Australia's Middle Kids have this unique, almost indefinable, element to their songwriting.
Debut album 'Lost Friends' was difficult to shake off, with its taut indie rock template augmented by personal observations and moments of real wit.
Centred on Hannah Joy and her husband, Tim Fitz, the group are rounded out by drummer Harry Day.
A few days ago the trio released new EP 'New Songs For Old Problems', landing almost exactly 12 months after their acclaimed debut album.
A bold, vibrat return, the EP is set to be followed by a clutch of tour dates, both in their native Australia and beyond.
Clash caught up with Middle Kids singer Hannah Joy to talk cultural touchstones in Culture Clash...
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Lost Connections by Johann Hari This book has been rocking my world. It's one of those books that gives words to deep feelings and fears you have swirling around but don't necessarily have a language for.
It's made me realise that so often I live as if all I am is a brain, and how this can lead to a limited experience of life. He also talks about the negative effects of the internet. It's quite a challenging book but it really helps you look at what it is to be a human and how to live a full, connected life.
Veronica Mars Tim showed me this show and I needed two tries but on my second go I got so obsessed I didn't leave the house until completion. Veronica Mars is a legend and I want to be her.
Sometimes people have said I look like a bigger, brunetter (?) version of Kristen Bell and this is the best thing you could say to me. Anyways we've been re-watching it so as to be fully prepared for when the next season comes out in July, hallelujah.
St Vincent. I recently re-watched this movie and even upon second viewing I was so moved by it. Any story that has people learning how to love each other in amongst the trauma of life is so powerful. And it's so cool when you find that love in unexpected places, which is what this movie is all about. Bill Murray is the man and I love seeing Melissa McCarthy in a more serious role. It's funny and it's stressful and it's heart wrenching and I am so into it.
'World Of Echo' by Arthur Russell I can’t even remember how we stumbled on across this album. It was playing in the background somewhere and I think I noticed the vocal melodies.
The way he sings, they kind of effortlessly hang there for a second and then drop away. It sounded really modern and experimental but I later realised he recorded it in the 80s. The songs are mostly just cello and vocals (and yes a lot of echo effects), but it has a ghostly and fragile beauty.
Arthur Russell only became influential posthumously. He lived like a man finding his voice, even if people weren’t listening. In that way his life is kind a kind of artistic archetype. It’s a romantic image that I think a lot of people relate to.
Tascam 488 Cassette Portastudio This is a vintage piece of technology that brought a lot of joy and vibe to our recordings on the 'New Songs For Old Problems'. It’s basically a multitrack recorder which records music onto a cassette tape. But this creates all kinds of problems - the buttons don’t work reliably, the audio is hissy.
Time is relative because the tape doesn’t play back at the same speed each time. In the world of laptop recordings, this actually is a really refreshing thing. We like to record guitars through it (and sometimes drum microphones).
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‘New Songs For Old Problems’ is out now on Lucky Number.
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