Dappled Cities
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Dappled Cities

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia | INDIE

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia | INDIE
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"Dappled Top Gorillaz For ‘Record Of The Week’"

Dappled Cities’ decampment to London has worked a treat, with news this morning that the band has taken out BBC Radio 2’s coveted “Record of the Week”.
Dappled's single ‘The Price’, which we described as their “play for the big game”, took out the listener-voted prize ahead of Gorillaz and Surfer Blood. The song was broadcast on the Radcliffe & Maconie show as part of a weekly competition to find listeners’ favourite new music. By taking out the honour Dappled Cities have been added to the playlist for BBC Radio 2, the most popular station in the UK.
Dappled Cities relocated to London in March and have since performed at The Great Escape and Liverpool Sound City festivals. They’re returning to Australia in August for a tour with The Midnight Juggernauts, where they intend to showcase an entire set of new material written for the follow-up to Zounds. - Mess and Noise


"Dappled Cities – “Answer Is Zero”"

The decade-old Australian pop quintet Dappled Cities are releasing their third album Zounds 9/15 on Dangerbird. We spoke with co-guitarist/co-vocalist Tim Derricourt about the dusky, grandiose synth-rocker “Answer Is Zero.”

What are we to make of the fact that after all these calculations between you and the sun (and vice versa) the “Answer Is Zero”?
Aaah, it was actually a little error on my part. The song designed to verify that the physical distance between the two characters is equal and the same, when submerged in the universe. If high-school mathematics serves me correctly, the answer should actually be one. However zero seemed to stick at the time — maybe it further alludes to the universe by making this distance infinite, like, I dunno, a hall of mirrors?

What inspired the narrative?
The narrative was inspired by a year spent in New York City — a big place far away from my hometown of Sydney, where new-formed relationships seem to always take on an extra-terrestrial flavor in one way or another. I suppose the result is Dappled’s closest thing to a love song — but it’s more a comment on love rather than a classic pine. - Stereogum


"Zounds Album Review"

Trying to dissect Dappled Cities is a bit like trying to pin down a mirage. On the one hand, the Sydney band has some very identifiable characteristics: Flaming Lips-worthy psychedelia, ’80s-style synth-pop, and chipper post/disco-punk (cue the hi-hats). On the other hands, no one else really sounds like them, and their albums are so soupy with effects that it’s easy to get lost in the mirror maze of it all. Following 2006’s sophomore effort, Granddance, which saw the five-piece focus more on a shot at success in the States, the long-gestating Zounds is similarly likeable yet unwieldy.

Perhaps the best guide through the album’s twists and turns is new recruit Allan Kumpulainen (replacing exiting founding member Hugh Boyce), whose shifty, streaming drum work commands as much attention as the helium vocals and cosmic synths once you hone in on it. In fact, his twitchy presence is one of the first things we hear on Zounds as it weaves beneath opener ‘Hold Your Back’. The song builds from there with Alex Moore’s bass, Ned Cooke’s keys, and the pillow-y voices of guitarist Tim Derricourt and guitarist/keyboardist Dave Rennick. It also establishes a loose pattern for the rest of the record; sparkling effects, ’80s tinges to the guitar and bass lines, and vocals that swing between smarmy and dramatic, depending on who’s singing.

Upbeat and even danceable, ‘The Price’ is an obvious choice for the first single, although the earlier track ‘Answer Is Zero’ has the album’s catchiest refrain with the gently cooed line “Measure my distance from the sun.” ‘Wooden Ships’ and ‘Miniature Atlas’ are also punchier than expected, while the centrepiece ‘The Night Is Young At Heart’ lingers nicely. Competing with the drums for secret-weapon status on the album are the vocal harmonies that surface on nearly every track. They prove most effective on ‘Kid’ and on the twangy, insistent ‘Stepshadows’, which caps things on a definite up note.

Zounds didn’t have the easiest birth. Firstly, Dappled Cities struggled with the album’s American co-producer, Chris Coady, who has worked with TV On The Radio and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Then two other producers were enlisted to mix some of the songs. But with the band signed to the L.A. indie label Dangerbird (home to Silversun Pickups and Sea Wolf) in the States and receiving advice from A&R guru and pro bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen, there could be a significant breakthrough following this album. The band certainly deserves it, mining a unique sound since their inception in 1997.

Even if worldwide success doesn’t come, Dappled Cities will be just fine. They’re beloved here in Australia, and with their Disney-stamped children’s show Alphabreaks putting them in front of impressionable toddlers, the band could widen its influence to include entire an new generations of devoted - and equally doe-eyed - fans.

Doug Wallen - The Vine


"Granddance Album Review - 7.8"

I had the pleasure-- the privilege, really-- of seeing Dappled Cities live on their home turf of Sydney, Australia, several months ago. It's not every day or even every decade that I get to go to a concert in another hemisphere, and they put on a good show both times I saw them, once in an art gallery/clothing store and once in a club so sweaty the walls were dripping. What struck me even more, perhaps, was the row of utterly smitten expressions on the faces of the girls who crowded up to the front of the stages, sang along to every song and screamed their lungs out in the gaps between.
I think what I valued about the show was being able to experience a band that was trying to become an international entity on a local level, seeing those fans who'd watched the band grow up and looked up to them. The larger world will never understand a band in the same way as the people in its hometown, and it's background I wish I could get more often. Dappled Cities-- alternately known as Dappled Cities Fly-- have hopped stateside with the release of their second album, and it's a record that doesn't skimp on the grand gesture, opening with its most bluntly dramatic track.
The song is even called "Holy Chord", and it's a swelling, shimmering thing that announces the album with clipped verses that build up to a huge, grandiose falsetto hook. The band builds behind vocalist Tim Derricourt, finally leaping into a charge at the beginning of the third verse, where it begins building up again. The sound is built for an era where the Arcade Fire rules the indie rock world-- it's big and complex and pipelines emotion straight to your speakers. Derricourt shares lead vocals with fellow guitarist Dave Rennick and frequently plays the introverted foil to his partner's more theatrical presence. It keeps the album balanced and helps the flow considerably.
A frequently overlooked aspect of most great bands is the presence of an inventive drummer in the lineup, someone capable of more than just a standard beat. Hugh Boyce is such a drummer, and his work helps each song carve out a distinct identity behind its melody. "Work It Out" is the most obvious example of this, with its thundering, staccato snare runs and sizzling crash cymbal, but even his more subtle moments can subtly transform a song. On "Beach Song", for instance, he rides the toms on one and three, creating a heartbeat effect behind Ned Cooke's drifting keyboards.
He brings this approach to the album's most obvious single, the sweeping, mid-tempo "Fire Fire Fire", which opens with a fanfare that sounds like it could either be guitars or keyboards or both. The song's delivery is restrained, even subdued, but it still sticks in your head right away-- its very restraint is probably a big part of what makes the moments where Rennick and Derricourt double each other or break into falsetto even more memorable. On "Vision Bell", the vocals trade off falsetto and normal lines, giving the song a conversational back-and-forth that draws you in. Bassist Alex Moore holds back until the second verse, and when he drops in, it completely changes the feel of the song, the way a rip tide changes the feel of a leisurely swim.
Dappled Cities are a mature band with a highly evolved sense of songcraft and arrangement. Aside from merely writing them, they know how to inhabit songs and make them breathe. It's that quality elevates Granddance beyond being simply good and makes it occasionally border on great. - Pitchfork


"Zounds Album Review - 7.8"

Sydney, Australia's Dappled Cities are ambitious. They make widescreen music full of big gestures and sweeping melodies, and on this, their third album, they sound bigger than ever. Credit this partially to the addition of a small string section on a few songs, but far more to keyboardist Ned Cooke asserting himself at the heart of the band's sound. He provides huge textural washes and spiky riffs on just about every song, blowing the band's sound up from something that was already big on 2006's Granddance to something that sounds like it could make the jump to a stadium any time it wanted. The arcade fire burns a little Down Under too, apparently.
While Cooke's more prominent role has changed the sonics a bit, the band remains built around the tension between the contrasting styles of guitarist/vocalists Dave Rennick and Tim Derricourt. Rennick is the theatrical one, opening "The Night Is Young at Heart" by crooning, "Would you be open to a night of total chaos?" shouting the last word of the line at the top of his lungs as Cooke's keyboards squiggle all around him. Derricourt is his calm, straightforward counterpart, delivering the tumbling verses of "Kid" in a smooth stream that rises to the rapids of the bashing chorus, and providing a direct foil on "Miniature Alas", where he provides the verse and leaves joins Rennick on the chorus, where the two making a distinctive pairing. Derricourt sing out a little more on lead single "The Price", possibly because he's competing with the sheet of strings and synthesizer that deliver the song's huge opening theme. The chorus is massive.
While the use of two main vocalists provides instant variety, the band is also keen to explore a variety of moods over the course of the record. "Don't Stop There" is the closest thing to a ballad, moving at a spooky crawl, the keyboard theme doubled by a guitar to create a theme that's harmonically off-center and consequently quite otherworldly. Opener "Hold Your Back" comes in with a frenetic keyboard part that sounds like a descendent of Yes' "Changes" or Pink Floyd's "One Slip", but the song moves from there into a pensive, spacey main section that constantly threatens to turn bombastic but never does.
At the other end of the record, big, choral vocals give "Stepshadows" a strangely nautical feel over a beat reminiscent of the shuffle of Paul Simon's "Graceland". Cooke uses a bizarre trumpet-ish sound for the opening fanfare of "Wooden Ships", lending the song a strangely medieval feel behind Derricourt's falsetto verse vocal. Dappled Cities haven't quite acquired a big reputation outside their homeland yet, but it seems likely they will. If they keep making big, boisterous records like this that are unafraid to be a little ridiculous in places, they'll have to.
- Pitchfork


"Live review Sydney"

After a brief interlude, Sydney's favourite eclectic pop rock act, Dappled Cities Fly emerged from the shadows. The Dappled boys and man-child put on another of their traditionally frantic live performances, where the un-expected is to be expected. Tonight was a showcase for many new songs, which are 'darker' in their sound to the previous radio favourites such as Be Engine. The new tracks were greeted with enthusiasm from what was an adoring audience. The highlight was a call out for 'anyone who has ever been to a gig' to come onstage and offer bird sounds for the final tune, the aptly titled The Birds. A 'merry' American was invited onstage and preceded to go about his task with much encouragement from the crowd and band alike, who struggled to play in time at the sight of a grown man harking with as much gusto as he could summon. Dappled Cities Fly are among the crop of 'most likely to succeed' acts doing the rounds right now. Both bright and clever, their musical diversity and childlike energy set them apart from their peers - bring on the debut album. - Drum Media


"Zounds - Rolling Stone 4Star"

"Epic and ambitious follow - up album for indie rock darlings."

Sydney five - piece Dappled cities have spent over a year toiling away on their meticulously produced third album Zounds, and the effort is apparent: Equal parts epic and ambitious, this is clearly their bid to hit the big time. The band kick off with bold mission statement " Hold Your Back " a synth-drenched opus whose robotic beat unfolds into a wintry mini-epic that wouldn't be out of place on a Doves album. Like most songs on Zounds, it's a multilayered, constantly shifting feast of electronic embellishments that do nothing to hide the warm heart beneath. The highlights are plentiful : The icy electro pop of "Answer is Zero"; a string laden first single "The Price" and the pretty melodies of "Slow for Me, My Island."
- Rolling Stone


"Live - Dappled Cities Fly outgun Grandaddy"

Somewhere in Surry Hills a person is walking around with a guitar pick embedded in their head.

Okay, I don’t know this for certain, but chances are high. In one of the kookiest sets I’ve seen in ages, a guitar pick was flung at high speed into the crowd during a furious set from The Dappled Cities Fly.

Right off the bat, The Dappled Cities Fly were bloody amazing. Who cares if I stared at the band like a deer in headlights for most of their set, I wasn’t the only one. They were just that good.

At one stage the band seemed oblivious to the crowd, egging each other on to take the track one step further. Taking it one step further for these guys included cooing like birds and all but choking each other with guitar chords as they bashed about the stage like possessed beasts. At one stage I thought one of the guitarists was going to either fall off stage from lack of space or from lack of breath.

But now I have a quandary. What do you do when the support band creates a more lasting impression than the main event?
Did The Dappled Cities Fly have a hidden agenda for playing like madmen on speed?

Who can say, but one things for sure, they were prepared to be a hard act to follow. Unfortunately for American champions of slacker rock, Grandaddy just weren’t on the ball that night...…
- Rolling Stone


"Sydney indie-oddities step-up"

You can't sit on the fence with Dappled Cities Fly. Much like the Sleepy Jackson and Architecture In Helsinki, this Sydney five-piece have oversized pop ambitions - which means you'll either think they produce wildly inventive, melody-blitzing music that outdistances their peers, or feel that they're pretentious songwriters upended by their epic aspirations and fondness for male falsettos. Their take-notice repertoire has paid off though - Dappled's SXSW slot this year earned them a US deal. Produced (among others) by Granddaddy's Jim Fairchild, the sophomore set 'Granddance' sees the band hit full-throttle, shedding the Built To Spill-lite feel of their debut 'A Smile' for high-impact symphonic and well-crafted pop. Vocalists Tim Derricourt and David Rennick swap quirk for subtlety in their delivery; and on stand outs 'Holy Chord' and 'Battlewon', the band dish up their most confident indie-rock yet.
4 STARS **** - Rolling Stone


"5 stars!"

"The second release from this Sydney five piece is chock a block with great
yearning bittersweet tunes in a similar vein to the Flaming Lips and The Sleepy Jackson, without being derivative. This release is sure to garner them an extensive following. All great music suspends the listener in time and place, creating a parallel universe. Granddance does this, for the most part, creating an indie rock space that is not beholden to any musical fashion but its own. Utterly mesmerising." FIVE / FIVE
- MX magazine


"Local record of the year?"

"When Sydney's Dappled Cities Fly traveled to Los Angeles to record their second album, they blossomed in the californian sun. Granddance expands greatly on the indie-pop vision the band previously offered on A Smile. Here they've channeled the famous West coast harmonies of the Byrds and The Beach Boys.
This is an album of dramatic pop songs, where voices dive and fly together. On tracks like "Holy Chord" there's a high-minded abandon reminiscent of Canadian super-band Arcade Fire. the subtler and more infectious "Fire Fire Fire" sounds like Interpol on a Californian holiday - new-wave rigidity and solemnest pierced by long days on the beach. Overall there's a wide-eyed and celebratory feel to Granddance, and by the time the swooping grandeur of the title track arrives, the band has hit its triumph in its stride.
The flaw in all this is that there can be too much to take in. Like a beautiful caked with too much icing, the dense production flourishes and orchestrated chaos occasionally cloy the songs with too much fuss. In measured servings though this album is a treat - one of the most ambitious and rewarding local records of the year.� FOUR STARS ****
- BIG ISSUE magazine


Discography

ALBUM:
Lake Air (Produced by Dappled Cities / Jarrad Kritzstein)
August 2012 (Aust.)

SINGLE:
Born At The Right Time
June 2012

SINGLE:
Run With The Wind
March 2012

ALBUM:
Zounds (Produced by Chris Coady)
August 2009 (USA / Aust. / Japan)
June 2010 (UK)

ALBUM:
Granddance (Produced by Jim Fairchild / Peter Walker)
November 2006 (Aust.)
June 2007 (USA)

EP:
A Crooked Smile - Remix EP
January 2006

SPLIT EP:
Die in Your Eyes
May 2005

ALBUM:
A Smile (Produced by Dappled Cities)
October 2004

SINGLE:
Cream
September 2004

EP:
Wimbo Park
April 2004

SINGLE:
Peach
March 2004

EP:
Dead Bodies Where Their Mouths Were
March 2004

SINGLE:
Chameleon Girl
March 2003

DOUBLE A-SIDE SINGLE:
Be Engine / Sputnik
November 2002

Photos

Bio

Dappled Cities are one of Australia's most respected art-rock bands. Having recently released their 4th studio album 'Lake Air' to the critical acclaim of their peers and media alike, the band are ready to take their spectacular show to the world again. Having lived in London and New York and toured with everyone from LCD Soundsystem to Modest Mouse - their fans are spread across the globe. Celebrating their decade together (even though the band are still in their 20's) by collaborating with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra for the Sydney Festival - 2013 is set to be a killer year for Dappled Cities.

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When you listen to Dappled Cities you actually see things. Vivid colours, strange animals, story-book characters. It’s as if a world that you didn’t know existed, and all it’s possibilities, is now within your grasp. Dappled Cities can take you there, as one respected reviewer put it, “by weaving between grandiose indie-rock, oddly bent pop and big-emotion, big-gesture music that seems refracted through a vaguely hallucinogenic mirror”.

Dappled Cities' previous album 'Zounds' (2009) - was a critically acclaimed release and the band spent a good part of 2 years touring the album throughout the US and UK. It was during that period living in London that the seeds of a new album were sown and the band commenced work on the new material in March last year (2011). The recording sessions traversed Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris and Sydney with the likes of Dan The Automator and US-based Jarrad Kritzstein collaborating at various stages with the band.

The new work is the highest achievement of a ten year career traced back from their original home on US powerhouse label Dangerbird Records (also home of Silversun Pickups) to the teenagers first playing music together in their Australian childhood suburbs. The band, originally called Periwinkle, formed in 1997 when 15 year-olds David Rennick and Hugh Boyce were joined by Alex Moore and English born Tim Derricourt. Their first album, 'A Smile' (released in 2004 under the new moniker - Dappled Cities Fly), was a home-recorded, independent hit in Australia, and its tracks were later remixed as A Crooked Smile EP by the likes of an emerging Wolfmother and Spod.

The band’s sophomore effort 'Granddance' was a grandiose record full of oldeworld ideas and cutting-edge sonics (& their first platter on the Dangerbird label), which was uncoiled to mass acclaim in 2006. The album cycle was spent touring the US with the likes of The Fratellis and Tokyo Police Club, with very short forays home riding shotgun to silverchair, Modest Mouse and LCD Soundsystem.

Not many Australian bands attempt to face the US beast as head-on as Dappled Cities over this period, and almost inevitably the band experienced their first line-up change in a decade with touring keyboardist Ned Cooke instated as a full-time member.

Brimming with vim, road-fit and on the brink of something special, the band uprooted from their home of Sydney and got States-side. They shot videos in Wyoming gas stations, played impromptu gigs in South Dakota sound factories, partied with Hugh Jackman and Steve Malkmus and even managed to film a 26-episode children’s odyssey for Disney called ‘Alphabreaks’. New York was both Poison Apple and Forbidden Fruit, says Dave. “We made the most of the $10-per-day budget we were on but there were five of us sleeping in a one-bedroom bed-sit in East Village and we finally turned to cash-in-hand street jobs to survive.”

Under the expert A&R guidance of Justin Meldal-Johnsen (music director and bassist for Beck, Ladytron and Nine Inch Nails) and respected American co-producer Chris Coady (TV on the Radio), Dappled Cities got busy making mayhem and magic. Every song was laid down live to harness the energy. Dappled Cities have never been a band to replicate vintage sounds – they’ve always been art in motion – but 'Zounds' has powers they’ve never dealt in before. The band spared no expense, using new-fangled electric guitars and importing a Gakken – a $40 build-it-yourself cardboard synthesiser from Japan – used on all 12 songs.

Having broken every hygiene law New York holds dear and come to know each other better than they dared, Dappled Cities are now home and ready to unveil the wall of sounds on their 4th long-player, and setting up to do it all over again! Some warm up shows with TV On The Radio and Death Cab For Cutie hinted at the magic to follow.

The first single, ‘Run With The Wind’, is a 4-1/2 minute opus that features Dappled Cities trademark kinetic energy, but channeled in a new and exciting direction. The track was mixed by Cenzo Townshend (Friendly Fires, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs) and is an indication that 2012 will become a watershed year in Dappled Cities’ career.