What they say…
“I’ve been patiently waiting to see what these Melbourne, Australia-based purveyors of funk have in store for music lovers. Whatever it is, I know in my bones it will be something special!”
The Putbacks are a rhythm section. Drums, bass, guitar, keyboards and percussion. Stone cold pros, grizzled veterans of all the tours and all the studios. As individuals, they’re the players behind so many bands it’s difficult to list, but let’s start with Hiatus Kaiyote, The Bombay Royale, D.D Dumbo, Swooping Duck, The Meltdown and The Black Arm Band, not to mention their ongoing collaboration with Emma Donovan. When they come together as a group, they’re one of the tightest, sharpest, most dynamic musical units ever to exist.
The Putbacks take their cues from the great house bands of the 60s and 70s soul studios – think of The MGs, The Meters and The Wrecking Crew, as well as film composers from David Axelrod to Adrian Younge and contemporary instrumental groups BADBADNOTGOOD and Khruangbin to name a few. The Putbacks play together with an understated confidence and an uncanny rapport, a symbiotic unit that moves together with near psychic intuition. Minimal, spooky, and elastic, this band slides from dance floor fire to cinematic interlude and back, from densely composed music to free improvisation, blurring all the lines in between. No one who sees them play has any doubts they are in the presence of mastery. The guys are good.
Bassist Mick Meagher, drummer Rory McDougal and guitarist Tom Martin formed The Putbacks in the early 2000s. They became something of a house band for their label HopeStreet Recordings and released a number of instrumental 7inches with HopeStreet over the next few years while finalizing their lineup by adding Hiatus Kaiyote co-founder Simon Mavin on keyboards and multi-instrumental wizard Justin Marshall on percussion. In 2014, The Putbacks began their ongoing collaboration with Emma Donovan and released the album “Dawn” to worldwide acclaim. Since then the myriad other projects that they work on have taken the front seat but in the background, an album was quietly taking shape.
In 2018, now many years into their journey together, The Putbacks’ self-titled debut album finally exists in the world. Produced by Paul Bender (of Hiatus Kaiyote) and featuring collaborations with luminaries such as neo-soul legend Bilal and arranger and violinist Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, this record is a hard-hitting, abstract journey into an alternate reality where The Meters specialised in Sci-Fi soundtrack art and Dick Dale played guitar on Madlib records. It’s well and truly worth the wait, and destined to be a classic.