Friday, January 9, 2015

THEE DANG DANGS "For the People" (Grabbing Clouds Records)



On psych-rock band Thee Dang Dangs bandcamp website is this little manifesto:

"This album is for us. We are the people. It is for those who will listen. For the ones detached from genre boxes, the critics, and the press. For the ones with passion, able to shut out the incessant chatter and dissension of the complacent. The complacent who say your creation isn't as it should be. Who are they to dictate how the beauties of ones mind manifest themselves. We speak now or never speak again. This is the creation of the depth of soul, being, and existence. For without creation we are but mindless animals. Beings without meaning. This is for the people. This is for us."

If this is you, why are you reading this sentence right now? Importante: go no further, read no more. I'm serious. Nobody ought to steal anybody's thunder, least of all a squishbucket like me.
Anyway, it's not for me.

Sometimes it's okay that a sound is not new, or you know, that a musical project is exploring old territory. But when I'm listening and what I'm feeling the most is the emptiness of the re-presentation of these old tired gestures...that ain't good. A lot of well-composed and well-structured familiar psych riffage and surf twang, cleanly nicely presented in much the same way it always is on television. I guess I struggle not to be extremely turned off by the sensation that I'm listening to someone TRYING to do something that they've heard a zillion times, exactly the way that they've heard it. I really do believe that there's a victory in there, you know, "just do what you like to do and fuck those who don't like it." Yeah! But this music IS being presented to me, this band is tweetin all of its band-related activities, and immediately following that lil bandcamp manifesto is a long list of this band's good publicity. I'm trying not to be so eager to the asshole lecturing anybody about their artistic ideals, but maybe the shallowness of this ideal here is what I'm disliking in their music. Music that makes a promise that it will make you feel more freedom and, shaking the dead ass of this promise in your face, only ends up putting you further in your idle, arrogant, cloistered place. (Or is that just the job of the critic?)

In the attempt to shelve both my infinite relativism and pompous stubborn shitty disillusionment, there are a couple really catchy spots here and there! The production is way more polished than I like, sounds like it might truly end up in a jeans commercial, and again, they just doesn't do psych-rock like they used to.

I believe that my biggest problem with it is that it seems like a cowardly approach to this form. All these clean, tried and 'true', safe decisions. I want that dirty shit. But it's...nice! They are smart musicians! Important to me is that I doubt I could do any better at exploring this aesthetic, and the idea of trying does entice me! And some of these songs almost start to get me feeling like I could pop this tape in my 1972 Chevy Nova and cruise through outer Los Angeles lookin for alien eggs, but I'm sitting here looking out into the night through my window, and if I'm comparing the two, please just send me into that smoky night. I'll get to many much more cosmic places. I don't need it!

https://theedangdangs.bandcamp.com/album/for-the-people

-- Devin Brown

2 comments:

  1. dude again! yours are my favorite. well done. "squishbucket"!

    (this is ryan, btw, fellow cg scribe. my first one just posted, the soft peaks tape.)

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  2. heh, thanks, Ryan. it's tricky to get past being endlessly relativistic, right? also tricky to come out and say you don't like something.

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