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: Acoustic guitar and banjo-driven folk rock, underscored by laidback surf vibes.
FOR FANS OF: Boy & Bear, the Lumineers, Passenger
WHY YOU SHOULD PAY ATTENTION: Coming together in 2011 over a love of AFL and surfing, Sydney trio Sons of the East (lead vocalist/guitarist Jack Rollins, banjo player Dan Wallage and keyboardist Nic Johnston) have developed a sound spanning influences such as Jack Johnson and Fleetwood Mac. The trio's 2013 self-titled debut EP landed at number 10 on Australia's iTunes charts, and 2015 follow-up Already Gone continued that momentum, Rollins' didgeridoo playing adding a unique sonic layer. After picking up the instrument at his godmother's house, he admits he "sounded like garbage the first time", but "went to an Aboriginal art store in Manly getting tips from the guys who work there about how to circular breathe", and performed for an Indigenous community in Yarrabah. Sons of the East gigs have ranged from the sublime (2015's Lost Paradise Festival) to the unorthodox (out at an Uluru camel farm). The trio are currently refining their sound while plotting the follow-up to 2016 single "Lost Cause".
THEY SAY: Of the drawn-out songwriting process for their upcoming release, which Rollins says could be an EP or album, he says, "We definitely felt a slump for a bit, and tried to break away from what we did originally. Then we went back to our roots and right now, it's a problem – but a good one – that we've got too many songs. We've come through the other side [of the slump] and are better for it. We're really proud of the stuff we're writing now, and can't wait to get it out to Sons of the East fans, and new ones as well."
HEAR FOR YOURSELF: While shedding some of Already Gone's folksier elements, such as the harmonica and banjo licks, "Lost Cause" reverberates with an instant catchiness and atmosphere, guided by Rollins' husky, mid-range vocals.