the Dodos

When it came time for the Dodos to begin writing their fifth LP, Carrier, singer/guitarist Meric Long wanted to start over.

The uncertainty of the band's trajectory as well as the passing of guitarist Chris Reimer brought about a reassessment of things within the band, and in particular Long's songwriting.

In need of a different vantage point, Long began writing words before music for the first time, enveloping himself in silence rather than sound.

When it came time to set these lyrics to music, Long started writing with only his electric guitar in hand — another first. The focus on this instrument was due in large part to the time Long spent with Reimer, the guitarist for Women who had joined Long and percussionist Logan Kroeber to become the third member of the Dodos throughout 2011 before unexpectedly passing away early the following year.

"Chris was a huge influence on the way I think about guitar, songwriting, and music in general," reveals Long. "Seeing how he could transform and shape sound with an electric guitar inspired me to explore more tones and use those tones to begin writing a song."

And so, when he began to formulate the tracks that would ultimately comprise Carrier, Long employed two principles he inherited from Reimer: patience to let a song develop and a judgment-free enthusiasm for sound.

To this end, Long and Kroeber decided to record in their hometown of San Francisco for the first time, allowing for less time constraints and a more pressure-free experience than past out-of-state sessions had afforded.

Although John Vanderslice's Tiny Telephone studio was initially selected for its analog-friendly set-up, the duo were happy to find themselves working within a supportive community of like-minded musicians that included engineers Jay and Ian Pellicci, both of whom assisted in the production of Carrier, as well as the Magik Magik Orchestra, which appears on several tracks.
As a result, the album the Dodos crafted is refreshingly sincere: no computers, no gimmicks — just eleven songs that are beautiful and solid and true and honest.

"Substance" effortlessly embodies all of these traits, from the crisp drumming that announces its arrival to the bright guitar lines that weave in and out before eventually joining forces with a triumphant burst of trumpets.

"Confidence" begins like a calm before the storm, its strong vocals over gentle guitar and drums soon erupting into a positively epic display of guitar riffs and hypnotizing percussion.
The record's second side is anchored by "The Current," on which an angular guitar tone loops over a chugging guitar rhythm to satisfying effect as Long declares in a moment of catharsis, "If this love comes unto me / I'm with it / I'm with it."

Much too soon, Carrier ends with "The Ocean" — though Long and Kroeber view the track less as a conclusion and more of a "to be continued" into this album's follow-up, which they have already begun working on.

For a band briefly in flux, it's clear now that the Dodos' outlook on the future has never looked more certain.

Dustin Wong

Dustin Wong's second LP Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads, is a departure from Dustin's previous methods but more closely a distillation of his live show into recorded form. The pieces are so intricate and detailed that we've asked Dustin to explain his process and he happily obliges us:

"When I begin to explore and to build a song through a series of pedals, I begin with the tuner. It helps keep my guitar's pitch consistent. An octave pedal and the distortion pedals allows me to change the textures and colors of the guitar. The delay pedal determines the tempo and the pattern. Once these sounds are determined, it then gets replicated and repeated through a loop pedal. Repeating that process, I lay different sounds and melodies on top. After the loop pedal comes the envelope filter that changes the color of the sounds but in a different way, more like a blend or like a dye. At the end of this chain of pedals awaits another delay pedal that corresponds to the delay pedal before the looper, further accentuating and changing the patterns of the loop.

I see all these pedals as a kind of textile factory. The sheets and colors are determined then the patterns are laid on top, one layer after another until it becomes a fabric mille feuille. Once that cake looks done it gets replicated again through another delay pedal. I can keep building these sounds on top each other and decide whether I want to take half of the cakes slices or not, if i do, I can gaze at the symmetrical void of what I have taken.

I changed the recording process for Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads from the process used for Infinite Love. In Infinite Love I recorded every layer as a separate track dividing them up throughout the stereo-field, but in Dreams Say… it was all mostly recorded live with a few overdubs moving around in the stereo-field. The presentation of songs are also different, Infinite Love was presented as a whole, and in Dreams Say… I decided to have titles for each song or idea. In a way the physical documentation and the presentation of the idea got switched. Just like choosing how to see a light through a prism. Whether to see the fragmented light into the prism and out to the single ray of light or the other way around."

Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads will be available on both CD and LP and Dustin will be touring extensively in support of the new release throughout the coming year.

$15.00

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the Dodos with Dustin Wong

Saturday, September 28 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:30 PM at Johnny Brenda's