Geil und Dawes
for its debut full-length album, the self-released North Hills (which, earlier this year, was rereleased on Dave Matthews’ ATO label — also home to releases by My Morning Jacket, Patty Griffin, and, um, Radiohead), San Fernando Valley ensemble Dawes infuses its tunes with a throwback vocalharmony sensibility akin to that of Crosby, Stills, and Nash (and maybe a little Young now and then).
It’s a comparison plenty of rock critics have thrown around since the album’s release, but it’s one that sticks. Lead vocalist and songwriter Taylor Goldsmith, percussionist/ brother Griffin Goldsmith, bassist Wylie Gelber, and keyboardist Alex Casnoff create a moody sonic landscape drenched in mournful harmonies encompassing a wide vocal range. But there’s something about their sound that, unlike the arenaready CSN of later years, finds Dawes trapped in a heavenly time capsule where intimacy with the audience serves them best. Listen to “When My Time Comes” on Dawes’ MySpace site (myspace.com/dawestheband), and tell me I’m lyin’.
Gentle guitar strumming, keys, Griffin’s bold-yet-whispery soprano voice, country-tinged melodies, and unobtrusive rhythms provide the perfect backdrop for telling tales of love gained and lost, most of which belie the high-energy funk throwdowns of the Brothers Goldsmith’s father, Lenny Goldsmith — former lead singer of funk/soul collective Tower of Power. That isn’t to say Dawes can’t crank up the energy level a bit when the mood strikes. A tour with Deer Tick last summer proved that Dawes has fully mastered the “rock” part of the roots-rock equation. Papa Goldsmith should be damn proud. Dawes performs at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 29, at Corazón, 401 S. Guadalupe St. Local singer-songwriter John Courage opens, and there’s a $5 cover.
One model stocking stuffer
What do you get that one geeky music-and graphic-novelloving friend who has everything? You know: the guy who hoards shrink-wrapped first pressings of Kraftwerk LPs and won’t take even one of his Watchmen books out of its mylar sleeves because he wants to “protect its mint-condition integrity” — yet he still bums cigarettes off you because he’s “broke.” If you said he deserves nothing, I’d tend to agree. But if you’re feeling generous, pick him up a copy of One Model Nation (Image Comics), a new historical-fiction graphic novel conceived and written by C. Allbritton Taylor (aka The Dandy
Adopting a low-fi, analog-recording approach
Warhols singer-guitarist Courtney Taylor-Taylor) with research contributions by “historian” Donovan Leitch— son of Scottish folk-pop icon Donovan and lead vocalist for rock semi-supergroup Camp Freddy.
Beautifully illustrated by Jim Rugg and Cary Porter and set in 1977 Germany, One Model Nation tells the story of a politically motivated art-noise band of the same name (possibly modeled after Kraftwerk) that may— or may not — have had ties to the Baader-Meinhof group (aka the Red Army Faction), a violent leftist group that emerged from the anti-fascist student uprisings in West Germany during the late ’60s and early ’70s.
Taylor suggests that members of the Baader-Meinhof gang did not engage in collective suicide, as investigators concluded but instead were executed by their captors — a popular conspiracy theory that holds some weight, given the mysterious circumstances in which many RAF members died.
Tying the gang’s fate to “the voice of a generation,” Taylor spins an intriguing political yarn with roots in real history; but he also emphasizes the role that music plays as a weapon — and that some musicians can play as pawns— in that little thing we like to call revolution. A visit to onemodelnation.com reveals two tracks created to reflect the music that One Model Nation might have made. And according to a Nov. 11 interview with Leitch at fanboy.com, nine more tracks — and possibly some live concerts — are also in the works. Now go get your geek on.
Welcome to the Dawes house