Indie folk duo Luluc have a long and patient history together. In 1999, nearly a decade before their first release, Australian natives Zoë Randell and Steve Hassett met halfway around the world in Scotland while Randell was working at the Edinburgh Festival and Hassett was traveling around Europe with his guitar. The two musicians hit it off immediately and began singing and writing together, though after their return to Australia, both would end up tied to other bands, jobs, and lives for many years. Following the death of Randell's father, she went through a personal upheaval, reevaluating her life and deciding that it was time to make music her primary ambition. With Hassett as her collaborator and editor, she slowly developed a set of quiet, acoustic songs that would eventually comprise the duo's first album, 2008's Dear Hamlyn, a tribute to her late father. Self-released in Australia, the album boasted a simple and elegant formula largely based around Randell's earthy, haunting voice with Hassett harmonizing and adding subtle flourishes over the gently strummed acoustic guitar.
Their success wasn't immediate, but over the next few years some highly influential fans like producer Joe Boyd (Nick Drake, Fairport Convention), Lucinda Williams, and the National's Aaron Dessner began to take notice. With the band now spending more time in the U.S., they began to play higher-exposure shows joining Fleet Foxes, the National, and José González on-stage. They started to split their time between Melbourne and Brooklyn and it was No Depression editor Peter Blackstock, a big fan of Dear Hamlyn, who instigated a meeting with Sub Pop chief Jonathan Poneman, who happened to be in Brooklyn at the same time. He signed Luluc after one meeting and they began the arduous task of recording their follow-up album with supporter and friend Aaron Dessner co-producing. In the meantime, the band had become friendly with Joe Boyd, who pegged them to contribute two songs to a 2013 Nick Drake tribute album he was producing. Finally, in the summer of 2014, 15 years after their first meeting and six years after their first release, Luluc made their international debut on Sub Pop with Passerby. ~ Timothy Monger