Tag Archives: Dodos

The Dodos – Carrier – Album Review


 

The Dodos Album Review

The Dodos Carrier Album Cover
The Dodos Carrier Album Cover

The Dodos – Carrier Album Review by BrokenBirdie

When we packed up the car to head off to Bonnaroo 2010 I had two tickets in my bag and a long list of bands that I wanted to see scribbled on a paper.  At the top of that list for opening night were The Dodos, the San Francisco 2-piece (sometimes three) that first caught my ear with 2008’s Visiter.  Excited for three days and three nights of non-stop musical heaven my heart sank as we began to see signs for the Manchester, TN exit.  The line of cars stretched for as far as the eye could see.  The noon sun baked us in our cars as we waited for seven hours to get into the camping area.  It was about 9:30 by the time we left our camp-site and ventured to the stage areas.  I approached the stage as the last minute of “Jodi” was being played and by the time I could see Meric and Logan on the stage, they were bidding the audience goodnight.  Strike one, Bonnaroo.

Carrier is The Dodos’  5th full length album and their 1st for Polyvinyl.  After some research it appears to be a state secret as to why they split with Frenchkiss, but the good news is that it appears to have had no effect on the music.

Singer/guitarist Meric Long has a voice that is thoughtful and comforting.   His lyrics are often enigmatic, though clearly very personal to him, and it leaves you free to take from the song what you want.  As much or as little as you needThe boys brought friends and a few new guitars with them this time.  No longer purely acoustic, there are clean sounding electric guitars layered all over this album, occasionally bordering on distorted, most noticeably on “Confidence”.   Paired with Long’s sometimes serene, sometimes frantic , always felicitous strumming and Logan Kroeber’s immaculate drumming, it’s a welcome new dimension that detracts nothing, and adds so much more.

Download on iTunes: Confidence – Single – The Dodos

The acoustic guitar, as always, has that jangly bright sound to it that can only come from a fresh pair of strings. The syncopated drumming still shows up once in a while, but just often enough to reassure you that it is a genuine Dodos effort, and the trombone makes an appearance for good measure.  The last track on the album, the luscious and bitter-sweet “The Ocean,” should have been the first track.  It features a gorgeous string section and I would not be mad one bit if they chose to include strings more in the future.  The song is beautiful and the line “I want to be where I want you to be,” repeated over and over gives such a feeling of sad, desperation that it leaves a deep imprint on the psyche for several minutes after the record ends.

The Dodos’ Wikipedia page states that Kroeber plays his drum set without the use of bass drum.  I’ll have to be sure to catch their live show the next time around to see how he plays the intro to track #2, “Substance.”  “Relief” is, the album’s most reminiscent track, and is also a good showcase of exactly which direction they came from and where they are now.  Starting with a fluttering guitar, Long croons until the other two pieces of the puzzle arrive and it turns into a stomper that was quite common on earlier albums.  With the addition of the electric guitar it falls into a short jam until it comes full circle and ends with the softly fluttering acoustic.

It’s been a while since I’ve listened to a record and loved every song.  The music is still moderately inaccessible to the masses, but I don’t think that it has ever been The Dodos’ ambition to churn out top-40 hits.  If you’re a newcomer to The Dodos it doesn’t matter if you start with Carrier and work your way backwards through their catalog, or vice versa.  These guys seem to know that the way to keep writing satisfying records is to not try to fix what is not broken.   A little bit of tweaking never hurt anybody, though.  Thumbs up.

– Broken Birdie –

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Interested in their earlier albums? Check out iTunes for the band’s full library: The Dodos

2011 Top Rock Songs

2011 was an interesting year for rock music, with a tremendous focus on artists with original sounds.  Sure, a few of these tunes have a familiar feel, but far more offer us a unique new sound.  That’s  exciting stuff and leaves me anxiously awaiting 2012. Check out the RARAsFarm Top 25 and let us know what you think.

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Bonus Track: Songbird – The Drowning Men. This album was released in 2009, but just re-released in the US this year. “Songbird” is a fantastic song that evokes darker memories of The Arcade Fire.

25. Shake It Out – Florence and the Machine. She’s back with a new album. Honestly, Ceremonials is not as powerful as 2009’s Lungs, but this tune is solid.

24. Get Some – Lykke Li. The Swedish muse told us this one was about power, everyone still believes it’s about sex.  Either way – the song rocks.

23. Sing – My Chemical Romance.  This is probably the most mainstream song the band has ever released.  It’s a synth-laden anthem in waiting.

22. Burn – Papa Roach. This was one of the few new ones on their live Monsters of Annihilation album. Glad we didn’t need to wait for their next studio album for this one.

21. You Are A Tourist – Death Cab For Cutie. The band’s first number one hit, and well deserved. The guitars and layered vocals are beautiful.

20. The Roller – Beady Eye. Liam Gallagher seemingly channeling the Beatles, and it works very well.

19. If You Wanna – The Vaccines. A fun little ditty that will leave you singing. Reminds me lots of their UK brethren The Kaiser Chiefs.

18. Howlin’ For You – The Black Keys. This one was off of their previous album Brothers. The trance-like bass and drums are addictive.

17. Go Outside – Cults. A great debut from the young duo out of Manhattan. The sound is fresh and new. and features a xylophone solo.  Nice…

16. Help Is On The Way – Rise Against. The band’s highest charting song, and first to really garner some overdue mainstream attention.

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15. Changing – The Airborne Toxic Event. The West Coast rockers do it again. This one again features superb vocals from Mikel Jollet.

14. Baby Don’t Dance – Mother Mother – Ryan Guldemond’s unique vocals highlight this quirky hit from North of the Border.

13. New Low – Middle Class Rut. Finally a commercial success for this under appreciated band out of Sacramento.

12. Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People – The hip, happy song with the dark lyrics swept the world and the festival circuit this summer.

11. Black Night – Dodos. The freight train drums and addictive lyrics powered this song to the band’s most significant airplay.

10. The Sound of Winter – Bush. Gavin and Company are back after a ten year hiatus. and sounding as good as ever.

9. Crystal Vases – The Last Royals. This catchy tune reminisces on a relationship gone bad, and is the highlight of the band’s excellent debut EP.

8. Shake Me Down – Cage the Elephant. The best song on our album of the year, Thank You Happy Birthday. The lyrics reflect on life’s disappointments while hoping for something better. (Check out The Albums of the Year)

7. These Days – Foo Fighters. It’s Dave Grohl’s favorite song that he’s written, ever.  Mine, too.

6. Colours – Grouplove. Christian Zucconi’s unique vocal stylings, grunts, groans and a distinctive sound make this the best offering off their excellent debut.

5. What About Us – Handsome Furs. This one brings back memories of a great 90’s rock dance tune from another excellent young Canadian band.

4. Lonely Boy – Black Keys. The only band with two songs on this list, and this might be their best ever. Great stuff off the just-released El Camino.

3. My Body – Young the Giant. These California rockers, created this gem in ten minutes at the conclusion of what was otherwise a crappy day. Amazing.

2. Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall – Coldplay. I think it’s their best ever, and we’ll be listening to this one forever.

1. The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie – Red Hot Chili Peppers. It started with a bass chord Flea couldn’t get out of his head.  It morphed into be the best Rock song of the year.

You can sample all of the songs below…

Rock On – Cretin