It is not hard to become disenchanted with the current music scene especially when you flick on the radio and every song sounds the same. But before you decide to do a Chopper Read and cut off your ears it may be a good idea to scratch the cookie-cutter-pop covered surface because underneath there is some inspiring, talented and original music being made in our very own backyard.
A perfect example of this new breed of Aussie talent is Lola Flash a five piece minimalistic, hypnotic rock act hailing from Wollongong. Talking to lead singer and songwriter Emma Russack it seems she is on the same wavelength. “We have seen (and played with) some fantastic Australian bands. I think if you’re willing to dig below the surface a little there are plenty of great acts around.”
Rounding out the lineup is bass player Jake Phillips, guitarist Alec Marshall, drummer Paul McLean and violist Kate Delahunty. So where does Lola Flash come in I hear you ask? Well according to Russack the name came about when “I borrowed this book about gender and sexuality for a uni assignment and I came across a photo of a group of people in bondage. The photographer’s name was Lola Flash.”
While the average age of the band is only 20 years their sound is mature and worldly. Contributing to this is Emma’s seductive and haunting vocals which lead to obvious comparisons with Cat Power who Emma admits “had a big influence on me” along with Neil Young, Will Oldham, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Dirty Three and Lucinda Williams.
Even though the band have only been around for a little over a year success seems inevitable with a video of Emma singing the band’s track “Swimming” receiving over one million hits on YouTube. It is obvious that this would come as a shock to any emerging act but Emma says she was “even more surprised that someone actually made a spoof of it.” I guess this stands as a case of imitation – even if it is in a mocking tone – being the sincerest form of flattery.
Attention like this must feel good especially taking into account the admission from Emma that she started off with a slight air of insecurity. “When I did my first gig with Lola Flash it was really intimidating. I wasn’t overly confident with my songs when we started out and I felt like they could only ever mean something to me.
As we continued to play gigs, I realised this wasn’t true, mostly because people were coming up to us after shows and saying how much they enjoyed them. Being on stage and playing my songs for people feels so natural now. I really, really enjoy it.”
Lola Flash are currently in the process of recording their debut EP which should hopefully be out by next year. So what can listeners expect from the EP? “Expect the unexpected” is the tongue in cheek response from Russack.
In the mean time there are plenty of tracks on the bands myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/lolaflashmusic
as well as tour dates with shows in Wollongong and Sydney.