Geil und Dawes

Pasatiempo - - Exhibitionism -

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 (mys­­t­he­band), 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 onemod­el­na­ 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 fan­, nine more tracks — and pos­si­bly some live con­certs — are also in the works. Now go get your geek on.

Wel­come to the Dawes house

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