Like an international sweat fest of nostalgic pleasure, Dengue Fever is better suited as a warmer-upper than a cold. With a gruff, garage-rock spangle slathered in funk, this L.A.-based band welds ’60s Cambodian pop to a surfboard and floats it out to sea. Founded in 2001 after a trip to Cambodia, Ethan and Zac Holtzman met a Cambodian-native lounge singer named Chhom Nimol, a star in her home country, who could sing and write songs in Khmer.
Recently returned from a tour of Southeast Asia (thanks to a State Department grant) that took the band to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, Dengue Fever uses its members’ varied influences, both musically and culturally, to fuse a thick-skinned, critically-resistant-to-all-forms-of-vaccination new style.
The most recent album by Dengue Fever, 2011’s Cannibal Courtship, blends a bilingual, almost Beirut-esque indie rock with thick horns and jungle funk. Electric Cambodia, a 2010 compilation curated by the band, allows them to dredge history and music from the past and re-present that era’s original tracks to a new wave of listeners.
Secret Chiefs 3 founder Trey Spruance released Dengue Fever’s first album on his label, and members of both bands have collaborated on various projects. This is the first time the two bands have toured together, sharing a co-headline bill. Get there and infect yourself.
Secret Chiefs 3 and Dengue Fever play 8 pm Monday, Feb. 6, at WOW Hall; $13 adv., $15 door.