It’s tough out there for a buzz band: one minute you’re the hottest thing going, the next you’re still going but the hipsters talk about you as if you’d retired after getting that 8.5 from Pitchfork. The Dodos were something of a revelation on Visiter, their 2007 breakout, forging a weird, new, viciously acoustic attitude on singles like “Fools.” But the follow-ups, Time To Die and No Color, didn’t have quite so much impact. What will it take to get some confidence back? Try writing a new song called “Confidence.”
Taken from forthcoming LP Carrier, “Confidence” at first has the unmistakable flavor of many other Dodos strummers: a chiming, finger-picked bit of stately bedroom pop. But here that sound functions as a Trojan Horse – let it in and the back half of the song will surprise you. You see, guitarist Meric Long decided to start over on this album due to the uncertainty of the band’s trajectory and the sudden passing of guitarist Chris Reimer (also of the underexposed band Women). The rising tide of “Confidence” seems intended to wash away whatever came before.
A slow-burner in the truest sense of the word and, like the rest of Carrier, recorded with “no computers, no gimmicks,” the track turns into a march with gnarled electric guitar accents, then into a pounding, thunderous punk song that somehow escalates even through the last minute and a half. Welcome back, Dodos—it’s good to hear your swagger again.
Word on the street is that we’re in the dead of winter right now. (Another compelling reason to be at Sundance right now is that it’s actually warmer in Park City than it is in New York.) Summer music may be more fun, but this is the time to curl up with a mug of cider and songs that come from cold places.
Torres – “When Winter’s Over”
My current favorite pastime is listening to Nashville singer-songwriter Torres and emoting deeply. Her music sounds perfect when everything is numb except for your feelings, and “When Winter’s Over” hits the spot. Unfortunately, winter is not actually over yet.
Beach House – “I Do Not Care For The Winter Sun”
The temperatures keep dropping, but at least Victoria LeGrand’s voice will keep you warm. Let’s pretend that is physically possible.
Niki & The Dove – “Winterheart”
My heart is frozen. So is my soul.
JEFF the Brotherhood – “Hypnotic Winter”
Nashville rockers JEFF the Brotherhood manage to sound pretty optimistic about the season, which we could probably all do with.
The Dodos – “Winter”
If you’re already starting to get angry about Valentine’s Day coming up, this is for you. The bittersweet jangle works wonders.
Belle & Sebastian – “Winter Wooskie”
“Who’s that girl? She must be nearly freezing” is a semi-iconic Belle & Sebastian line that’s apt for this week. In classic fashion, “Winter Wooskie” paints a wistful portrait with just the right amount of detail.
Nico – “Winter Song”
John Cale recently paid tribute to Nico with a host of other artists, including Sharon Van Etten and Alison Mosshart. Since you’re not going outside anyways, now seems like the perfect time to revisit Chelsea Girl.
Fleet Foxes – “White Winter Hymnal”
Because with those harmonies, it’s easier to pretend that this is just “crisp” and “refreshing.”