Friday, June 23rd, 2006
I, like many others, fell for Brooklyn’s Dirty On Purpose’s debut EP Sleep Late For A Better Tomorrow after seeing them at SxSW 2005 and their first full-length, Hallelujah Sirens due out on Tuesday, was near the top of my list of anticipated albums for 2006. But between then and now, the band lost a member – keyboardist and vocalist Erika Forster – yet somehow became even stronger by the subtraction and carried on by changing everything and nothing.
Surprisingly and gratifyingly, Hallelujah Sirens sounds as good as anyone could have hoped, the boy-girl harmonies that were such a treat on Sleep Late aren’t missed nearly as much I’d expected. For the most part the remaining three singers, each with distinctive voices, pick up the slack either in harmony or lead. And in the few points where a female voice is really called for, guest Jaymay ably steps in to help. Anne Brewster, whose former band Sea Ray were similarly much-beloved shoegazing Brooklynites, also guests on cello.
The songwriting is also a lot sharper and focused, the band taking advantage of the long-playing format to stretch out and better explore their sound. While Sleep Late came off like a mix tape of all your (my) favourite indie rock bands, that eclecticism also worked against the band to a degree with them bouncing all over the musical map over the course of five songs. Hallelujah Sirens still draws on those influences but blend them together much more effectively and seamlessly, able to range from pure pop (“No Radio”) to gentle balladry (“Lake Effect”) to raging rockers (“Marfa Lights”). And resuscitated from their 2003 demo, instrumental “Monument” is pure guitar bliss.
The band is on the road through July to support the record, though no dates up here. They did stop by in March and if you were one of the dozen or so people in attendance, consider yourself lucky. As more positive reviews like this Pitchfork one stack up and the buzz continues to grow, elbow room at their shows will surely decrease.
Filter offers up some press-release-y comments and Clicky Click gets a tour of Dirty On Purpose HQ from guitarist/vocalist George Wilson. And if you like DoP, take a moment to vote for them on this Deli Magazine poll – I don’t really know what it’s about, but it seems to be a pretty big deal to them so help ’em out.
As for the departed Forster, she carries on in keyobard trio Au Revoir Simone. Their album Verses Of Comfort, Assurance And Salvation has been trickling out in various territories since last year and a new full-length is forthcoming. Think gently layered girl vocals, tinkling pianos and humming synths, simple drum machines and electronic whir-clicks in the background.
Some shows announcements of note – Serena Maneesh make good on their promise to make up their cancelled show in April with a stop at Lee’s Palace on September 13 and will do so with Film School and Evangelicals in tow (full tour dates here) and Mates Of State are in town September 16 at a venue to be determined (full tour dates here). Okay, look at that second week of September. Right now I’m REALLY hoping that there’s no one interesting on the bill for V Fest on the 9th and 10th, because otherwise that week becomes overloaded to an absurd degree. Oh, and of course, this is all happening smack dab in the middle of the Toronto International Film Festival. Sweet fancy Moses, is it possible to die from culture overload?
Filter talks to Teddy Thompson, Rufus Wainwright and director Lian Lunson about the new I’m Your Man tribute/documentary on Leonard Cohen. And Zoilus does some math on Lenny’s sex life and comes up with a startling number.
Pop (All Love) ponders the merit and futility of music awards like the Polaris Music Prize and wonders if Broken Social Scene might actually be Cornershop. Also check out his liveblogging the MuchMusic Video Awards. Inspired writing.
np – Dinosaur Jr / Green Mind