Jeff from Tijuana Gift Shop let me know about D A W N S new single, "So Help Me God". Essentially a solo project out of Montana consisting of songwriter David Boone who's on his way to NY right now for a couple of shows at CMJ a week from today. D A W N S is at the core a combination of two distinct elements; David's raw songwriting and epic instrumentation and being able to approach the tracks on this single with that micro and macro orchestral view to the material.
"So Help Me God" starts out with a lonesome, orchestral sound...a single long bowed note running right into wavery tremolo guitar, and a rolling tom rhythm. Building this right into a rocking, honkeytonk style sound. A rawkus country rock rhythm, but a classic alt-country like Deer Tick or American Music Club, plain sounding rock that's more difficult when walking in the footsteps of everything that came before you since the beginning of rock. David's vocal is doubled up and he's really attacking his performance, laying into these unsavory elements banking against him in this church gospel feel take on the situation. The layers of Rhodes, the scratchy electric solo and the humming of guitar effects keep this sounding like something off The Suburbs, making a similar epic statement. I'm all for 4-track stuff in the bedroom and capturing that raw, stripped down take from a songwriter, but the opposite is true when done so expertly on a scale like this. All the attention to detail and slow craft applied to this multilayered huge sound.
Of course you'd want some contrast to that almost overwhelming buildup and the whole thing drops down to an a capella with David's breathy weathered vocal and a muted, distorted guitar, never getting the chance to get that high again before fading out.
B-Side's "Camoflage (demo)" uses the plink of an acoustic string beyond the fretboard, or a tight harpsichord sound... all bouncing around in echo and layered up, an orchestral pile comes in for this vocal, which is raw, and close to the mic. Then washes of heavy cymbals and an almost eastern sounding sitar-esque guitar melody takes over. David's intimate sounding vocal is hushed with that wet reverb, not only alone, but the walls are closing in. An unsettling instrumnetal section comes howling in like Johnny Greenwood's "There Will Be Blood" dirges along with a layered guitar section and low end thumping bass lines, the vocal rising to a howl. In labeling this a demo, it raises expectations for this to be an insane finished track, but D A W N S is obviously willing to take their time working out dense, intricate tracks that are breaking, just over the horizon.
You can pick this up from the band's own site or at CMJ (see below) and Tijuana Gift Shop has generously offered to give away a copy of this to a lucky reader... email me for a chance to win. Send your info by next Monday the 13th and I'll choose an address to send to these guys.
D A W N S are currently on tour making their way across the country to NYC for CMJ:
Oct 17 – New York, NY – Bowery Electric – Tijuana Gift Shop CMJ Showcase - 7:30pm
Oct 18 – Brooklyn, NY – The Rock Shop – Monarch CMJ Showcase - 8pm