Track x Track: Tom Brown - ‘My Holland Street Heart’ LP

Track x Track: Tom Brown - ‘My Holland Street Heart’ LP

Wyalup-based bedroom pop singer-songwriter takes us through his charming, DIY, guitar-driven debut LP, track by track

Image credit: Robin Bottrell

It’s always an absolute delight to get sent some new music from a local artist you’re not familiar with and the music is not just good, it’s bloody great… which was the case for Tom Brown’s (real name: Tom Fawkner) debut single earlier this year, Carolyn - a downright charming and tender cut of fuzzy DIY indie pop, which made our Best Music Videos upon release.

It’s been an interesting journey for the 22-year old singer, songwriter, multiinstrumentalist and producer to get to putting out his freshly released debut album, My Holland Street Heart. With a musical journey that commenced at age seven with every neighbour’s favourite present - a drum kit - Tom learned to slap the tubs along to a bit of Zeppelin IV. Fast forward to Tom’s teenage years where he was living in the remote town of Katherine in the Northern Territory where he discovered the popular and powerful music making software, Ableton Live, which would open up a whole new world of sound possibilities. Now with the ability to layer instruments and actually start and finish a complete song on his own, Tom picked up the guitar, started writing and singing and learning the full songwriting and recording process - and fast forward another eight years and his debut album is here.

Taking cues from indie/bedroom pop icons like Alex G, Clairo and Car Seat Headrest, Tom’s music is warm, inviting, personal, tender and emotive, featuring intricate and commanding guitar lead lines that complement his smooth vocals alongside dusty drums and bouncy bass lines.

Speaking on the creation process, Tom explains “In 2022 I moved from Katherine in the Northern Territory to Fremantle. So many things in my personal life were shifting and changing - it was such an important time to capture for me. It taught me not to sweat the small stuff; I didn’t want to get lost in the recording process and lose sight of what I actually wanted to create. The main goal for the album was to say exactly what I was feeling at the time without trying to sound smart and without fear of how it would be perceived - to be as honest as possible.”

To get even more honest, Tom was kind enough to dive into the record and talk us through it, track by track:

SPORTSTAR

I would say this is the only track on the album that isn’t about a specific event or moment I’ve experienced. I wasn’t sure how to open the album and kind of set the scene, so I decided to write something more abstract that still felt in line with the tone of the album and the upcoming tracks.

CAROLYN

When I was a kid there was a woman who lived on our block named Carolyn. She became a grandma figure to me and my younger sister. She’s no longer with us so I wanted to write a tribute for her as she was always so supportive of my passion for music as a child.

MISTAKES

Mistakes is about navigating right and wrong. Wanting to do right but admitting we are sometimes prone to making the wrong decisions because they are easy. I wrote this track about the fear of making these mistakes. It’s been cool building this track up with the live band and finding ways to replicate some of the sounds or create new ones.

OUT IN THE WORLD

A song about an afternoon stroll. That feeling when you’ve been cooped up all day and you finally step out and feel the breeze. The feeling that a weight has somehow been lifted through the act of simply going outside.

SCARY THINGS

A song about a walk home from a big night in the town. The alcohol induced anxiety that we have all felt after overindulging in alcohol. This has been another fun one to play with the band, the live version is sounding a bit different to what’s on the album.

ZOO

Zoo is about spending the day with someone you know you won’t see again. That surreal feeling when a chapter of your life closes and your world is changing in front of your eyes.

MY HOLLAND STREET HEART

My Holland Street Heart is me accepting that I am going to make change. That I am going to make the right but hard decision. And putting my blind faith in the fact that “I will find what it is I am looking for”.

MOON

Moon is about the feeling that something bigger than myself can help guide me through challenging times. “There is a moon above my head that shows me where I need to get”. It’s about feeling content with a sense of purpose and direction, even though I don’t know where the world will take me.

          - Tom Brown, May 2024

Tom Brown's new album My Holland Street Heart is out now via Rockton Records

Album artwork Tom Brown My Holland Street Heart

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