Categories
Pop Sunday

Dw Dunphy / Charm Offensive

Dw Dunphy

Charm Offensive (Introverse Media LTD. 2021)

https://dwdunphy.bandcamp.com/album/charm-offensive-2

 
For the past twenty-five years, Dw Dunphy has been actively engaged in music, both as a member of bands and as a solo act. Based in Red Bank, New Jersey, the singer, songwriter and multi-diversified instrumentalist has produced quite a hefty discography at this point, with Charm Offensive dialing in as his latest album.

Rich with freedom and vitality, Charm Offensive generates a genre-bending effect that succeeds at all angles. The first piece on the album, The False Clairvoyant, projects a hymn-like feel accented by angelic Association-styled harmonies, while the closing track, Ocean Floor, stands as the ultimate grand finale. Checking in at nearly ten minutes in length, the epic endeavor stages a compelling ballet of mood-altering movements. A lush and hypnotic arrangement gives way to urgent rhythms ticking with intensity, swelling into a space age symphony. Floating and flourishing with beauty, Ocean Floor delivers surprises at every crook and crevice.

Inbetween The False Clairvoyant and Ocean Floor, there’s the hooky hard rock of (I’m Not Here To Be) Your Conscience, the crushing metal-flavored Down In The Valley and Tonight (I Want To Be Wrong), a stark and strummy folk number. Framed of  shimmering threads and sweetened melodies, Things We Say exudes echoes of eighties synth pop, and Crime Scene Reporter is molded of a bare-boned folk format. A somber tenor envelopes the atmospheric applications of Newborn Orphan and What Trenton Breaks The River Takes is energized by a thudding mechanical groove.

Charm Offensive indeed presents an interesting selection of musical fashions. Covering folk, choral pop and the kind of experimental progressive rock sounds practiced by bands like Pink Floyd and Queensryche, the album weaves in and out with varied sonic visages.

On a lyrical level, Dw’s literate prose tends to lean towards the spiritual and philosophical side of the fence, but are decidedly open for translation. If you are not already a fan of Dw Dunphy, you surely will be after hearing this inspired effort. 

Categories
Got Any Singles? Quick Spins

Got Any Singles? Radio Days, The Legal Matters and Dw Dunphy

Radio Days

I Got A Love (Rock Indiana)

https://radiodays.bandcamp.com/

Radio Days serves up a swell slice of power pop via 1979, channeling bands like The Knack, that combined killer bubblegum choruses with powerhouse drums and muscular guitars. 

This one track is reason enough to anticipate the May 21st release of their long-player, Rave On! I have a feeling it’ll be one of the highlights of Spring/Summer.

The Legal Matters

Light Up The Sky

https://futuremanrecords.bandcamp.com/album/chapter-three

Another band bringing it strong with a teaser track is Michigan’s The Legal Matters. Light Up The Sky feels like the Midwestern version of The Red Button’s She’s About To Cross My Mind, albeit with enough impossibly-thick harmonies to make Brian Wilson and his Wonderments blush.

Dw Dunphy

Crime Scene Reporter

https://dwdunphy.bandcamp.com/

Nobody’s better at atmospheric creation than Red Bank’s Dw Dunphy. Charm Offensive is his latest project, from which Crime Scene Reporter comes. Dunphy gets inside the head of the unfortunately-assigned journalist, leaving the listener feeling fortunate not to have that particular occupation.

I do have a feeling, though, that Dunphy might not literally be singing about the crime scene reporter, but anyone who feels helpless to stop a disaster after said disaster has already occurred. Well done.

By Dan Pavelich

Categories
Got Any Singles? Quick Spins

Dan Pavelich’s 1st Annual Means-nothing Awards

Please note: These awards mean nothing beyond the fact that I like what the recipients did. There were tons of albums, songs and videos that I never heard or saw. 2020 was a shitty year in general, but an extraordinary one for great independent music. It would have been impossible to acknowledge or consume all of it.

DP

Coolest Release of the Year

Michael Slawter & The Pleased To Meet Me’s – Dear Bastards (Flexidisc)

Record of the Year

Marshall Holland – Paper Airplane

Song of the Year

The Vapour Trails – Lonely Man

Best Vinyl Releases (Tie)

Maurice & The Stiff Sisters – Welcome To Love

Gretchen’s Wheel – Such Open Sky

Best Cassette Release

Dw Dunphy – Test Test Test

Top Ten Singles of the Year  (In no particular order)

Ken Sharp – Girl

Ed Ryan – Even Time

Nick Frater – Let’s Hear It For Love

Tenderhooks – 20-20 Vision

More Animal – I Won’t Forgive You

The Empty Hearts – Coat-tailer

Katrina – Drive

Mike Daly & The Planets – This Is My Life

Coke Bela – Thank You, Paul

The Pretenders – The Buzz

Top Ten Long Players of the Year (In no particular order)

The Well Wishers – Shelf Life

Katrina – Hearts, Loves and Babys

honeychain – Pocketful of Good Luck

Tom Curless and The 46% – Almost Ready For The Future

Bill Lloyd – Don’t Kill The Messenger

It’s Karma It’s Kool – Woke Up In Hollywood

Nick Piunti and The Complicated Men – Downtime

Pop Co-Op – Factory Settings

Gary Ritchie – Head On Swivel

The Toms – The 1979 Sessions

Music Video of the Year

Tiny Bit Of Giant’s Blood – Girl Over Here

Best Children’s/Family Releases (In no particular order)

Lindsay Munroe – I Am Kind

Rena Strober & Friends – Imagine That

Red Yarn – Backyard Bop

Flor Bromley – Fiesta Global

Diana Panton – A Cheerful Little Earful

Congrats to all of the winners!

Categories
Quick Spins

Dw Dunphy / Test Test Test

Dw Dunphy

Test Test Test 

dwdunphy.bandcamp.com

While I’m not a huge collector of music, I have accumulated what amounts to several small collections. One one shelf, sits the vinyl records that I’ve managed to hang on to since I was a kid. On another shelf sits second-hand records that I picked up for a buck or two. Most of these are records that I wanted when I was much younger, but didn’t have the cash to make the purchase. These records have dog-eared jackets, scratches and imperfections aplenty. I referent to these as “rescues.”

My favorite of these micro collections, however, is the shelf that is home to music projects that I have a personal connection to. There is an original pressing of ShoesPresent Tense the recent Hey! It’s The Pandoras, and Dw Dunphy’s latest, a cassette rerelease on his 2015 album, Test, Test, Test. These folks that I call friends are a talented bunch, and their creations not only entertain me, they inspire me.

So, in all honesty, I have to be upfront and begin with a caveat that isn’t really a caveat. Dw Dunphy is a friend of mine, and someone who I definitely consider to be in an exclusive club that I refer to as “The Good Guys Of Pop.” Dw is the kind of guy who spends more of his time and energy promoting the music of others, rather than his own. He is the creator of the Co-op Communique compilations, my Lost Hits Of The 80’s co-conspirator, a brilliant graphic artist, and an underdog-backer of the highest order.

Now, for the music

Dunphy’s Test, Test, Test is an instrumental work, which often reminds me of the most atmospheric works of Pink Floyd, but more visual in nature. Even though I often listen to it while I’m doing other things, pictures and movies always begin to form in my head. It’s almost as if the music is trying to get me to see, or to understand, something that I’m too busy to notice. I’m really intrigued by that.

The opener, That Never Works, is a buoyant shoe-gazer, and what amounts to a musical oxymoron. It flits between Pachelbel and U2, and back again. Nifty. Track two, Shootout At The Spaghetti Factory (or, Do Breadsticks Come With That, Hombre?) wins “The Best Song Title Ever” Award.

Tsuburaya, with its hypnotic drum groove and droning keys, feels as if it’s straight out of a monster movie score, while Polymorph, which might also be Tsuburaya II, creeps along with various ’80’s inflections. Dunphy plays chorused Andy Summers guitar arpeggios throughout, giving this bookend with an optimistic feeling.

Two Empty Rooms is a nine-minute string opus, worthy of any Hollywood soundtrack. What seemingly begins as atmosphere, turns into an English symphony at the six-minute mark, bringing to mind sweeping Jane Austen countryside vistas.

This cassette version of Test Test Test adds one bonus track, Built On The Bones, from the 2013 release, The Radial Night. It almost serves as an acoustic-guitar laden intermission, before side two begins with the brief Hacienda, a folky piece accentuated with Dunphy’s superb harmony vocals, stacked-up high.

I can’t put my finger on the exact reason, but Mr. Burning Suit reminds me of a couple of Tears For Fears singles, Elemental and Raoul and the Kings of Spain. Merging progressive and pop elements, it’s probably my favorite track of the lot. 

Blue Wire Green Wire removes the listen to the Far East, or is it Ireland? With its soft keys and barely-there percussion, it really is ripe for dreamy interpretation. I suspect every minds’ eye will produce something completely unique.

Closing the cassette is The Radial Night, which serves as the perfect musical bed for contemplating the entire journey the listener has just been on.

By Dan Pavelich

https://dwdunphy.bandcamp.com/album/test-test-test