Australian band The Paper Kites announce their sixth studio album ‘At The Roadhouse’ will be released on Friday 1 September. The news arrives with the third single from the project “Hurts So Good” and its accompanying video out now.
In the winter of July 2022, The Paper Kites arrived in the small Victorian town of Campbells Creek, 140km north-east of Melbourne. The band had travelled there with a vision in mind – to enquire about an empty old roadside property.
“It used to be a gold mining supply store back in the days of the Victorian gold rush, then I believe it was a hotel – I was told there was a large fire there in 1876 that almost destroyed the whole building – but it survived and is still standing today. It’s this beautiful dramatic old structure by the side of the road” singer Sam Bentley explains – “I think we all felt there was something about it and what it could be”.
United in their vision, the band decided this would be the place to make their next record and began working on what would become ‘At The Roadhouse’. “The Roadhouse was really something from a collective dream that we had to try and manifest into a real place. It was a venue that we’d talked about over the years, a place for people to come and hear music. We wanted it to be a combination of all the greatest dive bars you’d ever been to, late-night watering holes, smoky taverns, biker bars – but it didn’t exist, so we had to build it, and then we had to try and fill it”. The band committed to a month-long stay in Campbells Creek, and the days that followed, the old diggers store was bustling with friends and fellow artists working to transform the space into a living, breathing venue. On the same property, owner Alex Bennett had a vintage all-analogue studio set up in a barn behind the venue. The band decided it was here they would work on their next album during the weeks – and every Friday and Saturday night, they would open the doors of ‘The Roadhouse’ and perform. The shows would be free and unannounced, relying solely on local word of mouth.
“I remember word started getting around town that something was happening there, but no one really knew what it was. When we opened the doors for the first time, we knew that there was every chance we could have been playing to five people – and we didn’t care. By the end of the month, it was so full we had to keep turning people away.”
The band (with the addition of seasoned multi-instrumentalists Matt Dixon, Hannah Cameron and Chris Panousakis) would perform two sets of brand new music for locals and passers-by who caught wind of the performances taking place inside of the ominous, red lit building (as seen on the album cover). Soon enough, a powerful sense of community and connection emerged around the shows and the venue itself.
Guitarist Dave Powys reflects, “What began as something imagined, became an experience realised by everyone in the room. A kind of magic born from people connecting with music and friends”.
Paying homage to the bands home state of Victoria, the group revealed their time in Campbells Creek was one of the most fulfilling months of their career. After five studio albums, over a decade-long career of touring relentlessly internationally and around Australia, The Paper Kites relished playing back at home to intimate local crowds. The band completely sold out their early 2023 UK and Europe tour, proving they have found a remarkably cherished status among their local and international fanbase, and now, ‘At The Roadhouse’ feels something of a homecoming.
Released today, “Hurts So Good” succeeds singles “The Sweet Sound Of You” and “Till The Flame Burns Blue” – receiving devoted acclaim and admiration from fans. “Hurts so good” arrives with an accompanied music video. As with the current singles released from ‘At The Roadhouse’, each track on the album will be paired with a live performance video filmed at the residency by cinematographer Keiren Watson-Bonnice. Keiren also resides in the Campbells Creek region and his work on feature film Shayda recently won the Sundance Film Festival 2023 Audience Award.
The 16-track album is a product of a hard-working band and a vision carefully and lovingly brought to life. Recorded and mixed by engineer Matt Redlich (Maple Glider, Quivers, Emma Louise), ‘At The Roadhouse’ is warm, soulful and honest – truly capturing the magic and energy of their roadhouse performances. It follows The Paper Kites’ acclaimed fifth studio album ‘Roses’ (2021) – an album of duets featuring Julia Stone, Aoife O’Donovan, MARO and more.
‘At The Roadhouse’ is an album of gentle significance, and a band at their absolute best.