Dengue Fever: Venus on Earth (Southbound)

 |   |  1 min read

Dengue Fever: Laugh Track
Dengue Fever: Venus on Earth (Southbound)

The back-story of this band may be be known to many Elsewhere readers but here's a brief synposis: the Holtzman brothers Ethan and Zac from LA decided to form a band to play Cambodian pop-rock after Ethan returned from a trip to that country and had been inspired by the sounds on old cassettes he'd picked up. They hooked up with expat Cambodian Chhom Nimol who was singing in LA clubs (in Khmer) and initially they drew on covers of Cambo-rock.

Increasingly they have written their own music in the genre of broadly psychedelic-Cambo pop-rock which is driven by Farfisa organ and guitars, and has Nimol's exotically keening pop voice over the top.

They've picked up rave reviews, have been tipped as "the band to watch" by more than one US music paper, were the subject of a doco when they went to Phnom Penh where they performed alongside those whose music they had covered or were paying tribute to, and have started to appear on soundtracks.

It's an interesting and somewhat unexpected story - and while the music isn't exactly Jefferson Airplane-meets-Camborock (it is more poppy) it is certainly a bit different.

This, their third album, is distributed by Real World which tells you they've made the great leap forward - and that may also explain it's more pop-conscious elements, the increased number of English-language songs such as Tiger Phone Card (about long-distance love), and their tendency to mix up the music with hints of spaghetti western soundtracks, slightly seedy jazz sounds and much more (some of which was certainly on the airwaves in Cambodia in the late 60s).

There are some things here which simply don't work (Sober Driver, despite it's slinky sound) but at its best it is good fun and sometimes gets a little bent-MOR feel going too which has a quaint and chintzy quality.

They get great reviews for their live shows - and they are playing the Taranaki Womad in 2009. 

Meantime do your homework right here. 


Share It

Your Comments

bob - Jan 5, 2009

respect!some fine music.

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Beirut: March of the Zapotec/Realpeople Holland (Rhythmethod)

Beirut: March of the Zapotec/Realpeople Holland (Rhythmethod)

After the excellent Francophile-framed The Flying Cup by Beirut (aka peripatetic American Zach Condon), the Mexican music on the first of these two discs (a mere 15 minutes long) comes as a major... > Read more

Tono and the Finance Company: Fragile Thing EP (Border)

Tono and the Finance Company: Fragile Thing EP (Border)

One of the nicest things about small indie artists is the care they lavish on the presentation of their low-key albums. Witness the delightful Tokey Tones albums or even the more rough-hewn albums... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Jamie McDell, Crystal Palace, Auckland.  May 16, 2015

Jamie McDell, Crystal Palace, Auckland. May 16, 2015

In the many decades before television, people would dress up and go to the movies, and so there were cinemas in most small towns, and in the suburbs of major cities. In Auckland up until the... > Read more



Now we here at non-profit (actually none-profit) Elsewhere don't have a lot of time on our hands. So when NYC-based German keyboard player Benny Lackner -- who is returning to Auckland with his... > Read more