My favorite bands typically possess a few common traits – a cool name, an instantly-recognizable sound, a song you can throw on at a party, an engaging live show, a not-so-subtle hint of some older hip artist like Talking Heads or David Bowie. You get the point. Being able to cross the majority of these off the list is going to guarantee you a few Spotify hits from this guy. Honestly, even just a cool name is going to get a foot in the door with me – why do you think I got so into Chumbawamba back in the day? Can’t speak much to the quality of a late 90’s Chumba set, but try and tell me that name isn’t absolutely ELECTRIC. Anyway, I’m here to proudly declare that the star of this week, Australian indie-dance outfit Cut Copy, checks each of those boxes and quite a few others. Join me friends, as we take another trip Down Under.
Artist/DJ Dan Whitford started the group in Melbourne the early 2000s, as electronic indie scenes were on the rise in faraway lands like NYC and London. The foursome started mainly as studio-dwelling producers, crafting their entire first album with only 4 total hours of live instruments in the recording studio. The result, Bright Like Neon Love, is a synthesizer-soaked dance odyssey conjuring familiar tones of groups like Daft Punk and The Rapture. As with any band who enjoys achieved long-term, sustained success, Cut Copy expanded their sound and scope following their debut. Their breakthrough second album was produced by Tim Goldsworthy, famed co-founder (alongside James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem) of legendary NYC-based dance label DFA Records. The record, In Ghost Colours, displays the group at their finest – a lethal mixture of 80s-dance grooves and uptempo indie rock ready to destroy dance floors across the globe. On each subsequent album (particularly 2017’s Haiku from Zero), the band seems to grow musically. It’s a fascinating inverse from the more traditional guitar-to-keyboard progression we’ve seen with bands like Radiohead. Regardless of instrument or approach, Cut Copy always finds a way to stay true to their indie-dance roots, and have become a cornerstone of the 21st century sub-genre over the years.
It also needs to be mentioned that Cut Copy is huge back home in Australia. Like, top of the pop charts alongside Rhianna and Jack Johnson huge. I’m talking Chumbawamba big here, these guys are MASSIVELY popular. I’ll never forget meeting an Australian in line for Lollapalooza a few years back, having the typical “who are you most excited to see” conversation as we waited in giddy anticipation to have all our stuff by riffled through by security. We predictably rattled off headliners and hot names, and this dude starts saying the only reason he traveled all this way was to see Cut Copy for the tenth time. Tenth! Check out this song below and tell me you’re not going to listen to this again later in the day…
Told you, this shit is incredible. Cut Copy isn’t out here reinventing the wheel, but rather picking off cool new ideas and sounds from up-and-coming bands and styles as time passes. Whitford & crew have embraced change without losing sight of the fun dance stylings that got them here in the first place – and I love it. You all will too.
Suggested Tracks: “Hearts on Fire” “Lights & Music” “Take Me Over”
Oddities: Singer Dan Whitford was an accomplished graphic designer in Cut Copy’s hometown of Melbourne before starting the group
Photo Credits – MiamiNewTimes.com, Consequence of Sound