Words by Thea Martin
Stray Charley are one of the five bands taking to the Chateau Apollo stage tomorrow for The Australian Underground's first official gig, Charity Choons. If you're wondering what to expect, then you've come to the right place. So without further ado, here's a little introduction to what makes the band Stray Charley tick.
Jake (drummer) and Adrian (vocals) met back during their school days at Adelaide High, but didn't start their band until talking about it later at Spin Off festival. They were then joined down the track by Hamish, who picked up bass for the band, and guitarist Jack, and from there they were ready to start creating music as a 4 piece. Loosely describing their sound as "predominantly indie rock" the boys say they are still always experimenting and developing their sound. In their debut single from July of this year it's easy to hear similarities to some of the influences cited on their Triple J Unearthed page, such as Hockey Dad, Middle Kids and DMA's, who are really defining the sound of the best in the Australian scene at the moment.
Speaking of their debut single, Stray Charley's track Pass Me By is the only track currently available for your listening on streaming services, however rest assured, I've been promised they are planning on "a big 2020" so there will be more to come soon! Pass Me By is a beautiful encapsulation of what this band seems to be about, opening with the sounds of people talking and laughing as the warm guitar riff kicks in, taking you straight to a summer afternoon. The melodies envelop you in sweet nostalgia, and the catchy breakdown with the repetition of the line "I wonder if I'll ever be hers?" is so perfectly hopeful and makes you want to dance as you fall into memories or thoughts about someone. Speaking to the band about how this song came to be, drummer Jake has said "Pass Me By was written about someone wasting your time, and one band member at the time was being fooled around by someone and the chorus came about from that experience."
Already the band has received a really positive reception to the track, highlighting their single launch as a great moment for them, as people were already singing along. They've been playing shows at all the great Adelaide venues, including the much loved Cranker, Lion Arts Factory and West Thebby Social Club, and it seems this band is only heading in an upwards trajectory.
Perhaps it is a simple question, but I always like to ask musicians, "Why do you make music?" Stray Charley's answer seems perfectly aligned with what we've heard of them so far, saying "Well I think we make music because it's fun and it's a great creative outlet. It's nice writing songs and having people tell you they enjoy the music and it makes them feel something."