|The Dandy Warhols — This Machine (2012)|
The Dandy Warhols — This Machine
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
Album release: April 23 (UK) / 24 (US), 2012
Record Label: The End Records
• Official track listing, as posted on dandywarhols.com:
I. Sad Vacation (DeBoer/Taylor-Taylor) - 4:28
II. The Autumn carnival (Taylor-Taylor/Haskins) - 4:00
III. Enjoy Yourself (Taylor-Taylor) - 3:01
IV. Alternative Power To The People (Taylor-Taylor/DeBoer) - 2:47
V. Well They're Gone (Taylor-Taylor) - 4:15
VI.Rest Your Head (Taylor-Taylor/Zuniga) - 4:14
VII. 16 Tons (Travis) - 2:08
XIII. I Am Free (Taylor-Taylor) - 4:07
IX. SETI Vs. The WOW! Signal (Taylor-Taylor/Zuniga) - 3:18
X. Don't Shoot She Cried (McCabe/DeBoer) - 5:53
XI. Slide (DeBoer) - 4:59
• As you probably would guess, the names after each title is the writing credit, and the numbers are track lengths.
A few notable items: Front Picture: It was painted by Portland artist Hickory Mertasching.
16 Tons is a cover of a famous 1940's folk song written by Merle Travis, with the recognizable chorus of "You load 16 tons, what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt." Additionally, Steve Berlin of Los Lobos plays saxophone on it.
"Zuniga" is Miles Zuniga from Fastball
"Haskins" is David J Haskins, from Bauhaus & Love And Rockets. The track he is involved with, "Autumn Carnival" is getting a large amount of buzz.
Tchad Blake, who has done a lot of stuff with the band in the past, and lately helped with The Black Keys album, is back for mixing.
Jeremey Sherrer, who also has worked with the band in the past, is back on this album for engineering.
• Courtney Taylor-Taylor - vocals, electric guitar
• Peter Holmstrom - electric guitar, backing vocals
• Zia McCabe - keyboards, keyboard bass, bass guitar
• Brent DeBoer - drums, percussion, backing vocals
• Steve Berlin - baritone saxophone on track 7
• Kat Gardiner - Theremin on track 5
• Daniel Lamb - trombone on track 8
• Katie Presley - trumpet on track 8
• Taylor Aglipay - tenor saxophone on track 8
• Tchad Blake – mixing
• Jeremy Sherrer – engineering at The Odditorium
• Tim Johnston - additional drums & backing vocals recording (at Coloursound Studios, Melbourne, Australia)
• Mat Robins - second engineer
• Adam Ayan - mastering at Gateway Mastering, Portland, ME
• Sean Gothman - album design and layout
• Hickory Mertasching – album cover painting (photographed by Dan Kivitka)
• Steve Birch @SERVO - additional cover production
• Elliot Lee Hazel - band portraits
Album reviews: The Nervous Breakdown / Musicfeeds / Quick Critic Music / Pop Renegade / Pure Grain Audio / Absolute Punk / Hot Press / Slug Magazine / Anti Music / Purple Revolver
Interviews: Talk Rock To Me - Courtney / Anti Music - Pete / Bombshell Zine - Courtney (May 22, 2011)
By ZETH LUNDY | April 17, 2012
¶ The title of the Dandy Warhols' eighth record may be a Woody Guthrie allusion, but don't fret — the closest the Portland, Oregon, band get to politics here is a cover of Merle Travis's "16 Tons." Which is a weird choice, come to think of it, but then everything on This Machine is delivered with an oversized wink, tongue hidden somewhere in cheek. No track has the euphoric high of early songs like "Boys Better," or even its rewrite, "Bohemian Like You," and fair enough — big ups to the band that refuses to repeat itself (especially to the band that has so successfully repeated itself in the past). But there's no transcendent piece of pop that jumps from the speakers and anchors the rest of the set. As the husky, whispered vocals on "Sad Vacation" and "The Autumn Carnival" attest, this is a subdued, atmospheric affair, rooted in bangs-in-the-face, black-polish-on-the-fingernails '80s rock. (Street cred police take notice: the latter was co-written with David J of Bauhaus/Love and Rockets.) Two of the album's best songs, "I Am Free" and "SETI vs. the Wow Signal," drop the melancholy bullshit and rock out. Not that all the melancholy bullshit is a thing that should be dropped, but more of a lively, dulcet Dandys would be welcome.
¶ Review by Mark Hensch
¶ This Machine is the darkest Dandy Warhols album yet. If earlier releases were raucous bonfire parties, this latest addition is gray skies and dying embers the morning after. Minimal and stark, it pulls from their Portland, Ore. home and delivers gloom that's pure Pacific Northwest. It's a welcome reinvention, and one that finds the Warhols sounding more sophisticated than ever before.
¶ This doesn't mean that the quartet's joyous alt-rock exists in days gone by. Rather, This Machine strips the Dandy Warhols down and leaves their basic elements vulnerable and bare. Though this less-is-more approach is often quieter, it's no less entertaining. ¶ The Warhols' catchy but quirky voice remains intact, only this time it whispers rather than shouts.
¶ "Sad Vacation" makes this style shift instantly apparent by fleeting past like a bird's shadow. A patter of drums soft as rainfall backs twinkling guitars and singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor's hushed murmurs. Though seemingly subdued, the end result is a Goth rock anthem with plenty of go.
¶ "The Autumn Carnival" taps much the same vein with ghostly sing-songs and haunting melodies. There's something macabre about how it lingers in one's memory, and it's this quality that makes it one of the album's best songs.
¶ "Enjoy Yourself," in contrast, offers levity with a sneering ode to hedonism. Taylor-Taylor brags and boasts his way to the chorus, where the whole band offers a joyous sing-along. "Alternative Power to the People" gives off the same good vibes, the unhinged instrumental sounding like a great garage rock gig.
¶ Both prepare the way for "Well They're Gone," a jaw-dropping number that drifts by like an unrealized dream. Delicate and lush, its heartbeat is hypnotic drumming, its mind rustic guitar chords and its soul world-weary. Blended together, it sends shivers down the spine.
¶ "Rest Your Head" is a song that'd make The Pixies proud, all jangly melodies and somber, wordless choruses. It couldn't differ more than "16 Tons," a cover of a 1940s folk song by Merle Travis. Brash and boozy, it shimmies by with outrageous horn sections and jazzy percussion. The same brass instruments bolster "I Am Free," providing it with a lively solo amid its rousing pop rock.
¶ From there, This Machine delves into the lighthearted psychedelia that's always defined The Dandy Warhols. "SETI vs. The Wow Signal" is the album's last rocker, letting big riffs soar into space while a trippy, blistering guitar solo orbits the whole affair. "Don't Shoot She Cried," meanwhile, is so hazy and ethereal it feels like falling asleep as sunlight peeks through the curtains. Last but not least, "Slide" shuts down This Machine with a rocker that appears subdued on the surface but urgent underneath. It's a final touch of twilight on an album that's often overcast but not without rays of light.
¶ This Machine is a back-to-basics approach for The Dandy Warhols that works wonders. Sparse and serene, it makes the band's energy more palpable regardless of the tempo they're treading. Though their latest shows these Warhols aren't always fine and dandy, it's this dose of darkness which is just what the doctor ordered. /////////////// Rating:
|The Dandy Warhols — This Machine (2012)|