Thursday, August 29, 2013

Artist of the Day: The Dismemberment Plan

I live in a cultural wasteland known to most graduates of 6th grade geography as the “Mid-Atlantic.” Actually, I live in the middlest of this middleness. When considering the music contribution good old VA’s made to America and the world, I find myself overwhelmed with visions of vast swaths of land, unpopulated, empty, zilch, nothing. Cultureless. Then I think of DC’s Dismemberment Plan. I’ve taken to talking about the D-Plan at a missionary-esque level. My main area of study is their 1999 record, Emergency & I, which has, since it came to me, become as good as family. My main tagline for newcomers who may not have seen the light is that “it’s the best album to come out within a 200 mile radius of Richmond.” They think and think and then nod and say “You’re probably right,” unless they’re into Clipse or something.

The band’s new album, Uncanny Valley, is slated for an October 15th release, and I’m excited. They dropped a single, “Waiting,” recently. At first, I wasn’t sure. My honest to God first impression was Sugar Ray meets Vampire Weekend. That may sound like a dream combination to some, but you see, the Dismemberment Plan have spoiled me. The mind learns from experience, and so mine expects a lot when it hears the band’s name - enlightenment, understanding, humor, pain, genius. The song’s most accurate adjective is peppy. The band remain virtuosos individually, most notably drummer Joe Easley, who’s always been the fuel and continues here pumping. Singer Travis Morrison is in good form too, and doesn’t sound like he’s aged, his voice characteristically free-flowing, though not hyper-kinetically splattering “Girl O’Clock”-style. 

The Dismemberment Plan’s music, in the past, has been about hurting. It’s been about loss and confusion. It’s been really beautiful. If “Waiting” is any indication, though, with it’s almost 20 second long crescendo section and cutesy beach-side embellishments, they may just be coming to terms. That’s beautiful in its own way, right? Like I said, I’m excited. 

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