Great tunes to be had at #7... if you can get past the annoying band name.
7. Dawes - We're All Gonna Die
My introduction to Dawes came via their previous album, 2015's All Your Favourite Bands, which would have been near the top of my year end countdown last year... had I not discovered it in early 2016. (This often happens, and I'm sure it will again this year. By June 2017, I'll have kicked half these albums off this chart - in my head - and replaced them with more worthy discs I haven't yet heard.) AYFB was a fantastic record, channeling the Eagles, Jackson Browne and a bunch of my favourite Laurel Canyon bands of the 70s, and it had the same kind of hazy, nostalgic lyrics that make me long for a youth I never had in a far away land I might never visit. It's worth listening to the title track again now, just to show you what I mean...
OK. You know when you love an album so much that all you really want from the band's next release is another version of that record? And inevitably, if you get it... it's not what you wanted at all? A smart band knows that. And a smart band don't give you what you want. They give you something different... even though they know you might not dig it at first. A smart band hopes you'll be smart too, and you'll stick with that different record and come to love it in a different way. Turns out Dawes are a pretty smart band...
I bought We're All Gonna Die the second it came out, not just because of my love for AYFB, but because... hell, how am I not going to buy an album with that title? It deserves to be on my year end Top Ten even if I'd never played it. But from the opening chords, it's a very different record. Musically much beefier, owing more to the 80s than the 70s, throwing out the Eagles in favour of funk, fuzz-guitar, a splash of Jeff Lynne-produced George Harrison, and an occasional nod to Don Henley's solo output. It's a more diverse record than its predecessor and it doesn't fit together quite as well, but when you get past all that, Taylor Goldsmith's lyrics still shine with intricate, oddball details that suggest much bigger stories waiting to be told... as on Five Miles Away, which has disappeared from youtube since I wrote this post...
There's a stranger in the bushesThere's another great Divorce Song in Roll With The Punches too. Because we can never have too many of those.
Looking through the windows of a home
At a woman from the movies
That's been living there alone
She's home at 7 in the evening
He sees the code punched in the gate
This is all happening right now
Less than five miles away
I still think Dawes is a terrible name for a band though.
Next, at Number #6: still rhymin' after all these years...