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DIY Discovery | Adrian Whitehead

The Australian troubadour doesn't overdo the dour on his sophomore album.

Most of the music I hear is sent to me by labels and publicists. But there’s nothing like getting it straight from the source. Welcome to another instalment of DIY Discovery, where I introduce you to artists who have sent me their music directly (and who don’t suck — that’s definitely part of the deal too). If you’d like to get in on this action, no problemo: Just click here or go to the Submit Music page, fill out the form and hit send. Or email me directly here. I can’t promise I’ll feature you, but if you’re as awesome as you think you are, it could happen. You never know. But first, check out today’s deserving entry:

NAME: Adrian Whitehead

HOME: Melbourne, Australia

LATEST RELEASE: Nerd From the Suburbs

MY PITHY DESCRIPTION: A troubadour who doesn’t overdo the dour.

FOUR ADJECTIVES FOR HIS MUSIC: Lush, intimate, bittersweet, Beatlesque

WHO HE SOUNDS LIKE: See below — I couldn’t put it better than he does.

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Adrian Whitehead’s stunning songwriting lays bare the human condition and shines a light into the dark corners of our inner worlds. Channelling the likes of George Harrison, Elliott Smith, and Harry Nilsson, he creates a unique sound that reflects his extensive musical experiences. An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, Adrian has performed with some of Australia’s best known artists including The Badloves, Pollyanna, Even, Abby Dobson, and Liz Stringer.

Adrian’s long-awaited second album, Nerd from the Suburbs, weaves alt-pop and psychedelic influences into an elegantly constructed soundscape. Produced by Shane O’Mara (Paul Kelly, Tim Rogers, Lisa Miller) at Yikesville studio in Melbourne, Nerd from the Suburbs is the end result of a journey that started almost a decade ago. Not content to merely recreate the sonic mastery of his first album, One Small Stepping Man (2008), Adrian goes deeper with this new offering: delving into the web of human experience, getting tangled in the contradictions and paradoxes, and finally distilling a sound as beautiful and disgusting as the lives he writes about. A clinical Sigmund Freud gives in to schizophrenic psychedelia; expansive cinematic soundscapes contrast against a New Orleans bar scene, complete with drunken trombone and tack piano. Finally, in an attempt to find intimacy, the closing track thrusts the listener into the farthest reaches of the known universe, shadowed by reverb-drenched guitars and lofty vocals.

Though there’s plenty of humour and warmth, Nerd From The Suburbs is not afraid to stare into the abyss when the time comes. And there lies the true paradox: when we put ourselves under the microscope we are likely to find not only great pain and sadness, but also healing and comfort. When the long night is over, the darkness swirls into shades of grey.