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Album of the Week: 'Ting Mong' by Dengue Fever

Cover art of Dengue Fever's latest album, Ting Mong, featuring a half-fish half-human character.
Dengue Fever's latest album, "Ting Mong."

'Ting Mong' by Dengue Fever is KAXE's Album of the Week for Jan. 15-21, 2024.

In Cambodian culture, a Ting Mong is a scarecrow-like figure placed at the entrance of a village or home toward off plagues and evil spirits.

Writing and recording this album in the midst of the pandemic, the band Dengue Fever felt everyone could use a Ting Mong in their life.

Based in California, Dengue Fever is a 6-piece band steeped in Khmer culture. They got their start after brothers Ethan and Zac Holtzman discovered a 1996 compilation, Cambodian Rocks, featuring uncredited songs from the prolific Cambodian psychedelic rock scene of the 1960s and '70s. A scene that was eventually crushed by the Khmer Rouge in 1975.

The brothers connected with Cambodian singer, Chhom Nimol, who sings in both her native Khmer language as well as English.

Ting Mong is their first release in eight years. That time between albums seemingly allowed them space and energy to draw out the songs. The end result? A cohesive collection of unhurried, minimal and mellow songs, combined with the strong Khmer tradition, spacey Laurel Canyon harmonies and trippy psychedelic surf rock.

Previous Albums of the Week

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The music director at KAXE since 2014, Kari (pronounced Car-ee) Hedlund reviews music on the daily. She also hosts New Music every Wednesday (2 and 10 p.m.) and Sunday (noon), along with the KAXE Morning Show on Thursdays.