The Launderettes, an all-female rock band from Oslo, Norway, who have been together since 1999, played the final time slot of the night at B.D. Riley’s on March 13, 2014, at South By Southwest — and it was one of the most fun shows I saw all week. The Launderettes play songs in the style of 1960s girl groups, occasionally dipping back into 1950s styles or evoking later punk-era bands like the B-52s and throwing in a few Theremin solos. A good way to acquaint yourself with this group is the best-of collection Fluff ‘n’ Fold, which came out in 2007 on Steven Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Record Co. label.
The Australian rock band Dog Trumpet has been together since 1990, and its two key members — brothers Peter O’Doherty and Reg Mombassa (aka Chris O’Doherty) — have been playing even longer than that. They were members of another Australian band, Mental as Anything, which formed in Sydney in 1976. And yet, somehow Dog Trumpet had escaped my attention until now. And the band had never played in the U.S. until a visit to Austin, Texas, last week for South By Southwest.
I saw Dog Trumpet play a gig at B.D. Riley’s on the third day of SXSW, and the group’s songs immediately hooked me. Something about the way the brothers sing reminds me of the Faces, especially Ronnie Lane’s songs. They also came across as talented musicians who know how to play guitar solos in the classic rock style. And if I had any doubt, how could I not like a band with a song about the Kinks?
I liked Dog Trumpet enough that I decided to buy a copy of the band’s double CD from 2013, Medicated Spirits, and sure enough, it sounds terrific. Now, I’ll have to dig deeper into the Dog Trumpet discography. And hope that these guys decide to visit our shores again sometime soon.
(A note on these photos: Can you tell I was struggling to overcome the terrible, i.e., heavily red, lighting at B.D. Riley’s?)