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The Teskey Brothers - Half Mile Harvest (Deluxe)

THE TESKEY BROTHERS
HALF MILE HARVEST (DELUXE)
(Album out 26th October 2018 through Ivy League Records)

There is something incredibly special about Warrandyte’s The Teskey Brothers. It’s not just the music they make, or their preternatural ability to conjure the spirit of soul and blues masters, or even lead singer Josh Teskey’s era-defying voice that seems to belong more in the Mississippi Delta than rural Victoria. It’s the fact that they’ve been hiding in plain sight, honing their craft for a decade, playing countless shows at the local pub, weddings and even a swimming pool, before making serious waves with their debut album Half Mile Harvest.

I know you’ve read this kind of thing about a band before, but what’s different this time is that The Teskey Brothers are the real deal.

Forming over a decade ago when brothers Sam (guitar) and Josh Teskey teamed up with childhood friends, and long-time jamming buddies, Brendon Love (Bass) and Liam Gough (Drums), Half Mile Harvest is the perfect summation of everything the band has learnt about playing, songwriting and production over the last decade. Completely self-produced at their own studio in Warrandyte, recorded live to tape and mixed down on an analogue board, The Teskey Brothers were trying to capture the humanity of their recordings, warts and all, making the listener feel as though they are sitting in the room while the band plays around them. And for The Teskey Brothers it is all about feeling.

“If you don’t play it with soul, it’s not soul music, it’s just two chords and a beat,” says Sam.

The results of their effort and attention to detail are stunning. Across its 10 tracks, The Teskey Brothers take influence from Otis Redding, JJ Cale and Marvin Gaye, mixing in elements of old Blues and British Invasion rock n roll, even some psychedelia, to create a record that feels completely timeless, transcending eras to deliver something that could have been made now or 50 years ago. It’s no mere pastiche though either. It’s a sound that knows its influences, but The Teskey Brothers have spent enough time playing together to find their own sound and put their distinctive mark on something classic.

“It seemed really simple, it’s not complicated music, but it took us a long time to work out the subtlety, what makes that kind of music tick,” says Josh. “That’s something that took us years to harness.”

“When you’re young and starting out, you don’t necessarily have much restraint as far as subtlety and sensibility towards arrangement and song-writing. You just wanna play your instrument and be loud and fast,” offers Brendon.

“Sam was a shredder for years, we used to call him Carlos SanTeskey,” laughs Brendon. “You have to go through that and explore all forms of expression,” he continues. “You realise there’s more to music and songs than your technical ability. “

“That’s definitely the theme of Half Mile Harvest,” says Josh. “Just keeping it simple and all about the feeling.”

It might seem like a wild coincidence that the four managed to find other like-minded, music-mad souls in a small town like Warrandyte, but not to the band.

“Warrandyte has a history of being an artistic place, it was sort of hippy town back in the 70s, a lot of artists moved out here and then those artists had kids and then those kids started hanging out together and that would be our generation,” says Love. “I grew up literally next door to the Teskey’s and Liam lived like a kilometre up the road.”

And as for the mutual love of late 60s/early 70s soul, blues, RnB and British Invasion blues, Josh offers this:

“We developed that love together. We were kind of discovering it all at once and influencing each other to dig deeper. We did it as one.”

“We’d go off and try to start bands separately, but we’d always come back to each other,” Brendon says. “That’s when it was best, when we had all four of us playing together. There’s something pretty special about this line-up I think.”

The people of Warrandyte agreed and in some ways are responsible for The Teskey Brothers not throwing in the towel.

“It’s kind of funny cos at times we weren’t super enthusiastic about the band,” laughs Sam. “But people would always call us to ask us to play and we never really said no to a gig. There was a long period where we were playing two gigs a weekend just from phone calls from people asking us if we wanted to play lots of random gigs.”

“We didn’t do any sort of promotion”, Liam notes. “It was all word of mouth.”

Having played “every weird place just cos we never said no to a show”, the Teskey Brothers made a conscious choice when they decided to record Half Mile Harvest.

“We all had other jobs at that point for ten years or more, but the one thing we loved doing was playing in this band, so we thought, “why don’t we actually get it together and see if we can give this a go?””

Saying the punt paid off, is an understatement and the release of Half Mile Harvest turned out to be just the catalyst the band had been waiting for.

“When this record came out, that was the turning point”, Josh says. “It was outside of it being a live thing and it had legs that could take it further than we could push as a band by playing gigs. That’s when it started getting around from there.”

“It’s been a crazy year and a half,” says Brendon. “It seems like every couple of months or so we have to redefine what our expectations and measures of success are. Y’know we gave our favourite presenters on community radio our album and literally the next day it was played on air, that for us, we couldn’t believe it! We’re all such big fans of community radio.”

They quickly sold out of the 500 records they had pressed, thinking it would take years to offload them all, and soon found themselves on stage at Meredith Festival, playing strings of sold out shows around Australia, touring the US and UK and fulfilling a dream playing at Fuji Rock Festival in Japan.

“When we released Half Mile Harvest, I would have laughed in anyone’s face if they’d said you’d be playing Fuji Rock in a year and a half,” says Liam.

Having just inked deals with Ivy League Records in Australia, Glassnote Records in the US and Decca/Vertigo in the UK/EU, The Teskey Brothers are prepping for the next phase of their career, starting with the re-issue of Half Mile Harvest, which features two new tracks, ‘I Get Up’ and ‘Say You’ll Do’.

‘I Get Up’ has been called a new direction for the Teskey Brothers, perhaps touching on something more contemporary for the 60s/70s era loving band, but that’s something the guys are unconvinced of.

“Nothing much has really changed. We’re still as DIY as we were before we signed and we’re still keeping everything in-house, doing it in our studio,” says Brendon. “As long as we keep our sound the way we want it to be y’know, it’s going to sound like The Teskey Brothers.”

“For me, the idea of pop music, if we’re thinking about the era that we’re really influenced by, all those soul artists, they were essentially the pop of their day,” says Brendon. “The pop world for us is that era and if we can bring that idea of pop back to today, then that would be great.”

So, while they might not be appearing at the Warrandyte Festival this year, and you won’t catch them playing down at St Andrews Pub in town, The Teskey Brothers aren’t about to go changing anytime soon. And you’ve got to be thankful for that.

‘I GET UP’ IS OUT NOW THROUGH IVY LEAGUE RECORDS
AVAILABLE FOR STREAMING AND PURCHASE HERE
7” VINYL AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER FRIDAY 12 OCTOBER

HALF MILE HARVEST (DELUXE) IS OUT FRIDAY 26 OCTOBER 2018
THROUGH IVY LEAGUE RECORDS
AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER HERE

HALF MILE HARVEST (DELUXE) DIGITAL AND CD
AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER FRIDAY 26 OCTOBER

HALF MILE HARVEST (DELUXE) VINYL
AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER IN NOVEMBER

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