Dan and Leland
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Dan and Leland

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/20/2008


Dan And Leland are mainstream non-conformists. No, really.

In fact, their act seems almost designed to make an A&R guy want to pull every last teased-and-frosted hair out of his head. Immensely talented, with a great ear for radio-ready guitar hooks, but also a defiant streak that finds them repeatedly playing against the grain of their audience’s expectations. They’re like Top 40 hitmakers from a parallel universe.

The one-two punch that opens The Rush Of Sights And Sounds sets the stage perfectly. First there’s “Mirrors In Pompeii,” an aptly named instrumental featuring D and L’s dueling acoustic guitars in a hypnotic gypsy dance of frenzied riffs, building for about 1:30, whereupon the final chords cross over from acoustic to electric and bleed right into the muscular alt-rock of “You Take Me There.” As exotic as the former is, the latter comes zooming out of its mouth like the sleek adult alternative radio hit it ought to be, a soaring, melodic, guitar-driven love song.

Dan (Franklin) and Leland (Jackness) trade off on lead vocals throughout this disc, with Dan taking seven and Leland taking five; the songs include six co-writes and three solos apiece from the two principals. Their voices are very similar and mesh beautifully, bringing to mind that more closely related duo Evan And Jaron. Like E&J, Dan and Leland also play pretty much everything on this disc but drums, and co-produce.

The production is noteworthy not just for the way many of these tracks are stitched together, but for the little snippets of found sounds and studio trickery they throw in around the fringes. It’s a bizarre, playful touch, like Pink Floyd producing a Train album, but it works, adding depth and intrigue to the more straight-ahead pop-rock numbers.

Even the cleanest-cut of the radio-ready songs here are lit up by terrific guitar work, though. For example, “Constellation” has a lush melodic rock feel on the verses but is anchored by rippling, aggressive riffing that remind of John Mayer’s current playing style -- squeaky-clean tone but also bold and, in places, virtuosic. Playing with structure again, “Phoenix” opens with a minute-long contemplative instrumental section before a quiet verse comes in and gives way to an explosive chorus. If the production wasn’t so pristine and poppy, it would feel almost Zeppelinesque.

Other notable moments include the full stop the boys execute midway through the driving workout “A Grain Of Sand”; the dog barks decorating the open and close of the shaggy little fireside acoustic jam “Dawg”; the dueling classic rock and slide guitar solos at the fade of “Sunset” (and the little aural intermission that follows); and the bossa nova feel and jazzy vocals of “Seein’ Red” (variety, anyone?).

There are a few straight-up, no-frills-or-tricks radio numbers here (“Mine Again,” “Along For The Ride,” “29 And Nowhere”), but for every one that comes along there’s a quirky little aside like the two-part acoustic instrumental interlude “Tech Support / Firewater.” The lyrics are for the most part thoughtful and appealing, even if they do get a bit over-the-top earnest on the last couple of tracks.

The Rush Of Sights And Sounds is a well-named and extremely entertaining album, a feast for the senses full of pleasant surprises. I don’t know if they’ll sell 100 of these or 100,000, but there’s no good reason it can’t be the latter.
- The Daily Vault


A very cool find for fans of acoustic driven power pop that falls in the vein of The Rembrandts, Sun Sawed In ½ , The Tories and Toy Matinee. Thick, fleshed-out and richly produced melody structures(translation: extremely high production values), gorgeous vocals, high-reaching arrangements and song-after-song of memorable music. A spirited blast of freshly honed pop that is witty and multi-faceted. Brimming with rivers of gently floating hooks and layers of acoustic guitars. Almost all these songs sound like they’d be ready to over-take radio – if radio mattered or even considered talented indie popsters like this. Very Highly Recommended! - Not Lame


Dan & Leland

Genghis Cohen

The Players:

Dan Franklin, vocals, guitar; Leland Jackness, vocals, guitar.
Material:

Singer/songwriters Dan & Leland are an acoustic folk-rock duo with comparable talents. Their songs contain saintly harmonies, reflective lyrics and poignant melodies. For his part, Dan Franklin brings a modern country vibe to the mix, while Leland Jackness contributes hints of classic rockers like Zepplin and Hendrix. Together, their sound can be compared to a male version of the Indigo Girls, but with more creative guitar work. A choice song in their set is "Light A Candle," a melodic tune with touching lyrics and well-chosen power chords.
Musicianship:

Dan & Leland are accomplished musicians. They possess master proficiency on the guitar, as well as strong vocal abilities. Classical guitar solos are played and their synchronicity together is so precise, there's no need for a rhythm section or any other assistance. Using plugged-in acoustics, their sound is full and complete.
Performance:

This duo have been playing together off and on since their school days, and it was evident this night. Their dueling guitars ripped through searing chords while they complemented each other with voices that blended much like Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. This was their official CD release party, and the house was packed. They displayed solid professionalism and appeared very comfortable interacting with the audience. At one point, a heckler yelled out "Free Bird," and without missing a beat, Dan humorously broke into the song.

Summary:

While not creating anything revolutionary, these two artists combine distinct personalities and songwriting styles, whic provide for a pleasant tension and an interesting combination. By not jumping onto any new musical fad Dan & Leland could retain staying power with their growing fan base.

Anne O'Neary
Music Connection
Vol. XXX, No. 23
11/06/06 to 11/19/06 - Music Connection


Dan and Leland - The Rush of Sights and Sounds - CD
(Dan and Leland) This disc was a bit of a surprise for me. The opening of the first song made me categorize them right away – but then they moved from light rock to flamenco and soon hit their stride with complex, melodic guitar lines. And all that before the second track. I started to hear elements of Steve Howe and Steve Hackett (GTR) in the guitar playing and prog-rock sensibilities, which I found enjoyable. Later songs are reminiscent of Brother Cane, especially the songs “Phoenix” & “Constellation” which have that same great melodic sound. Each time I play the disc I like it even more and hear something that I had missed on previous listens. This release has moved into my permanent collection and I even tossed a few tracks onto my little 2Gb MP3 player. A definite pick for my top ten list of the year.
-- Grog Mutant (2008) - The Chickenfish Speaks


Discography

Dan and Leland's debut album, "New Directions", was released in September of 2006. Their electric album, "The Rush of Sights and Sounds", was released in December, 2007. Both are available for purchase at www.danandleland.com, iTunes and eMusic. Their live album, "If The Moon Was Full", featuring upright bass and percussion alongside their dueling guitars, was released as an iTunes exclusive in September. It debuted in the top 75 iTunes folk albums.

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Bio

Dan and Leland's ferocious guitar playing, razor-sharp harmonies and sublimely crafted songs have been leaving listeners slack-jawed and eager for more for the past five years. Anchored by aggressively catchy hooks and intelli-pop ear-candy production, the Los Angeles based eclectic-rock duo has been gaining momentum since the release of their acclaimed 2006 acoustic debut album, New Directions. Their second album, The Rush of Sights and Sounds (2007), marks D&L's departure into the realm of shimmering electric guitars and pile-driving drums (courtesy of Nate Morton- CBS's Rockstar, Vanessa Carlton, BT). Described as an "...extremely entertaining album, a feast for the senses full of pleasant surprises....", The Rush of Sights and Sounds establishes Dan and Leland as "...Top 40 hitmakers from a parallel universe...." (The Daily Vault). Driven to be prolific and unable to box their music into a single, limiting genre, D&L's live album, If The Moon Was Full, which features upright bass and percussion alongside their dueling acoustic guitars, debuted in the top 75 iTunes folk albums last September. They are currently finishing their next highly anticipated studio album, which can be expected in 2010. Also in 2010, the band welcomed bassist Clayton Boek and drummer Matt Steele as permanent members to round-out the full four-piece experience. With numerous self-promoted tours under their belts, this wholly independent act has been sharing their music with an increasingly wide and receptive audience all over the country. Performing as an acoustic duo, an acoustic band, or the full electric rock band, D&L consistently deliver ground-breaking pop-rock smashes with "saintly harmonies and reflective lyrics" (Music Connection) that will stay with you long after they have left your ears in ecstasy.