3:09 PM EDT, March 13, 2013
It all started with a simple question about how a band leader chose his touring mates. After brief conversation and a tip that the keyboardist/vocalist was in a band of her own she hit me with those beautiful, steely eyes and asked, "Do you like The Andrews Sisters?" And so began my introduction and subsequent musical infatuation with The Nymphs.
The Andrews Sisters? Of course. Who doesn't like the harmonious perfection of the queens of the swing and boogie-woogie eras? But when was the last time anyone referenced them when describing their own musical endeavors? I was not only surprised, but truthfully slightly skeptical when the Nymph in question, Kelly Day, handed me a CD at a show she was playing alongside fellow Australian Henry Wagons. (An amazing talent in his own right.) These four young ladies certainly had the look down, adorning the cover of their debut, self-titled EP in matching, vintage dresses. But did they have the chops. I spent my drive home that night with my jaw in my lap. Yeah, they most certainly did.
By now you've probably figured out that we are not talking about the alt rock band of the same name that haunted the New York club scene in the late 80's/early 90's. These Nymphs are made up of Day and fellow Australian songbirds Jane Hendry, Bek Chapman, and Clare Hendry. One quick YouTube search (try "The Nymphs Australia") will unleash a torrent of absolutely amazing vocal harmonies, fabulous appearances on various Australian TV programs, and most importantly some killer songwriting. Their music really does capture a retro-swing vibe that frankly blows away any of those silly pseudo-swing bands that saw their 15 seconds of fame here in the States in the mid to late 90's.
They are a product of their own generation though. Unlike The Andrews Sisters, The Nymphs from a lyrical standpoint are not afraid to dabble in the cheeky befitting their moniker. (A song about deadly rabbits? Check. Various mentions of knickers? Check.) Plus their songs, if they had instruments behind them other than the occasional piano accompaniment, would absolutely find a wider appeal in the indie pop world. But that's really the beauty and uniqueness of The Nymphs. Their voices are the only instruments they need. There's is the ability and the wherewith-all to hit those certain notes together that sound like sonic honey. It's simply delicious stuff.
I'm a huge fan of seredipitously discovering great music and my discovery of The Nymphs will forever be one of my favorite stories to tell. Even more so because I can't wait to see the look on people's faces when I ask them, "Do you like The Andrews Sisters?"
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