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: Dirty pop doused in glitter with whispers of a Mexican sunset
FOR FANS OF: Angel Olsen, the Jezabels, Jenny Lewis
WHY YOU SHOULD PAY ATTENTION: Singer, songwriter and producer Jack River [aka Holly Rankin] remembers writing her first song at nine years old. Moved by the subdivision of a local farm in her hometown of Forster on the mid-north coast of NSW, Rankin wrote an environmental protest song – a style and prose that would drive her songwriting throughout her teenage years. "I just didn't understand why someone would want to wreck this land," she says. In her new EP, Highway Songs No.2, Rankin's political folk roots give way to the guitar- heavy buzz found in 1960s pop – among her biggest influences are the Doors and the Beatles. Blending surf-pop with electronic swells and a baby-punk mien, Rankin says of the EP's second single, "Palo Alto", "As soon as I wrote the chorus I felt that golden Californian, gritty highway anthem, and saw this afternoon, sad breakup drive happening. It's a moving-on song."
Off the back of her first headline tour to support the EP, Jack River has announced spots at the Falls Festival and Sugar Mountain. Rankin has also curated boutique music festival Grow Your Own in collaboration with Mambo illustrator Lee McConnell, showcasing a capsule collection of Forster's emerging talent.
SHE SAYS: "[One] formative songwriting thing was losing my sister at age 14. Music became this parental figure. The Doors and Neil Young and Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell, these singers became this almost religious, parental force in my life. I would listen to music every night and every day. That was the same time I started to write obsessively and record anything I was feeling into diaries. It definitely – beautifully – shaped what I do and how I see the world. Her energy was such a beautiful, light, fun, pink and purple energy, like a luminous thing. I try to put a sense of hope and resilience into each song. Turn things into magic rather than tragedy."
HEAR FOR YOURSELF: "Palo Alto" is a dusty pop track that rolls like a Chevy down the Pacific Coast Highway.