Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Darker My Love: "Mondays at Spaceland" (Vol. 1 Abridged): Music Review

Abridging recordings of July 2006 gigs at this L.A. (Silverlake) club, local favorites DML charge with more intensity than on their self-titled début. It's closer to The Warlocks than Love or the Beatles. It's less like The Verve than tracks on their follow-up, "2." It may also prove why Mark E. Smith of The Fall would recruit members from DML as his back-up band after they opened for The Fall during yet another disastrous American tour. The band's tougher, more garage-like and less polished by production.

High points? The end of track 6 moves from a thundering piece "Vol. 4 [Blue]" into somewhere "Vol. 5 [Daily]"-- full of "I Am the Walrus" types of mellow wooziness that recalls the best acid-pop of the era. The start of track 9, "Rate/Depth," hammers a punkier delivery that enlivens the somber mood. It settles later into what most of this CD prefers: slow-building, cresting, waves of stoner rock-- if with more of a British late-60s shambling feel than a metallic hone or grungier accretion.

The album's lack of sheen works to its advantage. Sometimes it evokes postpunk in its determined single-mindedness. The songs from the first album at times do not boast the construction of some on "2," but they're made more convincing by the band's commitment to their concert and their concentration to bringing out the songs' power. They often come across more appealingly in this looser, louder format.

I reviewed both studio CDs recently [here and at Amazon], and while I admire both, I prefer the live show here. It ends with a lengthy-- naturally-- cover of Can's "Mother Sky." A great tune, and as with Th' Faith Healers and Loop's versions, DML locks into the classic krautrock 'mekanik' groove and churns away for ten minutes happily.

I'd be curious to find how, three years on, the band's shifted their more shoegazing-meets-Britpop songcraft into their stage performance. The band appears without pretense or pomp, and if you like The Warlocks, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Farflung, The Black Angels, or The Out Crowd, you'll like this. Interestingly, many of these songs do not appear on either CD, so fans of these two releases may want to seek this out.

(Posted to Amazon US today.)

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