By Sergey Babkov.
To be in the spotlight, but at the same time close to your local audience as well as the art crowd; what could be more righteous nowadays? The Dandy Warhols are one of the best examples of this sort of cultural balance. Formed in Portland in 1994, the band have gone through so many different phases, but always have tended towards DIY, even when they were signed to Capital. As Zia McCabe points out, “we really like stuck to our guns with our tastes and how we wanted to be represented”. Today, the Dandies are looking fine for nineties rockers, retaining their branded effortlessness and light breeze of cultural snobbery. As a cult band on a pension, they now tour or make a new album only when it is convenient for all members, have their own side projects and even try to live the regular life of an average middle class American. Zia now works in Portland as a full-time licensed real estate agent.
The band is utterly underrated, having released 10 studio albums that are post-modern classics, but are still mainly known for their super hit ‘Bohemian Like You’ from the 2000 album ‘Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia’.
Here they are live on KEXP radio station:
‘STYGGO’ is a weirdly optimistic song with a catchy tune and peculiar reference to ‘Crimson and Clover’ by Tommy James & The Shondells. Courtney’s whispering voice invites you on board “the ship that they sell ya” to start the journey through shitty occasions in your life and people who “treat you like you ain’t even born yet”, but in the end you’ll see your blissful island on the horizon, as “some things you gotta get over”.
“You Are Killing Me” from their latest album “Distortland” is melancholic and romantic, with monotonous and crunchy guitar riffs, which give some heavy shades. There is also a black-and-white official video on YouTube with a metaphorical depiction of the life of Joe Dallesandro, formally Andy Wharhol’s superstar for most of his movies.
“Search Party” is your late Friday night soundtrack. A sticky, hallucinatory mixture of a song, with Taylor’s dreamy stretched vocals, winding into savage overdrive and wah-wah guitar effects. For sure, it is time for a good old drinking binge, so we’re sending out a search party!
“Hard on for Jesus”, my favourite, is built on UFO synths and distortion. Whether deliberate or not it is , in essence, a strikingly original interpretation of Christian Rock, spiked with Dandy-esque psychedelia and implicit lyrical irony.