Jen Cloher is an Australian singer-songwriter who runs the Melbourne label Milk! Records with her wife, the great indie-rocker Courtney Barnett. Barnett plays on Cloher’s upcoming self-titled album, but it’s all Cloher’s show, and lead single “Forgot Myself” demonstrated that it was a show worthy of your attention. New song “Regional Echo” is gentler but no less effective, a meditation on the suffocating insularity of life in small-town Australia. “I grew up in Adelaide, a town in South Australia with a population of one million,” Cloher explains. “In summer you could feel the heat blowing in from the desert. There was a remote feeling of not quite being a country town but not being large enough to be taken seriously either. Life had a strange amnesia. No-one taught you to dream big.”
The music video, once again directed by Annelise Hickey, is a perfect encapsulation of the song’s lyrical themes. “Our bass player Bones Sloane grew up in Goulburn, a regional centre nestled between Canberra and Sydney along the Hume Highway. Famous for it’s pastoral industry, most people will know it for the Big Merino, the world’s largest concrete sheep,” Cloher says. “I asked Bones if we could go home to visit his family in Goulburn and film him walking around the streets. Small town life is a larger metaphor for small time thinking. We’re not encouraged to dream big in Australia, there’s something in our national psyche that keeps us small.” Watch and listen below.
Jen Cloher is out 8/11 via Milk! Records. Pre-order it here.