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.

Hailing from the Sacramento area, Two Sheds formed in 2003 when John Gutenberger (bass,vocals), Rusty Miller (drums) and Cailtin Gutenberger (guitar,vocals) began playing together for fun. In 2004, Cailtin tried her hand at writing a song at John's encouragement, and has yet to stop. Their collaboration made them realize their overwhelming natural musical chemistry, and with the addition of James Finch, Jr. (guitar), Two Sheds went on to record 2006's Strange Ammunition on UnderAcloud Records.

Their live shows, which John Gutenberger says are different than the recordings, as they tend to go electric most of the time on tour, has led to band to share the stage with artists such as Victoria Wiliams, the Chapin Sisters, the Duke Spirit, Scout Niblett, Akron Family and Be Your Own Pet. After several talked about performances at SXSW last year (including a performance at Filter Magazine's "Showdown at Cedar Street"), the band is touring behind their self-titled EP on Filter U.S. Recordings. The digital-only EP conjures similarities to a vast array of artists -- from Mazzy Star to Lucinda Williams, Neil Young to Nirvana. Bassist/vocalist John Gutenberger revealed the recording process of standout track "To Be Alive."

"I recorded it at home into Garage Band through one of those Blue USB microphones, then ran it through my home stereo and re-recorded the sound of it coming out of the speakers," says John. "I threw in the sounds of my porch wind chimes and my cat eating cat food – and it turned out pretty neat. I feel like it's the closet I've come to making a song sound the way I hear it in my head."

Two Sheds will be on tour this summer and beyond, and a full length on Filter U.S. Recordings is expected this fall.

"The critics lay comparisons to Mazzy Star, Lucinda Williams, Cowboy Junkies, VU and Nico – good road sings on the way to Two Sheds, though I'd throw in that it feels like M. Ward a little in a way too. Cool stuff." – Larry Crane, Tape Op Magazine (issue 55)

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the Dodos with Two Sheds

Thursday, September 5 · Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at Harlow's Restaurant and Nightclub

Tickets Available at the Door