Suicide Swans are an Australian five-piece Americana/Alt-Country band consisting of Kyle Jenkins (guitar/vocals), Kristian McIvor (multi-instrumentalist/vocals), Glen O’Shea (drums/percussion), Morgan Hann (multi-instrumentalist/vocals) and Benjamin Lancaster (multi-instrumentalist/vocals/engineer/mixer). In their 7-year history they have released a self-titled EP ‘Suicide Swans’ (2013) and two albums ‘Ghosts We Forget’ (2014) and ‘Augusta’ (2017). 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, celebrating waves of piano, synthesizers and organ, textural atmospherics and a penchant for experimentation that expands upon theirearly sound rooted in classic country and folk.
Their self-titled EP ‘Suicide Swans’ (2013) debuted the band’s country rock leanings. While constant live shows featuring the ragged glory of four-part harmonies and the swagger of rock and laid back mid tempo country has cemented Suicide Swans as a live tour de force. In late 2013, the band retreated to their studio, By the Living Grace, to record and mix their full-length debut ‘Ghosts We Forget’(2014) mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, New York. The album fluctuates between rolling mid tempo pastoral acoustic songs such as Great Divideand Everything Must Pass, country lamentations Pinkheartsand In Spite of the Dark Times, classic country rock Torn & Frayedand Shadows of the Lights, blissed out lap steel scuzz rock of Confetti andSomeone’s Chrome, the banjo/harmonica mountain anthem of Pine Mountainand the expansive cosmic country jams of Safe in Ours Arms, See Similar Starsand the first single from the album Marriage Song.
In 2016, the band escaped to their studio once again, recording and mixing their sophomore album‘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. The album was met with critical success: Rolling Stone 4 Stars, Sydney Morning Herald 4 stars ‘one of the best roots albums of the year’, the music 4 stars.The album fluctuates between acoustic refrains Walland Come & See, forlorn mid tempo country/rock laments Pleasanton, Easy Heartand Canyons, country-indie rockers such as first single Horses, Broken Lines, and expansive sonic jams Nurse, Let Me Beand second singleYearlingfeaturing the band’s distinctive take on Americana -mixing country and indie rock.
2018 sees the band release their third full-length album ‘la Jungla’(2018), a 13 song 84 minute (double album) sonic journey incorporating classic 60s/70s rock, acoustic folk/country laments and explorative jams. Recorded in one day in late 2017, the band took the power and dynamics of their live show and made a decision to create an album that captures the sonic immediacy of five individuals performing together. ‘la Jungla’is Spanish for the ‘the Jungle’ and that is exactly what this album is, a layered, present, energetic and forceful album exuding with the spontaneity and excitement of the band’s live shows. ‘la Jungla’allows the listener to feel like they are there in the room with the band. Minimal instrumental additions; violin, acoustic, slide guitar and vocal harmonies, enhance the experience without eliminating the individual essences each band member brings to the mix.
If Suicide Swans first self-titled release was firmly planted in their early folk/bluegrass/country roots, their debut album ‘Ghosts We Forget’allowed the band to paint with the broad strokes of cosmic country and their sophomore album ‘Augusta’ advancing the band’s sonic experimentation, then ‘la Jungla’and its 13 songs represents in all its glory a band confident, pushing and capturing their live sound with a distinctive potency that is all their own.
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.
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.
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.
Morgan Hann is a singer/songwriter from Brisbane, Australia, who is celebrated the release of his debut EP, ‘You & Me’ in 2014. It’s a slice of melodic acoustic guitar driven deliciousness; a little bit pop, a little bit folk, a little bit rock. Front and centre is a warm, sweet, rich and ambient voice weaving through well-crafted songs, not unlike artists such as Neil Finn, Paul Kelly and Josh Pyke. The local touch is prevalent too, with Brisbane being the setting for a number of his songs, and the music definitely contains the down-to-earth honesty we’d expect from quality Australian artists.
And the story is just beginning for Morgan Hann as a solo artist. The debut album, ‘It Doesn’t Have To Be Now’, is set for release on Near Enough Records in 2015 on CD, digital and vinyl. The album promises a variety of different sounds and production techniques ranging from stripped-back acoustic songs to enormous layered numbers, all self-produced and recorded in his Alma Suite home studio. The instrumentation features a range of juicy guitars alongside vintage keyboards and organs with the occasional vibraphone, glockenspiel and melodica thrown in, as well as the odd analog synth run through a guitar amp and effects pedals. But still the voice, the harmonies, the counter-melodies and the songwriting craft sit front-and-centre so that the melodies and chord progressions are bolstered by the intuitive production.
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.
Garage rock band Bloodspots sound is deeply imbedded within their interest of sparse, raw and cut up melodies that are spoken, sung and yelled with a combination of musical sounds which jump from angular punk to country/pysch-ish dirges. The album 'They Only Want You When You Die' continues the bands love affair with cut and paste abrasiveness, mixed with lyrical cynicism.