Track by Track: Wanderers take us through their self-titled EP


Today South Australia’s Wanderers have released their third EP, self-titled, and arguably their strongest to date. The well-respected duo, Dusty Lee Stephensen and Matt Birkin have established themselves as outstanding songwriters and musicians. The EP is their first since 2017’s Something For A Distraction and sets them up nicely for a visit to the US for this years’ SXSW.

It’s an eclectic mix of tracks, from searing guitars and classic rock on “Make It On My Own” to the jaunty “Nothing in This World ” and “Malibu”. There’s beautiful falsetto’s, saxophones, funky feels, and so much more. They’ve crammed in five quality tracks which will leave you wanting more.

The EP was recorded at Wundenbergs Recording Studio in Thebarton, SA. It was predominantly mixed by Jackson Barclay (Birds of Tokyo, Last Dinosaurs) and mastered by Joe LaPorta (Fleet Foxes, IDLES)

The duo will be performing nationally in April and May. Tour dates and link to tickets are below.

To celebrate the release of the EP, the duo have put together a track-by-track breakdown, detailing the background to each song. So do press <play> and have a read to what is a joyous listen from Wanderers.

Wanderers self-titled EP – Track By Track


Molly is written from the perspective of someone (let’s call this person Dusty for argument’s sake) who has hit it off with a girl (Molly) at a festival, thinks he might have fallen in love, feels that it’s going well… but is hit with the realisation that he’s gone too far with his vices that night and pretty soon he’ll lose the ability to stay in control, that the wheels he’s set in motion are about to derail and he can do nothing about it. So in that moment he exists in a weird limbo where you still have enough sobriety to realise what’s going on but know that you’re slipping and are about to lose control of the situation. You can see and hear yourself slowly becoming less yourself.

“Nothing in This World “

Dusty: This song started as a challenge I set myself to write a simple, catchy song with not too many moving parts.

As things tend to do with us, it ended up with 40 vocal tracks, a string section and a massive key change. I was at a point in my personal life where I felt like the things that had been unhealthy yet reliable distractions for me (from what ever I was running from), had stopped working. Nothing was working anymore.

In that frame of mind it can be hard to see the obvious solution of facing the issues head on, and that is the frame of mind this song was captured in.

So its a song about stagnant numbness and avoidance, that you can sure as hell shake your butt to. I kinda dig the irony of it sounding so up beat and happy.

“Make It On My Own”

Make It On My Own’ is about re-entering life after losing someone that has become your crutch, that you’ve developed a dependency on them and how you need to remind yourself that you’ll be fine.

The chorus of the song becomes somewhat of a mantra to dispel the anxieties displayed in the versus’. Conquering your doubts, telling yourself you can do it, you’ll be fine and being your own cheerleader are important, and that’s what we’ve tried to say with this track.

At its core, it’s the band in the room playing live together. We really focussed heavily on locking into a groove that would encourage the shaking of asses. We experimented with different vintage analog synths and for the first time on a single, we went to town on a guitar solo, giving Dusty his moment of glory.


Dusty was stuck in LA on his own with minimal funds staying at a budget hotel just off Hollywood boulevard where the doors didn’t lock and where someone who looked identical to the girl who crawled out the TV in the ring walked the hallways.

He tried to grab a drink on Hollywood boulevard but it wasn’t his thing, so returned to his hotel room, that was so small it made Harry potter’s staircase dwelling a luxury, and pulled out a Casio keyboard that was a very substandard replacement for our keyboardist as his was stolen in San Francisco. He didn’t want to take it home with him so he left it with Dusty, who was planning on selling it in a classic LA pawn shop deal the next day (didn’t go well). Due to have a meeting in Malibu, he had to postpone multiple times because he couldn’t get there. Even when he did have funds, the car hire places they all thought his license had expired because the dates are back to front there. So no hire car, no money and a Casio keyboard lead Dusty to this song. It came hard and fast, he sold the keyboard and in a story for another time, he ended up in Malibu.

Dusty said : Though lyrically, it’s meant more as a hypothetical. In this instance I was writing about a place I hadn’t been too yet, hyping it up, making it out to be some kind’ve magical paradise where everything can happen… which is how I’ve found myself anticipating places or opportunities before. So the message of the song is essentially saying ‘‘slow down, go do your thing but don’t get the ahead of yourself, it’ll be great but chill the f*** out man”

“Penny “

We played an afternoon slot at an east coast music festival, we went back to our stunning 1960s interior Airbnb cabin and decided to pull out the instruments.

There was something nice in the air that night. What initially started as a jam between Logan and Dusty on some chords and melodies we liked the sound of, became a nearly fully fleshed out song in about an hour. Dusty kept saying penny in the chorus but wasn’t quite sure why, realising he’d seen ‘ almost famous’ for the 50th time only a few nights prior. Thinking about the impact Kate Hudson’s character had on the young journalist throughout the film and wrote the lyrics from what Dusty imagined would be his perspective.

Justin Stewart Cotta


Friday, 1st April The Night Cat Melbourne
Friday, 29th April Felons Barrel Hall Brisbane
Saturday, 30th April Waywards Sydney
Friday, 27th May Lion Arts Factory Adelaide


You can keep up to date with Wanderers on their Website, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube

Header image credit: Samuel Graves


Bruce Baker

Probably riding my bike, taking photos and/or at a gig. Insta: @bruce_a_baker