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Monday, Mar 22 2010 | 18:31 Buy this now at GoodToGo (B2B)

The Bamboos are Australia’s masters of raw funk and super-heavy soul. Led by guitarist Lance Ferguson (aka Lanu), other members include Kylie Auldist (vocals), Danny Farrugia (drums), Yuri Pavlinov (bass), Stevie Hesketh (hammond organ), Anton Delecca (tenor saxophone/flute), Phil Noy (baritone saxophone), and Ross Irwin (trumpet).

The Bamboos formed in 2001 and released the 7″ single “Eel Oil/Blackfoot”, earning them international acclaim from the likes of Mr Scruff, Patrick Forge and Jazzanova. Their next release “Tighten Up/Voodoo Doll” was signed by Kenny Dope (Masters At Work), and Keb Darge (Legendary Deep Funk) for their US based imprint Kay-Dee Records. Making their home at the UK’s Tru Thoughts records in 2005, The Bamboos’ debut album “Step It Up” was released jointly by Tru Thoughts and Ubiquity Records (US) in 2006. The second Bamboos long-player “Rawville” was released in 2007 and was described by IDJ Magazine (U.K) as “… arguably the finest funk album of the modern era”.

The Bamboos’ live shows have evolved into non-stop mixtape-style throw-downs that draw the links between hip hop, soul, funk and old-school breaks, and they have performed at large scale events and festivals including Byron Bay Blues & Roots Festival, Meredith Music Festival, Falls Festival, The West Coast Blues & Roots Festival, Golden Plains, Parklife, Days Like This, The Adelaide Festival, The Caloundra Music Festival, The Sydney Festival, Trop Fest and have appeared on the ABC TV Show ‘Sunday Arts’. In Feb 2010 The Bamboos played the prestigious headline set at The St Kilda Festival to over 5000 people. The Bamboos have toured Europe and the U.K three times with sell-out shows at esteemed venues including The Jazz Cafe in London and countries including Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and Ireland.

They have also performed as a backing band for international artists including Eddie Bo (US), Syl Johnson (US), Joe Bataan (US), Eddie Floyd (US), Betty Harris (US), Alice Russell & The Quantic Soul Orchestra (UK).

The Bamboos’ music has featured in high-rating TV shows such as “Greys Anatomy” (US), “Ugly Betty” (US), “Underbelly” (AUS), and “Packed To The Rafters” (AUS). In 2008 they recorded music for the multi-platinum million-selling Nintendo Wii video game ‘de Blob’, with a sequel coming soon.

The third Bamboos album, “Side-Stepper” featuring the single “King Of The Rodeo”, received unanimous acclaim including airplay on JJJ (AUS), Mark Lamarr and Craig Charles’ BBC shows, and was 3RRR’s ‘album of the week’ upon release in Oct 2008. The “King Of The Rodeo” single, an inspired Mod soul take on Kings Of Leon’s indie smash, won XFM’s ‘X-Posure Hot One’ accolade, as well as major mainstream radio play in the UK and elsewhere and well over 150,000 views on YouTube. The album peaked at #1 on the Australian iTunes R&B/Soul album chart.

The Bamboos were included in the Melbourne Age’s prestigious ‘Top 100′ list of influential people in Melbourne city for 2008, and in a poll by the same paper they were voted Australia’s fourth best band, just after AC/DC and ahead of high profile acts such as Jet and Empire Of The Sun.

The upcoming fourth album “4” features a collaboration with adored US rapper Lyrics Born, a hook up which sprang from a radio interview in which Lyrics Born said on air that the Australian act he most wanted to work with was The Bamboos. There comes a time in every band when their sound crystallises, and with “4” The Bamboos have made a succinct musical statement that distills all their influences, nuances and idiosyncrasies and ultimately pushes them into a sonic world all their own. The first single, “On The Sly” featuring Kylie Auldist, precedes the album’s release, and with a promo video that has already had 15,000 YouTube hits in its first few weeks, heralds a new chapter of more mainstream success for this incredible band.

The Bamboos delight in infusing the tight, instrumental dancefloor style they have so expertly nailed with Motown, Mod and Northern soul to straight-up, ballsy, vocal funk sass and whatever is rocking Ferguson’s perennially curious musical sensibility. And “4” brings to the table elements of rock, pop, psychedelia and hip hop, heralding another twist in their sonic path. It is soul and funk music for today, not mired in over-the-top adherence to simply copying what has been done many times before. “It’s 2010. Just because The Bamboos have come out of the funk scene doesn’t make our music any less modern or more retro than the music I hear people making in the indie, folk or electro scenes.”

Bamboos’ vocalist Kylie Auldist’s work on this album could truly be described as virtuoso, especially on tracks such as “On The Sly”; huge live number “The Ghost” – in which she really changes up the vocal style range-wise and shows us she’s got many more tricks up her sleeve – and the hard-hitting track “Keep Me In Mind”, that sees Kylie delivering possibly her best ever recorded vocal performance on a chorus hook that is equal parts gospel soul and hip hop. Other vocalists also add a major degree of excitement: adored US rapper Lyrics Born features on the party funk number, “Turn It Up”; and the incredibly catchy, fresh and unique “You Ain’t No Good” features the mysterious and reclusive Tongan, King Merc, more of whom may become known when this tracks drops as the second single, later in 2010. The brooding guitar figure, ’60s soul drums and reverbed-out claps come across like the mutant love child of Phil Spector and Gnarls Barkley – setting up King Merc’s soul-drenched vocal like a rough mounting for a fine stone.

“4” is one of the most exciting, original, vibrant and downright addictive albums of the year, and could easily see The Bamboos catapulted beyond the confines of a genre to permeate the international mainstream musical consciousness … The Bamboos have arrived!


01. On The Sly
02. Turn It Up feat. Lyrics Born
03. You Ain’t No Good
04. Red Triangle
05. Kingss Cross
06. The Ghost
07. Up On The Hill
08. Never Be The Girl
09. Like Tears In Rain
10. Keep Me In Mind
11. Got To Get It Over
12. Typhoon

The album The Bamboos4” (Tru Thoughts) is going to be released March 26, 2010.

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