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Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Let's Just Go To The Dogs Tonight

Review of The Dismemberment Plan’s Uncanney Valley

Photo By Shervin Lainez Shervin LainezI will admit, first impressions of Uncanney Valley – the first album from Washington, DC’s Dismemberment Plan since 2001’s Change – was disappointment. And it’s not that I came to it with excessive expectations. I counted myself a fan of the band at the end run of their existence, but mostly of their tremendously entertaining live performances with 2002’s Death & Dismemberment tour with a then-unknown Death Cab For Cutie and their 2003 farewell show being very fond memories. But in the years of their absence, I came to appreciate how singular their blend of post-pop-hardcore-math-punk-art-rock was, and how no one ever really stepped into their oddly-shaped void in indie rock, or even tried. So comeback album? Yes, please.

So why disappointment? I’m not sure. Valley seemed to lack the manic energy, unpredictable creativity, and general weirdness that made the other records unique. It sounded like the Plan, but not the Plan I remembered. But it also still didn’t sound like anything else out there, so it stayed in rotation and before long, its own merits – and not those of its predecessors – became what I focused on, and those merits were many. Yeah the tempos were a little slower and the energy probably measured at a few less joules, but top to bottom Valley was the work of a more mature and tuneful Dismemberment Plan.

Everything that makes the Plan the Plan – Travis Morrison’s mile-a-minute delivery and off-kilter lyrical imagery, Eric Axelson’s oddly funky basslines, Jason Caddell’s creatively jagged guitarwork, and Joe Easley’s heavily nimble drumming – are in place and show no signs of rust, though if I were in charge of the mix said drums would be higher in the mix. While the likes of “Mexico City Christmas” and “White Collar White Trash” tap into their darker sides, it’s the more chipper “Waiting” and “Let’s Just Go To The Dogs Tonight” that set the tone for the record. There’s a relaxedness to the proceedings that might seem contrary to the nervous energy that infused their earlier work, but they wear it well. I as much as anyone should be able to appreciate that you in your 40s is not, cannot be, and should not be you in your 20s and Uncanney Valley is the sound of a band that knows that and is fine with it. The Dismemberment Plan circa 2013 might not be the same Dismemberment Plan circa 2001, but there’s still no one like either of them.

NPR has posted an advance stream of the record, which is out officially next week on October 15. Wired, Filter, and What’s On Tap have interviews with the band, and for the bonus round, the Plan stops in at The AV Club to cover Heart’s “Barracuda”, done straight but great because you do not fuck with “Barracuda”.

Stream: The Dismemberment Plan / Uncanney Valley

Under The Radar and Yahoo! Canada talk to Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal about their new album lousy with sylvianbriar, out this week.

Elle has premiered the new video from Lissie’s just-released new album Back To Forever, which is still streaming at Rolling Stone; she’s at the Adelaide Music Hall on November 21.

Video: Lissie – “Sleepwalking”
Stream: Lissie / Back To Forever

Interview talks to Lee Ranaldo about his just-released new record Last Night On Earth; he and The Dust are at The Horseshoe on October 11.

With a week to go before the October 15 release of Emancipated Hearts, Dean Wareham has made the mini-album available to stream via Spin.

Stream: Dean Wareham / Emancipated Hearts

Refinery 29 talks to Cameron Mesirow of Glasser, whose new album Interiors came out this week. She plays The Drake Underground on October 13.

Pitchfork has an advance stream of Campfire Songs, the new acoustic EP from The Men, out October 15. They play The Horseshoe on October 20.

Stream: The Men / Campfire Songs

The Head & The Heart have given Rolling Stone the nod to stream their new album Let’s Be Still, before it comes out October 15. Mother Jones has an interview with the band, who’re at The Danforth Music Hall on October 31.

Stream: The Head & The Heart / Let’s Be Still

Also out next week and streaming at NPR is Static, the second album from Cults. It brings them to Lee’s Palace on November 25.

Stream: Cults / Static

Pitchfork checks in with Fiona Apple, whose tour with Blake Mills brings her to The Queen Elizabeth Theatre on October 17.

Consequence Of Sound has got a stream of a new Yo La Tengo song which will be released as a 7″ single on November 5 and also appear as one of the bonus tracks on Fade Deluxe when it comes out on November 19.

Stream: Yo La Tengo – “Super Kiwi”

Rolling Stone talks to Frank Black of Pixies about their plans to stay relevant ten years into their reunion. They’ve already had cast changes with the Roseanne-esque swapping of Kims on bass, are finally releasing new if underwhelming new material via a series of EPs complete with new video, and now another North American tour that kicks off in Toronto at Massey Hall on January 15, tickets ranging from $44.50 to $79.50, FIDLAR supporting.

MP3: Pixies – “Bagboy”
MP3: FIDLAR – “Got No Money”
Video: Pixies – “Andro Queen”

Those who like a little more Danger Mouse in their Shins will be happy to know a second Broken Bells album is on the way; they just released a trailer for After The Disco, which is due out in January.

Trailer: Broken Bells / After The Disco

After releasing her debut Neptune City on a major and the follow-up Mondo Amore on an indie, it just makes sense that for her third album Slow Phaser, Nicole Atkins would start her own label and release it via PledgeMusic. She’s soliciting donations now and with the two-month window, it stands to reason that the new album will be out sometime in early 2014.

NPR puts Superchunk behind a Tiny Desk and demands a concert.

NPR has a KCRW session with Jim James available to stream.

By : Frank Yang at 8:34 am
Category: General

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  1. SilberMusicFeed says:

    Chromewaves – Review of The Dismemberment Plan’s Uncanney Valley http://t.co/B7TkwbaWfU