Monday, October 8, 2012

Dr. Manhattan / Dormlife split on Alarm Clock Revolution Records

Sam contacted me a few weeks back about his band Dormlife and a split he did with buddies Dr. Manhattan that came out on his own Alarm Clock Revolution Records. ACR looks to be one of those ultra homegrown labels, hell bent on documenting his local scene and the people he personally knows making music. The inserts included in this vinyl make references to the vast array of releases they've managed to put out and it's the kind of thing that reminds me of the Elephant 6 collective, K recs, you name it.. any label I respect has ultimately started out with the people they knew and learned the business side along the way, and only because they had to.
The A-Side here is from Dr. Manhattan, (nice Watchmen reference) with their track, "Hot Sauce" a cut that didn't make it on their full length Jam Dreams, the band has since called it quits, but had this unreleased track for this split on ACR. It's a jazzy, slick track with a subtle slap acoustic and bouncing piano lines, for brothers Matt and Adam to remind you, in layered harmony, how you can polish shit all day, but it's still shit. They have that sort of Presidents of the United States feel, trading the angsty, tortured punk for a more goofy, laid back approach. I'm sure it's more attractive for a band to be able to sort of address those same audiences using a number of genre's and styles then being tied to one particular sound. Clearly these guys have all kinds of classical training and rely on those tools to craft their shiny pop in this unpretentious way. It's a clever pop song, from a four piece who have the chops to turn it into something more than a one liner.
Dormlife does, "Weak Sauce" for the B-Side, I have to think both of these guys had some kind of secret plan in naming these tracks sauces... it feels like Dormlife shares Dr. Manhattan's attention to production and this one is thick with bursts of bass and acoustic, it's a crazy combination, swapping rhythms alongside the heavily gated percussion. Swift cracks coming together with that Rob Crow stripped down bassline and jazzy groove. It's some kind of progressive post rock? But Sam on vocals has some serious talent, going from a falsetto whisper to full soul groove, sounding like Jamiroquai on a Judgement Night Soundtrack with The Dismemberment Plan. A case to made for you have a voice like this or you don't. I can't believe you learn how to do this, sorry kids, someone needs to tell you...people on Idol are born with it. You could rehearse for hours to nail these funk-punk, double kick changes...but to deliver that power soul vibrato is in the genes. All I can hear is Pinback now...hard to pull of your own version of that complex postmodern pop, and I've got to get to their full lengths Sam sent.

On red vinyl with CDR and tons of inserts from Alarm Clock Revolution Records.

Check out a piece of "Weak Sauce" below:

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