From the East Village
of New York City, Chris Root and the band, AM60 featuring, amoungst others, Chuck
Treece and Leon De Bretagne were in fact signed to Shifty Disco (home to wise-cracking
funksters, UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH) within a week of the CD arriving in the UK. It
seems that after a few phone calls to industry friends, Eden Blackman was suggested
as someone who could further the cause, due to his recent radio plugging success
with I Monster and Felix Da Housecat. So a call was made and Eden, sitting alone
in a restaurant in Oxford (and the home of Shifty D) listened to the track and
fell instantly in love. And just to prove it, their debut single, "Just A Dream"
is released on the 13th August.
think it would be fair to say AM60 have something of a misleading band history.
Their original drummer, Mackie was stolen by the Fun Lovin' Criminals. Their bass
player, Chuck Treece - who used to play bass with Urge Overkill has also done
stints in session with the likes of Lauryn Hill, and Sting. However, Treece now
seems to have been replaced by a french man called Leon. Treece is still around,
however, supplying artwork for the band. On top of that, Root was formerly in
streetsy hip-hop outfit, Black Beans - who counted Pearl Jam among their fans.
Confused? Well of course you are. But you won't be for long.
surrounding this band has been huge. The first radio spin was described by Steve
Lamacq as "A Gem". Since then, there have been six weeks of regular plays on Steve
Lamacq's Evening Session, Scotland and Wales Evening Session plays, a prestigious
Radio 4 play, a Rolling Stone Magazine feature. There's also an interview with
Steve Lamacq lined up for the Evening Session on August 1st with a follow up Single
to Just A Dream and Album in the Autumn.
The story of the bands name
also demands some air time. Chris takes up the story:
"New York, the
East Village - a small sixth floor apartment. All the furniture is piled onto
the balcony and fire escape to make room for the band. There's a DJ scratching
at the decks on the kitchen sink, a drummer where the TV usually sits and the
end of the bass player's guitar is poking into the bedroom. Every inch of space
is filled with people smiling, laughing and singing. There's me standing on a
coffee table with the guitarist to let a girl get to the bathroom. The police
are at the door and the East European building Superintendent is yelling into
the noise. He shouts the same phrase he always does - in broken English over and
over again, "Always Music 60!" "Always Music 60!" Everyone laughs so much that
even the cop smiles; the Super doesn't get the irony of what he's saying "
Infectious, as well as fun, AM60 sit along that joyful hip-hop pop shelf
alongside, Beck, De La Soul and Ugly Duckling and the laregly anonymous others
who just happen to get it right.
Report Compiled by Giles Beaumont
AM60 - "Just A Dream" (Shifty Disco) by Priya Elangasinghe
Their pedigree appears somewhat dubious. Former members of Fun Loving Criminals
and Urge Overkill together with a DJ lightly spinning and scratching in the background?
Surely these honky boys will be cliché's of their own created funk drama a'la
FLC? But no. This is not the case.
Unlike their Fun Lovin friends this
particular New York trio don't teeter off the precipe of smug self knowledge.
AM60 combine retro sound effects and naïve vocals into a warm mix that is both
inventive and one that is distinctively their own.
Their musical reference
points; Money Mark,The Avalanches, De La Soul and Tom Tom Club are all
good indications of where the band is coming from Fun, funky and intelligent.
Lead off track "Just A Dream" combines a killer guitar hook (not dissimilar
to sample at the end of The Avalanches "Frontier Psychiatrist") with a melody
line that sticks melodic tender hooks into your brain."Melodic Flow" takes a leaf
out of Yo La Tengo's book and makes the songs Easy Listening melody sound
Vocalist Chris Root intones "let the music take
you up to the clouds" and it doesn't sound trite, in fact it completely makes
Let's just hope they are able to stay this fresh and joyful after
they get huge.
Just a dream