Dappled Cities

Dappled Cities

 Sydney, New South Wales, AUS
BandRockAvant-garde

Cross the Beach Boys and an episode of Sesame Street. Dappled Cities are anything but conventional. 2 lead-singers, bittersweet pop, experimental rock, Australia's most interesting talent. Reference : Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire, Animal Collective.

Biography

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”.

After 2 years of ludicrously intense international touring and songwriting, Dappled Cities prepare for the release of their 3rd album, the art pop opus, Zounds. The work is the highest achievement of a ten year career traced back from their current 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 following two years were spent touring the US with the likes of The Fratellis and Tokyo Police Club, with fiery 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. Founding member Hugh Boyce retired and was replaced by Allan Kumpulainen on drums, while touring keyboardist Ned Cooke was instated as a full-time member. “After Granddance, there were great expectations for Zounds – from us and also from the US label. That pressure turned this into the longest and most intense musical episode of our life. We didn’t cut corners and we went to great lengths to keep chaos developing.”

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. In their own words, “It’s a daggy and classy, cunning and futuristic, as us!”

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. Their drive to succeed saw them hire and conspire with no less than three mixers for Zounds – Coady, Scott Horscroft and Wayne Connolly – in the quest for perfection. The band also didn’t always see eye-to-hi fi with Coady. Dave explains, “He’s the biggest name we’ve worked with and he knew it, so a lot of the recording process was injected with clashes.” Artistic differences? “Perhaps. But maybe we just knew, and expressed, what we wanted so strongly that it may have been tough for others around us to take at the time. Who knows?”.

But smoke speaks of fire and the five-headed phoenix Zounds is Dappled Cities’ masterpiece, a sophisticated, grown-up opus epic. Lyrically it’s introspective, full of the unusual, but wonderous, Dappled metaphors. But it’s also a big, deep muscular album. Zounds opening salvo ‘Hold Your Back’ is the most adventurous track of the band’s career – a deep, brooding magnificent bastard anthem which is “barely even a song, more a collection of ideas.” It’s parting shot is ‘Stepshadows’, a Derricourt acoustic lament more akin to an Ennio Morricone spaghetti western soundtrack than a conventional rock song. In between lies a lyrical tinderbox and wall of Zounds asylum full of Dappled Cities trademark live energy. An energy captured on disc for the first time.

First single ‘The Price’ is a political song forge

Lyrics

Peach

Written By: Dappled Cities Fly

We live in the future, with transport to your car,
tumbling lights and fuzz, the speed trips you in too far.

Everybody noticing the peach in the apple tree; I shed my skin everytime the talk gets thin.

before it goes away, tie them down and make them stay,
ignition to ROMEO and dazzle with the planned delay.

Everybody notice you, polished, perfect and so few; I shed my skin everytime you walk in.

you could be so happy and open, this is my new organisation, talking in slang, with manipulation,
slender in size, the splendour of two lives.

We live in the future.
Turn your head around.
Now everybody's noticing,
that these pieces I can tear away.

My Heads Queen Ant

Written By: Dappled Cities Fly

You say you've never had a windier afternoon; the weathered scenery spoke louder than your mood,
and we'll be gone soon.

For the sake of making mistakes and then comforting your wounds, we've wasted time and energy too soon.

It was mine, the pleasant time.

Who could breathe, submerge the face and hold down......down now.
I drink a lemonade tonight, to avoid a frigtening fued.

It's not WILL, it's WAS - I changed my point of view.

Cream

Written By: Dappled Cities Fly

Is it the night that makes the day seem bright?

or is it just a fresh bulemic's thoughts of cream that were planted in your garden, so precisely though I see a weed - an attention seeking stain just above the seam; it shows the extent at which your clothes are on backwards.

is it another change of mind; a hairpin turn mid-way astro-flight? are these another's famous lines with words that could not ever describe the night.

Is it the night that makes the day seem bright?

The Price

Written By: Timothy Derricourt, David Rennick, Allan Kumpulainen, Alexander Moore, Edward Cooke

If eyes were bone and toes were gold we’d have somebody new
But ears stick out and eyes remain cause everyone’s the same
They’re beautiful, in one is all

The heroes of the world we left have never been the same
They look to us, out to our quest and see themselves remain
They’re losing us, in one is all

Something should be holding us back
Something should be weighing us down
Somehow we’re the casters of kin and bone
By now we could be standing our ground
But don’t take you eyes away don’t take take take your eyes away
All as one
The price we pay to look the other way
When I’m right here beside you

The eyes of bone the toes of gold the shape of something new
But here we’re near the eyes of age
And everyone’s the same
They’re beautiful in one is all

Something should be holding us back
Something should be weighing us down
Somehow we’re the casters of kin and bone
By now we could be standing our ground
But don’t take you eyes away don’t take take take your eyes away
All as one
The price we pay to look the other way
When I’m right here beside you

Something should be holding us back!

Discography

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

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

EP:
A Crooked Smile - remix EP
January 2006

SPLIT EP:
Die in Your Eyes
May 2005

ALBUM: (produced Dappled Cities)
A Smile
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

Set List

Holy Chord
Work It Out
Vision Bell
Fire Fire Fire
League Of German Girls
As I Lay Dying
Peach
The eve, the girl
Colour Coding
Within Hours
Birds