srijeda, 27. lipnja 2012.

Daughn Gibson - All Hell

Glas Scotta Walkera u sempliranom svemirskom brodu Jamesa Blakea.
Country oglodan piranjama pijane elektronike.
O ruralnim tipovima koji su izgledali popt filmskih zvijezda ali su završili kao propaliteti. 
Suludo dobri kontrasti.

"Daughn Gibson's previous band, the Pennsylvania stoner-metal trio Pearls and Brass, evoked the cigarette-smoke drag of a Harley Davidson ripping through the desert and blasting out classic rock riffs. A strong look, but there's an element of dress-up to that kind of rock'n'roll posturing. In reality, Gibson was driving trucks, among other things, and while his new solo guise might reflect more honesty or depth, it's no less rugged or brave.
All Hell finds Gibson digging through crates of country music past and turning up a wealth of noirish, creepy source material to sample. On "In the Beginning", a dusty piano trapped in its own motion repeats as Gibson croons over the top. It's a simple blueprint but one from which Gibson teases surprise as the song unfolds-- from an electronic whoosh to a single-note female chorus. Those elements lull you further into Gibson's strange dreamworld but at the same time hold you firmly on the precipice of a rude awakening.
Another highlight, "Tiffany Lou", plays the same trick: This time a skittering chorus feels like a broken hard drive trying to whirr into life. Pitched down voices start the track, bathing it in a low droning hum as Gibson spins an oddly affecting story. Both here and elsewhere, his characters are washed-up, pathetic, and old. Tiffany Lou's father "died with his mind on fire, and his jeans half on," whilst on "Ray", our protagonist "looked like a movie star, but grew up to be totally worthless."
As with the gritty country music that Gibson re-imagines, his characters are timeless too-- rural and small-town, still as far away from an iPad as their grandfathers were 50 years ago. But there's nothing mawkish or condescending about All Hell. This record knows how to knock and groove too-- "Lookin' Back on '99" is pumped with a 4/4 beat that lurches forward more like a Matthew Dear track. Here Gibson remembers the good old days, but there's a razor in the candyfloss: "Don't we love the love we knew/ When it's just an empty glass in the bedroom." Right at this moment Gibson's good time becomes a fading copy of a copy of a good time. That his revelation comes in an almost dancefloor-ready setting makes this feel more like music for barflies that prefer to lope in dark corners of clubs than sit propped up on bar stools.
All Hell is a subtly clever record that pits one type of music that strongly evokes one era-- here, country music-- against another, namely this decade's sample-heavy culture. Gibson does a lot of questioning within that framework, both seriously and tongue-in-cheek. All of that makes for a rewarding record to think about, and to intellectualize, but All Hell wouldn't be nearly so fun to listen to if it weren't for Gibson's ear for melody. His thick baritone breezes confidently over the songs, lassoing hook after hook, redeeming his burnt-out characters through song. As he knowingly sings at one point: "If I lose you I might/ Write a song about some rain on a highway." - Hari Ashurst

"The background: Daughn Gibson is quite unlike anyone you will have ever heard, unless you happen to have decided, on a whim one day, to set up two stereos and have playing on one a series of country songs or noir torch ballads and, on the other, some creepy, crepuscular dubstep. Simultaneously. That's what it's like listening to this 31-year-old who used to be a truck driver and still works as an HR rep for a trucking company. Like hearing Nick Cave's Murder Ballads and Burial's Untrue. Simultaneously.
The first track we heard by Gibson, Tiffany Lou, made us think of Johnny Cash and James Blake, with the raw power of the former afforded the studio treatment and trickery of the latter. This, we thought, is where ruined classicism meets dubstep modernism. Where the urban night-bus beat solemnity of south London meets the dusty desertscapes of Americana. Talk about two opposing aesthetic schools of consciousness. The next track we heard, In the Beginning, is croony and doomy: Scott Walker meets Scott Walker. By which we mean the baritone Walker of late-60s baroque pop fame meeting experimental Walker in full-tilt – or rather, full-Tiltmeat-punching mode/mood. Lookin' Back on 99, another track from Gibson's debut album, All Hell, is country goes to Hoxton, like seeing a cowboy in FWD>>, although we hesitate to call it count-step because it sounds a bit rude and suggests we don't like it when we do, a lot.
He's very manly, is Gibson. Even his name sounds like country legend Don Gibson. It's an interesting effect, allying the macho-ness of one world with the more fey sensibility of another. On The Day You Were Born his voice is so growly and deep, it's almost like a parody of manliness. We actually had a (female) friend over the weekend emailing us excitedly about Gibson, enthusing particularly about the picture of him on Pitchfork with his hairy chest, and then pretending to justify it by talking about the "crisis in masculinity" that has plagued pop of late. Here, she ventured, is the antidote.
We don't know about that, but we do know he used to be the drummer in punk bands with names such as Nokturnal Acid and Natal Cream in high school before forming stoner-metal outfit Pearls and Brass. Then came the Damascene conversion to all things atmospheric and lo-fi yet lush, and the decision to pen songs about small-town misery and place them in echo-laden electronic-scapes. One of the songs, Ray, is about "a terrible son whose mother has died". Another, the title track of the album, is a horrific tale of a baby with an incurable disease, with lots of screaming piercing the eerie silence. On Rain on a Highway the language recalls Dylan/Springsteen, as does the melody, but the production and effects, the hiss and crackle, are from another time/another place, if not another green world. We'd suggest Brian Eno could do interesting things with him, but in a way he's already Eno, and Cash, in one hunky frame. - Paul Lester

"Daughn Gibson was probably one of the few American truck drivers without a love for country music. But hours on the road trapped with FM radio eventually changed his mind and his musical direction. After years playing punk and rock music, most notably in Pearls and Brass, he created the solo record All Hell, a sample-driven collection of spooky, powerful country/gospel/electro tunes.

The music on All Hell feels so immediately unusual and likeable that it almost speaks for itself, one of those albums that can lose some mystery when its origins are revealed. However, after speaking with Gibson I was still nowhere near the bottom of it.
Have you been making music your entire life?
Pretty much. Started off playing drums, got into bands in high school. Graduated and started touring. Different styles of music throughout.
There’re a lot of different influences at play on All Hell. Have you always been versatile in terms of style?
Yeah, though all within the same umbrella of [logistics], punk shows, shows at people’s houses. In high school is was about playing as fast and loud as humanly possible. Later I joined bands that played slower, but just as loud. Got away from punk for the blues, then tried to translate that into more rock style for [main gig] Pearls and Brass.
There’s definitely a maturity in All Hell, like it comes with years of weight, so to speak.
When I first started playing I was into Led Zeppelin, the first big band I gravitated toward. And I tried to go back to where they came from: Robert Johnson, Skip James, but old blues didn’t gel with me when I was younger. I couldn’t relate to it in any way. And it’s all about reliability, do you have the experience or “maturity,” for lack of a better word, to really take it in. Just one night my friends and I were listening to Johnson on a dark night drive and it just hit us like a brick to the face.
I had the same experience. I bought a Robert Johnson album when I was a teenager and just couldn’t get into it. Now 10 years later, that era of blues is my favourite in music. 
Country music was the most recent of those discoveries for me, though it wasn’t as shocking. It’s enough to make me say “I can’t believe I like this” after years of being taught to hate it, which I think a lot of people are. That might have come with getting older, having a better sense of history to appreciate what has come before.
What changed your perspective on that?
A lack of things to listen to. Got tired of my CDs. It wasn’t old country that I was listening to, it was new, “shitty” country. That made me dig deeper. Compared to listening to Johnson for the first time it’s more of an entertainment. “I can’t believe I like this … but I do, a lot.” It goes from being a joke to really knowing and liking the songs. My friends and I know all the Toby Keith songs, the Montgomery Gentry songs. No embarrassment about it.
Toby Keith is one of the most genuinely funny songwriters  in popular music today, and he doesn’t get enough credit for that.
I agree. My wife and I were watching a Behind the Music on Keith and realized how much of an outsider he is. He’s kind of a freak in the realm of pop-country like a Merle Haggard, somebody with bold views. You can call them dumb if you want but they’re still bold and interesting to me. Despite whatever his political views might be, I give him props.
When did you decide to go solo?
When I moved out to Carlisle, Pennsylvania, a place a few miles from everything. I’ve been playing with Pearls and Brass for years, there’s almost like a psychic connection with those guys and it was hard to go from that to something totally new [with other people.] I really just started trying different things on my own.
There are a lot of really striking samples on the record, particularly spoken word pieces. Where did you find those?
A lot of it came from Salvation Army stores, thrift stores. I was never a crate-digger, I would just buy albums based on covers. A lot of family Christian-gospel records. They had some totally hilarious covers with weird poses. I’d go home and find mostly total shit … but some of it was so good, unforgettable. Every time I move I stare at the records like “Am I seriously taking you with me again?” Moving a thousand records around every two years … what am I doing?
Where do you start lyrically?
I have lyrical parameters. I have an idea what I want to write about but I generally let the melody “write” the words. I have a framework but I let the melody shape and cultivate the words. I never start a song with the lyrics.
The song “Ray” is apparently about an ungrateful child dealing with a parent’s passing. Where did that story come from?
No specific place. The son is kind of a wreck, kind of a prick, and his mom dies. Basically, the father is just trying to get him together. No real event, I don’t know anyone that happened to. I write notes for ideas and revisit them later; the note for “Tiffany Lou” was “She saw her father on television again.” And I built something from that. There are definitely personal songs, too, that have nothing to do with anyone else.
You just recently started performing these songs live. Was translating them a challenge?
It was very hard [laughs.] Ideally I wanted a band to play the songs but that’s not why I started making them in the first place. Finding players to do it, to blend the electronic and live instrumentation, was no easy feat. I decided to start from scratch utilizing a laptop, with another guy playing guitar with me. I’d love to have other players come on. Karaoke-ing over a [pre-recorded track] is not interesting to me." - Jesse Skinner

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