October 5, 2013

New Music: The Dodos - Carrier

Below, you'll see video of the Dodos tearing it up on the Late Show with David Letterman. I've long been a fan of this San Francisco band, and I'm glad to report that their recently released fourth album, Carrier may prove to be their best release. The Dodos have never been a difficult band to like. They're charming and relatively unpretentious; they're solid musicians and they create polished, well-executed indie rock songs. But Carrier finds them at a place very different from where they were a year and a half ago.

In 2012, the Dodos lost their touring guitarist, Chris Reimer (also known for his involvement with Calgary outfit Women). As Dodos frontman Meric Long explained in a recent interview with Andrea Warner on CBC's Radio 3, Carrier is profoundly shaped by Reimer's influence:
Yeah. But with the record especially, the distinction that I want to make is Chris passing away is totally weird and f--ked, but when he was alive — that’s what influenced the record, that’s what made the record. It’s not his death. He was a huge influence on me when he was alive and that’s the part — I didn’t sit down and think, "I gotta write a song about Chris." It doesn’t work that way. Like you said, that’s too much pressure. It’s just not possible. I couldn’t imagine that. So focusing on the thing that he represented to me when he was alive was the inspiration, the thing that kept the songwriting going. I mean, really, there were other things, too. It was a very weird time. Chris passed away and within the span of a month, all of these people dying, family members and stuff — it was a really weird month [laughs].
The band's first single, "Confidence" (see below), starts with a skeletal melody that slowly accelerates into a robust, frenzied chorus. Instead of the campfire acoustics of earlier Dodos releases, you can hear Long using the kind of wiry post-punk guitar work that Reimer brought to the table. The song hits its peak with Logan Kroeber's frantic drumming while Long pushes his instrument to its limit. At just under four minutes, it leaves you feeling like you witnessed an event.

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