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Racing Birds - 'Lonesome Blue' EP

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by Steven G (subscribe)
Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published March 25th 2022
The new band on the block is ready to deliver
I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of the music by Australian alt. country duo Racing Birds. And about now a heap of you are asking, "Who?"

Truth be told, I asked the same thing, but it didn't matter when I heard the music. This is very, very good.
racing, birds, ep, lonesome, blue

So, who are Racing Birds?

They are Sydney-siders Jeremy Strother & Bobbie Lee Stamper, both renowned session musicians and song-writers, having recorded and played with a veritable who's who of twenty-first century rock music. This is DIY music, and is a fantastic example of it.

As Stamper described, "Everything was done with just the two of us, a couple guitars, a laptop and whatever we could find around the garage to bang on. I didn't have a proper studio at the time so we set up in the front half of my garage… we used that DIY feeling to give the record a bit of edge and energy. I tried not to use many samples or edit the takes much."

Well, truth be told, I couldn't tell.

This is music that just grabs you and demands you listen to it. The guitar playing is at the forefront and the voice muted and distorted by whatever technology was used. There is an atmosphere about this project that is so very good.

So, on March 25, 2022 they released the first single from the album – 'Rarely Never Loaded'.

This is just a 30 second teaser clip; I could have put the whole song up here, but I want you to go out and buy it, even find it on YouTube for yourself. Even in this small section of the song, you can hear that blues-grounded guitar sound and those growled vocals. Yes, there is some aid to the vocals, but it works in the context of the album. The lyrics are a little simplistic, but the imagery in them is strong. e.g. "The stomp and thud/ The whisky run/ My stardust baby/ Down in Costa Mesa/ Run…"

Hang on, you might be asking, why am I writing a review of one song? I'm not. On April 15, 2022 Racing Birds release a 4-track EP called Lonesome Blue. Yes, 'Rarely Never Loaded' is on it (track 3, in fact), but the other three tracks are also so good.

Let's look at them, shall we?

'Lonesome Blue' We start out nice and slow. Sparse instrumentation led by guitars, it builds to a chorus that is a cry of pain. I know the media release calls them alt. country, but this has a lot of similarities to the blues. Then we get the instrumental break and the playing matches the anguish of the singing. That is something about a good song – when all the component parts come together to make the emotion soar.

'Silver Sun Bohemian' The sound is a different one here, not following the style of the opening track, with the subdued but strong percussion in the background and, again, a chorus that is wonderful, then a middle eight that lifts it again. Different, but the flow is not jarring in the slightest. "I need… someone to haunt all my dreams…" is such a great line.

'Rarely Never Loaded' Talked about this already, the first single from the album, and the most up-beat track here. The placement here fits the album running order, as we have built up to this one. The percussion is aided by hand-claps that do not sound cheesy, especially with that fantastic guitar playing that punctuates the whole… and then a very cool guitar solo right before the end.

'Vampires And LSD' We slow down to close out this brief set. There is something of Tom Petty about this track, and that only serves to help it. Again, more strong lyrics, more wonderful guitar playing, and the vocals are allowed a greater range as well. This was the first song they wrote for this project, and set the tone for the rest of the tracks here. On its central story, Jeremy Strother said: "It's a story about two lovers on the run, good at being bad. It's Midwestern motels & desert highways." (from the media release given to the author)

Four really good to great tracks. Tough to pick a personal favourite, but listening to the album on random shuffle, 'Lonesome Blue' was the one I was most inclined to air guitar to, so there is that.

There is almost a feel of a modern version of ZZ Top about the music, and I do not mean that as a denigration. This is music that is best played loud and I hope to get the opportunity to see them live; more than that, I am hanging out for a full-length album as well.

As a side note, this is one of those new Australian acts that I think deserve out support. I have written about many Australian artists and albums during my time here on WeekendNotes, and Racing Birds is another on that list of modern Australian acts we should be getting behind and supporting.

You can pre-order the EP on streaming here:
Their Triple J Unearthed site is here.
Definitely recommended.
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