Shortstraw is an indie rock band from Johannesburg South Africa. With their simple melodies and catchy rhythms, Shortstraw has taken the greatest of pleasure in rocking the most prominent live music venues and clubs in South Africa, and is well known for getting the crowd dancing. With 2014 set to take the band internationally, Shortstraw will bring their uniquely South African “Indie-Bele” sound to the rest of the world.
Here comes a little bragging for those not wanting to read too much. Shortstraw is super proud to have so far seen two singles from the 2013 sophomore album GOOD MORNING, SUNSHINE placed within the top 5 for the 5FM Top40 countdown in 2013. Shortstraw won Best Indie at the 2013 MK Awards for the music video for One Long Day, and at the 2014 MK Awards picked up BEST ALBUM for Good Morning, Sunshine and BEST VIDEO for Waterworks. Shortstraw has also had the incredible opportunity to open for a number of great international bands including The Kooks (UK), Last Dinosaurs (AUS), and the Dune Rats (AUS), not to mention being asked to play at all the prominent music festivals in South Africa as well as the Vic Falls Carnival in Zimbabwe.
In 2014, Shortstraw will join Aussie indie hotcakes, The Jungles Giants, in a capital city tour of Australia. The tour will then be followed by a tour through Japan courtesy of Flake Records, who have re released both YOU’RE UNDERFED I’M WONDERFUL, and GOOD MORNING, SUNSHINE in Japan.
Shortstraw started out as a two-piece drums/guitar band, with Alastair (lead vocals and guitar) and Ollie (drums and backing vocals) who have been friends since high school. They started jamming as Shortstraw since 2007 and gigging (officially) since 2008. The two-piece changed to a three-piece when the band called on the bass skills of former band mate, Jason Hartford, and they continued to gig their simple, acoustic music.
The three then began recording their debut EP, We Slept Through it All (2008) with Chris Brink and Mike Stott (of ‘Tweak’ fame) and finally completed recording in December 2008. Whilst recording said EP, maestro Jay laid down some guitar choons too, and in so doing left the handsome members of Shortstraw in a bit of a pickle… How to pull off this recording in a live scenario? So… along came Phil Brierly. In 2011 Phil and Jason later left the band, and Gad (keyboard and harmony maestro), Tom (lead guitar virtuoso- literally!) and Russ (Bass boy) joined the band. As they joined, the recorded material of You’re Underfed I’m Wonderful (2011) was ready to be released.
The new line up started both touring the album and at the same time quickly, and rather excitedly writing new material. 2012 saw the band hit the road, in what was to be a very exciting build up of interest around the band. The venues got bigger, and the crowds started growing. People started recognising that here was a band you can dance and sing along to. The music video for the opening track One Long Day went to nr. 1 on the MK Top 10 Music Videos Chart, and won them an award for Best Indie at the 2013 MK Awards held at the State Theatre in Pretoria. Other than that, the album saw some love on late night rock shows, and student radio stations, but kept Shortstraw like...totally underground and obscure, so you might not have heard of them back then.
In 2013 Shortstraw released Good Morning, Sunshine (2013), an entirely self funded project, which in turn gave birth to the band’s own publishing label Boosh Records. Packed with the new and exciting influences of each band member, the album saw the band confidently enter the mainstream radio waves with the first singles Good Morning Sunshine, and Couch Potato making it as far as the top 5 in the 5Fm Top 40 Countdown.
A sneaky pre release of Bikini Weather, also made it to nr. 1 on TuksFM’s Most Wanted chart. The album was recorded at High Seas Records in Rosebank, Johannesburg has predominantly been produced by Jacques ‘Jambo’ du Plessis and Marc de la Querra from High Seas Records. Grammy Awards winner Darryl Torr also had some production input on the track ‘Gimme My Fix’ and Teejay Terreblanche was involved with ‘Bikini Weather’. The new members all added their own flavour and it has resulted in a more mature, well-rounded sound for Shortstraw.
Lyrically, the band is telling more stories with the new album. Each song has a catchy hook that you can sing and dance along to. Not that that wasn’t the case with the first album – fans can just expect it to be easier with this one. The guitar parts are more intricate with Tom on lead guitar, there are more detailed keys with a full time keyboardist and their growth as musicians since their last offering is evident.
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