Daguerreotypes
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Daguerreotypes

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Daguerreotypes were a time-intensive early type of photograph that emerged in the 19th century. In Seattle in the 21st century, however, they're a riffy, warbling vocal-led psychedelic rock band. - Seattle Sound Magazine


Daguerreotypes idiosyncratic thump and boom draws from the past 4 decades of rock & roll and a collective obsession with it's forgotten corners: Krautrock, Canterbury psychedelia, and swarms of other shared influences. Galvanized by singer John Fitzsimmons' lopsided yowl. They are a Seattle fixture. - Auger Down Records


RECORD REVIEWS
Daguerreotypes —Tropical Trust EP
{6.7}
Buy it!
{Auger Down Records}

There is a paternal-sounding antagonist who's "got your nose" at the end of this record; he's "looking out for number one" but damned if I can tell who this is. This is that vague arcane feeling one gets when one is very high and feels some guidance in the root of it all, but that presence could also be inimical. You just have to trust the steady shuffle if the drums, the melange of sound around this friendly, yet somewhat fearsome, authoritarian voice. It plays with you, in more ways than one, on "Bridge of Daggers."

Daguerreotypes play out with the Cave Singers as well as many other bands such as Vampire Hands or PWRFL POWER. Call it the new misty mountain hop, subliminally lysergic, somehow crisply languid, a tropical bop of the bit of brain behind the two bits in front.

For the past two weeks when I have a spare moment and need to relax and shake off the frantic foam of daily existence I have been spinning this new EP by Daguerreotypes -- sometimes you love a band and you are happy others "get it" too, because its sublime qualities could easily be lost in the look-at-me hustle of modern music making and marketing. I was happy to see Megan Seling at The Stranger liked them enough to do a sweet write-up.

This album pays homage to the cream of the early 70s British eccentrics like Kevin Ayers, Kevin Coyne, John Cale's more melodic solo work, and the delicious blues and easy listening subversion of Dave Thomas in Pere Ubu (and his solo landscapes and various collaborations). The lyrics here are all worthy of inspection. I will let you discover their sublime pleasures, and the music is there for whenever you want to chill out alertly and intelligently. Very smooth, but not at all sedating.

The Tropical Trust EP is a generous five-song sampler of some of this Seattle band's dazzling reptile meditations. As I write this, outside a warm rain absorbs my apartment on a dirty street above the Ave, and memories of psych trips in the region echo though my cells. This is a soundtrack for a psychogeographic memory.

Songs like the beginning-of-civilization sounding blues rant "Bridge of Daggers" or the 80s-telepathic "Telegram to Tegucigalpa" could be on repeat for hours as I stare out the window, feeling this private world I'm in melt into the city. I have the feeling they're like classic Brit bands like the Creatures live, creating masterful rhythms beneath jungle fevers. I'm going to check that out as soon as I can.
-Chris Estey, June 02, 2008
- Three Imaginary Girls


DAGUERREOTYPES: TROPICAL TRUST
Written by Fense
Wednesday, 02 July 2008

Auger Down Records [CDEP, 2008]

A daguerreotype is an early type of photograph in which, according to Wikipedia, "an image is exposed directly onto a mirror-polished surface of silver bearing a coating of silver halide particles deposited by iodine vapor." Like the type of photograph, the band possessing the same name does not draw influence from the earliest of rock trailblazers; but they do take a unique direction on what is considered standard these days.

Daguerreotypes is not only difficult to pronounce, their music is hard to classify: indiepop collides with prog, classic rock plunged into a river of psychedelic pop, heavy reverb meets driving percussion for a romantic scuffle in the forest dirt. "Dark Fence" opens the EP and vocal vibrato echoes in long tonal lyrics belted in a very classic 70s style.

At times the percussion is jazzy, particularly in "Continental" where the drummer rides the top-hat. Keys follow suit-they're off-beat in a somewhat Lyle Mayes sort of way. Daguerreotypes is sometimes spacey and atmospheric, but not in a shoe-gazey way. "Telegram To Tegucigalpa" and the opening guitars in "Bride Of Daggers" show this nicely. It's a very unique take on old-style classic rock prog with a new twist.

Surprisingly, the group is from Seattle. Listening to this EP, one would think they were from the southeast, or maybe even the northeast... somewhere east-coastal, but not densely populated. It'll be interesting to hear where they go next-sure, a full length is currently or will soon be in the works, but it's the music inside that sparks this writer's curiosity.


BAND LINKS

Daguerreotypes: MySpace

TRACK LIST

1. Dark Fence
2. Continental
3. Telegram To Tegucigalpa
4. Bride Of Daggers - fensepost


DJ Michele: "This is well-produced! All are good players. My favorite parts are the space-shippy sounds." - KEXP


Discography

Tropical Trust
2007
EP

Hold the Phone...Its Daguerreotypes!
2005
LP

Streaming audio available at Auger Down Records - www.augerdownrecords.com

Photos

Bio

Seattle's Daguerreotypes formed in September 2004 following a series of informal jams. "At that time I didn't even realize I was in a band," says guitarist Ethan Brown, "I was mainly there because I enjoyed Johnny's [Fitzsimmons] shenanigans and the invaluable experience of all the new music he exposed me to." "This may sound creepy," adds Fitzsimmons, "but I'd literally had my eye on Ethan for quite some time at our mutual workplace. I was monitoring the security surveillance cameras at the Experience Music Project, pan tilt zoom, and he was working in the retail store. Ethan's face would pop up on our system every time he swiped his badge on a card reader, so I could tell where he was at all times. I had a sense about him before we ever even met."

Shortly thereafter, the duo were joined by bassist David Doyle and two former art students, guitarist Jeff Anderson and drummer Misha Burst. "Jeff and I had a mutual interest in Art," says Burst, "and one night a conversation we were having about his sculptural work and my video and sound installations turned into an invitation to play with the band in preparation for our first show". After their premiere, a drag burlesque night at the Vogue, they started gigging around Seattle and played many a show at the beloved, now-defunct Crocodile Cafe. The quintet recorded their debut, Hold the Phone, in November of 2005. Doyle left the band, and the current lineup was cemented with the additions of keyboardist Molly Kastner and bassist/engineer Andy Meyer. "I joined the band in September of 2007, "says Kastner, "Jeff asked me to join after seeing me play keys in BBQ-summer-fun CCR cover band called Revival Revival."

Meyer's arrival (and his experience as a recording engineer) was the impetus for Tropical Trust. "We started recording, "says Meyer, "on the main floor of the Branchwater Conservatory, our basement studio. I remember that weekend being mildly stressful. The control room was damp and musty, and a few days earlier I'd discovered a dead squirrel wrapped in a sweatshirt. The cops shut us down, technical issues arose, and John quit smoking... After the arrival of the police, it was clear that we needed to move the operation into the basement." "The Branchwater studio," adds Brown "was a dank and humid cave with webs of cables, walls of amps, bridges of keyboards and the distinct feeling of eternity."

The band chose its name from a collection of Daguerreotypes that belonged to Fitzsimmons grandfather. "They had always sparked wonderment from my childhood imagination," he says, "specifically one of a man and his apparently newlywed wife riding donkey's in a desert. The more I learned about this early time-and heat-sensitive photographic process and its historical significance, the more my interest titrated. We are interested in any feelings, especially humorous ones, which might go along with being on your deathbed... things you would most want to capture in that moribund state, things that would make you feel okay about moving on. That was one of the chief functions of daguerreotypists originally. I don't think I would ever want anyone to get the feeling that we were about anything but love and good grief."

-Auger Down Records