Super XX Man – Sorta Heavy Metal
‘If I see somebody pledge $75.00 I jump up and click my heels, but so much more exciting to me is to see seventy-five people pledging $1.00 each. They’re people with not much to give and the fact that they’re digging in and helping really means a lot.’
A good, honest voice describing good, honest music – that’s my first impression of Scott Garret, music therapist and master and commander of Super XX Man (pronounced double ex): a musical project that’s soon to see its fourteenth album release.
That album is called Sorta Heavy Metal, a name that Garret plucked from an imaginary conversation with cellist and arranger Peter Joseph Head, and marks Super XX Man’s Australian debut. The conversation, Garret informs me on the electric telephone, turned on the question of his musical style, which his imagined self described as being ‘sorta heavy metal’. It follows on from Vol. XIII: White Bed, a sensitive and elegant reflection on the odyssey of mourning that followed his father’s death.
Sorta Heavy Metal is a stylistic departure from that and the band’s previous body of work, yet it follows a deeper current of continuity that gives the project’s development an interesting pattern. Since the band’s beginnings in 1995, even before he left the US for Victoria, Garret has been Super XX Man’s only continuous member and he likes to change the line-up with every album, although some members have stayed for two or three consecutive releases. This rotation of talent keeps Super XX Man fresh because the team of the moment aren’t just hired hands who play Garret’s music, they contribute fully to the production process as band members, so each generation of musicians bring something new and vital to their albums while Garret provides a strong feeling of cohesion.
Presently, the band’s new blood are indie-acoustic extraordinaire Peter Joseph Head and the soulful-voiced Hannah O’Keefe. Joseph Head is a well established figure in Melbourne’s music scene and he’s an accomplished composer and arranger in addition to being a superb musician. Garret enthuses about his cellist’s energy and vigour, noting the way he attacks the music and creates a feedback effect with the cello not unlike that of an electric guitar. The cello isn’t the only unwieldy stringed instrument in his repertoire however; he also brings the thirteen-string Japanese koto to the album for a couple of tracks, spinning the cut-glass notes effortlessly around O’Keefe’s strong, sweet melodies.
Hannah O’Keefe’s clear voice resonates from between the instruments, dancing in ringing counterpart to Garret’s own vocals. Her harmonic performance gives the album a musical texture and body that elevates the performance of the entire group and transforms the album into something special.
So much for the musicians and the music, but there’s another interesting dimension to Sorta Heavy Metal and it’s to be found online. Part of marking his Australian debut is Garret’s decision to raise funds for his project on pozible.com, a local crowdfunding platform. While the album is recorded and ready for release, the crowdfunding exercise will grant the band funds for the launch that the debut deserves.
Find Super XX Man’s Pozible campaign here to learn about the project and see the pledge rewards, including signed CDs, LPs, launch tickets and an opportunity to have Super XX Man play at your house. We heartily recommend you throw a few bucks their way.
The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of Melting Pot.
Author DetailsDarcy Moran
A cool cat in a panama hat with a knack for spinning slick verbiage an' that...
Darcy is currently a freelance copywriter and editor working in Melbourne. Last year he graduated from RMIT with a diploma of Professional Writing and Editing.