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  1. #1
    very clever with maracas Davey's Avatar
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    Girl Anachronism? Dresden Dolls? MTV2?

    Is there anything watchable on Monday night TV? Not until 10:00 PM for me, which is the slot they just moved Touching Evil to on the USA network. Anyhoo, I finish watching this week's cool episode so was flipping around and came across this show on MTV2 called Subterranean. Guess it's a weekly thing featuring what they call "alternative, innovative, and groundbreaking" music videos. Yeah, sure. But it caught my eye because the guests this week are the Secret Machines and they were talkng some about making the album and distribution and the video. Real lite stuff, but in-between the short banter sessions they would play some videos and one was the Dresden Dolls "Girl Anachronism". Have any of you seen/heard this? It was pretty cool, kind of a Sleater-Kinney meets Sparks type thing. The woman is spewing out lyrics at a rate similar to some of those old fast paced Sparks songs, but sounding more along the lines of PJ Harvey. Lyrics like ...

    you can tell
    from the scars on my arms
    and cracks in my hips
    and the dents in my car
    and the blisters on my lips
    that i'm not the carefullest of girls


    Pretty entertaining video and song. Cabaret punk is how some are describing it, driven by a strong piano stomp, and with the white face makeup and circus burlesque type scenes running through it. I just checked and found that you can watch it at their site http://www.dresdendolls.com/video/ too. Also saw the playlist for the show ....


    May 16, 2004
    Guest: Secret Machines
    Album: Now Here Is Nowhere

    The Von Bondies - C'Mon C'Mon
    Snow Patrol - Spitting Games
    Stellastarr* - My Coco
    The Dresden Dolls - Girl Anachronism
    The Sleepy Jackson - Come To This
    Auf Der Maur - Followed The Waves
    Secret Machines - Nowhere Again
    Muse - Time Is Running Out
    Perry Farrell and Debbie Harry - The Patience Bossa

    I missed the first three videos but caught much of the next 5 and quit watching sometime during the Muse song. But I did enjoy that Dresden Dolls song and I already knew the Secret Machines song well, but the video looked convincingly live and was kinda fun to see. I thought The Sleepy Jackson was awful so didn't watch much of that and Auf Der Maur seemed so contrived that it was only mildly interesting, although she makes a pretty attractive front woman when she's not going through all those silly rock star poses with her guitar. Muse is fun, and I've heard the song before, but they just don't grab me as being that great. I know a lot of people went cuckoo over their last album, but is that song a good representation? Or maybe that song is just a new single since they didn't list the album in the credits. Not a bad set of videos for a MTV type show, but the Dresden Dolls is probably the only video I would go out of my way to check out.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular nobody's Avatar
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    I've only heard nits and pieces of the Dresden Dolls, but it's been on my list to pick up for a while. I just haven't run across anything by them in the shops. They really do seem quite unique and interesting to me. I have to say the punk rock caberet label they seem to give themselves seems pretty accurate from what I've seen and heard actually. They look like they'd be a really good live show.

  3. #3
    very clever with maracas Davey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobody
    They look like they'd be a really good live show.
    Yeah, I know what you mean. From the little reading I've done this morning, it sounds as though they are one heckuva good live band. In fact, they were selling out shows before even getting a record contract, I think. Don't know how good the rest of the record is, but they sure do sound promising. Keep me posted if you hear some more.

  4. #4
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    This is a somewhat interesting band. At your mentin, I checked it out. Their is notable feature about this album I think is worth mentioning that makes it unique among most albums today.... their is very little compression used. Some parts of the album are very dynamic. A rare thing to find today in music releases. It really adds alot to the emotional projection.

    -Chris

  5. #5
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    That is a pretty cool vid. Clicked on another one at random at it was way too much of the caberet angle to make me happy. If anyone takes the plunge I'd be curious of their thoughts of the album as a whole.

    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    That is a pretty cool vid. Clicked on another one at random at it was way too much of the caberet angle to make me happy. If anyone takes the plunge I'd be curious of their thoughts of the album as a whole.

    jc
    Well, I did not buy the CD, I listened to the album on the Rhapsody music service. I listen to any music I can on this subscription service before I decide to purchase the CDs.

    The song discussed originally(Girl Anachronism) is one of the 'harder' songs. Most of the songs are not as agressive(hard). Their is some cursing(most notably, occasional use of the word F * * * K).

    I already addressed that issue of dynamnic compression - their is little used. A good thing.

    I can't really offer any subjective statements about how I like the music in general, etc., since this is entirely an issue to be resolved by each seperate person.

    -Chris

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    That is a pretty cool vid. Clicked on another one at random at it was way too much of the caberet angle to make me happy. If anyone takes the plunge I'd be curious of their thoughts of the album as a whole.

    jc
    I know I responded too you earlier, but since you seemed interested......

    I have since listened to this ablum probably 6 times or so now... I bellieve I am going to look for this in Best Buy next time I am in that store...... it's definately worth purchasing IMO.

    -Chris

  8. #8
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WmAx
    I know I responded too you earlier, but since you seemed interested......

    I have since listened to this ablum probably 6 times or so now... I bellieve I am going to look for this in Best Buy next time I am in that store...... it's definately worth purchasing IMO.

    -Chris
    Thanks for the replies. Guess I should listen to a couple more tracks.

    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  9. #9
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Remind me to mention the belly-dancers

    So I went to the show last night. OMG, they rawk! Highly recommended to see them live.

    And it's interesting, there's only two people -- Amanda on piano and vocals, and Brian on drums and backing vox and...erm...miming. Now, before you stop reading, I urge you -- please do not let this be a turn-off! He talks (not much of a mime, then, eh?), and really, it (the miming) is probably just so that he doesn't get completely lost from the limelight. Sure, he overplays, and overacts for that matter, but when on stage, everything needs to be bigger than life anyway, neh? I suspect that this is what he has to do, for him not to just be demoted to a supporting player in Amanda's project.

    But since it's only two people, they sure do make a big noise. Normally, one would think "sparse", since most of the music is "just" piano and drums and vocals (and oftentimes, just piano and drums), but they just fill the void. And no backing tapes!

    Yes, on dynamics -- I noticed they were a bit rough, but that just gives them that most sought after "hip indie cred". I didn't realize I was also responding to "real" dynamics, but yes, in hindsight, I don't think they were using much compression on stage, neither. Has to be a little bit, as the drums sounded just as cleanly amplified when played lightly as when played full-bore. Ditto vocals. Still, minimal use of compression.

    Musically...hmmm...weird comparisons -- those Moraz/Bruford experiments (Music for Piano and Drums and Flags), Tori Amos comes to mind, Crack the Sky (especially "Rangers at Midnight", don't know why, perhaps it's the heavy use of piano in that track), me (I'll explain that in a minute), and...I don't know who else. It's just a very strange sound.

    But to clarify, if I haven't already: they rock! I mean, headbanging, moshing (although, have you noticed -- no-one moshes when there's a chick in the band?), full-bore, open throttle rawk...they do a Black Sabbath cover, ferpetesake ("War Pigs", and he does all that real heavy drumming between every riff, just like in the original song), and I was only disappointed that she didn't try to play that short little lead that Iommi plays during/right after the line, "...in the fields are bodies burning..." (she plays just a chord instead), but she does play the rest of it, including the several instrumental breaks. I'd almost call it too straightforward a reading, but she's playing it on a piano, so that right there makes it different. Sort of like The Dickies covering "Nights in White Satin" and the orchestral break being played on an electric guitar (and no, I don't mean the other way around -- it had that same feeling of "oh, hey, I recognize that, that was played on another instrument in the original version").

    Okay, enough about the only one song I knew going in.

    I went into this kind of cold. My sister recommended them to me, about a month ago, and I had meant to do some research about them before I went, but last night right around 8 o'clock, I had only done enough research to know that they were famous for their live show being good, and a few comparisons (yes, the word "cabaret" was dropped), but for the most part, I had no idea what I was getting into. I'm sure I would have been turned off if I knew there was a mime involved, enough not to go, so I'm really glad I didn't know.

    When I went, I thought that my sister had already seen them, and a lot of the time I had spent thinking, yes, I understand why she sent me. It's not that I would compare myself to her, but she plays piano the way I do a lot -- hard, alternating with juxtapositions of extreme lightness. I "noodle" more, hers are more fully fleshed-out songs -- what I would aspire to. It's like, that's what I want to be when I grow up, not like I feel I'm there already.

    He's a fantastic drummer -- Jay would hate him, and yet, it's all in support of the song. I think "War Pigs", in particular, proved this to be the case. He didn't carry the song, but it would have been completely different show without the drums. He did everything from playing everything in his somewhat minimal set, a la Bill Ward, to suffering every individual cymbal tap and crash brush, often not playing anything at all, just spending a lot of time looking like he's about to. I think it would take a lot of restraint to not play as much as he ...erm... didn't. But he made it look ...well... I won't say easy, but...watchable. It was sort of like watching a two-ring circus, I wasn't sure whether to watch her or him (I like watching whoever's singing as much as I enjoy watching someone play their instrument well -- be it drummer, keyboardist, or whatever). Also, I was in front of him, and she was a little harder to see, and I'd like to be watching something other than the back of someone's head, waiting for them to be decapitated so that I can get a clear shot of the action for a couple seconds.

    She's a fantastic pianist. Her form wasn't perfect, but it was certainly good enough. I once heard Laurie Anderson quoted as saying that watching a keyboardist is about as interesting as watching someone iron, and for the most part, I have to agree -- there's just something about being stuck there that just kind of sucks. Amanda is definitely one of the exceptions, and it's not just because she's a femme, but I don't think a male could get away with her charisma without being accused of being self-important (Gowan comes to mind -- he had that same kind of charisma, and carried it, but he had a self-importance to him, albeit, one that could easily be dismissed with the attitude that it was necessary to be self-important to be a star). Not really fair, but it's just an observation, it could be my myopic point-of-view, other people probably won't see it the same way.

    Anyway, highly recommended, go if you can (it was only US$10 for me, not including CD's).

    Oh, and there were belly-dancers during the intermission (after the opening act, but before The Dresden Dolls' set). Certainly didn't hurt, and put most of the audience into the right mood (somewhere between rowdy and paying attention).
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  10. #10
    very clever with maracas Davey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Chalk
    So I went to the show last night. OMG, they rawk! (yada yada yada clip clip yada yada blah blah blah....)
    Wow, nice review! Thanks

  11. #11
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    A consummate musician!

    I forgot to mention, he (Brian) also plays the occasional acoustic guitar. I'm listening to their CD right now, that's what reminded me.
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
    I remain,
    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  12. #12
    Forum Regular nobody's Avatar
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    I hbought the disc, but lost it while moving. Liked it quite a bit.

    I'll have to check 'em out when they come to town next week.

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