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Dappled Cities prove that time away means nothing for a band who can so effortlessly produce songs that are uniquely their own, placing themselves in a rare echelon of indie-rock acts.
For the length that we’ve been enjoying this century, Sydney five-piece Dappled Cities have been mainstays of the Aussie rock scene, providing indie groove after art rock hit after dream pop success to remain relevant.
Dappled Cities release That Sound, a catchy Byron Bay tune filled to the brim with sweet jams, the good old sound and more cowbell.
A solid four years after their last album Lake Air, excluding a collection of b-sides and rarities, the boys are back with new single That Sound. For good measure, they’re also announcing tour dates and a new album.
The new single, in general terms, is no different to any other the band has released. Regardless of what musical direction they take, Dappled Cities create such infectious tunes it’s a good thing they can’t be weaponised.
Recorded in Byron Bay, That Sound immediately captures the collaborative energy we hear on most DC tracks but it plays a little differently with the production and really wades in deep with some 70’s nostalgia. A pounding intro melts into some positively tasty jamming, with plenty of lovely harmonies and a healthy dose of cowbell. They had me right there, a cowbell never goes astray.
Speaking of their distinguished career, the band said they’re always trying new things when recording.
“Oddly enough I do feel we are getting better at writing songs, but that still doesn’t mean we’ve perfected any process. If anything, it means we experiment with new processes and ways of starting and finishing songs. We still manage to mangle what could otherwise be a perfectly normal song.”
They certainly haven’t mangled this one but That Sound does indicate a new, wackier, and more free approach to the recording process. It got us curious about the song’s origin.
“This one came about as a collaboration between Ned and Dave – a wacko session of guitar solos, phased key sounds and a lyric about touching stuff that never made the final cut. Then we started smashing out that bass and drum riff live for a bit until we hit the studio for the pre-production sessions.”
Always sad to lose a mystery lyric like that, but with an end result this good, exceptions can be made.
“However, a lot of the original sounds from the crappy demo have found their way onto the final recording – if you listen closely they are in there.”
The new single will form part of what’s sure to be a highly anticipated album release in October. Dappled Cities have long been popular with critics, enjoyed plenty of support from Triple J radio, and had success at the ARIAs.
“It’s funny because every time we write a new record we think – this is going to be so weird for our fans, they aren’t going to recognise this – and then when it comes out, everyone seems to think it’s a pretty natural development for where we are going.”
To say fans will be salivating would be an understatement and it seems they can expect another evolution of the band’s sound.
“I guess we are one of those lucky bands that can try out a few styles and still sound pretty much us.”
Two live shows will accompany the funky new track, at Northcote Social Club (July 15) and the Oxford Art Factory (July 16). The boys expressed their excitement and dished on the coolest venues they’ve played.
“Love touring! We were lucky enough to play 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis (where Prince used to try out new tracks) – that was exciting. The Roisin Dubh in Galway, Ireland is also loads of fun. Maybe that’s due to the flowing whiskey.”
It’s pretty evident That Sound will be raucous fun in concert for band and audience alike. It’s a song that is almost impossible not to start moving and shaking to. Even the least confident punter will feel the groove rippling through their body and you can bet Dappled Cities will be doing their best to make sure it happens, saying lives shows were one of the best things about creating music.
“There’s nothing like a whole crowd belting out your lyrics back to you – something that you don’t quite get in any other situation. And there’s also nothing like being on stage and turning around to see the guys in your band having a ball.”
I was loath to bring anything negative to the conversation but Dappled Cities are Sydney natives and 2016 has been overshadowed by the hotbed of debate that is the Sydney lockout laws. It would have been remiss of me not to get their opinion on the matter.
“An absolute disaster. The entire process has been a sure sign that not only has the government pursued a completely illogical solution to a complex problem but that they are also inherently corrupt. Luckily with people like Tyson Koh at Keep Sydney Open, we are moving towards a common sense solution and hopefully the whole thing will be viewed as an unfortunate blip in Sydney’s cultural history.”
That about says it all and not many could have put it better. For music lovers there’ll be no finer route over that blip than to get out and see Dappled Cities this weekend and hear the delicious tune That Sound in the flesh, as well as some old favourites I’m sure.
Tickets to the upcoming launch shows are on-sale now and available from the band’s website.
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