Thursday, June 5, 2008

Earth to the Dandy Warhols

Those of you who read this blog regularly are probably familiar with the Dandy Warhols and my obsession with them. They are one of my favorite bands of all time. There is not a single song on their many albums that I dislike, and their new/upcoming album - their very first self-released work on their own label - "Earth to the Dandy Warhols" is no exception.

Though the album doesn't officially come out until August, you can stream it (and supposedly you can download it in full with some b-sides and live recordings) on their website now. You can also download the opening peppy, groovy, head-bopping track The World The People Together (Come On) - which is listed as The World Come On on the album... - for free on their website by subscribing to their mailing list. So rather than posting it here, I'm going to let you go get it on their website and show your support.

If you've seen the documentary Dig! or if you just know enough about the Dandy Warhols, you're probably really excited for their first self-released album. They (particularly the "genius but he knows it" lead singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor) are not the type of band that gives in easily to corporate desires. Based on the fact that this album is not that different than the rest of their stuff, I'd say that they did pretty much what they wanted through the years, even when they were on major labels. However, I'm happy for them that they could produce this album on their own, without having to struggle against "the man" (or "mission control" as their new space-themed website jokes) and whatnot.

As usual, the album is a mix of many different sounds, with their trippy jam sound as an undertone that brings it all together. After the bouncy opening track comes the darker '80s synth-rock Mission Control, then the psychedelic but playful funky disco tune Welcome to the Third World. This is followed by a few songs that venture back closer to the core of the Dandy Warhol's sound - trippy, surreal jams with lots of distortion and feedback.

The last few songs of the album are just as varied as the first few. The Dandy Warhols get a little country/bluegrassy/folksy with the pleasantly laid back Love Song - guest starring Dire Strait’s Mark Knopfler and the Heartbreakers’ guitarist Mike Campbell. Then they change tone a bit and go with a poppy rock number Now You Love Me, before moving on to a sunny, silly, tongue-in-cheek song, Mis Amigos, that (if you don't listen to the lyrics too closely) sounds like something hippie children would be singing around the fire at summer camp - but the bouncy, hint-of-Caribbean sound is contagious and soon I'm smiling and singing "da da da da da" along with the music. This is followed by a gritty country rock song with an absurdly long title in which the low, raspy Johnny Cash-like voice is barely recognizable as Courtney Taylor-Taylor. The title of the song is The Legend of the Last of the Outlaw Truckers AKA The Ballad of Sheriff Shorty.

The album then takes a sharp turn to the gentle, melancholy lullaby, Beast of All Saints, and then turns back for a grunge rock number called Valerie Yum that for some reason calls to my mind ZZ Top (except for the hilarious fact that they are singing "yum yum yum yum yum yum," particularly at the end of the song when this becomes a frenzy). This song segways into the obligatory "really long track to end the album" that the Dandy Warhols often seem to do. It's a quiet, ambient-like song called Musee D' Nougat, with a voice speaking softly in what I believe is a French accent in the background - so softly that I can't understand what it's saying most of the time. I would say of all their album-ending 10 minute plus songs, this is my least favorite.

To sum it all up: as always, the Dandy Warhols continue to rock my world with a rich, fun album. Go buy it.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The parts that I could understand of the last song sounded like some sort of recipe spoken with a French accent. The song was waaay too long for my taste, but I am curious as to what was being said!