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Taking her name from the 1985 Michelle Pfeiffer film, New Zealand's Pip Brown is Ladyhawke, a solo performer whose outsized hooks and attitude belie the tidy lineup. Using guitars, synthesizers and studio magic to create a sound that's both classic and futuristic, Ladyhawke is more ambitious than your average electro-popper. Brown started playing percussion at 11, inspired by her stepfather's jazz drumming; she earned her indie stripes with the band Two Lane Blacktop, slogging across the continent in a broken-down van. When the group fizzled out, Brown moved to Melbourne and then Sydney, collaborating with other musicians and increasingly devoting herself to Ladyhawke, her solo project and alter ego. "I started Ladyhawke out of a desire to do my own project where I could completely express myself in any way I wanted, without having to answer to bandmates," she explains in her official biography. "I wanted to make music that could put a smile on people's faces and give them a feeling of nostalgia, even though they may be hearing my songs for the first time." And indeed, her debut album has just that quality, with every song sounding like a long-forgotten '80s classic.
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