Black Cab (band)

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Black Cab
Black Cab 2004.jpg
Background information
Origin Melbourne, Australia
Genres Drone
Indie Rock, Industrial Rock, Shoegazing
Instruments guitar, bass, drums, electronic programming and treatments
Years active 1999–present
Labels Interstate 40 Music
Stickman Records
Associated acts Lowtide
Website Official site
Members Andrew Coates
James Lee
Wes Holland
Past members Ashley Davis
Richard Andrew
Anthony Paine
Steve Law
Alex Jarvis

Black Cab is a Melbourne based drone and electronica group. The band is heavily influenced by 1970s psychedelic rock coupled with elements of Krautrock and more programmed driven beats and electronic soundscapes. The band has released four full length albums and two EPs.


Melbourne-based Australian band Black Cab's principal songwriters are guitarist James Lee and vocalist Andrew Coates, who originally performed together in early 1990s industrial rock group Foil. After an initial collaboration in 1999 produced a limited edition 3 track EP entitled 'Illinois Chapter', Coates moved to San Francisco and began writing what would become the band's first full length album Altamont Diary (2004), a concept album loosely based on the Rolling Stones' disastrous Altamont Free Concert on 6 December 1969. The album was recorded gradually over a two-year period and was produced and mixed by Melbourne producer Woody Annison when Coates moved back to Melbourne in early 2002. At that time James Lee was playing in Melbourne bands Registered Nurse and The Fergs. The debut album also featured a number of local Melbourne musicians including Richard Andrew on drums (Registered Nurse, Underground Lovers), Andrew McCubbin and Glenn Sharpe on sitar, as well as Adam Cunha from San Francisco mod rock group Helium Angel. On release in mid-2004 the album attracted significant Australian and international acclaim and a full band was pulled together to take the album live. Joining Black Cab for the early live shows was Anthony Paine on bass (High Pass Filter), Steve Law (Zen Paradox) and Alex Jarvis (Automatic). Ashley Naylor (Even) also guested at a number of shows during 2005 and 2006. The band would often play shows to a video backdrop of slow moving images taken from concert footage of the Altamont Free Concert.

The full band contributed recordings for what would become the bands' second album 'Jesus East' which was released in Australia in 2006 on Interstate 40 Music/Pharmacy Records and in Europe in early 2007 courtesy of Hamburg based indie label Stickman Records (home of Norwegian psychedelic rockers Motorpsycho). Guest vocals on the track 13 Days were performed by Japanese LA-based vocalist and performance artist Sayaka Yabuki. The album also featured studio recordings from sitar master Radhey Gupta and tabla percussionist Hermant Kumar. The legendary road manager of the Rolling Stones on their fateful 1969 US tour, Sam Cutler recorded a spoken word for the track 'Valiant' where he recalls life managing and living with the Grateful Dead in the early 1970s. On the strength of international reviews the band received an Australia Council for the Arts International Pathways grant to tour the Netherlands, Germany and Austria in May 2007. A limited edition tour EP, 'Surrender', was released to coincide with the 2007 European tour and featured remixes of tracks from 'Jesus East' by Woody Annison and Steve Law, as well as a number of live recordings from shows in 2006. Many tracks from the Jesus East and Altamont Diary LPs were used in the 2013 feature length documentary on the life of Australian surfer Wayne Lynch directed by Craig Griffin, 'Uncharted Waters'.

The bands' third album Call Signs was released in Australia in July 2009 through Sydney label Laughing Outlaw Records. The album was loosely inspired by East German culture and 1970s life under the communist regime and Stasi security apparatus, partly due to the band's tour of eastern Germany in 2007 as well as the book Stasiland by acclaimed Australian author Anna Funder. The album was produced by Woody Annison who also produced the band's debut release, Altamont Diary and featured lyrics and lead vocals by Died Pretty vocalist Ron Peno on the track 'Ghost Anthems'. Ron performed this track live at a handful of Melbourne and Sydney shows in late 2009. The track 'Black Angel' was inspired by the life of 1970's singer songwriter Judee Sill, the recording of which also featured found sounds of German netballers. The album also contained numerous found sounds of 1970's East German spy transmissions and call signs. The album garnered strong critical acclaim and indie radio airplay in Australia, culminating with a final nine shortlisting for the 2009 Australian Music Prize.

In 2010 the band released the single "Sexy Polizei" featuring backing vocals from Melbourne songstress Monique Brumby and produced by Melbourne producer Simon Polinski. A year later they released the single "Combat Boots", also produced by Simon Polinski. In July 2011 the band stripped down to a three piece (James Lee, Andrew Coates and Steve Law) to focus on more electronic-driven music. Steve Law left in 2013 and was replaced by Sand Pebbles drummer, Wes Holland on live and electronic drums.

The band's fourth album, Games of the XXI Olympiad, was released in November 2014. Recorded with multiple producers, including former Death In Vegas member Tim Holmes, Simon Polinski, and Woody Annison for final mixes and production, the album moved the band's sound firmly towards electronica, and was loosely based on the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. Remixes of 'Victorious' by Mikey Young and 'Sexy Polizei' by Scott Fraser And Timothy J Fairplay were released in 2015, and band released a single, 'Uniforms' in 2016 featuring additional keyboards and programming from Mikey Young of Eddie Current Suppression Ring and Total Control. In January 2017 the band performed an alternative soundtrack to the 1988 manga classic Akira live at Melbourne's Astor Theatre with taiko master Toshi Sakamoto.




  • Surrender (2007, Interstate 40 Music)


  • Sexy Polizei (2010, Laughing Outlaw Records)
  • Combat Boots (2011, Interstate 40 Music)
  • Victorious/Sexy Polizei remixes (2015, Slightly Delic)
  • Uniforms (2016, Interstate 40 Music)


External links[edit]