Who are frontman Lachlan Rose's biggest influences?
We can't stop listening to the new single by Melbourne band Cousin Tony's Brand New Firebird this month; Love Is Heartbreak is a soaring pop tune that's officially released on April 12th via Double Drummer /AWAL, and it's got us wondering just what inspired this unique sound. Frontman Lachlan Rose revealed to us the top seven artists that influenced him.
Cousin Tony's Brand New Firebird
So much of what I learned about performance and singing was through musical theatre as a teenager. After starting a band in my 20s, especially in a trend storm like Melbourne, I spent a lot of time trying to squish that theatrical part of myself in the pursuit of something more subdued and cooler. But everytime I listen to Bryan Ferry sing something like "Mother of Pearl", "Psalm", or "In Every Dream Home a Heartache" that part of me just explodes like a beautiful, brazen glitter bomb. Their sound shows me how to bring passion, pride and earnestness to a performance. (Also Mother of Pearl probably boasts the greatest lyrics ever penned by a mortal).
A few years ago I found myself in the lowest place I've ever been emotionally. I could barely listen to music, let alone write it. But then I heard "Party", the second record from New Zealand singer/songwriter Aldous Harding. I don't think I've ever heard a collection of songs so authentically and tenderly written from a place of deep sadness and loneliness. There's nothing about her music that drags you down in a "woe-is-me" fashion. It's just her extending a hand and saying "Hey, that feeling you have, the one you think no one else feels, I feel that too. And we're both going to get through this."
The Bill Evans journey, for most people, starts with "Peace Piece". I was no exception. It's a piece of music that slows the whole world down within the first few seconds. Everyone kind of shuts up. The left hand holds down this unwavering C major 7 chord for like 8 minutes while the right hands takes you on this journey through the history of eastern and western harmony, and towards the end starts offering a glimpse into the future of jazz harmony which we now hear everywhere through players like Robert Glasper. Miles Davis said "Bill Evans plays the piano the way the piano should be played". High praise. And absolutely accurate.
When I was studying music composition, I once told a teacher and mentor of mine that I was really set on writing pop music. The first thing he asked was how well I knew Burt Bacharach's music. At the time I thought of Burt as most people do - the old schmaltzy guy from Austin Powers. It was kind of a joke. But then I started really delving into it and I now worship in the front row of the temple Bacharach. He's such a fastidious perfectionist of a writer but goddammit - it gets results. Nothing has ever captured the joy of being in love more than "The Look of Love". I want to get married at least 5 times just so I can play "This Guy's In Love" every time. A master of melody, an admiral of arrangement and a reminder to never settle for a half baked idea.
I can still remember hopping into my dad's car when I was maybe 10 years old to go to the beach. He pulled out his recently purchased CD copy of "Since I Left You" and put it on. I'd never had such vivid, colorful, fun, twisted imagery conjured up by the sound of music and I probably never will. This album was a f**king mental funhouse. It consists of over 3000 vinyl samples ranging from hip-hop to Frank Sinatra to the score from Vertigo to fragmented film dialogue, yet it flows beautifully like a river of melted rainbow ice cream. The fact that something so otherworldly came out of little old Melbourne always made me feel like anything I dreamed of doing was possible.
When it came to learning instruments through my childhood I was pretty intense. It was the one area where I was really diligent and wanted everything to be perfect. I can still remember my dad calling me to his study which he did every Sunday night. He'd pay all the bills while I lay on the floor and listened to his records. This particular Sunday it was Transformer. I remember hearing the jangly, imperfection of it, and his listless Sprechstimme (speak-singing) and thinking "this is f**king terrible. How is this guy famous?" But by the end of the record, especially after hearing "Satellite of Love" and "Make Up", I felt like the junkies Lou was singing about. I craved that sound, in all its unapologetic imperfection. He taught me about x-factor - that there's a big fat difference between good technique and being an artist.
Similar to Aldous Harding and the sword of Gryffindor, these soulful sisters were presented to me at a time of great need. I was marinating in heartbreak hell, when my friend and drummer Rick "Daddy" Reid told me to listen to "Hammond Song". Ooft. The world of harmony that the Roches create is like a friendly hug from an alien. It can be so jarring but always so comforting. They use a lot of major second intervals, which the Bulgarian Women's Choir did a lot. It's no easy feat but the effect is so special. "Pretty and High" is also a favorite - folk music on a transcendent, life-saving level. It always reminds me of the power and versatility of the human voice, especially when they work together.
American Thighs was released on this day in 1994.