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The Bamboos - Side-Stepper

The Bamboos Side-Stepper
The Bamboos - Side-Stepper
(CD/LP+CD) Tru Thoughts TRUCD178/TRULP178, 2008-10-05

Info :
On their hotly anticipated third album, 'Side Stepper', Australian kings of funk The Bamboos take the beat-laden deep party funk of their previous LPs 'Step It Up' and 'Rawville' and push the boundaries of their sound with an injection of Northern soul and '60s Mod soul style. An amazing selection of guest vocalists - Kylie Auldist, MC Ty, Megan Washington and Swedish soul sensation Paul MacInnes - add their own unique flavours to the brew. Earlier this year The Bamboos backed Kylie Auldist on 'Just Say', her debut solo album, which was hailed as one of the best albums of the year by Mark Lamarr.

Tracklisting CD :
01. Nightsport
02. Tears Cried feat. Kylie Auldist
03. Now That You Are Mine feat. Kylie Auldist
04. King Of The Rodeo feat. Megan Washington
05. Funky Buttercup
06. Can't Help Myself feat. TY
07. One Man Entourage
08. Make It Real feat. Kylie Auldist
09. Move On feat. Paul MacInnes
10. The Side Stepper
11. Amen Brother

Tracklisting 2xLP :
A1. Nightsport
A2. Tears Cried feat. Kylie Auldist
A3. Now That You Are Mine feat. Kylie Auldist
B1. King Of The Rodeo feat. Megan Washington
B2. Can't Help Myself feat. TY
B3. Funky Buttercup
C1. The Side Stepper
C2. One Man Entourage
C3. Make It Real feat. Kylie Auldist
D1. Amen Brother
D2. Move On feat. Paul MacInnes
D3. Back At The Bamboo Shack (Live)

Note : 'Side-Stepper' is available on CD; and double vinyl with the full CD inside. The vinyl release also includes an exclusive track, "Back At The Bamboo Shack".

Links :
Buy it soon on
The promotional video for the "King Of The Rodeo" single has had thousands of hits on YouTube

Press Release :
'Side-Stepper' is the eagerly-anticipated third album from The Bamboos, taking the impeccable deep funk style of their previous albums, Step It Up and Rawville, and adding elements of Northern Soul and 60s mod soul flavour. The first single, "King Of The Rodeo" featuring Megan Washington (out on 1st September) has recently been making huge waves on the radio, being picked as the 'X-Posure Hot One' on John Kennedy's XFM X-Posure show, as well as major support from Gary Crowley (BBC London and 6Music), Mark Lamarr (BBC Radio 2) and Edward Adoo (NME Radio).

"King Of The Rodeo" (an inspired cover of the Kings Of Leon song) has pricked up the ears of the indie kids and clubbers alike, and launches the off-kilter indie-rock favourite into a land of Mod-fuelled swinging '60s boogaloo, with an insistent Hammond riff and a fine vocal turn from the Australian rising star Megan Washington.

Widely regarded as one of the best funk bands in the world, The Bamboos have earned themselves a huge amount of acclaim in recent years, winning over the likes of Mr Scruff, Keb Darge, DJ Food and Snowboy, among a long list of renowned music minds and tastemakers. Their previous albums - 'Step It Up' and last year's 'Rawville' - received rave reviews in such diverse publications as The Independent on Sunday, Hip Hop Connection and Blues & Soul and featured collaborations with vocalists including Alice Russell and Ohmega Watts (Ubiquity). This year The Bamboos provided the backing on 'Just Say', the debut solo album by long-time vocal collaborator Kylie Auldist, which was hailed as one of the best albums of the year by Mark Lamarr.

Interview :
Tell us about the writing process of the 'Side-Stepper album?
The songs on the new album came together in several ways. There were several collaborations with artists from different parts of the globe (Paul Mac-Innes: Sweden, TY: London) so the internet came into play with sending song ideas and beats and in turn receiving vocal parts. The web really makes this kind of thing possible for us as Melbourne is a long way from Europe! Two instrumentals on the album ('One Man Entourage' & 'Nightsport') were written collectively by The Bamboos in a group situation which was really a fun and rewarding process. The remainder of the songs came together in my home studio over the Summer as I sat there with my Guitar, Bass, Drum-kit and computer and toiled away into the wee small hours...

What happened during the recording process of the 'Side-Stepper' album?
'Side-Stepper' was recorded at The Shed Studios in Melbourne in late Feb this year. It is the studio where we have recorded all of our albums and we aren't about to break with tradition yet! The Bamboos recording process is usually very quick as we always try to get a tune down in one or two takes. The album was recorded using analogue reel-to-reel tape as usual... After we tracked the album I had to wait to receive some of the collaborators vocal tracks from overseas and then we went ahead and mixed it.

How is this album different than the two previous Bamboos studio albums?
The 'Side-Stepper' album has some different influences coming through such as a Northern Soul and 60's 'Mod-Soul' flavor. I came straight into writing this album after doing Kylie Auldist's Soul record for Tru Thoughts and I think that might have rubbed off a bit. I consciously wanted to push the compositional boundaries of what The Bamboos are known for with this record and bring in some other influences that still fit within the context of what we do. Songs like 'Make It Real' and 'Move On' have a richer chordal sound than anything we've done before. 'Now That You're Mine' and 'Tears Cried' are pure Soul tunes. 'The Side-Stepper' and 'King Of The Rodeo' have a bit of that Boogaloo, 60's Mod sound to them. The easiest thing for The Bamboos to do would be to churn out Meter's and J.B's sound-alike songs forever but I really want to explore the possibilities of where we can take the sound. That said there are still some classic Bamboos-style instrumentals on the record like 'One Man Entourage' , 'Amen Brother ' and 'Funky Buttercup' to keep the Beat heads happy!

What guests feature on the album?
'Side-Stepper' features some amazing guest vocalists including Swedish Soul Sensation Paul Mac-Innes, U.K Hip-Hop don TY, Australian Pop/Jazz newcomer Megan Washington and of course the 'Jewel Of The South Pacific' herself: The one and only Kylie Auldist!!!!

Track-by-track commentary :

'Nightsport'... Definition: Crazy times had by music lovers and music makers who come out only in the wee small hours. It's the soundtrack to a raucous party deep in The Bamboo grove and everyone is invited! This is an upfront, fast-paced instrumental that starts out Northern-style and then breaks into a furious Funk groove. Guitar breakdowns and some soulful solos from the Trumpet and Piano follow.

2. 'TEARS CRIED' feat. Kylie Auldist
Bamboos vocalist and Tru Thoughts recording artist in her own right Kylie Auldist makes the first of three vocal contributions to the 'Side-Stepper' album. 'Tears Cried' follows the resolute refrain of a woman who has lost her man but 'she ain't gonna let him see her tears '. It's syncopated bassline and massive chorus will have you in Soul heaven!

3. 'NOW THAT YOU ARE MINE' feat. Kylie Auldist
An uplifting slice of belting Northern Soul – 'Now That You Are Mine' has an irresistible hook and driving groove that sets off Kylie Auldist's 24-carat voice like a rough mounting for a fine stone. In the best Northern tradition this one will have you clutching at the heart strings while you simultaneously hit the dancefloor and break out 'The Mashed Potato'.

4. 'KING OF THE RODEO' feat. Megan Washington
A cover of The King's Of Leon's indy-rock classic done in a 60's Soul style. Emerging vocal talent Megan Washington delivers a startling rendition that is equal parts sassy, cute and tough. Lying somewhere between The Buddy Rich Big Band's version of "The Beat Goes On", Spanky Wilson's legendary rendition of "Sunshine Of Your Love" and a utopian vision of Mod-fuelled, swinging '60s London – this track is set to prick up the ears of the indie kids as well as setting club dancefloors alight.

Originally a re-working for the Trojan Remix Project this Caribbean-meets-Funk version of The Chosen Few's classic just couldn't stay on the shelf. Beat-Junkie Alert! The Reggae intro soon moves into a series of seriously heavy Funk grooves peppered with possibly the toughest Bamboos drum-breaks yet recorded.

When U.K Hip Hop heavy-weight TY joined The Bamboos onstage in Sydney last year the die was cast for this collaboration. "I Can't Help Myself" weaves an irresistible hook over a Bamboos groove punctuated with rhythmic horn stabs and incendiary drum-fills. Over the top of this super-tight beat TY unleashes rhymes that demonstrate his rhythmic skill, imagination and sense of humour!

This tune is a classic Bamboos-sounding instrumental in the spirit of records on 60's/70's labels like Prestige, Blue Note and Groove Merchant. Check out the tough, rhythmic Baritone Sax and Guitar solos here: Super-Heavy!!!

8. 'MAKE IT REAL' feat. Kylie Auldist
Evocative of the chordal tapestries weaved by Donny Hathaway & Stevie Wonder, this song brings The Bamboos sound into the of territory Funky Soul music with some Jazz-informed harmony. Kylie Auldist really goes for broke here and her vocals exude 100% raw soulful emotion. 'Make It Real' might just be the prettiest Bamboos song yet – but listen out for those tough drums underneath!

9. 'MOVE ON' feat. Paul Mac-Innes
Swedish Soul sensation Paul Mac Innes drops some heavy vibes here on this epic piece of 'conscious' soul for our times. Underpinned by a rolling bass line, Wah guitar and spacey keys this song asks the BIG questions: 'where are we going?, where are we heading?' Paul Mac-Innes really gets into 'chills-down-the-spine' territory as those last choruses play out. This guy can really 'testify'!!!!

A Bamboos instrumental that will have you finger-snapping instantly. This 12-bar blues could have been your in-flight listening New York to London via Concorde circa 1968. The skipping, Flute & Horn-driven groove builds and builds with intensity from start to finish.

This absolute stone-classic and ultimate Drum & Bass/Break-beat sample-source has been a staple of The Bamboos live show since the beginning. Check out the extended drum explosion in the middle section which was a hit with the Breakers when The Bamboos provided the music for The World B-Girl Championships earlier this year.

The Bamboos in pure Jam-session mode. This relentless groove provides the backdrop for some firing solos from the Tenor Saxophone, Hammond Organ and Guitar. Freed from the confines of verse/chorus/bridge etc, each Bamboo really stretches out with their solo and builds the intensity to fever-pitch. It's like having the band playing live in your lounge room at 3am while the neighbours are banging on the door!


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