Laura Macfarlane

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Laura Macfarlane
Laura MacFarlane Finders St Station 2014.jpg
Performing at Flinders St Station, November 2014
Background information
Birth name Laura Sandra MacFarlane
Born Glasgow, Scotland
Origin Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Genres Indie rock
Occupation(s) Musician, audio engineer, fanzine publisher
Instruments Drums, vocals, guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, vibraphone
Years active 1988–present
Labels Patsy
Associated acts The Brautigans, Manic Pizza, Sea Haggs/Keckle, Sleater-Kinney, ninetynine

Laura Sandra MacFarlane (also credited as Lora MacFarlane) is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and audio engineer. Since 1996 she is the founding mainstay of the Australian indie rock band, ninetynine. MacFarlane also performs solo and has been in other bands, including as an early drummer and singer with United States rock group, Sleater-Kinney (1994–96).


Laura Sandra MacFarlane is from Glasgow Scotland, her parents are George MacFarlane (1936–2006) and Patricia "Patsy" MacFarlane; she has two older siblings.[1][2][3] The MacFarlane family migrated to Perth in October 1978.[2] George was an accomplished musician and had played trombone and percussion instruments both with Scottish and Australian army bands.[3]

Initially MacFarlane performed in the Brautigans,[4] on vocals, guitar and vibraphone, with Augustine Hwee on guitar, Nikki Jones on drums and backing vocals, Bernard Langham on guitar and violin, Sophie Moleta on vocals and drums, and Kevin Stanley-Bodell on bass guitar.[5] From the late 1980s onward, she also joined a variety of local bands including Halcyon Days on drums with Andrew Roberts on guitar and vocals, René on guitar, and Stefan on guitar.[5]

Another Perth group, Louder than God, had an extensive line-up of ten members including MacFarlane, Iain McIntyre and John Young; which Bernard Langham described as "making a deafening racket ... sounds good."[5] While still a member of Brautigans, she had tinnitus and wore earplugs, "I can't figure out what's going on with my hearing, so I'll keep playing music."[6] MacFarlane then joined hardcore punk band, Manic Pizza, on bass guitar and vocals, with Gareth Edwards (ex-Thou Gideon) on guitar and Cameron Potts on drums.[4] As a member of Manic Pizza, MacFarlane relocated to Melbourne in the early 1990s.[4] Edwards later told René Schaefer of Mess+Noise that "Cameron was heavily into the Pixies at the time; I was a Hüsker Dü freak; Laura provided the actual talent."[4]

In 1991 MacFarlane formed Sea Haggs (later renamed, Keckle)[7] on guitar, viola, percussion and vocals with McFarlane and Potts. That group's material was later included on a compilation album, Jelly (1997).[7] She also began publishing Woozy fanzine in 1992 with McIntyre.[8][9]

MacFarlane on keyboards and vocals with ninetynine, Northcote Social Club, 2007

MacFarlane began playing drums and vocals, in 1994, with visiting United States rock group, Sleater-Kinney, and in 1995 she went to Olympia and Seattle to tour and record with the band. She is the drummer, co-producer and co-writer on their self-titled debut album, Sleater-Kinney.[10] She is also the lead singer on the track, "Lora's Song". MacFarlane provided drums and backup vocals on a few tracks of their follow up album, Call the Doctor (March 1996).[11]

In 1996 MacFarlane returned to Melbourne and founded an indie rock band, ninetynine, initially as a solo project – she played all the instruments on the debut album, 99 (October 1996).[12] Her project soon became a band, including McIntyre (from 2000) and Potts (from 1997).[12][13] By 2010 ninetynine had released eight albums and toured the world several times.[12][14] MacFarlane founded her own record label, Patsy,[12][13] which issued ninetynine material as well as that by other bands: Sea Scouts, Fiona Beverage, Boo Who, and Vivian Girls. She also co-founded, with Mcintyre, Choozy – an independent distribution company (1996–2002) which distributed music, fanzines and small publications.

MacFarlane has played a variety of instruments on a number of records, including vibraphone, Casiotone keyboards, drums, and guitar.[15] She has worked with other artists including Lee Memorial (alongside Karl Smith of Sodastream),[16] Bombazine Black,[17] Winterborn, Tarantula,[14] Disaster Plan, New Buffalo,[18] Trixies Undersea Adventure, Deer, Boo Who, Popemobile, Bruna (with Edwards and Potts),[19] Dragster, Driving Past, Scared of Horses, and Clag.

In 2015 she produced and recorded the second album by Melbourne singer/songwriter Jules Sheldon entitled 'Football, Trams, Parties, and Other Extended Highlights'. As of July 2015 MacFarlane is based in Melbourne, and still plays as a member of ninetynine, as well as performing solo.[20]


  1. ^ "'At the Backdoor' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 5 October 2015.  Note: User may have to click 'Search again' and provide details at 'Enter a title:' e.g At the Backdoor or at 'Performer:' Laura MacFarlane
  2. ^ a b "Item details for: PP704/1, MacFarlane G". National Archives of Australia. 13 March 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Kralevich, Bert (October 2006). Justina Harring, ed. "In Memory of... George MacFarlane". Sporting Pulse. North Perth Bowling & Recreation Club. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d Schaefer, René (12 May 2009). "Gareth Edwards: Part One". Mess+Noise. Retrieved 5 October 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c Gerard, David (Summer 1990–91). "Perth Bands" (PDF). Party Fears. p. 3. Retrieved 5 October 2015. 
  6. ^ Gerard, David (August–September 1991). "Perth News" (PDF). Party Fears. p. 1. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  7. ^ a b MacFarlane, Lora; Sea Haggs; Keckle (1991), Jelly, Woozy Muzik. National Library of Australia, retrieved 5 October 2015  Note: This source uses "Lora" MacFarlane.
  8. ^ McIntyre, Iain (20 February 2010). "I Was a Zinester in the '90s". We Make Zines. Sticky Institute. Archived from the original on 22 September 2015. Retrieved 5 October 2015. 
  9. ^ McIntyre, Iain; Macfarlane, Laura (1992), Woozy, Woozy (Iain McIntyre, Laura MacFarlane). National Library of Australia, retrieved 5 October 2015 
  10. ^ "Sleater-Kinney – Sleater-Kinney | Credits". AllMusic. All Media Guide. Retrieved 4 October 2015.  Note: This source uses "Lora" MacFarlane.
  11. ^ Call the Doctor (CD booklet). Sleater-Kinney. Portland, Oregon: Chainsaw Records. 1996. CHSW #13. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Artists :: Ninetynine". Australian Music Online. Australian Council for the Arts. Archived from the original on 22 November 2005. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  13. ^ a b "ninetynine". Oz Music Project. Archived from the original on 7 August 2003. Retrieved 7 October 2015. 
  14. ^ a b Trevor (30 July 2010). "Bande Magnétique". Mess+Noise. Junkee Media. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  15. ^ Andrews, Chris (1 September 2003). "ninetynine – 180° – Review". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 7 October 2015. 
  16. ^ Lubulwa, Eva (13 May 2009). "Lee Memorial @ NSC, Melbourne". FasterLouder. Junkee Media. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  17. ^ Gray, Michele Davis (8 October 2010). "Bombazine Black – The Toff in Town". The Au Review. Heath Media & the AU review. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  18. ^ Attlee, Mathew (February 2003). "Music News: February 2003: Thursday 13th". Aus Music Scrapbook. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  19. ^ "Bruna". Oz Music Project. Archived from the original on 7 August 2003. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  20. ^ Linacre, Emma (23 July 2015). "Packed book launch in Melbourne". Socialist Party. Retrieved 6 October 2015. 

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