Young Modern

Top Songs & Albums Young Modern

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... read moreAustralian music writer Andy Bradley once called Young Modern "the first power pop band from Down Under," and the band's bright, energetic sound and ear-catching melodies were a clear precursor to the skinny-tie pop sounds that would begin having a major impact on the charts at the end of the 1970s...

Key songs

Young Modern
It's Her Way (Live)
3:10
Young Modern
The Singer Not The Song (Live)
2:17
Young Modern
(Wanna Be A) Birdman (Live)
3:50
Young Modern
It's Not A Crime (Live)
4:02
Young Modern
Sportsgirls (Live)
3:56

Biography

Active: 1970s-2010s
Country Of origin: Australia

Australian music writer Andy Bradley once called Young Modern "the first power pop band from Down Under," and the band's bright, energetic sound and ear-catching melodies were a clear precursor to the skinny-tie pop sounds that would begin having a major impact on the charts at the end of the 1970s. Unfortunately, Young Modern was just a bit early to reap the benefits of power pop's brief moment of commercial success, though their historical importance and influence on the likes of the Hoodoo Gurus and the Sunnyboys is widely acknowledged. Young Modern was formed in 1977 by John Dowler, an Irish expatriate who had spent time in Europe, the Netherlands, and England before settling in Adelaide. Dowler was previously the leader of Spare Change, a prescient band that favored straightforward rock & roll with a pop touch, with Roxy Music, Mott the Hoople, the Velvet Underground, and Sparks cited by the group as key influences. After Spare Change broke up in 1976, Dowler began looking for like-minded musicians to form a new group, and in 1977, he met up with Andy Richards, whose older brother had gone to school with Dowler. Richards was playing bass in a band called Suggestion, who were going nowhere fast, and Dowler recruited Richards and Suggestion guitarist Vic Yates to join his new group. After schooling his new bandmates on his musical philosophy and his enthusiasm for the Flamin' Groovies, Big Star, and the Byrds, Dowler, Richards, and Yates teamed with guitarist Michael Jones and drummer Mark Kohler, and the first edition of Young Modern (named after a pop fanzine of the '60s) was complete. Young Modern played their first gig opening for Radio Birdman in November 1977, and they quickly gained a sizable following in Adelaide for their hooky, straightforward brand of rock & roll. Young Modern were a hard-working band who were eager to play, and they hit the road, playing club dates around Southeast Australian and learning to handle all kinds of crowds. Dowler was friends with Steve Cummings of the pub rock band the Sports, and Cummings was impressed enough with Young Modern to help them make their first record. Cummings produced the single "She's Got the Money" b/w "Automatic," which the band released in 1978 on their own Top Gear label; it scored significant airplay on Double J Radio in Sydney and Triple R in Melbourne and spread word about Young Modern nationwide. The success of "She's Got the Money" led to an offer from Dirty Pool, a successful music management firm who handled two of Australia's biggest hard rock outfits, Cold Chisel and the Angels. Young Modern signed up with Dirty Pool and relocated to Sydney, though Mike Jones opted to stay in Adelaide and Mark Carroll took his place in the lineup. Despite Dirty Pool's success with other acts, they didn't seem to know what to do with Young Modern, and the band often found themselves booked into clubs that favored hard rock while pop bands that had sprung up in Young Modern's wake were enjoying greater success. With the group's momentum fading, Young Modern decided to break up in the summer of 1979; an album, Play Faster, was released by the indie label Local Records that combined their single with a number of unreleased demos, and the group briefly reunited in 1980 to play a few shows in support. (Spare Change's unreleased recordings would also be compiled into an album after Young Modern called it quits.) Dowler went on to form the Glory Boys (who later became Talk Show), and enjoyed success in the late '80s with the Zimmermen. In 2006, Dowler reunited Young Modern to cut a new album, How Insensitive, which was released the following year; the band went on tour after the album's release, and another reunion jaunt in 2010 resulted in a live album, Live at the Grace Emily 22.12.2010. ~ Mark Deming~ Rovi

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