The pointy end of 2016 was upon us and thus ensued the inevitable lists from bloggers, reviewers, music websites and general pop culture sites announcing their ‘Best Albums of 2016’. Being thrown neck deep into the music journalism world at the beginning of 2016 (which I am ever so thankful for now) allowed me to appreciate an exciting new side to the art form I loved most, albeit one I wouldn’t have imagined myself pursuing a career in. After months of interning, interviewing bands and musicians became second nature to me, with 2016 alone seeing me interview some of my now favourite bands including Bastille, Holy Holy and many many others who I’ve grown to appreciate through time spent at publications.
Being a keen supporter of the local music scene and of small musical acts, I loved every minute of working with Brisbane publications and getting involved with real artists and bands who often put a lot on the line to produce their music. So, instead of writing a post about my favourite albums of the year (although you can see my 10 Favourite 2016 Albums on Scenestr’s post HERE) filled with bands with massive followings, I wanted to highlight three EPs released in 2016 that I loved. Please note: this post is not so much about reviewing the EPs, but is more so providing descriptive reasoning behind my love for them.
So without further ado…
Alex Lahey – B Grade University
To many, it may seem that Melbourne singer-songwriter Alex Lahey shot to fame out of nowhere. Before her debut EP’s lead single “You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me” (a mouthful of a tongue-twister I’m still struggling to master) was picked up by a Pitchfork reviewer and began regular rotation on triple j, it’s pretty unlikely you’d have heard of the indie-rock songstress. Nonetheless, ‘B Grade University’ has a surprising familiarity to it, with lyrical content resounding with her young audience, who appreciate the timeless struggles of young relationships, gaining employment and being liked in an ever-judgemental world. Her quirky and sometimes seemingly not-quite-right vocals sing tracks of being unpopular or disliked, but certainly make for music that is completely likeable. Her observatory and anecdotal lyrics bring pep and happiness to youthful perplexities and experiences.
Castlecomer – All of The Noise
I’ve been following Castlecomer, a Sydney indie rock five-piece named after an Irish township, since around 2014 when I first saw them perform at the Sunshine Coast’s Caloundra Music Festival. Then, after being entranced by them as a support act for at the time my favourite indie-rockers The Griswolds, I knew I needed to track down their acoustic tunes for myself. Two years on, ‘All of The Noise’ steps away from their indie-folk sound I fell for, and the acoustics of their Miss December and Lone Survivor EPs are replaced with a myriad of synths and electric guitar riffs. Anyone who knows me is well aware of my attachment to Castlecomer, but as each of the tracks were progressively released they rapidly became the soundtrack to my life. Each tune came with it’s own catchy yet commanding lyrics, as well as the energetic melodies that will echo in your mind for days.
The Tin Pigeons – Sparks
I won’t lie to you, I’d never heard of The Tin Pigeons until I was required to review their latest EP during my time at AAA Backstage. If you want to read more of the review check it out HERE, but I’ll sum up what I loved about the three track release. Before you mention it, these guys may not be Aussies, but they’re hardly well known. However, despite their small following, the British indie-folk quintet has been subject to regular comparisons to their fellow countrymen and celebrated bands Two Door Cinema Club and Bombay Bicycle Club, and indisputably live up to that assessment. ‘Sparks’ makes me feel as though Plain White T’s had a weird lovechild with Bombay Bicycle Club, plus the entire record features beachside vibes, banjos aplenty and lead vocals from Fraser Norton hinting at the quirky sound of Passenger. They’ll undoubtedly be one artist I’ll be impatiently awaiting a full-length from ASAP.