Sleepwalking through the Mekong

Here’s something that slipped under my wildly ineffective Heath Robinson-esque radar a couple of months ago…

Dengue Fever

I came over all funny about this time last year with …. I’ll go on… with a case of Dengue Fever. Read about it here.

A visit to IODA informs me that those strange Cambodian-obsessed fellers are at it again, featuring in a documentary film about the band and the country, called Sleepwalking through the Mekong which looks well worth seeing (or buying).

Here’s a really enchanting clip from the film.

The soundtrack is now out, and worth a listen, and the good folk at IODA have made this track available.

Dengue Fever Presents: Sleepwalking Through the MekongDengue Fever
“March of the Balloon Animals” (mp3)
from “Dengue Fever Presents: Sleepwalking Through the Mekong”
(M80)

Stream from Rhapsody

Your face was so so so so bright I had to close my eyes to see


Not really breaking new ground here, as such, but I came across these tracks this morning when I was trawling through Promonet. And they’re not really like anything else I’ve heard before (always a good sign).

This is definitely my New Favourite Band…

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is an acute febrile disease found in the tropics and transmitted by the aedes aegypti mosquito (obviously), but is also the name of a rather rousing six piece from Los Angeles. Led initially by Ethan and Zac Holtzman, they combine a love of garage/Psychedelia with Cambodian pop from the Sixties, that they heard on a trip there. (Bear with me, here.) Zac sings and Ethan plays one of my absolute favourite sounds in music – the Farfisa Organ (we’re back to Question mark, here…).

What really brings it together and allows them to carry it all off is the recruitment of Chhom Nimol, a Cambodian émigré to LA, who had sung in front of the Cambodian royal family before leaving her home. Her voice is quite beautiful, a little fluttery thing that bounces precariously above the denser, heavier backing of the band, and of course gives the whole Cambodian sound a certain authenticity. Have a look at this…

A lot of their songs are performed in Khmer and are covers of Cambodian “classics”. For their first two albums, the Holtzmans actually had their original songs translated into Khmer!

For their latest album, however, some of the songs are written and performed in English, but still manage to preserve a certain sixties naïveté which is quite charming. This album, Venus on Earth, was released in January of this year and for me is an absolute must release. It’s readily available on Emusic – you have no excuses!

Tiger Phone Card (mp3)

Sober Driver (mp3)

More On This Album