Alex Lahey performed her first-ever L.A. show on March 11 at the Echo, admitting it was also her first-ever U.S. show, and despite this, the Melbourne singer-songwriter seemed to be at ease in the ever-growing spotlight. The up-and-coming artist, who released her debut EP B-Grade University last summer, has been quickly catching the attention of everyone from Australia's Triple J Unearthed, who awarded her a slot at Splendour in the Grass, to Pitchfork, which gave its Best New Track seal of approval to her single "You Don't Think You Like People Like Me."
And this praise is well-warranted, as her enjoyable five-track EP perfectly encapsulates the post-college time period when you're trying to figure out your love life and life in general. For instance, "Ivy League," which Lahey described as a song about going to art school and then being unemployed, is punctuated with catchy hooks and pondering lyrics of various possibilities ("I'm going to get married so I don't live on the dole"). With "Wes Anderson," a nod to the hipster-loved filmmaker, it seems Lahey knows her audience: The quirky video showcases her relationship with a wood block. That love song also features the sweet, not sappy lyric "Every day with you's my lucky day."
It's this lyrical talent that makes these guitar-driven songs particularly memorable. In "You Don't Think You Like People Like Me," one can hear the longing when she sings, "All I want is to have cleanskin wine / And watch Mulholland Drive with you," which is contrasted with Lahey's fast delivery and the upbeat drumming. Her witty lyrics might partly explain her frequent comparisons to fellow Aussie Courtney Barnett, of which Lahey has said: "I think it's easy to lump girls in with each other, and it's just stupid."
Despite singing about the early 20s malaise, at 24, Lahey seems to be self-assured of her music path, which includes several shows at SXSW. And more is in store for Lahey, who will release her debut full-length this year—but she has yet to name it. "A fan suggested 'Fuckin' Shit,'" she told the L.A. crowd with a smile. "So this one's off 'Fuckin' Shit'!" It's this humor and her entertaining music videos that listeners easily find endearing. We're looking forward to hearing Fuckin' Shit—or whatever it ends up being called—as 2017 promises to be a busy one for Alex Lahey. You don't think you like people like me? Au contraire. — CHERYL CHENG