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DIY Discovery | Daniel James’ Brass Camel

The Vancouver singer-guitarist and his funketeers tear the roof off the sucker.

Photo by Ryan Deasley

Most of the music I hear is sent to me by labels and publicists. But there’s nothing like getting it straight from the source. Welcome to the latest instalment of DIY Discovery, where I introduce you to artists who have sent me their music directly (and who don’t suck — that’s definitely part of the deal too). If you’d like to get in on that action, scroll down to the bottom of the page. But don’t skip over today’s funky find:


HOME: Vancouver, B.C.

LATEST RELEASE: Their self-titled debut album.

MY PITHY DESCRIPTION: Groove-humpin’ mother-funkers.

SEVEN ADJECTIVES FOR THEIR MUSIC: Funky, bluesy, soulful, old-school, earthy, intricate, irresistible.


Let’s not mince words: Funk bands are overpriced at a dime a dozen. Goofy white-boy funk bands come even cheaper. So it’s always a rare treat to hear somebody who not only gets it — but gets it right. Daniel James is one of those guys. He used to be one of those weird child-prodigy guitar slingers who was touring before he was old enough to drive. Then he spent a bunch of time being a hired gun and playing in tribute bands. Now he’s getting it together and bringing in the funk with his band Brass Camel. But not just any old funk. Much of this self-titled debut album channels the harder, guitar-driven cosmic slop of George Clinton’s Funkadelic — specifically the group’s early-’70s classics like Maggot Brain and America Eats its Young. But James and co. are no one-trick camel. They also up the ante by drawing on a slew of other major players from the same era. You’ve got Frank Zappa and The Mothers at the height of their twisted prog-rock powers on albums like Over-Nite Sensation, Apostrophe (‘) and One Size Fits All. You’ve got the wah-wah-stomp boogie and blues-rock of Steve Marriott and Humble Pie. And you’ve got traces of everyone from Stevie Wonder and Sly Stone to Janis Joplin and Little Feat. Which means you’ve got a band that can — and does — tear the roof off the sucker.


Daniel James’ Brass Camel features Vancouver musicians who dig both Parliament and Genesis and decided that it would be worth mashing the two together into something called Progressive Funk. They’ve been together since early 2018 and have been on a streak of sold-out Vancouver dates. On record as a stripped-down dynamic unit (featuring Dawn Pemberton on backing vocals), live they perform with versatile band configurations including an 11-piece funk monster.”




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