Celebrate the Damnwells' Air Stereo release anniversary with old demos & new album news!
I am deeply in love with the music of The Damnwells now more than ever. I've been on a kick lately, and as far as I reach in, they meet me there with their music. As my friend Scott wrote, "[Lead singer/songwriter Alex] Dezen uses the pen like a rapier to carve little bits out of your heart and soul."
Yesterday marked one year since Air Stereo (2006, Rounder Records) was unleashed upon us unworthy masses, and if you don't own it yet, why not? Why, oh why not. I discovered this in 2007, so it doesn't get to go into my top list of the year that I'll put out this Deccember, but that's just a technicality. This is undoubtedly one of the best albums of my year, one I've listened to the most, sang my lungs out to in the car, and spent time alone with on my iPod.
The great news this week is that Alex has revealed some juicy details of work commencing on a new album. He writes, "The Damnwells will be going back into the studio before the end of this year to record a new record. I'm thinking a self titled affair. Really, when you consider all the pressure and nonsense—both existential and metaphoric—we always had to deal with every time we went into the studio, this will be the first Damnwells record we will ever be able to just make. 'No pressure,' Paul, our A&R guy at Rounder says. 'Make the record you want to make.' What a crazy idea! Not like we were ever making anyone else's records, but there was always compromise.
Where art and commerce meet, there has to be. Your mixed-medium, six foot canvas doesn't fit in the six by three inch display case at Wal-Mart, and no amount of dieting or exercise is ever gonna fit your square peg in that round hole. Compromise is a part of life—at least the kind that includes a roof over your head and food on the table. So now that we're supposed to make this record, the one we want to make, without the pressure and nonsense, I think I may be feeling a little Stockholm syndrome coming on. How the hell am I supposed to do that?
Guess we'll find out."
In the spirit of Damnwells love, I've unearthed some more demos from their early days and they are heartbreaking, insanely good, wrenching, melodic -- some of the best stuff I've heard in months. I love the ferocious romanticism of The Damnwells, and that's a kind of romanticism that can be manly too (not talking like bubble bath romantic, more like bleeding out in the backcountry following your dream romantic).
Information about these is incredibly scant, and my normal methods of reconaissance are failing me. If you can confirm anything else about these demos, I'd love to hear it. Far as I can tell, these are mostly demos for the PMR (Poor Man's Record) + 1 EP, which you can still buy over at CD Baby. There are two demos from the Heart Hazard EP which was a self-produced, hand-stamped job that I can't find a trail on either.
PMR+1 and Heart Hazard EPs
For My Own Good
Ballad of You (demo)
Have To Ask (demo)
Three Day Old Lover (blue version)
Three Day Old Lover (red version)
How Do I Say Nothing (demo)
Televised Telephone (demo)
The Only One Who Laughs (demo)
While You Can (demo)
ZIP: DAMNWELLS DEMOS
Damnwells will be playing Bumbershoot in Seattle on Labor Day weekend. Wanna go?