Posts Tagged ‘Alex Lahey’

Alex Lahey

Alex Lahey likes to keep it real. The 24-year-old Australian musician takes her rise up the ranks from music student to ‘an artist with one of the most highly anticipated debut albums of 2017’ in her stride.
Lahey sees her life as ordinary: “I fall in love, I have a family, I go out with my friends, I like to have a drink.” However, most people can’t distil those universal experiences into wry, punchy indie-rock songs – three minute odes to millennial angst and all the complicated feelings that come with it. Alex Lahey can. ‘Love You Like A Brother’ is proof.

Born and raised in Melbourne, Lahey initially studied jazz saxophone at university but unimpressed with “learning music in such a regimented way” she switched to an arts degree (see her ‘B-Grade University’ EP for more details). Her tenure with cult music collective Animaux allowed Lahey the musical anarchy she yearned – hell, she booked the band their first gig before they’d even prepared a single song.

Lahey stepped out on her own once she began to write songs that didn’t fit Animaux’s party space. Songs that were inspired the two people she considers the greatest songwriters of all time, Dolly Parton and Bruce Springsteen. Songs that got her noticed at a local industry conference and scored her a solo management deal. Lahey had graduated.

The ‘Love You Like A Brother’ album drops fresh off the back of Lahey’s breakthrough in 2016. Last year her ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’ single was inescapable and landed her a spot in Australian radio network triple j’s prestigious Hottest 100 of 2016. The song’s universal tale of rejection took Lahey global – its message, she says, is the flipside of the usual break-up scenario: “Yeah, you’re right. It’s not me. It IS you.”

And that no-shit-taken attitude is the backbone of ‘Love You Like A Brother’. From the stomping title track ‘Brother’ to the gently moving ‘Money’, Lahey’s debut long-player tells it like it is.

The album found Lahey back in the studio with production partner, and one-half of Holy Holy, Oscar Dawson (Ali Barter, British India). The pair pushed each other to create an intimate sonic experience that comprises scuzzy guitars thrumming over pop melodies, helmed by Lahey’s unfussy but arresting vocals.

The album’s songs traverse the everyday themes of family, heartbreak and identity. Lahey tells her stories with character… and dry humour – “I’ve figured it out,” she sings in ‘Awkward Exchange’, “you’re a bit of a dick” – but there are also moments of darkness. In ‘Taking Care’ she muses, “I’ve gained weight and I drink too much, maybe that’s why you don’t love me as much.”

‘Taking Care’ was written after Alex had an eye-opening conversation with her mother. “I was seeing someone who I knew wasn’t treating me well, and chose to ignore it, and I think my mum had picked up on it as well. She just said to me at the end of the conversation, ‘Alexandra, whatever you do, just make sure that you take care of yourself’.”

The poignant ‘Backpack’ is a tribute to Lahey’s latest relationship, and the unsure start it got off to. “When we first started going out, they warned me about how they’re really flighty, and I was like, ‘I just want you to stay. And I don’t know if you are.’ It’s just saying it’s hard to hold someone down if they’re always thinking about the next place that they’re going to. It’s hard to give someone a hug when they’re walking away. And sometimes it’s good to chase them down and be like, ‘Hey, I’m here.’”

And, in case the album’s title hadn’t given it away already, there’s a track for her brother too. “We don’t get a choice/So let’s stick together,” screams Lahey in ‘Brother’. That angsty love you’re hearing is easily explained by Lahey, “My brother and I clashed for a long time, and then all of a sudden as adults, we’re really close. I feel like this song is my gift to him.”

The themes of Alex Lahey’s album might be universal, but it’s the unique approach she takes unpacking them that’s earned her millions of Spotify streams, buzz-worthy showcases at SXSW and festival sets alongside the likes of Flume, The Kills, At The Drive-In and James Blake as well as guesting on tours with Catfish & The Bottlemen, Tegan & Sara and Blondie.

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Produced, engineered and mixed by Oscar Dawson
Mastered by Matt Redlich

Alex Lahey – vox, guitars
Kai Chen Lim – bass
Sam Humphrey – guitars
Lachie McGeehan – drums

Alex Lahey was going to draw comparisons to Courtney Barnett. She’s a young singer-songwriter from Melbourne who, initially and somewhat incorrectly, comes across like a witty slacker-rocker similar to Barnett. Lahey’s recent debut I Love You Like A Brother boldly underscored the fact that she’s onto something very different. Songs like “Lotto In Reverse” and “I Haven’t Been Taking Care Of Myself” burst into huge, cathartic choruses more akin to ‘90s and ‘00s alt-rock than anything in today’s indie sphere. Lahey’s got a way of capturing the particular anxieties and frustrations of the listless years of post-college life. And while her songs convey all that, those giant hooks tell a different story: the triumphant and defiant part where you kick the door down to life’s next phase.

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Alex Lahey – “Lotto In Reverse” from ‘I Love You Like A Brother’ out October 6th, 2017 on Dead Oceans.

Alex Lahey

Earlier this year, Melbourne’s Alex Lahey released her debut EP, “B-Grade University”, which is the kind of startlingly impressive debut that you just know is going to catch on . It’s five songs and with such super-specific lyrics which Alex normally delivers in a melodic deadpan that each one is instantly distinguishable from the rest.

Each song has a line or a hook that that gets stuck in your head right away, for one reason or another. “I went to B-Grade University and got myself an arts degree,” she sings on the chorus to opener “Ivy League.” “Let’s go out and have fun tonight / let’s go out and get drunk tonight,” goes the next song “Let’s Go Out.” It may sound simple on paper, but it sounds like a rallying cry when Alex Lahey sings it.
The best line might be the intro to “You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me.” “All I want is to have cleanskin wine, and watch Mulholland Drive with you.” Non-Australians may need to look up what cleanskin wine is, but otherwise, the same people who look forward to a night in with cheap alcohol and a hip counter-culture film are the people who are gonna dig Alex Lahey’s music. (On that note, there’s also a song on this EP called “Wes Anderson.”) Instrumentally, the EP pulls from the last two decades of indie rock. It’s punky, but mannered.


Being a wordy, deadpan indie rocker from Melbourne, Alex has of course gotten some Courtney Barnett comparisons (and while she admires Courtney’s music, she’s tired of them). I’d say she does sound a bit like Courtney sometimes, particularly on “Wes Anderson” and closing track “L-L-L-Leave Me Alone,” and this EP has me feeling about as excited as Courtney’s debut EP did. Get hip to Alex now .

Thanks to Brooklyn Vegan

Alex Lahey was among the most spoken ablout at Big Sound in Brisbane the Australian Equivalent of SXSW  and naturally some of that talk amounted to comparisons between the 24-year-old Melbourne singer-songwriter and homegrown star Courtney Barnett.

Sure, both Lahey and Barnett are young, Australian based singer-songwriters known for their wry and observational lyricism, or as Lahey herself says, “We’re both Australian women with brown hair who play Telecasters.” , as Lahey’s concern, it’s not only lazy but also sexist to compare the two of us. “I’m just not convinced that those comparisons would be happening if I was a guy.

“I’m a huge fan of Courtney I think she’s one of the best songwriters in the world and her values and what she stands for are beautiful and brilliant, so I’m humbled to be compared to that. But I don’t think that it’s accurate, especially from a musical perspective, we play very different types of music.”

The songwriter studied saxophone at uni and works as a session saxophonist. She picked up a guitar at 13 and began teaching herself, writing songs because other people’s were too hard to learn.