Friday, July 8, 2011

Retro rock with LA's Dawes

ONE of my favorite newish West Coast bands is the LA quartet Dawes, who both draw from the classical canyon rock of the 60s and 70s and work to carve their individual place in the tradition. The voices of Jackson Browne, the Byrds, Neil Young and others echo through their songs.

HERE is my profile of the band in today's LA Times.

I really enjoyed talking to singer/guitarist Taylor Goldsmith: We could have discussed music all day. (I especially enjoyed the alt-country version of the Replacements "Achin' to Be" he knocked out on his J-45.) Taylor told me he and the gang run a wedding band as a side project where they play Motown and Stax/Volt songs -- I'm tempted to get married again just to book these guys to play.

When I'm away from California, playing Dawes' music in the car is one of my best way to remember my adopted home state. Weirdly, at a restaurant last night I heard "Time Spent in Los Angeles."

Please note: An editor at the Times wrote a deck suggesting that the band lives in Laurel Canyon. For all their roots in that sound, these guys are rockin in La Crescenta.


Buster said...

Based on Scott Timberg's review of "Dawes" in The Los Angeles Times, I bought the lp.
The lyrics are juvenile, bordering on inane, the musicianship is as best amateurish, and production value was clearly an afterthought.
This morning I'm taking the album back to the record store in hopes of selling it back for a dollar or two to cover the cost of driving over there to dump this piece of vinyl drivel into their used record discount bin.

Scott Timberg said...

Too bad the gentleman did not like the record. Everyone's taste is different. I can only point out that Robbie Robertson, Jackson Browne, Jenny Lewis and others have hired Dawes as their backup band and to open shows for them. Conor Oberst is a supporter. I am clearly not the only music lover who enjoys Dawes.

(And for what it's worth: My article was not a review, but an interview, profile or feature.)

MJB said...

For a contemporary take on the Gene Clark/Byrds/Laurel Canyon vibe with solid folk roots, thoughtful and timely lyrics, and skilled musicianship, check out the Chymes of Freedom "Waiting for the Mystery Train" at cdbaby.

This is an example of the excellent music that is being made that is just so hard to find.

Pete Bilderback said...

Back when I came of age in the late 80s, the music of the 70s was considered about as uncool as it gets. I mean, Neil Young was always an appropriate influence to name drop, but no self-respecting indie rocker would have ever admitted to digging Jackson Browne or CSN or the whole Laurel Canyon scene.

People wrote songs with titles like "Bye, Bye Glenn Fry," or "Don Henley Must Die." This music was reviled as all that was unrighteous and unrocking.

It's interesting to me that so many of today's youngish indie bands seem to look back on that period so favorably. I wonder if it's because, in many ways we are living through the 1970s all over again, especially economically. Or maybe it is just part of a normal cycle of critical revaluation.

[Note, I'm not making any judgements about the quality of the music here, just observations and speculation.]

Scott Timberg said...

Pete: I think you are onto something re reliving the '70s, tho it's also the usual case of artists finding neglected bits of the past to emulate... The '60s is pretty well mined at this point.

For what it's worth, I still hate the Eagles.