Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dastardly - May You Never... (Release Show Schubas Dec 9!)

Dastardly are:
Gabe Liebowitz - vocals, acoustic guitar
Sarah Morgan - vocals, accordion, percussion
August Sheehy - bass, vocals
Patrick Lyons - electric guitar, pedal steel, mandolin, vocals
John Humbracht - banjo, harmonica, electric guitar
Andy Taylor - drums

May You Never... solidifies Dastardly high up on the band list of the thriving roots movement in Chicago. The band manages to incorporate Gabe's point the finger at himself first approach to writing which comes off as alternating between earnest and funny. The band has a varied sound that incorporates banjo by John Humbracht, mandolin, slap steel and accordion.

"Villain" features rolling snares by Andy Tayloy, banjo and simple guitar picking to accentuate the cartoon visioned lyrics of the the villain near the railroad tracks. Sarah's voice complements Gabe's tone nicely. Also the mandolin is a nice little touch on this track too. Towards the end their is a noise filled outro, just before the outro normally starts. I liked that noisy bit a lot, let's you know this album isn't going to settle in and be a typical folk/American album.

On "Exercise In Self Loathing" there is a really cool bass line from August and the rhythm veers toward country land but is saved by Patrick's guitar and Gabe's. "I've been wakin' up lazy and bored, I show up with a smile but she just says he looks insecure".  This track has some cool vocal harmonies. Also towards the end there's a nice bridge with some cool effects.

"Crystallized" has a boot stompin' pace and some great vocals by  Sarah. The descending mandolin line by Patrick here plays against the rest of the song nicely. I love that the bridges on these songs, as in this song, are a bit unconventional and give the songs a bit of a different face than you would be accustomed to with roots music.

"Middleground" is my favorite on this album.  It features poignantly self effacing lyrics on top of a really good songs.  "This guy I know has gained esteem, this prestigious music scene, all the newspapers and websites write him up, and he just put out a song that about how much I suck", Gabe says. Now I have done a write up on the guy Gabe's talking about (a slight hint). Gabe tends to take the high road here though instead of making this a "Tu Pac" vs "Biggie" situation in the world of indie music! A commendable approach by Gabe.

"Morning Blue" is the power ballad, of sorts,  on this album. Not only some lovely vocals by Sarah but also some nice pedal steel by Patrick. The composition of this song is really nice. It would have been easy to overdue some of the effects on this songs but everything is in just the right amounts. This includes the singing saw by Sarah Holtschlag that is in just the right amounts on this track. Another reprise, this time in the traditional spot.

 May You Never... lives and breathes in it's unconventional touches, from Gabe's songwriting material to the lap steel, to the tempo changes towards the end of the song. At the heart of all these songs are really good musicians making an unforgettable album. The unconventional approach will appeal to a lot of people who wouldn't normally enjoy Americana" or folk. If you are one of these people, check this album out. If you are one of the other people... still check this album out!

Thanks to August at Novo who is doing promotion for Dastardly!

They have an album release show on Dec 9th at Schubas with Chaperone and Jared Bartman, one hell of a line-up. I will be there. After that show, look on their myspace for album release info.


Paul L. said...

Awesome. Can't wait to hear it. What time is the show on the 9th?

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