Such is the case with his latest group's Sub Pop debut, 'Koes Barat', a sincere, gripping tribute to a band of Indonesian brothers - the Koeswoyos - whose instantly catchy garage-rock songs and ridiculously charming ballads caused a sensation in their homeland, Singapore, and Malaysia. They also made their government very uneasy: Basing your look on Western musicians and covering Beatles songs were considered subversive activities in mid-'60s Indonesia. Back in 2010, Sun City Girls legend Bishop asserted his fandom of Koes Bersaudara (aka Koes Plus) with two archival releases of their music on his and Hisham Mayet's Sublime Frequencies label.
But that noble gesture wasn't enough to sate Bishop's appreciation of this music that flourished from the mid '60s to 1970. He also felt an overwhelming urge to interpret what he felt to be the best Koes tunes. To that end, he enlisted some of his favorite musicians in the Spoils—guitarist Milky Burgess, drummer Don McGreevy, and bassist Jim Davis—all of whom also play or played with Seattle‘s Master Musicians Of Bukkake, and producer Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Marisa Nadler) to work the boards.
'Koes Barat' was cut in less than a week of sessions, and the results hit your ears with a revelatory smack. It is the most immediate, fun collection that the prolific Bishop has ever led.
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