have twisted it into their own style of indie music that is both exciting and fresh.
Rusty Pickups are Bernard Borserio, Michael Cook and Lee Fielding - the three remaining members of a poorly thought out 10 piece honky tonk band in Toowoomba, Queensland. With individual musical backgrounds ranging from jazz ensembles to indie pop to 90’s grunge, the band’s sound evolved around Bernard’s classical piano and Lee’s clawhammer banjo, with Michael filling in the gaps with simple acoustics and lyrics about love, questionable life choices and dealing with getting old and rampaging children.
The bands first release 'The Good Honey' EP was recorded in Lee’s home studio in Toowoomba, with the first single being released by Near Enough Records in the freshly post COVID-19 world.
This EP is just a taste of things to come with its swaggering old school country storytelling, clawhammer banjo and interplay of acoustic guitar and keys. This band play back to old school country music that showcases the history of this band and its members but looking forward with their roots firmly positioned within country, folk, alt-country and Americana. With a tenacious desire to write and record, a full length album should be on the horizon before the next pandemic at the latest. T
Suicide Swans are an Australian 5 piece alt-country band from Toowoomba consisting of Kyle Jenkins (guitar/vocals), Kristian McIvor (multi-instrumentalist / vocals), Glen O’Shea (drums / percussion), Frankie Harper (multi-instrumentalist / vocals) and Benjamin Lancaster (multi-instrumentalist / vocals / engineer / mixer). In their 9-year incarnation they have released a self titled EP ‘Suicide Swans’ (2013) and debut album ‘Ghosts We Forget’ (2014) featuring the band’s sound of mixing - the twang of country, the chug of 60’s/70’s rock with dashes of pop that they termed cosmic country.
In 2017 and 2018 they released two critically acclaimed albums with ‘Augusta’ (2017) which pushed their alt-country sound into new musical territory incorporating pop, woodsy mid-tempo rock mixed with washes of violin, Wurlitzer/Rhodes flourishes, four-part harmonies and reverb-laden vocals & ‘la Jungla’ (2018), a 13 song, 84 minute sonic journey incorporating classic 60s/70s rock, acoustic folk/country laments and explorative jams. Both albums garnered critical success: Rolling Stone 4 Stars, Sydney Morning Herald 4 Stars, Rhythms Magazine 4 Stars, Post To Wire 4 stars - ‘One of the best roots albums of the year’.
In 2020 the band will release two albums ‘Through The Years’ and ‘Set List #1: Live at Dashville’ capturing the bands dynamic stagecraft. ‘Through The Years’ is an album that captures the bands love of Appalachian mountain music through a mixture of banjo, violin, acoustic, mandolin, piano, trap kit and harmonies. The 14 tracks have been selected by the bands members from their previous releases but as a reimagining of Suicide Swans history all played out within the genres of folk, country, alt-country, Americana. ‘Set List #1’ released later in 2020 captures the bands live sound in all its raucous energy from their festival set at Dashville Skyline in 2019.
Stay tuned for 2021 when the band will release their sixth studio album ‘Reservations’ which will see them through the albums 13 songs re-explore their folk/country roots with washes of textured electric guitars and melodies. This album sees the band capturing in its glory a band confident, pushing and capturing their live sound with a distinctive potency that is all their own.