When long time fans sign one of their favourite acts

Local underground heroes The Laurels have a new label after their recent signing to Third Eye Stimuli. With a new album ready to drop, TES cofounder Rick Snowden reminisces about the Laurels not just as a new signing but as a long time fan.

It was 2013 and Josh and I had returned to Austin Psych Fest (now called Levitation Festival) after the unforgettable experience we’d had the year prior. Third Eye Stimuli Records didn’t yet exist, but we were on a research trip of sorts. While the experience may have been hazed by a number of Lone Star Ales, I still remember the set. Their eyes squinting to better read the indicator lights of their extravagant pedal boards obscured by the afternoon Texan sun. The sound was huge, the crowd was feeling it. We were proud standing there in the dirt, front row, supporting our fellow Aussie psych contingent.

Fast forward to the here and now and I’m revisiting their 2012 debut album ‘Plains’. Ten tracks, as relevant as ever. ‘Tidal Wave’, ‘Changing The Timeline’, ‘This City Is Coming Down’. Angsty, driving, infectious. They might be a few of my highlights, but with so much to unpack within their decade-spanning back catalogue The Laurels have something for everyone, every mood and every occasion. Flowing vocals used as melodic motifs just as often as they provide textural conduit in their wall of sound, the relentless splashing drums bookended by dynamic fills, guitars that fuzz, jangle and echo off into some ethereal void. Tonal perfection. 

I didn’t know this until I read their bio, but the band actually formed way back in 2006. Side note: You won’t find their very first single ‘Art School Girl’ on Spotify, but a quick dig through Youtube and you’ll have it spinning – and it’s worth it. These days keeping a group together for more than two years is admirable. To this day the band have been through a few lineup switches, had a handful of years apart and released two full length albums. They’ve toured internationally and played alongside the likes of Tame Impala, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Black Angels and Swervedriver. I’ve seen them perform live several times now and they’ve delivered a memorable, ear-shattering show every single time. 

What I see in The Laurels, above the genius arrangements, brilliant songwriting and powerful live performances is what they represent for underground music in the modern era. I see a band who simply creates the kind of music they enjoy listening to. They don’t follow a formula, a trend, or please bigwig A&R scouts (unless said scouts have great taste or a penchant for 90’s inspired music). I see a band who doesn’t need to score rotation on mainstream radio to play really awesome festivals on the other side of the globe. They’re an example of what any band could achieve if they can remain persistent and authentic. They’re now signed to Third Eye Stimuli, with a mastered album sitting on our drives and Josh and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Juicy details? Well, the album is called ‘Homecoming’, it has ten tracks and is marked in our calendar for a March release. I didn’t wish for this piece to become a press release for upcoming drops, and we’ll save the hype for those on our mail list or socials, but I will say that their new album has all the makings of another cult package from The Laurels with modern production, vintage textures (tickling the fancy of an audio nerd such as myself) and their signature timeless guitar-lead approach. Birthed in Parliament Studios with help from producer Lachlan Mitchell, the setting allowed for some interesting instrumental experimentation and a neatly polished final product. 

If you haven’t yet heard them, singles ‘Sound System’, ‘Ex Sherpa’ and ‘Ten Thousand Years’ are up and streamable on all platforms and provide a solid introduction as to the feel of the record. Personally I think my favourites are yet to hit the airwaves, so exercise patience…

With the live scene kicking back into gear, I strongly recommend getting to one of their upcoming shows. Bring plugs if you value your hearing, stand in the center of the room (equally spaced from the speakers) and soak it up. Oh, and keep an ear out for more details on this album. 

Until next time,