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It’s been awhile since I’ve anticipated a debut record as much as Jagwar Ma’s maiden LP Howlin’ (Out now -- Marathon Artists). Ever since hearing “The Throw” (thanks to Australian radio station Triple J’s Spotify app) and becoming totally enamored and intrigued by the Aussie band’s disco pop / electro-rock sound (A Jane’s Addiction x Lindstrøm hybrid comes to mind), I’ve been eagerly anticipating the full-length and Howlin’ doesn’t disappoint whatsoever. The record is highly accessible and abundantly intriguing on a sonic level -- the kind of rare pairing that could make Jagwar Ma an almost surefire mega-success amongst music fanatics and the increasingly large fringes of the mainstream once the word fully gets out.
Finally, the band’s combination of dance music and rock music also ensures a considerable divide between detractors and fans. Forecasting a future of (hopefully) great success meshed with meaningless critical polarization. At any rate, I’m very excited to see what these guys can do at their live show.
Does Jagwar Ma make rock music or dance music? It’s genuinely tough to tell. A duo from Sydney, Australia, Jagwar Ma combines rock ‘n’ roll signifiers (electric guitars, psychedelic vocals) with pristine dance-music production. The band’s full-length debut, Howlin (out June 11), references The Stone Roses one minute and space disco the next, and neither approach feels the least bit forced. -- NPR FIRST LISTEN
Jagwar Ma is a musical project, est. Nov 2011 by Jono Ma and Gabriel Winterfield.
It all starts with the single “Come Save Me”. A celebration of love and loss, lifted by human harmonies only to be sliced apart by the sharp contemporary programming of the song acting as dagger to the tale. This juxtaposition of voice and electronics being a signature of Jagwar Ma.
Their collaboration started in 2010 at a performance by FLRL, the Sydney based kraut-experiment that was “a band without members” and a stage of revolving musicians. Their musical history already well known to each other at the time, Jono from the band Lost Valentinos and Gabriel from Ghostwood.
Those shared stages at FLRL shows gave way to studio jams and home recordings, radio frequency manipulation, TR808 patterns, MPCs loops, vintage amps and a treasured 7 inch collection. Jagwar found a soul in and amongst all that electricity. Described as sounding like J-Dilla playing Primal Scream covering the Beatles.
In Australia “Come Save Me” has been embraced by Triple J who spun it to the #1 most played spot on the station. In the UK it was released through a new 7’s label started by two A&Rs from the legendary XL Records. In the US the song finds high rotation on airwaves of the lauded KCRW and the bands signs with the Windish Agency.
Currently the band is ensconced in a castle in France bouncing beats through the dungeons, singing through its hallowed hallways and breathing life into their debut album for the summer of 2012. The first ever festival appearance in Australia for Jagwar Ma will be the 2013 Big Day Out!