17-year-old Central Coast local, Kalen Hogan, releases his debut album ‘Isolation’.
Recorded at Damien Gerard Studios with producer Andrew Beck and Kayne Butler on drums, the album highlights this young musician’s talent for creating catchy melodies. Still in his last year at school the album has a youthful appeal. The thoughtful and sometimes melancholy lyrics highlight Kalen’s sensitivity to everyday events and life’s universal themes.
From the initial single born from the pandemic lockdowns, the songs transition through: relationships left behind; feeling alienated or lost; realising the finite time you have with those you love; and understanding your outlook is only relevant to your perspective.
The album ‘Isolation’ was initially created in a time of forced introspective thinking. Skilfully, the tracks are matched with some soul-searching guitar solos that echo the intensity of the lyrics. Tracks like ‘Beliefs’ and ‘Not Even A Friend’ are songs that fight back with some big drums and up beat spicy guitar chords.
The dissonant harmonies and chord progressions on the album are a subtle nod to Kalen’s respect for the 1990’s Seattle Grunge scene. The album is alternative rock and with the purposeful lack of heavy distortion, the sound stays true to its indie roots.
Kalen’s signature acoustic guitar and vocals begin this heartfelt mid-tempo tune which captivates the listener even more as the drums and bass kick in. The Aussie Jeff Buckley we think!!
Be With You
Electric guitar starts this Radiohead-ish tune from Kalen Hogan. The deceptively simple arrangement of guitar, drums and bass mask an excellent and highly coherent piece of song writing. Mid-tempo, hooky and engaging.
A happy and more poppy number from Kalen on this mid-tempo tune. Hollow Coves spring to mind on this one and the bouncy rhythm track keeps everything moving along. Kalen’s falsetto comes to the fore on some backing vocals.
Kalen Hogan debuted onto the local Central Coast music scene in late 2022. Having watched his musical uncle write and perform, Kalen started writing his own material at fifteen. Now in his final year of high school, Kalen is proudly launching his debut album ‘Isolation’ in May 2023.
Kalen says he is inspired by the 1990’s grunge movement, with a real reverence for bands like Nirvana, but describes himself as an alternative indie rock singer-songwriter. Kalen sings about the complexities of everyday life, with an open heart and keen observing eye. His pure vocal tone and moderately high pitch may reflect why some tracks have been compared to Thom Yorke from Radiohead and the late Jeff Buckley. Many of Kalen’s lyrical melodies build up to a decent falsetto and although still young, the emotion he brings to each song gives his music a youthful appeal. Musically, Kalen incorporates a lot of dissonant harmonies into his spicy chord mix and in songs like ‘Be with You’ he produces some sweet but heart-breaking guitar solos.
Currently, Kalen is enjoying finalising a film clip for his recently released single ‘Stoned and Cold’ that previews on this album. Kalen says he enjoys all the creative aspects that come with releasing new music, including designing his singles and album cover.
Kalen has started to play at local venues like the Ocean View Beach Club, Sunken Monkey and Sounds on West, as well as a few private shows. Though focused on finishing Year 12 and showcasing his debut album, Kalen continues to write new material. Towards the end of the year, Kalen plans to start recording, once again at Damien Gerard Studios with producer Andrew Beck, for his 2024 projects.
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Powderfinger, Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, Nothing But Thieves and Queens of the Stoneage all inspire an authentic live sound from Drawing Arrows that sits as well on stage as it does in your headphones.
With influences of jazz, alternative rock, punk, Spanish flamenco and pop, Drawing Arrows stay focused on crafting music that makes you want to press rewind and listen again.
This is the second EP that Drawing Arrows have put together and it holds a lot of importance for the band.
The first track, ‘Pinch Me’, has been a work-in-progress since the boys first started playing together. Despite the fact that it changed format a number of times, it remained a favourite of Sidney’s. With its soulful lyrics and cool groove you can understand why.
‘Lights Out’ provides a little light chaos and fits in well with the energy you’d see in their live shows. The driving bass and drums keep the crowd going as the post-punk guitars keep them inspired.
‘Good Grief’ explores the ideas of dealing with things that you just can’t change. Instead of a melancholic ballad this track hits all the big notes. Another huge, live-sounding song.
Drawing Arrows is a love letter to rock music. Not one band, not one decade, but the whole effect. With multiple influences – from Australian rock’n’roll, US grunge and flamenco guitar to Britpop rock and amped-up punk.
With band members from Spain, the UK and right here in Australia, each member brings their own unique influences. Sidney (vocals) and David (bass/guitar) have previously worked on an experimental dubstep project (Milo Firewater). Drawing Arrows is a creative outlet – a way to channel all their experiences – not just musically. The aim – to create music that feels good to play and to listen too.
The most chilled of this 3-song offering from the boys. This is a mid-tempo cruise with clean guitars and a lighter touch on the drums. You can really hear the song writing skills of the band on this one, as well as some superb background vocals and guitar work throughout.
Drawing Arrows have come up with a modern up-tempo rock formula that really works on this tune. There’s plenty to like early on with a great ear catching intro, then Sid’s distinctive vocals and the snare popping chorus. A total winner.
Arpeggio electric guitars along with fast and furious drums and bass start this song off before the vocals kick in. Some very Radiohead sounds pervade this song in a great way. Up-tempo, hooky and technically challenging but the band get away with it no problems.
Luke Escombe’s personal and professional life reached a high point in 2019, culminating in him moving into a new home with his young family in one of Australia’s most sought-after postcodes. Everything was going great. Then the world ended.
A giant cloud of bushfire smoke descended on his Northern Beaches paradise, and the excitement of 2019 was replaced by a creeping sense of anger and despair. “Whale Beach Road”, the first single from Luke’s upcoming album, his first in over five years, came at the start of an intense period of song writing and soul-searching fuelled by his desire to reclaim a sense of love and hope.
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Recorded at Damien Gerard studios on the Central Coast in 2020 and then added to in stolen moments between lockdowns, the track features soaring strings and Luke’s fiery electric guitar over a tense rock-reggae groove laid down by some of Australia’s most acclaimed players, drummer Evan Mannell, bassist Zoe Hauptmann, guitarist Aaron Flower and organist Clayton Doley.
“Luke Escombe is a rock-soul singer, raconteur, blistering blues guitarist, comedian and songwriter, and very good at them all” – Sydney Morning Herald
Luke Escombe is an ARIA-nominated singer-songwriter who combines his blues, rock and soul influences with subversive humour, poetic lyrics and heartfelt storytelling. He is the creator of the internationally acclaimed one-man show “Chronic” and the writer and front man of multi award-winning Aussie kids band The Vegetable Plot.
Checkout The New Single OUT NOW on Foghorn/MGM
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Heres the most recent review of John Kennedy’s Raining Treasure Volume 2 (More Australian Indie Gold Covers) by none other than Michael Smith – a bit of an Aussie Icon himself
Before the creative juices are once again unleashed in order to explore the next musical chapter, John Kennedy found there was still a little unfinished business from his past few years of activity, taking stock of various aspects of his back catalogue either as selections from across several releases with 2018’s compilationSecond Best, or remastering his most successful album,Always the Bridegroom, recorded with his band Love Gone Wrong, which topped the Australian Independent Music charts in 1987. Then there was his bit of fun, a collection titled Raining Treasure, loving reinterpretations of his favourite post-punk indie Australian pop singles.
Well, before he and the band kick into recording an album of new material, Kennedy felt that there was still some fun to be had from those classic singles – and some you would never have imagined crossed the defiantly defended “frontier of cool” that ruled in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Though, “I don’t think you can beat ’66, ’67 quite frankly,” he admits, “but ’72 gives it a good run.” Enter Raining Treasure Vol. 2. “In terms of engagement with music, it was really the punk, New Wave and then the DIY explosion that followed that which led me to get involved in my first garage bands after school, and then, after an old school friend (singer and guitarist) James Paterson returned from an overseas trip, we formed JFK and the Cuban Crisis and got involved in the Brisbane indie scene. We were the wave behind the Go-Betweens and the Riptides. So all of that was in the background, that early ‘80s golden period of Australian indie and of course there was a lot of great stuff that happened in the late ‘70s and all through the ‘80s on independent record labels, so that’s what was really the inspiration behind these two Raining Treasure albums.
“The first time around it was pretty much going through my own seven-inch vinyl collection, just picking my favourites or absolute ‘stone-cold’ classics of the genre, and then trying to find our own interpretation, or super-charging them. This time round I did look further to some acts that I would never have been into in that period. I also looked at those two compilations Do The Pop and Tales from the Australian Undergroundand then I was asking other people what they thought would make coolselections. One of the key examples of throwing a wider net for Volume Two came from the band’s bass player Phil Hall. He had noted my aversion to Radio Birdman the first time round and said, ‘Well, here’s one that we might be able to do something with,’ and pitched Radio Birdman’s ‘Hand of Law’. Apart from two or three songs I don’t know much of Radio Birdman’s catalogue, but he played it to me and I liked it but it’s pretty simple and doesn’t go anywhere. It just gets in a groove, which is a good groove, and he suggested that perhaps I could amend the melody and push it a little further – which is what I did – added a few chords to the chorus, and then rather than putting in the ‘Theme from Hawaii Five-O’, we put in ‘Pipeline’, so a little homage to Birdman’s surf-punk genre.”
The least likely song Kennedy could have chosen has to be The Angels’ ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’. “We have done it as a waltz live, in the past; not very often but in the wake of Doc Neeson’s death as a little bit of a tribute. It’s a great pop song in the original version but it was nice to actually to bring a completely different vibe to it – that’s Phil Hall playing vibes in the background! He’d provided the horns on a couple of songs on Raining Treasure Volume One. The Cruel Sea’s ‘The Drift’ was an interesting choice, and ‘My Pal’ by GOD was a left-of-field selection, but then Phil just worked them and worked them and turned those two into epics.”
And if you’re going to cover The Sports’ ‘Who Listens to the Radio’, why wouldn’t you kick it off with the riff behind Mental as Anything’s ‘Nips Are Getting Bigger’. “It just occurred to me that they’re not too far apart in the groove,” he chuckles. “In our band me and (guitarist) Murray Cook especially are both huge Sports and Mentals fans. And why the reggae groove? If you listen to the rhythm guitar in the Sports original, that’s the rhythm that’s being played. So I just sort of latched onto that with the proviso that we were not making ‘mock’ reggae. We just wanted to touch that flavour.”
Then there’s the upbeat country take on ‘Shivers’. “It’s odd, because I’d call this a classic, but for the Young Charlatans it might have sold in the hundreds, so it’s not a best-seller” – Kennedy perhaps tastefully ignores the fact that The Screaming Jets scored themselves a #19 hit single with it in 1993 – “but it’s still somehow iconic, so how do you take it and offend as many of its original fans as possible?! So we thought we’d go with a country song with banjo to the fore.”
Checkout Shivers Video
Raining Treasures Vol. 2sees Kennedy performing his first duet, on a tune titled ‘Face with No Name’. “Phil played in the last reformation of Flaming Hands about two years ago – he was actually playing sax. I obviously knew of them from back in the day but it was also obvious that Julie Mostyn still has a fantastic voice, so when we were thinking about how we would approach the song I asked Phil if Julie would be up for a duet, and happily she was.” And Kennedy unleashed his inner Jim Morrison as the song breaks out into The Doors’ ‘Do You Love Her Madly’. MICHAEL SMITH
Sydney Upcoming dates
Egg Records Instore, Sat 4 June
Golden Barley Hotel, Sun 5 June
Melbourne Tour Dates
Lomond Hotel, Brunswick East Thurs 16 June (Melbourne album launch)
Dogs Bar, St Kilda on Fri 17
Post Office Hotel, Coburg on Sat 18
Stream or Download the album here