Immigrant Union
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Immigrant Union

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Country Psychedelic




"Newcomers and Comebacks"

Slowdive, the British band that performed on Saturday night at Terminal 5, held pride of place at this year’s CMJ Music Marathon, the annual showcase that brought more than 1,300 bands to Manhattan and Brooklyn clubs from Tuesday through Saturday (with some stragglers continuing into Sunday afternoon). For Slowdive, the festival’s biggest club was sold out, the audience was reverent, and the performance was imposing, giving the band’s magisterial songs a weight and resonance that was never captured in the studio.
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Son Little, whose real name is Aaron Livingston, performed at Rockwood Music Hall.
CMJ 2014

But the music was from the 1990s. Slowdive was a pioneer of the unhurried, effects-drenched rock called shoegaze (for the musicians’ undemonstrative stage presence), and it released its last album in 1995; the band reunited this year. Like much of the music at the CMJ Music Marathon, its performance looked to the past, when the college radio stations at the core of CMJ were early spotters and promoters of new sounds and ideas. (CMJ formerly stood for College Media Journal, a newsletter tabulating and shaping what was played on college radio.) That was before the Internet made all sorts of media gatekeepers far less pivotal.

As college radio has been outflanked, the marathon’s scope has shrunk. It is less a magnet for aspiring bands nationwide and worldwide than the springtime South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Tex. (even though baby bands there increasingly have to compete for attention with pop celebrities).

Like South by Southwest, CMJ can start the campaign for a new pop product. On an album due in December, the R&B singer Mary J. Blige has been reinventing her music in sessions with London producers of electronic dance music like Disclosure. In an unannounced miniset at the Fader Fort Presented by Converse, singing to recorded tracks, Ms. Blige proved her voice could be just as forthright over a club-music beat as with an R&B band. (She remarked that she hadn’t performed without instruments since 1992.)

CMJ also provided a Bowery Ballroom debut for the pop songwriter Ryn Weaver, who had an Internet sensation over the summer with a song, “OctaHate,” a collaboration with pop professionals including Charli XCX and Benny Blanco. Out of the studio, her voice was bright and strong, with an urgent, fluttering vibrato at emotional peaks and more than a hint of Stevie Nicks. Though her other songs were more conventional than “OctaHate,” they were aimed at pop radio, reveling in victim-to-victory dynamics and charged choruses.

Despite the huge number of bands at CMJ, the vast majority came from New York City or nearby; a subway ride is not a major career investment.

Yet while it could seem as if every Brooklynite with a laptop was in the CMJ lineup, New York is still home to bands as varied as Sunflower Bean, whose music suggests what might have happened if psychedelia had emerged after punk and the Police rather than before; New Myths, whose updated new wave can sprout shoegaze distortion and three-part vocal harmonies; and Sons of an Illustrious Father, whose rowdy roots-rock holds a poetic core.
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There were delegations from more distant places. One of the festival’s most memorable arrivals came from Norway: Aurora, the songwriter Aurora Aksnes, with her band. Her voice was vivid and clear in pop arrangements pulsating with synthesizers and kicking in with harder drumbeats on choruses. Aurora’s lyrics, full of quests and transformations, show ambitions beyond love songs: “The sky is open wide,” one song declared.

From closer to New York — Philadelphia — came Son Little, a singer with a firm soul foundation who laced his bluesy flirtations with little electronic disruptions and hints of existential dread.

Australia sent dozens of acts, among them the wry, hard-nosed rock songwriter Courtney Barnett, who gained traction at CMJ last year and headlined Webster Hall on Wednesday. There was a British contingent, too, with bands dedicated to the snappy, tautly constructed, guitar-driven rock song: bands like Circa Waves, with the relentless rhythm-guitar drive of the Strokes; Happyness, whose slightly bent song structures echo the 1990s indie-rock of Pavement and the Replacements; and the Crookes, which reached back toward the Beatles by way of the Smiths.

It’s easier to recall past glories than to envision a path forward. This year’s marathon often had the air of a musical museum celebrating the particular array of genres that make college-radio programmers nostalgic: 1960s garage-rock and psychedelia, 1970s punk and postpunk, 1980s electro-pop, 1990s grunge and shoegaze, and the eternal charms of the guitar-strumming singer-songwriter.

The positive side is that those vintage styles arrive with both youthful fervor and a self-conscious streak. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, from Australia, clearly don’t take themselves entirely seriously, but they tore into their hopped-up boogie drone, topped with blues harp. Immigrant Union revived the folk-rock wing of psychedelia. Odessa, a songwriter who reinvented herself in California after making a reputation in Nashville bluegrass as Odessa Rose Jorgensen, sang serenely gorgeous two-chord mantras supported by an attentive jam band.

The guitarist Ryley Walker was one more kind of psychedelic-era throwback, reaching back to the blues-folk-jazz guitar experimenters of the late 1960s and early ’70s like Pentangle and John Martyn. He began his set on Friday at Rough Trade Records with an open-ended, 10-minute jam with a bassist, a two-chord waltz that built to him singing in tongues, with androgynous moans and bursts of wordless, primal sound.

The power of punk endures, too. Paws, from Scotland, brought a deliberately disheveled punk attack to songs that galloped through tersely phrased complaints. Protomartyr, from Detroit, put the rumbling propulsion of punk behind bleak, free-associative lyrics that were part ranted, part sung.

Quieter performers survived the chatty crowds at CMJ. S, the Seattle group led by Jenn Ghetto, sang in a wispy but unflinching voice about breakups, betrayal and loneliness while transparent but steely patterns of guitar picking revealed the nervous energy behind them. Luluc, a duo from Melbourne, sang diaristic reflections in close, intimate harmony. Invisible Familiars, a New York band, had songs that started out wry and low-key but took smart, whimsical and sometimes raucous detours.

But in a CMJ Music Marathon full of genre exercises, my favorite performance was by a band with more unhinged aspirations: Bo Ningen, a group of Japanese musicians based in London, devoted to pandemonium. The members had the long, long hair of a psychedelic band, but their version of psychedelia was decidedly nonvintage; the drummer’s kit included electric ones as well as traps, and the musical vocabulary slashed through punk, noise, progressive rock and hardcore, jumping from ultraprecise dissonant compositions to sonic chaos. By the end of its set at Pianos, one guitar was hanging from a speaker, an invitation to feedback. Bo Ningen wasn’t looking for an exhibition spot in any rock museum; it was going to reduce it to rubble. - The New York Times - By JON PARELES OCT. 26, 2014

"Bob Boilen's Top 10 Discoveries From The 2014 CMJ Music Marathon"


Before I left for CMJ, I listened to a few hundred songs, gave them star ratings and then put the highest rated bands on my schedule. Immigrant Union's song "War is Peace" was just about my favorite new song on my list of unknown CMJ bands. I put that song on All Songs Considered last Tuesday and the night before I came to NYC, I listened to their entire album. When it was over I listened to it again! It's rare that I do that. The songs were strong and memorable, the playing tasty and melodic; Immigrant Union was the band I most wanted to see. They didn't disappoint. Their harmonies which are wonderful are not studio trickery, it's there in the live show. Once again the sound mix at yet another club was awful, with the bass and drums burying too many of the vocal melodies and obscuring the funny/smart lyrics that make the songs so endearing. That said it was 1:45am and most everyone including the sound guy was pretty whipped. Still it was some of the best music i heard. - Bob Boilen- NPR Music

"Gorgeously Tuneful Janglerock and Psychedelic Pop from the Immigrant Union"

Most New York fans of 90s rock probably have the Dandy Warhols‘ two upcoming Music Hall of Williamsburg shows somewhere on the radar. They’ll be there on Sept 19 and 20 at 9; general admission is $25, and considering that they sold out the Bell House, a larger space, last time they were there, you might want to get there early. But the Dandy Warhols’ Brent DeBoer also has an intriguing, gorgeously tuneful janglerock side project, the Immigrant Union, with Melbourne, Australia singer Bob Harrow. That unit will be in town about a month afterward from Oct 21 to 25 at venues still to be determined. Their excellent second album, Anyway, is due out shortly: there are already a couple of singles up at Bandcamp.

As you might expect from a jangly Australian band, there’s a definite resemblance to the Church. The opening track, Shameless, pairs two deliciously clangy electric guitars with a steady acoustic track in the background: when the piano comes in, the Jayhawks come to mind. Harrow’s unpretentious, clear vocals, pensive lyrics and a lusciously intermingled web of guitars on the way out completes the picture and sets the stage for the rest of the album.

Alison isn’t the Elvis Costello song but a bitter, Byrdsy backbeat psych-pop anthem about getting out of smalltown hell: Don’t Go Back to Rockville, Oz style. I Can’t Return slips swirly organ in between sitarlike slide guitar and glistening Rickenbacker jangle. Wake Up and Cry could be a folk-rock flavored Church cut from the mid/late 80s albeit without that band’s enveloping lushness. The album’s epic title track has plaintive harmonies and a slow psych-pop sway much in the same vein as the Allah-Las - who have a killer new album of their own. Another artist they bring to mind here is George Reisch, the multi-instrumentalist who’s done such elegantly melancholy work with Bobby Vacant and Robin O’Brien.

From there the group segues into In Time, adding light southwestern gothic touches a la Saint Maybe, then go completely into spaghetti western with the nonchalantly menacing desert rock shuffle Lake Mokoan. The Trip Ain’t Over has a wryly tiptoeing acoustic-electric Rubber Soul-era Beatlesque pulse. War Is Peace takes a snidely faux-gospel Country Joe & the Fish-style swipe at clueless conformists, and the US as well. The final cut, The End Has Come has a flickering, nocturnal C&W vibe not unlike the Church’s Don’t Open the Door to Strangers. You want the cutting edge of 2014 psychedelic pop, this is it. Is this album the catchiest, most melodically attractive release of the year? Very possibly. Hopefully it’s not the last one these guys put out. Watch this space for further info on those October shows. - New York Music Daily - Delarue 13th Sep 2014

"Immigrant Union - Anyway"

We at rock Bands of L.A. com have come to declare that the second album released from Aussie band Immigrant Union titled “Anyway” just might be one of the best albums of 2014! The band features Dandy Warhol’s member, Brent DeBoer along with some noteworthy assistance from Bob Harrow on guitar and Peter (Gamma) Lubulwa on keyboards. It’s as if the stars were their chart and The Byrds were their rock and roll band. The melodies evoke some mantra like choruses which draws pictures in the sky which helps your soul get by. The pathos of the late country rock icon Gram Parsons permeates through the entire aural experience like trekking through the majestic Joshua Tree National Park via motorcycle.” I.U.” makes its political pastiche with oratorical inference to American business, protestation against income inequality , the contamination of our environment by multi-national corporations and the amount of money America spends on its winless wars. The video of “War is Peace” is sardonically humorous as the story board was devised by director Dale Barlett. The result is DeBoer portraying the grimly diabolical evangelical character of John D. Ranged who keeps the business of selling deadly weapons and instruments of covert assassination light and entertaining for the customers who want to believe that what they are doing is okay because “killing is simplified”. Expect further conflagration, you can only keep people down so long.

DeBoer, from Portland, Oregon, relocated to Melbourne several years ago after marrying a local and discovering the music scene, wider cultural richness and, yes, even the weather suited him perfectly. During are exclusive interview with DeBoer he set the record straight regarding his time between the Dandy Warhols and Immigrant Union.

“Immigrant Union is a band. The term ‘side project’ seems to diminish the whole thing. I mean, The Dandy Warhols for me come first when it comes to rganizing my time. That project has put the butter on my bread for 17 years. That said, it’s not too complicated juggling the two bands. The Dandy’s are on the road maybe 3 to 5 months out of the year which leaves ample time back in Australia to play guitar with Union. Immigrant Union have worked too hard for years now for every note, chord and lyric required to make our two records to just call it a side project. For Bob,Peter, Ben, and Paddy, it is their only gig and these things do not come easy. When we are playing a gig in Sydney or Melbourne, or Terra Haute Indiana, we are not just enjoying our time away. I mean, don’t get me wrong; we are enjoying our time. This is what we love to do after all. All of this to play in Indiana or LA or Austin or Jersey or Brunswick.
Sometimes there are maybe 7 or 8 people in the room. Sometimes there are hundreds. A lot of time and a lot of money poured in, most of which, we will never see again. This is times spent away from friends and family. Time and money that could have, and maybe should have, been spent on friends and family. But we can’t really help it. We are not “doing a little thing on the side”. What we are doing is finally reaping the rewards of hundreds, maybe thousands of hours of planning and organizing and packing and saving and spending and lifting and loading and fixing and carefully maintaining our gear; and then traveling and then maintaining vehicles and our minds and to a lesser extent our bodies etc etc. It’s a cliché but it is true: Music chose us. Not the other way around. And the Dandys’ played about 100 gigs in 2014. No Sabbatical!”

As a band Immigrant Union showed great maturity between their first and second album. Stylistically reviewers had penned their first album as being “country” based while their current release more “jangle pop”. The track, “My Heart’s A Joke” from their first album embellishes through auspicious imitation of greatness…. The Rolling Stones’ album “Beggars Banquet” and The Kinks with their biopic masterpiece track “Muswell Hillbillies.”
Experimenting with many eclectic styles, interloping elements of folk, blues, psyche, jug band and transforming into a tapestry of country blues roots rock and roll. This “cornucopia” of styles is what makes “Anyway” so fucking awesome! Their conscious recognition of the down trodden with their own scattered psyche the music evolves into sashaying rhythms, transcendental propagated choruses and some home down blues. They are not the country act bantered by the press nor is it redolent of the band’s past. Its the music that many country/pop artists long to do but don’t have the self to write it. Neil Young or Tom Petty haven’t written songs this good for an eternity.
Immigrant Union crosses many musical borders which is what makes this album so interesting and maintains stylistic independence. The song “Shameles” reflects a mix of old and new as country rock that use to bellow in Laurel Canyon.. the Canyon of Love in the 70’s when artists like Crosby,Stills and Nash ,Joni Mitchell Jackson Browne were painting communal musical masterpieces. Those were the glory days of the L.A. music scene and it was so appropriately referred as “California Country”… Simply said Immigrant Union have found their home in Laurel Canyon nestled in the Hollywood Hills and their creative juices would flow like a torrent river.

DeBoer told us about how the changing in the band’s personnel really morphed into a whole new sound:

“I think the progression was natural. Peter, Bob and I had an entirely
different line-up on the first record. Different players bring different
ideas and perspectives into the studio and many of these songs had a
structure that just seemed a little less folky so we treated them
accordingly. Actually Dave Mudie and Bones Sloane are the Barnette’s of Courtney Barnett and The Barnettes. Courtney Barnett (lead guitar and backing vocalist on the new Immigrant Union album) is the Courtney Barnett part of that group. You can hear a bit of cross pollination in their sound and ours. We love them!”

I’ve always felt that Australia, musically speaking resembles much of
America of past. Having an Aussie band does it make your songwriting
process different? You hook up with Bob Harrow and later Peter Lubulwa
and there seems to be this divine intervention that just seemed to work
for you. Being the primary member do you feel that there’s more pressure
put on you as far as your songwriting and vocals?

“When I first met Bob and Peter, I had really only written about 10 songs in my entire life .Eight of those songs can be found on my solo album “The Farmer”. When I began writing with Bob I figured out a few tricks that made the process come more naturally. I think Bob helped me to relax a little and just let my lyrics come as a stream of consciousness and not being so picky with my words and phrasing. He would just say a lot of things like “fuck it man! That’s the sickest part of the whole thing! “Then he’d head bang and sing along. I need that kind of encouragement or I end up editing and editing until there is no song left”.

Due to the musical influence between DeBoer, Harrow and Lubulwa you would assume that this axis of talent would create a different songwriting process and the pressure would be more diffused so to speak. Brent was quick to answer Immigrant Union’s interesting method of songwriting and compare it to how the Dandy Warhols approach it.:

“The songwriting sessions are quite a bit different because with TheDandy’s we mostly just rely on Courtney-Taylor Taylor bringing in nearly completed tunes and the rest of us will fill in our parts and maybe help to arrange a little. Actually come to think of it, with Immigrant Union it’s exactly the same but its Bob and I bringing tunes in instead of Court. The main element of added pressure for Immigrant Union vs The Dandys is the fact that Union has no studio so we have to pay out of pocket to record. With The Dandys we have The Odditorium to record so there are no time constraints. Much more relaxing. Union has to have a clear plan going in with our entire experimenting taking place on stage and rehearsal and in our home demo recordings. With Union, we track a song per day so we gotta be ready going in.”

Immigrant Union did a brief tour of America. Done on a very low budget it gave them the reminder of what most bands are required to do to garner and connect with fans. Brent DeBoer told us about this experience and how much he enjoyed the lack of pretention:

“I think we did gain some new fans yes. A lot of Dandy fans came out which
was nice. Dandy fans are basically the coolest and friendliest people on
earth. We had a great experience at CMJ fest in NYC too. Got a mention
in The New York Times and gained some National attention after Bob Boilen
at NPR kinda fell in love with our record and came out to see us. I
really did enjoy the entire process of touring The States with Union. The
van and doing all the driving ourselves during the day and couch surfing
and being basically forced to be social due to the fact that most of the
joints we played in had no back stage. You just drink with people who
came to the show and with the bands that might be playing that night too.
Then you make friends and maybe head to someone’s pad and get a fire going
and have some late night drinks. God it was fun!”

Sure its 2015 and it may seem backwards to listen to an album from last year but sometimes it takes a step back in order to make a leap forward. And forward is what it is!. I think I’ll have to go back and listen to the Dandy’s track “Godless”….

Many thanks to the kindred soul of Brent for his time and his support for me during a very difficult time..

God Bless The Dandy Warhols and Immigrant Union - Rock Bands of LA - Jefferson Laufer. 2014

"CMJ Crowd Discovers Indie Immigrants of Oz"

Keep Jim Morrison dead. An Aussie by marriage, Immigrant Union frontman Brent DeBoer is better known as The Dandy Warhols’ drummer, but watching him onstage with Bob Harrow and their band, he reminds you that tuning a guitar is something to get wet over. He spends half his time with these guys in Melbourne, Victoria, and they’ve just wrapped up their North American tour. Not to blow sunshine up the rear ends of true artistes, but this set is a ladder to the sun at the CMJ Music Marathon.

Immigrant Union’s second album, Anyway, is self-described as country-alt-folk-psychedelic rock. New Yorkers had the rare opportunity to see them up to three times on this tour. They played the CBGB Showcase at Pianos in the Lower East Side, and had a late-late midweek slot at CMJ as well. So by Friday, they’ve developed a crowd of fans that all try to pack in to Pete’s Candy Store for the last New York gig of the tour.

The venue is already hot and sweaty from previous bands. I have a chance to talk to the band before they go on stage, but I only have time for one question. I dig in: “Are you pumped for your set?”

Drummer Paddy McGrath-Lester responds with a story of his own. He’s at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, and Ozzy Osbourne is winding up for his final song. He screams out to the crowd, “This is going to be our last song. Unless you really lose it, then we’ll come back out and do another.” The fans respond with a tepid golf clap. Ozzy comes back for an encore anyway.

Perhaps that humility, or lack thereof, made an impact. Immigrant Union takes the stage and suddenly you can let go of all your genre expectations. Your dad can get down, your mom can pop a hip, and even the toughest wallflowers around me start to shake down. The set list sounds like some fantasy radio DJ: psych rock, folk country, and indie pop no longer require a different station for each tune.

Damn catchy and lyrically-bound, these indie immigrants remind us we are all united in the here and now from different places – in life, in love and in music.

On this tour the five-piece saw the Northeast from Boston to the Jersey shore to Philly; charged across to Detroit, Chicago, and Cincinnati; and ended with a West coast leg, hitting Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.

Everywhere they have gone, the band has left more than a few people wondering: When will you be coming back? The New York Times says, “Immigrant Union revived the folk-rock wing of psychedelia.” The track “War is Peace” is praised as a favorite new song by NPR Music.

The fun has ended (for now) with a show in DeBoer’s hometown of Portland Oregon. - What Weekly

"Come Visit The Temple of Melbourne with Courtney Barnett, Immigrant Union, and The Perch Creek Family Jugband"

When you think of the Next Big Wave of Sound, it’s easy to jump to London or New York or, the safeguard, Seattle. We’ve all been there and done that, though. But does Melbourne, Australia ever cross your mind as the next big scene? For Pete’s sake, it should. Thanks to your own brilliant instinct, NPR’s probing indie media reporters, Rolling Stone, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, a select few of you have already put your cross hairs on this MIG. And we’re here to help that cause. Below, we will reveal just why Melbourne should be on your radar via three knockout bands, each of which has their own exclusive charm to whet your palate, like your grandmother’s time-honored cherry pie. These are some musicians to write home about twice, and make sure you overnight that package.

1. Courtney Barnett is a singer-songwriter whose words are fierce and lively. She almost seems too young to have developed this particular grunge-esque sound. Her lyrics are abusive like Kurt Cobain’s, but poetic like Janis Joplin’s, with a raw style akin to Hole. This girl has something to say and you damn well better listen. “Put me on a pedestal,” she croons, “And I’ll only disappoint you.” Courtney says what we are all thinking in our darkest, angstiest moments. She is so strong lyrically that her message is louder than her sound at times, but that is not a bad thing. She holds her own. Rumor has it, just as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon can be synced with The Wizard of Oz, her latest album can be played in tandem with the Australian film masterpiece Mad Max II Beyond Thunderdome. Hit a Blockbuster, rent the gem and sync it to your C.B album, talk about Captain Wow. Drummer Dave Mudie described the band’s rise in the Melbourne scene to us, and it almost sounds like he’s talking about Seattle circa 1989: “Melbourne has had a great buzz surrounding it for a few years now, and I guess it’s just the rest of the world catching up with the amount of talented bands that seem to be living here and doing amazing things at the moment. With so many venues and musicians living here you always have a chance to play with great musicians, and I’ve seen some of my favorite-ever [sic] gigs at pubs just down the road. From the Northcote Social Club to the Tote and Ding Dong, heaps of killer gigs are happening every night.”

2. Immigrant Union is the group Courtney Barnett jammed with until 2013. Despite her departure from the band with Dave Mudie and Bones Sloane, Immigrant Union have grown into a fellowship that not even the forces of Middle Earth can stop. The band has a roaring honesty about them: a sound that borders on brutal and flirts with fun. Unlike a lot of musicians who seem to be forcing a message down their audiences’ throats, Immigrant Union lets their music build and crash and do the work for them. They’re a band that seems say, “We’d appreciate your love, we’d cherish it, but we won’t beg for it.” There is also a sense that these artists work together to merely experiment and have adventures with one another through their psychedelic sounds, leaving the listener with an authentic musical experience. Guitarist Bob Harrow spoke about the range of the audiences they interact with, and you can see that their listeners are just as diverse as they are: “When we play shows in Melbourne we always get a lot of different people in the audience. Like there are stoners, obviously, but also country lovers, hip-hop fans, right up to metal head-ish dudes sometimes. Melbourne is a pool of different taste that can co-exist, I think, which is [expletive] awesome.”

3. The Perch Creek Family Jugband has an earthy, roustabout look (like they’ve jumped a train or two, but in the best possible way) and sound that will have you stomping your feet in no time. Their lead singer, Eileen Hodgkins, belts out lyrics like she’s possessed, and her shocking tap-dancing talent is nothing to scoff at. But take note of the real standout star of this group, the unassuming harmonica player. Christi Hodgkins steps forward and blows your damn ears off with a sound reminiscent of an old blues man. In fact, every member of this band has a moment to shine and share their aptitude on their atypical instruments. There is even a washboard/jug-playing member. (Yes. Take that in.) This fun, upbeat group is nothing but a pleasurable time. Front woman Eileen Hodgkins recounted the band’s three years of performances, emphasizing their electrifying climb into the rock world: “We grew up in Northern NSW, smack-bang in the middle of nowhere. So when we decided to take music seriously, around about 3 years ago, it was straight to Melbourne for us. I can safely say that Melbourne is alive and kickin’. Everywhere you go, there’s a sweet venue, a rad band, and a whole bunch of music-loving peeps. We feel pretty damn lucky to be a part of such a vibrant scene!”

Are we calling it wrong? Unlikely – but put your headphones on and see for yourself. We suggest you score an extra pack of AA batteries for your Walkman because some addictive tunes are in store for you.

This has been another Mother’s Day Orphans Production:

Artist links:

Courtney Barnett:

Immigrant Union:

The Perch Creek Family Jugband:
Share this: - Rock on Philly

"Immigrant Union"

Immigrant Union is a band with uncompromising appeal on the brink of international recognition and admiration,” asserts Jef Krohn, Music Editor at PDX Magazine. Led by Portland’s own Brent DeBoer, of the Dandy Warhols, Immigrant Union rolls into town on psychedelic waves to perform the final show of their North American tour at Mississippi Studios (3939 N. Mississippi Ave.) Thursday, Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. The Melbourne, Australia-based band released their second full length album, Anyway, in September. “The show is a rare opportunity to see this Aussie outfit in an up close and intimate setting before they hit the coliseums and amphitheaters around the world. Not to mention it’s Mississippi Studios, arguably one of the best-sounding venues in Portland.”

Federale EventPresented by PDX Magazine, Immigrant Union opens for Spaghetti Western-inspired local band Federale. The headliner’s conceptual tunes, best described as a tumbleweed of western soundscapes, takes listeners through a musical tracking of opening credits, stampedes, fast-draws, and a ride into the sunset. Federale is half the brain-child of Collin Hegna, the neo-psychedelic bass player of The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

In addition, classic country crooners Brush Prairie—featuring Zia McCabe, also of the Dandy Warhols—are booked to open. Expect classic covers from outlaw country’s greatest performers. - PDX Magazine (Portland OR) - Rachael Lesley

"ALBUM REVIEW: Immigrant Union, “Anyway”"

A couple of words would fit to neatly describe this Australian-based band and their latest effort, Anyway: dreamy-pop, light psychedelia, nouveaux hippies – all of it is fine but I can keep it to one word: excellent. Led by Dandy Warhol (and American ex-pat) Brent de Boer, this band really has a cohesive, tight sound, a way with a melody, and an impressive number of songs that make Anyway a pleasure to listen to and digest. “I Can’t Return” does, in fact, immediately sound like a Dandy Warhols song and a damned good one, at that. “Shameless” comes in with a dreamy-intro and a very warm melody; “Alison” is catchy as all get-out with its narrative about disgust for a town and “Wake Up And Cry” is another warm and atmospherically gentle track. “Anyway”, the title track, is a slower, clean-sounding acoustic track with breathy, warm and melancholic vocals – this captures a certain essence that can only be described as “listen for yourself”; “In Time” has a great “Southern” feel with a mournful harmonica intro.

The musical spectrum can’t be limited to just neo-psychedelia – this band has an understanding and feel for country-western arrangements, a keen sense of how to structure their songs and the right balance of players to have different singers deliver the emotions needed for those songs to ultimately work. And they do. Very well. YES to Immigrant Union’s Anyway.

Anyway is released September 23rd, 2014. - Pop Dose - Rob Ross 24th sep 2014

"2 Minutes with Immigrant Union : Part 1"

My Music Is Making You Think Of Parachuting?

2 Minutes with Immigrant Union – Part 1

VL- The ‘I Can’t Return’ clip, which has Omar Doom from Inglorious Basterds in it, is great, How did that come about?

Brent DeBoer: One of my good friends in LA – in the world – is Mike Bruce. He did seven clips for the Dandy Warhols, three Noel Gallagher videos. He’s done a bunch of videos for bands around the world. I just love his style. He’s also the director and writer of a couple of great films, Treasure of the Black Jaguar and The Legend of God’s Gun, two absolutely gorgeous movies. He contacted me about some other things, and I said ‘We’ve got this song. It will be so fun to do.’ Mike said, ‘Send me the song and I’ll see if anything hits me’.
Mike makes these sexy movies and videos that are not embarrassing. Do you know what I mean by that?

VL - Like, not cringeworthy?

Brent - Anything cringeworthy isn’t sexy. What I mean is sexy but not sexual for the sake of it, and not sexist at all. Just beautiful and sexual and so gorgeous. He came back to me talking about parachuting, like, the least sexy thing you can do.

VL - You obviously haven’t seen Point Break. Patrick Swayze, out of a plane?

Brent - Goddamnit! This is what my music is making you think of, parachuting. What a disaster. But we talked about it a bit … He had this vision of someone falling from the sky, and then he made that video. He’s good friends with Omar – he’s friends with a lot of cool people – and they decided to make a day of it. They only had to shoot at a few locations. Mike’s brilliant at taking the tiniest budget – [ours] was the tiniest budget you can imagine – and making it look really, really cinematic. Mike is a very special character.

- Veri.Live

"Immigrant Union support Black Rebel Motorcycle Club"

Photos of Immigrant Union supporting Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the Hi Fi in Brisbane November 2013. - AAA Backstage

"Folkin Dandy"

From indie pop to country tunes, Dandy Warhols drummer Brent DeBoer speaks about his new band Immigrant Union’s foundation of beer, guitars and the country life.

When you think of a member of The Dandy Warhols moonlighting in another band, you wouldn't anticipate a folk/country group that has spent the last couple of years playing gigs around Melbourne. Yet that is exactly what Dandy Warhols' drummer Brent DeBoer has been busy doing. Born through a chance meeting between him and Lazy Sons' singer Bob Harrow at Melbourne's Cherry Bar, Immigrant Union have been honing their folk-tinged tunes with gigs around town for a while. Though DeBoer's interest in classic country and rock music stems from his childhood in Oregon, he can't put his finger on how it led to him starting Immigrant Union.

“I guess just growing up in Oregon and going to college in a hillbilly part of Oregon [influenced my love of country]. Plus my parents are way into music and had a massive record collection of mainly Stonesy stuff and Dylan, Byrds, Pete Seeger, Beatles and CCR. I was way into Buffalo Springfield records and when I first started to learn guitar, I think it was Neil Young singing Helpless and Simon & Garfunkel that got me wanting to learn to play. But really who knows, because I listen to a ton of hip hop and metal, and I haven't had the urge to start any groups like that. I went through about four cassettes of Straight Outta Compton and Appetite For Destruction as a kid.”

It was this broad love for music that saw DeBoer and Harrow bond in a bar and end up on a farm outside of Nagambie, drinking beer and playing music together. Despite their decidedly Australian roots, the band headed to Portland, Oregon to record their debut. The reasoning was pretty simple. “It's a very inspiring and musical town. We only had the three of us – Bob, Peter [Lubulwa, ex-The Galvatrons] and myself – in the band at that time and we needed a lot of musicians to play slide, pedal steel, violin and such. It's my hometown so I put the word out and we got it done.”

Immigrant Union are now a six-piece band and the process of finding the perfect bandmates was all about chemistry, according to DeBoer. “We just little by little played gigs around town with different people until it just suddenly gelled. We played with amazing and talented people, but there is so much more than that when it comes to getting the proper gang together. A band is a lot like a family but, unlike a family, you get to choose who is in it – and whether or not you yourself would like to stay in it.”

To date the six-piece have only spent time playing in Australia, including a month-long residency at The Tote in Melbourne, the value of which is not lost on DeBoer. “When we played The Tote we had such a different sound. It is ever-evolving but at that early time our sound was changing by the day.” As for going from being in a chart-topping, festival-headlining music act to a new band, DeBoer's enthusiasm is evident, saying that playing in Melbourne's smaller venues has been “more fun than I could have ever imagined. I play the drums in The Dandys, so it's all so new and fresh playing guitar and singing without a drum kit to hide behind. The venues and staff and scene in Melbourne are a blast. I love this place.”

And despite having just released their debut, the band are already hard at work on another recording. “We are recording at Hothouse Studios and we don't know yet if it will be a demo or an EP or a full-length. One step at a time. It's sounding cool though. We have the whole record written and I think these songs are the best yet.”

Jun 20th 2012 | Sevana Ohandjanian - The Music

"Immigrant Union - Interview"

When punters at this year’s Tamworth Country Music Festival caught a set from Melbourne band Immigrant Union, they more than likely didn’t know that they were watching a bona fide rock star. But according to the band’s singer/guitarist Brent DeBoer, that didn’t stop them from being lovely and welcoming to his band or their music.

“They really love it because we sound like their record collection at home. We showed up with only three concerts lined-up and we ended up playing 14, so we felt good about that. We kept getting invited places and everybody there was really receptive and really kind to us and we really appreciated that. We’re ready to go back next year.”

DeBoer made his name in music throughout the 1990s and 2000s as the drummer for psychedelic rockers The Dandy Warhols, who had massive hits with their albums Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia and Welcome To The Monkey House. Since then they have been stalwarts of the international music festival scene, particularly in Europe.

But when DeBoer relocated to Melbourne from the US two and a half years ago, he knew he needed to start a new band straight away and who better to do that with than his old buddy Bob Harrow, who he’d met in Melbourne years earlier.

“I was over here doing a promo tour for a movie called Dig! about the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Dandy Warhols. I was hanging out with Matt Hollywood from Jonestown, getting a drink at the Cherry Bar and Bob, who is a fan of both those bands, came up and asked if were playing a show in town or what was going on and we just got talking to him.

“I had a trip planned for the next day out to my girlfriend’s family farm and so we cruised out there and invited Bob. Matt and I and Bob sat around and played guitar that night and we realised we were all into the same kind of stuff. Over the years, as I would keep coming back on tour with the Dandys, I would call Bob and we would hang out and drink some beers and little by little we started to make up some songs. So when I ended up moving here to Melbourne I knew to call him and say, “We gotta get a band goin.”"

The two recruited a group of local Melbourne musicians to fill out their line-up – Peter Lubulwa, Dave Mudie, Bones and Courtney Barnett – and formed Immigrant Union, whose sound is a lush hybrid of folk and country, mixed with dream pop and psychedelic undertones. DeBoer says when they set out to make the group’s debut record however, he wanted it to sound like classic ‘70s rock.

“Alt-country groups today seem like every group is going for a real ‘40s or ‘50s sounding thing. Real foot stomping and antiquey sounding and I thought, “Nobody’s doing like an Eagles-sounding country album.”

To get that classic country rock sound he desired, DeBoer decided to return with the band to his hometown of Portland, Oregon and record with producer Gregg Williams, who he’d previously worked with with the Dandy Warhols.

“Gregg could get the sounds that we wanted better than anyone else that I knew because he can make that sound, like a ‘Tequila Sunrise’ – a fat, warm bass guitar and warm snare drum. I love Pink Floyd and all those big, fat rolling sounds and Gregg can do that. So I basically told him, “I want it to sound like ‘Hotel California,’” and I think he did it.”

Full of the twang that weaves it’s way through the songs of classic country and folk artists like Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan, the self-titled album also bubbles with the trippy, psychedelic aura of the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre. But what really stands out on the record is the strength of the songs. Tunes like ‘My Heart’s A Joke,’ ‘Winter’ and ‘Dignity’ all feel like you’ve known them your whole life. The reason for this, DeBoer explains, is his and Harrow’s original campfire songwriting setting.

“We used to call the type of music we would play “campfire-psychadelic” or “campfire-core” because it is that real simple rhythmic strumming that you have to use if you’re at a campfire because there is no drummer. Most people don’t bring a drum set to a beach party, so you end up doing a lot of those songs where you’re going, “Chng, chng, chng, chng, chng,” and really banging it out with that sort of, ‘Sister Golden Hair,’ style of acoustic guitar.

“We weren’t thinking or focused on country. We were just writing songs. We just wanted to wrap those songs up in folky instrumentation and that’s what gives it that folk-country vibe." - Country Muisc Channel

"Immigrant Union: Live on Adam Hills in Gordon St Tonight!"

Immigrant Union playing on Adam Hill's. - Immigrant Union


'The Winter EP' - EP  - 2010

Immigrant Union - Self Titled - LP - 2011

'I Can't Return' - Single (US Release) - June 2014



Two guys meet at a bar and a band is born. It’s a story as old as beer on tap. Like all good stories, Immigrant Union’s started with a few drinks.  And… maybe a few dozen more drinks.  The story got a little more interesting when the duo started turning simple chords and melodies into completed songs. And then polished recordings of those songs. And empty bar rooms into epic parties.  And music loving barflies into lifelong friends.

It was the summer of 2004 when Brent DeBoer of The Dandy Warhols was killing some time in Australia and had a chance meeting with Melbourne’s Bob Harrow.  This initial exchange led to a spontaneous trip to the country and an all-night jam session. The friendship grew.  They acquired the talented vocalist and keyboard player, Peter Lubulwa, and the band quickly planted its roots in alt-country-folk, bound by a communal love for classic rock and roll.

Countless shows later, Immigrant Union have now supported Noel Gallagher, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Dead Meadow and toured their own headline shows, creating unforgettable moments at boutique festivals and many an odd BBQ and house party across the whole of Australia. Known for having a consistent gift of delivering a good time…allllll the time… the band have naturally progressed into the next chapter of their story: realising their second album, and keeping their eyes fixed on the international touring circuit ahead.

Immigrant Union’s upcoming album is a shift from previous recordings – moving away from the country end of the sound spectrum, they approached their second record with a desire to produce a more layered, trippier sound.  To achieve this elusive warmth, the band went literally to the farthest reaches of the earth: to Brent’s hometown in Portland, Oregon and to Altona on the outskirts of Melbourne, Australia.

In the stark, industrial coastal town of Altona, is a hidden gem. A vintage Neve mixing console, a world-class microphone collection and an engineer (Mat Robbins) who never had a band quite like Immigrant Union step into his studio. “I wanted these particular ribbon mics,” Brent says. “It’s hard to find a collection like Mat's at Coloursound– decent 1950's and 60's mics cost so much time and money to collect, when you find a guy with drawers full of them in mint condition, it gives you chills.” Brent explains that the classic mixing desk gave the band’s music a “vintage authenticity and a warm but crusty and dusty sound” – the perfect qualities for the sun-drenched ambience the band were chasing. Similarly, Timothy Stollenwork also keeps a gear-head’s heaven in his Portland home – here Brent worked with Timothy (Woods, Boogarins, Quasi) on mastering the record. The completed work, (featuring former Immigrant Union members, all of which are now Courtney Barnett and The Courtney Barnetts), had the perfect line-up to give 'Anyway' the treatment it deserves.

2014 was a busy year for the band with showcases at The Americana Music Festival in Nashville TN and The CMJ Music Marathon in New York City as well as a headline slot at The Sydney Psych Festival. 'Anyway' had it US release in September 2014 through Musebox records and was followed up by an extensive 18 date North American tour covering East and West Coasts. 

2015 is already shaping up to be a busy one with appearances at The Kyenton Music Festival and a planned Australian release of 'Anyway' in April 2015 plus more overseas touring.

"Immigrant Union revived the folk-rock wing of psychedelia." Jon Pareles: The New York Times

Immigrant Union’s song “War is Peace” was just about my favorite new song on my list of unknown CMJ bands. I put that song on All Songs Considered last Tuesday and the night before I came to NYC, I listened to their entire album. When it was over I listened to it again! It’s rare that I do that.” – Bob Boilen: NPR All Songs Considered.

"You want the cutting edge of 2014 psychedelic pop, this is it. Is this album the catchiest, most melodically attractive release of the year? Very possibly." - Delarue: New York Music Daily.

“Immigrant Union is a band with uncompromising appeal on the brink of international recognition and admiration,” - Jef Krohn, Music Editor at PDX Magazine.

Band Members