|Origin||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|Genres||Indie rock, alternative rock|
|Labels||PIAS, MGM Distribution, Dine Alone, Waterfront, Mom + Pop|
The Jezabels are an Australian indie rock band formed in Sydney in 2007. They consist of Nik Kaloper on drums and percussion, Samuel Lockwood on lead guitar, Hayley Mary (also known as Hayley Frances McGlone) on lead vocals and Heather Shannon on piano and keyboard. They have described their genre as "intensindie" but later said that this was just a joke that they put up on a social networking site, though people took them seriously.
From 2009 to 2010 the group issued a trilogy of extended play (EP) recordings, The Man Is Dead, She's So Hard and Dark Storm—all produced and engineered by Lachlan Mitchell. Two of their releases have reached the ARIA Singles Chart Top 40: the Dark Storm EP (October 2010) and their single "Endless Summer" (August 2011).
They released their debut studio album, Prisoner on 16 September 2011. It peaked at No. 2 on the ARIA Albums Chart and won Best Independent Release at the ARIA Music Awards of 2012. Their second album The Brink was released on 31 January 2014. Synthia, their third album, came out on 12 February 2016.
The Jezabels formed in 2007 after the four members met as students at the University of Sydney. Their music was described by national youth radio station, Triple J, as a blend of alternative rock, indie rock, and disco pop. The Jezabels' Facebook page describes their genre as "intensindie". Hayley Mary (born Hayley Frances McGlone) and Heather Shannon both went to Byron Bay High School and had performed together as a folk duo in Byron Bay. Samuel Lockwood also grew up in Byron Bay. The band's name is based on the biblical character, Jezebel, who Mary perceived as being "misunderstood or misrepresented" and described her as "an example of how women are really wrongly presented". Lockwood recognised Mary and Shannon when he saw them at university and invited them to join a band for a competition. The group are Nik Kaloper on drums and percussion, Sam Lockwood on lead guitar, Hayley Mary on lead vocals and Heather Shannon on piano and keyboard. Mary recalled: "It was a combination of four individual desires to play music and taking whatever opportunities we could find — which happened to be each other ... From there the process has pretty much been one of reconciling musical differences. But we’re getting closer".
On 3 February 2009 The Jezabels' debut extended play, The Man Is Dead, was released independently via MGM Distribution. It was recorded at Megaphon & Production Ave Studios and produced by The Jezabels and Lachlan Mitchell. The lead track, "Disco Biscuit Love", is credited to Shannon, McGlone, Lockwood and Kaloper. On 6 November that year they followed with a second EP, She's So Hard, which included the tracks "Easy to Love" and "Hurt Me". Both received significant radio airplay, including on Sydney's FBi Radio and Triple J. They also received airplay in the US, where in August, they debuted at No. 114 on the CMJ top 200 and reached No. 96 for the track "Disco Biscuit Love". On 22 December, they were the Triple J Unearthed featured artist and described by them as "[d]ramatic, energetic, uplifting, indie rock with a commanding lead singer. We've picked them to play Field Day – a great way to start the new year!". Their She's So Hard EP was the No. 3 most added on US college radio for 2009.
On 1 October 2010 The Jezabels released the third EP of their trilogy, Dark Storm, which peaked in the top 40 of the ARIA Singles Chart. The Age's Peter Vincent felt "[t]heirs is a timeless sound that is radio-friendly: moody female vocals soaring over strong percussion and slow-building guitar and piano/keyboard lines". One of the tracks, "Mace Spray", has lyrics containing "an element of satire. It's hilarious that someone would carry mace spray ... but it's also very sad".
On 16 September 2011 they released their debut studio album Prisoner and it reached No. 2 on the ARIA Album Chart. It was recorded at Sydney's Attic Studios with Mitchell producing and Peter Katis mixing. Vulture Magazine's Anna Moull described the album in a review: "a dramatic gothic epic, with a twist of 80’s power-house rock. Jezabels singer Hayley Mary sums up their sound perfectly as 'Bronte-esque gothic (and) melodramatic'. Channelling Kate Bush, Freddie Mercury and Cyndi Lauper, Mary’s vocals are a force to be reckoned with". By 31 December 2011, the album was certified gold by ARIA for the shipment of 35,000 units. It received 3 out of 5 points by Guardian critic Caroline Sullivan and 7 / 10 by Dom Gourlay for drownedinsound.com. "Endless Summer" was performed by both Josh Pyke and Jack Vidgen. In late 2013, the Jezabels released a song titled "The End" as the first single release from their second album The Brink, which was released on 31 January 2014.
Synthia, their third album, was released on 12 February 2016. It was again produced by Lachlan Mitchell (in the Jungle Studios, Attic Studios and Oceanic Studios in Sydney). Its title alludes to the many new synthesizers that Shannon had bought and to the name Cynthia, which is an allusion to a Goddess by that name (bynames of Luna and Artemis), Cynthia Lennon, Cynthia Plaster Caster and Cyndi Lauper, who is a role model for Mary, not only for her music, but also for her feminist attitude and her commitment to the rights of homosexual people.
The album reached No. 4 in the ARIA Albums Charts and No. 1 on the Carlton Dry Independent Music Charts.
It received 5 out of 5 points by the Guardian critic.
Bluesdoodle.com gave it 8 out of 10 points.
Reviewing the album song for song, Xsnoize.com's Sandra Blemster compared Hayley Mary to Kate Bush and Chrissie Hynde. She wrote: "On listening to Synthia I feel like I’ve paid a visit to the cinema and watched a gripping, extraordinary film. You know when a film captures you that much and you come out, it’s daylight and your eyes hurt from the sun? That’s how this album felt. Intoxicating stuff: maybe it’s a full moon."
Sydney Morning Herald's critic Jenny Valentish wrote Synthia was "everything fans love the band for: volatile, provocative and intelligent."
In an article for student-run newspaper The Observer John Darr wrote: “[...] "Synthia” is a record that stretches the pop music format to its potential. Every risk it takes regarding song structure, lyrical turns and production style pays off. It is undoubtedly experimental and yet sacrifices no popular appeal in order to be so. “Synthia” is one of the first truly great records of 2016 [...]."
The Jezabels have released official music videos for the following tracks: "Disco Biscuit Love", "Hurt Me", "Easy to Love", "Mace Spray", "Trycolour", "Endless Summer", "City Girl", "Rosebud", "Angels of Fire", "Look of Love", "Time to Dance", "All You Need", "Come Alive", "Pleasure Drive", "My Love Is My Disease" and "Smile". Two versions were made for "Disco Biscuit Love".
The "Hurt Me" clip was aired on Australian national television for a number of weeks in February 2010 by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's music video program, rage. It was also the rage Indie Clip of the Week in March 2010. "Easy to Love" was aired on rage in May 2010. While not an official music video, their song "A Little Piece", is featured in the Danny MacAskill bicycle trials video, "Way Back Home". It is also featured in a video by acclaimed Slovenian dog trainer, Silvia Trkman, whose Pyrenean Shepherd, Le, featured in the video, has gone on to become an international dog agility star. In the opening video on YouTube for Ubisoft's Far Cry 3, the song "Prisoner" is featured in a very short cut version.
In May 2016 "Come Alive" won the "Soundkilda Award" for "Best Music Video" and the "Audience Choice Award" at the "St Kilda Film Festival". In June 2016 "My Love Is My Disease" won an award at the "Clipped Music Video Competition" in the category "best music video (australia)" and "Come Alive" won for the category "animation (australia)".
The Jezabels state that they are predominantly a live act and played the indie circuit around Sydney since 2007. In 2009 they played at the Hopetoun and Annandale hotels, to positive reviews. They toured nationally to promote the release of their EPs; in November 2009, they did an east coast tour to launch She's So Hard. In November and December 2010, they undertook a national tour after launching Dark Storm.
The Jezabels have played the Australian festivals Big Day Out, Falls Festival, Pyramid Rock, Festival of the Sun, Playground Weekender, Come Together, Peats Ridge Festival, St Jerome's Laneway Festival and Soundwave. In 2011 they played at Groovin' the Moo and Splendour in the Grass. In September 2011 they played in Hamburg's "Uebel & Gefährlich" at the Reeperbahn Festival. In 2012 they were part of the de-Affaire festival in Nijmegen.
The Jezabels supported Canada’s Hey Rosetta! and Tegan & Sara on their Australian tours. In June 2010, they toured with Katie Noonan and The Captains, and also supported Regurgitator, Bluejuice, Dukes of Windsor, Van She, Sparkadia, Josh Pyke, Ghostwood, Cassette Kids, and Damn Arms.
In March 2012, they toured the US with indie rock group Imagine Dragons. In July 2012, they joined Garbage on their UK tour for four nights, and played at T in the Park on the sixth of that month. In August 2012, they played Lollapalooza in Grant Park, Chicago, US and appeared at Osheaga Music and Arts Festival 2012 in Montreal, Canada.
It is interesting to note that in the TV soap "Home and Away" episodes shown in Sydney on 22 and 23 October 2014, Phoebe Nicholson (played by Isabella Giovinazzo) has to make an agonising decision to leave her lover Kyle Braxton (played by Nic Westaway) behind in Summer Bay so that she can return to Melbourne and begin an Australia-wide tour supporting the Jezabels.
The band had to cancel their 2016 world tour shortly before Synthia was released, because Shannon needed immediate treatment for an ovarian cancer that had been diagnosed three years before. It had been kept private by her and the other band members, because she did not want it to affect her life too much.
In a statement she wrote:
I have preferred to not let this diagnosis get in the way of getting on with life. I feel a deep frustration at this new roadblock, as I now have to take a step back and undergo treatment. The band means so much to me, and cancelling the tour has been a very sad decision. I am hopeful that in the near future we will be back on the road again playing music we love.
In July 2016 the band announced that Shannon was "feeling strong again after her treatment" and that they would start touring again in September. Shannon had used the pause from tour life to collaborate with Peter Garrett (Midnight Oil) on his solo debut A New Version Of Now. Hayley Mary supported Birds of Tokyo on Discoloured, a track from their album Brace.
Achievements and awards
"Disco Biscuit Love" was featured as the iTunes (Australia) single of the week in the first week of July 2009. The single "Hurt Me" was featured as the iTunes (Australia) single of the week in the third week of February 2010, and was Traxx Radio's number 1 track of 2009. The Jezabels had two songs featured in the Triple J Hottest 100, 2010. "Easy to Love" came in at number 49, and "Mace Spray" at number 16. In December 2011, it was announced that their debut album was voted No. 6 in the Triple J Album Poll for 2011.
|2011||Dark Storm||Single of the Year||Nominated|
|Breakthrough Artist – Single||Nominated|
|Best Independent Release||Nominated|
|2012||Prisoner||Album of the Year||Nominated|
|Best Independent Release||Won|
|Best Rock Album||Nominated|
|The Jezabels||Best Australian Live Act||Nominated|
|Prisoner – Lachlan Mitchell||Producer of the Year||Nominated|
|Engineer of the Year||Nominated|
|Prisoner – Christopher Doyle||Best Cover Art||Nominated|
Awards and nominations
In 2010, the band's EP, Dark Storm, received the Australian Independent Record (AIR) Award for 'Best Independent Single/EP', with The Jezabels also taking away the 'Best Independent Artist' AIR Award. Furthermore, the band has won the 'Best Independent Artist' award in both 2011 and 2012 (in 2011, the band was the only dual award-winner at the event). They were nominated for Best Breakthrough Artist and Best Single / EP at the 2010 Independent Music Awards. Shannon and Lockwood reached the 2014 "Tropscore" final, Australia's biggest film score competition.
|2011||Dark Storm (Nikolas Kaloper, Samuel Lockwood, Hayley McGlone, Heather Shannon)||APRA Music Awards of 2011: Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year||Nominated|
|2011||Prisoner (Nikolas Kaloper, Samuel Lockwood, Hayley McGlone, Heather Shannon)||Australian Music Prize||Won|
- Nik Kaloper – drums, percussion
- Samuel Lockwood – guitars
- Hayley Mary – lead vocals
- Heather Shannon – keyboards, piano
In November 2011, "A Little Piece" was used for the Under Armour 'Are You From HERE?' commercial that features basketball star Brandon Jennings. "A Little Piece" was also used in the 2010 Red Bull short film "Way Back Home", set in Scotland's Isle of Skye, and featuring trials bike rider Danny MacAskill.
Australian pay TV provider Foxtel used "Endless Summer" as background music for their summer (2011–12) television content advertisement. "Nobody Nowhere" was used on the True Blood episode "In the Beginning", while "Easy to Love" appeared on the Grey's Anatomy episode "Hope for the Hopeless" in January 2012. In a 2012 episode of the television show Neighbours, Paul Robinson learns that the grades of his niece Sophie Ramsay are slipping and eventually forbids her from seeing a Jezabels concert in the city.
"Easy to Love" was used on Dance Academy as the music to a tribute dance to Sammy Leiberman by his friends. The dance was originally performed by Sammy himself but when he died it was Ben's idea to do a tribute dance.
Mary revealed at a March 2012 show in Sheffield, UK, that the song "Long Highway" was proposed for one of the Twilight saga films, but was deemed "too mature". Mary later explained in a September 2012 interview:
Do you know how offhand that comment was and how many times I’ve had to face it since? I did say that. It was kind of true, but it was also a bit tongue-in-cheek. We were kind of told that might be the reason. It’s a six-minute song, which requires maturity for listening. What they specifically said, apparently, was that the voice was too mature. I don’t know if that means I sound old or I sound intelligent. I’m going to hope that it’s the latter.
"Long Highway" was used in the 2014 Red Bull short film Epecuén, set in the Argentinian village of Villa Epecuén and featuring trials bike rider Danny MacAskill. The song "Peace of Mind" is used as the final song in the last episode of the netflix series, The Killing (season 4).
In the TV soap Home and Away episodes (#6078 - 6080) shown in Sydney on 22 and 23 October 2014, Phoebe Nicholson (played by Isabella Giovinazzo) has to decide whether to leave her lover Kyle Braxton (played by Nic Westaway) behind in Summer Bay so that she can return to Melbourne and begin an Australia-wide tour supporting the Jezabels.
- Prisoner (16 September 2011) No. 2 AUS
- The Brink (31 January 2014) No. 2 AUS
- Synthia (12 February 2016) No. 4 AUS
- The Man Is Dead (February 2009)
- She's So Hard (November 2009)
- Dark Storm (October 2010) No. 40 AUS, No. 1 AUS iTunes Albums Chart (September 2010), AUS: Gold
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|2013||"The End"||81||5||The Brink|
|2014||"Look of Love"||–||–|
|"Angels of Fire"||–||–|
|"Time to Dance"||–||–|
|"All You Need"||–||–|
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In October 2010 they played a 13 date tour of North America and Canada as the supporting act for Two Hours Traffic,loper from 'The Jezabels' on SBS Radio]
- Interview with Hayley Mary on Heather Shannon's health and 'Synthia', the latest album; 6.99 MB, 16:24 min.