D.D. Dumbo's 'Utopia Defeated' Wins Triple J's Australian Album of the Year

D.D. Dumbo
Mia Mala McDonald

D.D. Dumbo

D.D. Dumbo’s debut Utopia Defeated has taken out Triple J’s prestigious J Award.

The singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist beat out sets by The Avalanches, Flume, Violent Soho and others to claim the national youth radio network’s top honor, which recognizes the best Australian album of the year.

Dumbo, aka Oliver Hugh Perry, who was raised in the small town of Castlemaine, one and a half hours north of Melbourne, was on hand at the J Awards ceremony Thursday (Nov. 11) in Sydney.

“When D.D Dumbo arrived in 2013, we immediately loved his song ‘Tropical Oceans’. But after that, he went very quiet,” says Triple J music director Richard Kingsmill of the winning album. “Behind the scenes, we now know what he was working up. He’s been steering his sound along a very different path to most players on the scene today. Drawing from ‘70s icons like Captain Beefheart and Joni Mitchell, he’s also fed a lot off African guitar players for inspiration. He’s created a sound that is incredibly striking. It’s strong in both its vision and quality, and in a huge year for Australian releases, it also stood out for its inventiveness.”

The J Awards, typically held in the so-called Ausmusic Month of November, is in its 12th year, and has previously been won by Wolfmother (2005), Hilltop Hoods (2006), The Panics (2007), The Presets (2008), Sarah Blasko (2009), Tame Impala (2010 + 2012), Gotye (2011), Flume (2013), Chet Faker (2014) and Courtney Barnett (2015).

Dumbo wasn’t the only winner at the J Awards. Rising DIY star Tash Sultana was named Unearthed artist of the year, and psychedelic rockers King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard were double winners, claiming the Double J Australian artist of the year accolade and Australian music video of the year for “People Vultures.” 

The 2016 J Award nominees:
The Avalanches, "Wildflower"
Big Scary, "Animal" 
Camp Cope, "Camp Cope" 
D.D Dumbo, "Utopia Defeated" 
Flume, "Skin" 
Julia Jacklin, "Don't Let The Kids Win" 
Montaigne, "Glorious Heights" 
SAFIA, "Internal"
Sticky Fingers, "Westway (The Glitter & the Slums)"
Violent Soho, "WACO"

Listen to "Utopia Defeated" below: