You don’t give a funeral speech until there’s a dead body. And while Donewaiting’s going to be pulling the plug this weekend, I wasn’t born yesterday. I remember Kiss going on their 141-date Farewell Tour in 2000/2001. And how did that go for ya, Kiss? I wrote a story for MELT Magazine in 2010 about The Scorpions final tour (yes, the band was still touring in 2012). Donewaiting’s not done, don’t let Duffy fool you. Maybe it’s time for a re-tool. Maybe it’s time for some fresh blood. Maybe it’s time to take a breather. But while there are bands like The Smiths that turn down all sorts of offers, you never say never to a reunion and I’ll bet you’ll see Donewaiting rise from the ashes – maybe not in 2013 or 2014. But, if Duffy doesn’t renew the URL, I’ll swoop in and snag it and put together my own scab version of Donewaiting someday, just like Axl and the band he continues to call Guns N’ Roses.
I suppose I should say thanks to Duffy and the Donewaiting family for the 10 years of letting me write about ’80s hair metal and The Damnwells. And thanks to those of you (hi Lisa Ragland!) who have come up to me in clubs around town and said, “Hey, aren’t you the guy who writes for Donewaiting?” It’s been fun and, hell, throwing the Donewaiting name around has gotten me into shows, gotten me some interviews, etc., that I probably wouldn’t have gotten on my own. Continue reading →
The biggest struggle when putting together this list is how to rank the albums. What exactly is the difference between a #1 and a #2 album? Without doubt, Viva Brother’s “Darling Buds of May” was the song I listened to the most in 2011 and the album it comes from is pretty damn good. But is it my favorite album as a whole? The Damnwells have consistently put out great material and I’m sure I listened to No One Listens to the Band Anymore more, front to back, than any album on the list but did I do that because it’s the best album of the year or because I know the guys personally and listening to them makes me happy?
So, I decided the best way to do it is to list the albums alphabetically, showing no favoritism and not being forced to rank anything. A few comebacks, a few previous favorites, a couple of new UK bands, some metal, some country, some hair metal. Pretty typical for me.
AA Bondy – Believers (Fat Possum)
Not as barebones as early solo material, not as scuzzy as his ‘90s alt-rock band Verbena, AA Bondy split the difference on this moody, late night listen. Listen: “The Heart is Willing”
Anthrax – Worship Music (Megaforce)
The legendary NYC thrashers pick up where they left off the last time Joey Belladonna sang lead vocals (1990’s Persistence of Time) on 2011’s best (and most surprising considering some internal issues Anthrax had with short-timer vocalist Dan Nelson) metal album. Listen: “In the End”
AWOLNATION – Megalithic Symphony (Red Bull Records)
I would never have checked out this band had my old friend Christopher Thorn (Blind Melon) not been playing guitar. A complete 180 from Blind Melon’s sound, AWOLNATION’s slickly-produced techno-soul-pop shows a wide range of diversity from one track to the next. Listen: “Soul Wars” Continue reading →
For a period of time between 2003 and 2006, the (then) Brooklyn-based The Damnwells felt more like a local band than a touring band. If my math is correct (I was a journalism major so math is not my strong suit), The Damnwells played 17-ish shows here during that time, more than many active Columbus bands. But it’s been nearly 5 years since the last time they played here (Feb. 2007, opening for Blue October at the LC) and a LOT has changed.
Singer Alex Dezen is the only original member of the band and, for that matter, there really isn’t a band, per se, any more. Touring to support the excellent 2011 release, No One Listens to the Band Anymore, Alex is backed by the opening band, Harper Blynn, rather than his longtime trusty sidekicks, the guys that Columbus got to know and love so well during the middle part of the last decade.
Donewaiting’s got 2 guest list spots to give away for the show. Send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject line Damn Right I Want Damnwells Tickets to be entered into the giveaway. Entries must be received by noon, Friday, September 30. The winner will be notified via email later that afternoon.
Show info:The Basement doors open at 7pm, Carley Tanchon goes on at 8pm, Harper Blynn at 9pm, The Damnwells at 10pm. Tickets are $12 at the door.
Y’all remember David Cobb, don’t ya? David’s Houston Calling column was a staple of the Donewaiting site for a few years before it outgrew this site and spun off to it’s own domain (houstoncalling.net). David’s got the advantage of living in the same state as SXSW and while it’s not exactly a short bike ride from Houston to Austin, he’s still a lot closer to the mayhem than the rest of the DW staff. David has spent the last month interviewing bands appearing at SXSW that he likes (for houstoncalling.net) and bands that he was assigned to cover (for spinner.com). In case you missed out on any of these great interviews, here they are:
Guess I’m not going to be looked at as a trendsetter this year. Believe me, I’m as surprised as anyone that my two favorite releases of the year were put out by bands that were active in the hair metal community in the late ’80s. But when I went back and scanned through iTunes to see what I listened to the most, these are the ones that were clear cut favorites.
1. Danger Danger – Revolve
The best CD of 1989 was released 20 years late! This b-list hair metal band brought original singer Ted Poley back for a reunion album filled with big hooks (“Hearts on the Highway”), bigger choruses (“That’s What I’m Talking About”), songs about girls (“Rocket to Your Heart”), guitar solos (“Ghost of Love”), and power ballads (“Fugitive”). Def Leppard and Bon Jovi’s recent efforts didn’t sound nearly this good. Listen:Keep On Keepin’ On
2. Ray West – All Pointz West
Spread Eagle’s Ray West was my favorite singer from the sleaze-glam era (early ’90s). His solo debut may have been 15+ years in the making, but it was worth it as he updates Spread Eagle’s sound (which was similar to Skid Row, Guns N’ Roses, Motley Crue) by making it heavier and more aggressive (ala Godsmack, Disturbed, Killswitch Engage). I listened to this CD more than anything else this past summer. Watch:Novacaine
3. The Damnwells – One Last Century
My fears that The Damnwells were done were unjustified and proven false when the band released this FREE album in February. The older carryovers (“55 Pictures”, “Bastards of Midnight”, “Down with the Ship”) were my favorites initially but I grew to love the collaborations Alex Dezen did with his wife, Angela (“Dandelion”, “Like it Is”), just as much as anything the band has previously done. Download:One Last Century (full CD)
4. Jason Lytle – Yours Truly, The Commuter
Halfway through 2009, this album was my favorite. Though it’s billed under Lytle’s name, it’s really just an extension of the singer’s Grandaddy sound (spacey/dreamy indie-pop) and “Brand New Sun” may be one of the best, simplest pop songs released this year. Watch:Brand New Sun
5. The Prairie Cartel – Where Did All My People Go?
Blake Smith and Mike Willison hinted at their electro-pop/sample fascination as members of the short-lived alt.rock band Caviar but bring that fascination to full fruition (along with Local H’s Scott Lucas) on The Prairie Cartel’s long overdue debut (most of these songs were on a demo CD the guys gave me at SXSW back in ’07). The versatility of the music allows The Prairie Cartel to perform it live as either a full band or in a DJ setting with Lucas singing over pre-recorded sounds loaded onto an iPod. Download:Beautiful Shadow