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Melbourne’s Alex Lahey streaming debut EP ‘B-Grade University,’ playing SXSW

Alex Lahey
photo by Kane Hibbard

Earlier this year, Melbourne’s Alex Lahey released her debut EP, B-Grade University, which is the kind of startlingly impressive debut that you just know is going to catch on (it already has a Tegan & Sara co-sign). It’s five songs and with such super-specific lyrics — which Alex normally delivers in a melodic deadpan — that each one is instantly distinguishable from the rest. Each song has a line or a hook that that gets stuck in your head right away, for one reason or another. “I went to B-Grade University and got myself an arts degree,” she sings on the chorus to opener “Ivy League.” “Let’s go out and have fun tonight / let’s go out and get drunk tonight,” goes the next song “Let’s Go Out.” It may sound simple on paper, but it sounds like a rallying cry when Alex sings it.

The best line might be the intro to “You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me.” “All I want is to have cleanskin wine, and watch Mulholland Drive with you.” Non-Australians may need to look up what cleanskin wine is, but otherwise, the same people who look forward to a night in with cheap alcohol and a hip counter-culture film are the people who are gonna dig Alex Lahey’s music. (On that note, there’s also a song on this EP called “Wes Anderson.”) Instrumentally, the EP pulls from the last two decades of indie rock. It’s punky, but mannered.

Being a wordy, deadpan indie rocker from Melbourne, Alex has of course gotten some Courtney Barnett comparisons (and while she admires Courtney’s music, she’s tired of them). I’d say she does sound a bit like Courtney sometimes, particularly on “Wes Anderson” and closing track “L​-​L​-​L​-​Leave Me Alone,” and this EP has me feeling about as excited as Courtney’s debut EP did. Get hip to Alex now before she’s playing SNL.

If you’re in the US, you can finally see Alex when she comes to Austin in March for SXSW, something she’s really excited about: “It’s going to be madness!” she says. “It’s going to be like, lads on tour, except we’re the least lad-iest people in the world. The thing I’m most excited about it to eat a shit ton of BBQ.”

Let’s hope she plays other cities (like NYC?) while she’s here too. Meanwhile, stream B-Grade University and watch the videos for three of the songs.

Update: Alex tells us she will indeed play NYC.

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