Archive for The Dandy Warhols

The Dandy Warhols Deliver All “Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia” At The 9:30 Club

Posted in Music with tags , , , on May 30, 2013 by johnbuckley100

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Seeing a band deliver on stage, in its entirety, a 13-year old album is like examining a flower pressed under glass.  The vitality present when it was a living, breathing thing is replaced by an archival weight, but in the case of The Dandy Warhols playing Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia, playing the album brought restorative powers, and all these years later, an informed perspective.  It was exquisite, and they were great.

Yesterday also brought news that an intact Wooly Mammoth, complete with blood samples, had been carved from the tundra in Siberia.  Coincidence? We don’t know.  All we know is that one of our favorite bands who, since 2005, have not brought us new music on par with what came before, played a set that allowed us to clone the enthusiasm we once had for them.  After a note-perfect, enthusiastic, glorious rendition of arguably their best album — and inarguably their high-water mark commercially — the Dandys came through with a restoration drama reaffirming their uniqueness.

A few years ago, we complained in this space that the Dandys were coasting, that they’d never get back to the fresh-squeezed citrus tonic they’d brought to rock’n’roll when they emerged from Portland in the mid-nineties as a band that could graft Rolling Stones chops atop garage-psych songs that were as louche as they were comically astringent.  Tulip Frenzy reader Zia McCabe aggressively defended the band against all charges and urged us to listen to the late stuff anew.  We did, and modified our position, but still believe that you have to go back to the era from which Thirteen Songs emerged to find the really good stuff, “We Used To Be Friends” and “Holding Me Up” notwithstanding.

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Last night, by the time they’d played “Mohammed,” we could understand better how the Dig!-era competition between the Dandys and the Brian Jonestown Massacre could have been so intense, for surely these two bands emerged from the womb as split-zygote representations of the same folk-rock band.  While playing an album onstage and in its entirety reveals the different sequencing needs of two kinds of performance, the set gathered momentum so that by the time they got to “Bohemian Like You” there was a catharsis and belated recognition of how Thirteen Tales was built around what would become the Dandy’s monster hit.  The record itself is a relic from that pre-iTunes era when albums could exist as a unit of measure, not an atomized collection of individually downloadable songs, and while in our opinion it never hung together as a single work so much as it is a great collection, last night the playing of the album as a whole was a success in itself and an assertion, which we accept, of its importance.

We missed the Pixies playing Dolittle, and those artists, from the Breeders to Lucinda Williams, tackling their records on stage.  It’s more than a gimmick, or at least it was last night.  It enables a band to focus on a moment in time when their creativity produced a body of work that can last.  Our fondest hope, after last night’s performance, is that the day the tour is over, the Dandy Warhols go back to the studio and produce music on a level with these 13 songs from 13 years ago.

Tulip Frenzy Reader Zia McCabe Is A Class Act

Posted in Music with tags , , , on June 9, 2012 by johnbuckley100

So just about a month ago, we delivered the mixed verdict that the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s new album was far better than the new album by the Dandy Warhols.  And in that post, we referenced  how the Dandy’s Zia McCabe had once asked Tulip Frenzy for a reconsideration of whether her band had declined since those amazing early albums.  We regretted having to say that we don’t like the new Dandy Warhols album, because we are still a big fan.  This morning, we found a comment on that post from the lovely Zia McCabe, and it proves to us that even if the Dandys have lost some of that magic that once made them irresistible, Zia has lost none of her graciousness and class.  Anton Newcombe: Please note at least one member of the Dandy Warhols wishes you well. Here’s the comment, called out for wider readership.

June 9, 2012 at 7:54 am e

Ha, well at least you still consider me lovely. Maybe our next album will suit your fancy. Or maybe you’d like my side project Brush Prairie. Glad to here you enjoy the new BJM album at least. That makes me happy for those guys. X

Hail To The Dandy Warhols

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on September 3, 2010 by johnbuckley100

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At The Prompting Of The Polite Zia McCabe, We Revise And Extend Our Remarks

Posted in Music with tags , , on September 2, 2010 by johnbuckley100

Sort of.  You see, the other night Tulip Frenzy weighed in one of those world-historical important questions, to wit, “Why, after being so brilliant on their first three albums, did the the last three Dandy Warhol albums,” um, how to say this equally politely to the exchange we had with Zia? “disappoint us?”

Zia, bassist and synth player for the Dandys, took umbrage.  In the comment on Tulip Frenzy and in a subsequent email, she let it be known she thinks those who cling to their fond memories of the early albums, and particularly to the more conventional guitar-riffing rock sound, as well as those who object to the funk’n’synth heavy later albums, are just boys who like guitar bands, of which there are, apparently, a lot.

Okay, she’s got a point. And to treat her objection with respect, I went and listened, in their entirety, to Odditorium, or Warlords of Mars, and to Earth To The Dandy Warhols. (Apparently we never bothered to put Welcome To The Monkey House on our iPod.)  I’ll admit that Odditorium had many more redeeming features than I remembered, that songs like “Holding Me Up” are the equal of the good songs on Come Down, and that there even is a good song or two — okay, there are two good songs — on Earth To.

I’ll even do this:  Tulip Frenzy herein wholeheartedly endorses The Capitol Years, 1995-2007. Yes, we believe it is flawed because it doesn’t have songs like “Ride” and “Best Friend” on it, but I guess technically they never said it was the Best of The Capitol Years, now did they?

On a serious note, it is hard for bands that burst on the scene with an original sound and a bucket of chops to keep pleasing the early fans years on.  But I think Zia is wrong when she says we don’t appreciate a band as it grows.  Not true, and I’m not going to go through the list of artists whose later work I like more than the early work, but let’s just say we thought of REM and Dylan, to name two.

And in a way, the choices of the songs on The Capitol Years prove the point: “Plan A” and “Holding Me Up” and others included from the later albums show significant growth, but also capture what we love so much about the band.  A song like “Mission Control” could have been made thirty years ago by The Stranglers, or two hours ago by some other band of teenage British louts.  It’s simply not worthy of the Dandys, in our humble opinion.

It’s also not, for example, on The Capitol Years.  But several of the other really good ‘uns from the later years are.  Which is why we endorse it.

Okay, Zia?

How The Dandy Warhols See Themselves

Posted in Music with tags , , on September 1, 2010 by johnbuckley100

The arrival of the first Dandy Warhols album in 1995 was the freshest breath of air since the Pixies had announced themselves maybe seven, eight years earlier.  What a great sound, falling somewhere between the Velvets and the Fleshtones, with discordant yet chiming guitars and cocksure songwriting.  Courtney Taylor-Taylor was a charmingly androgynous front man, as perfectly formed as a Bowie character. They were that rare band –Oasis comes to mind — that the moment you heard them and saw their picture, you immediately categorized them as Rock Stars.  Even if their album sold ten copies, which you knew it wouldn’t; they were that good.

That they arrived just prior to their then-chums The Brian Jonestown Massacre made for more than just a classic rock documentary, Dig! The two bands together left a lasting impact on the best music that’s come our way since.  I remember the first time I heard The Morning After Girls and marveling how each song was either a paean to the Dandys or an homage to BJM.  Cool!

But then after 13 Tales of Urban Bohemia something went terribly wrong, one of the biggest train wrecks in rock history.  And it took my actually downloading the new compilation, The Capitol Years, 1995 – 2007, to efficiently listen to a great band’s decline and fall.  See, I haven’t been able to listen more than one time to any album they’ve released since the year 2000.  Earth To The Monkey Odditorium, or whatever their ghastly last three albums were called, were all such dreck you could find yourself wondering whether the early stuff was as great as we thought it was.  Happily, it is.

What presumably the band believes is the best of the material since then — after all, it weighs down the back half of the new compilation such that it all seems to slide into a compost heap — is not quite unlistenable, but it is certainly disappointing.  The Dandys went from having a unique guitar and vocal sound, funny songwriting, real craft, to being just a throbbing disco band with too many synthesizers and overuse of falsetto.  It’s passing sad.

At least we have the early stuff.

And I can’t help but thinking Anton Newcombe has the last laugh.

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