Future Is Now: Allan Smithy

Future Is Now: Allan Smithy

by Rod Yates | December 15th, 2016 4:26:PM EST

For our regular Future Is Now column we profile the hottest artists who are climbing the charts, breaking the Internet or just dominating our office stereos.

SOUNDS LIKE: Sitting in the backyard in mid-Eighties Australia, watching the Hills Hoist rotate in the breeze while the cricket plays on the radio.

FOR FANS OF: The Go-Betweens, the Triffids, Josh Pyke

WHY YOU SHOULD PAY ATTENTION: When former Tin Sparrow frontman Matt Amery played some mates a new song he was working on a while back – a tune which, it should be mentioned, he loved – his friends almost universally disliked it. It was a watershed moment. "I was like, that's fine, that’s great, that reaffirmed I was doing it for the right reasons," he says. "This whole project just came out of me doing it for myself."

The song was the Tom Iansek-produced "The Streets", and became the debut single for Allan Smithy, the monicker adapted by Amery because it represented a clean slate. (The term is used in movie circles when a director wants to disown a project and uses the monicker Alan Smithee.) Raised in the Sydney suburb of Gladesville, Smithy’s debut EP, I See a Palm Tree, is ripe with stories of everyday life in the suburbs, set to a soundtrack that recalls the sepia-tinged sounds of Australian bands from yesteryear, such as the Go-Betweens.

HE SAYS: "A lot of people sing about love and heartbreak, and I wanted to get away from that, so I'm singing about things like going to uni and I haven't really used the degree, was that a waste of money?" says Amery. "Just singing about real, normal things that people worry about. I always think it's good to write about things you know."

HEAR FOR YOURSELF: "Air" addresses the bombing of a convenience store in the Sydney suburb of Rozelle in 2014, just around the corner from where he was living.

From issue #782 (January 2017), available now.

Rolling Stone