Ripley Johnson on Fabulous Diamonds – Commercial Music


Starting off the new year right with a new edition of Hidden Gems from Ripley Johnson (Moon Duo, Wooden Shjips). Hidden Gems explores albums that haven’t gotten their proper due over the years, as picked by RSTB’s favorite artists. Ripley selected Aussie psych duo Fabulous Diamonds’ third album Commercial Music, which was released by Chapter Music in 2012. Ripley explains why the album is such a slept on treasure and the impact its had on his own music.

“Fabulous Diamonds is a Melbourne-based duo, I’ve been a fan since their first 7” released in 2007, though I don’t remember how I came upon it,” says Johnson. “Then Siltbreeze put out their amazing first two LPs. Commercial Music is their third and maybe last record. I’m not sure if they’re still active. I could have picked any of their records. I love them all.”

He continues, “It’s hard to write about these guys. I just love them so much and I can’t understand why they’re not better known. I guess what I like best is that they really create their own sound world, one that I easily get lost in, and they are absolutely committed and true to that world. No song, or note, or flourish, falters or breaks the spell. You can surrender to the music completely and really let it take you for a ride. Beyond that, they write amazing and unusual songs, and they’re a duo! What’s not to love?”

As for the band’s impact on Moon Duo’s sound Ripley notes, “It’s hard to point to any direct influence on us, but they’re certainly a big inspiration. When we started our band there didn’t seem to be too many rock duos around, that we knew of anyway. I guess we discovered these guys and Blues Control the same year (hooray for 2007!), and, as with bands like Suicide, Silver Apples and Royal Trux, they have a dynamic that is unique to the duo format.”

Fabulous Diamonds has, as Johnson notes, seemed quiet of late, but their three releases have always been favorites around here. Ed note: It appears the band have just announced a some new dates with talk of a possible 2017 album. Good news! You can check the old site for a short write up on Commercial Music, where I noted the band conjured up “clouds of doom dusted throb and a stark-throated vocal approach that feels little if not apocalyptic.” That description still seems pretty much on the nose. If you missed this one back in 2012, now’s the time to grab one. It looks like its still in print. As for Moon Duo, they have a new album on the way from Sacred Bones on Feb 3rd, Occult Architecture Vol. 1. The album is the first in a two-part series which explores the light and dark sides of their sound and is shaping up to be one of their best in a long line of essential albums.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

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