Label: Sub Pop
Catalog #: 71123
When Alan Bishop becomes obsessed with something, he often goes to great lengths (and travels great distances) to turn that obsession into an essential artifact. 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.
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.
Bishop think 21st-century listeners can gain from this music? “I think this music
stands the test of time. Their Indonesian fan base turns over from generation
to generation, always increasing in number. They are perhaps the most popular
and recognizable Indonesian music group of all time. Whatever can be learned or
gained from this music is not my concern. People either get it or they don’t. I
love them to death and if this album can turn more people on to the Koes
Bersaudara/Koes Plus legacy, even better.”
This album is a Record Store Day 2015 exclusive, limited to 3,800 worldwide.