the secret lives of prothros.

August 11, 2010

ACL Roundup: Bands that Start with the Letter D

Filed under: ACLfestival — prothro @ 11:06 am

Why did I start doing this? I ask myself that every time I endeavor on one of these posts. Oh well, onward and upward with the d bands…

As always, votes are on a 1-5 scale based on my likelihood of seeing the band at ACL with 5 being most likely. This is not based on actual talent, or any other credible criteria, just me. But I think basing my ACL schedule on just me is a pretty good way to go.

Dan Black: Dan Black is a British pop artist who is of no relation to Davinci Code author, Dan Brown. Just two Dans with colors for last names. No relation. No that that’s settled let’s discuss something else–genre. Dan is classified in a genre called wonky pop, which brings to my mind that fizzy juice Charlie drank in the Chocolate Factory but apparently there is once again: no relation. Wonky pop is a genre of music defined as quirky, catchy and credible via wikipedia. I think it fits. His music is what you’d expect to be playing at some swanky clubster lounge, which let’s be real, is not a place I’d hang out by choice.  His songs are a little haphazard swinging from great beats that I can’t help but enjoy to slower more whiney ballads. He mixes rap beat samples with orchestra strings. The last thing I would expect to find myself labeling his music is attainable. But that’s the word I’m giving it. It’s a genre and style that  is very not me but somehow he makes it utterly attainable for me to grasp and enjoy.
My Vote: 4

David Bazan: David was the frontman of Pedro the Lion. Fun fact. If I was to give his solo debut a word, it would be personal–and I mean really personal. Like when I listen to the lyrics I feel like someone is reading pages from their diary, and not just the pretty stuff but the ripped-out pages that you don’t even read to yourself because you’re scared that just by reading them you might make the feelings even more true. The subject matter is intense too, chronicling his journey from faith to agnosticism, alcoholism and doubt. The harsh, sad words are intertwined with a much softer, sweeter instrumentation, using synthesizers, steel guitars and piano keys to make the sadness palpable. And really the album is sad, hearing his words makes my heart break. I think he could be one of the best songwriters I’ve ever heard.
My Vote: 4

Dawes: Dawes is a folky band from California. They’re apparently a pretty young group which surprises me because they have an old-school kind of musical maturity that reminds of The Eagles. To give them their true compliment though, I need to rehash a scene from the movie CrazyHeart, which you should see, Jeff Bridges is top five amazing! There is a scene where he’s laying around singing with this guitar and he asks Jean if she knows the song, and she replies that she can’t remember who did it and he tells her that’s the way it is with good ones, you’re sure you’ve heard them before. Well that’s how I feel about Dawe’s When My Time Comes, I’m sure I’ve heard it before, though I haven’t–it’s a great tune.
My Vote: 4

Deadmau5: I think I’m in a weird mood today because I am really liking all the music I’m hearing. Either that or bands that start with D are naturally amazing. Deadmau5 is electronic house music and the lead performer dresses up like a mouse and often performs from a giant cube with crazy awesome light displays. I think this performance/spectacle will be one of the highlights of ACL. I feel weird saying that because I’m not into electronic house at all, but there is something about it that is terribly enjoyable. I think it has something to do with the fact that you can dance to it without taking yourself even 0.5% seriously. So freeing–because I can’t dance, but I sure like to jump up and down and do the Weizel-inspired bent, robo-arms moving up and down in the air dance. Yeah, I’m going to this.
My Vote: 5

Devendra Banhart and the Grogs: Listening to his music on grooveshark, I could have convinced myself that every song was written and performed by someone different. Carmensita is an upbeat Latin song that borders on being kind of romantic (??!?), Little Yellow Spider is a confident folky song about spiders, squids and monkeys (??!?), and Chinese Children is a bluesy-rock song about how regardless of where he lived he’s have Chinese children and no he’s not Chinese (??!?). He’s also great on a guitar, with mad fingerpicking skills. Fingerpicking is a favorite of mine due in large part to the fact that my dad is great at it. His Train Song has lots of it and it was always my favorite growing up. (Sidenote: Dad, For Christmas this year, I want a recording of you playing Train Song. Thanks!) Bottom line: I want to see anyone who is that versatile and can make me (??!?) three times in one six sentence review.
My Vote: 4

Also, I did a quick search of D bands to prove to myself that there are lots of bad D bands so the fact that I liked these five had nothing to do with the fact that they started with the letter D and that there was some special musical power associated with that letter. Weird thing though…looking at the list I found myself thinking He’s great! or They’re super talented or Love them about every five bands, so I have was unable to disprove the magical musical potency of the D. If you’re starting a band out there, you’d be wise to use this letter and its power.

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