David Israel
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David Israel

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States
Band Folk Pop

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"Say Goodbye to Sorry Review"

The first 12-inch vinyl from homespun retro-label Natrix Natrix, David Israel's debut full-length shades his 2006 EP, These Are the Clothes We'll Wear When We're Old, but wraps his deadpan gravel drawl in fleshier arrangements. Israel remains as playfully and ponderously perplexing as ever, an amalgam of lines both absurd and poignant that unsettles itself at every turn. Part Jonathan Richman, part Dave Berman, the local songwriter revels in being constantly off-kilter, with songs like "Even if You Lived a Million Years" drifting through so many time shifts and disjointed images that it seems like a medley. Still, tunes such as the title track and "I Hate This Town" have disarming charm, odd barroom asides contorted into song. "Country of the Future" could ride on the back of Deer Tick's War Elephant, while "The Battle of the Century" crawls with eerie intensity. Though scattershot, when Israel hits his mark, it's spot on. - Austin Chronicle


"David Israel - These are the Clothes We’ll Wear When We’re Old"

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what separates an indie singer/songwriter from your more standard coffee house troubadour. There is a fair amount of self-deprecation and oblique life-into-art (Conor Oberst, Vic Chestnutt), clever and poetic lyrics (Dave Berman, John Darnielle), a playfulness that takes itself quite seriously (Will Oldham, Chan Marshall), and an emotional depth that is readily accessible but entirely unique and individual (Elliott Smith, Sam Beam). There’s also a trenchant appreciation of a folk line that bends towards the influence of rock and pop, drawn through the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Parsons and, of course, Dylan. But in looking over this list (and hopefully forgiving its limited, patriarchal bent), the artists mentioned all set themselves apart with a unique voice that combines all of these elements and mold them in memorable, sometimes unforgettable, songs. Whatever it may be that makes these artists stand out as songwriters and performers, David Israel seems to have it in droves.

These are the Clothes We’ll Wear When We’re Old, Israel’s debut EP, is instantly mesmerizing but also demands a repeated listening to fully mine its depths. His songs meander through whimsical and cryptic lyrics that anchor themselves in repetitive structures and allow the tune to take hold. Like Bright Eyes’ “Lua” or Smog’s “Rock Bottom Riser” (to name but a couple recent examples), the simple musical melodies allow Israel’s narratives to develop at the forefront of the song. But those narratives are not so much stories as they are collages of memories, images and visceral sensations that seem almost randomly recalled to collapse past, present and future into a half-awake dream. “The State That You’re In,” arguably the best track of the five, manages this effect beautifully. Hovering between departure and arrival in some liminal passage of memory, the song weaves through lyrics like “Oh Baby, what happened to the sixties? / I don’t know, let’s listen to the Pixies and talk / Wading in the water and the water’s gone / You stay awake and we sulk around / Yeah we sulk” or “Yeah I’m staring at your stereo screens / We all want someone who can remember our dreams forever / But I can’t.”

There is a strange calm throughout all of the songs, attributable to Israel’s low voice and the unhurried pace as he drawls out lines so thickly that the music seems often trying to slow down to catch up. Additional vocals are supplied by, among others, the sublimely talented Kerrie Hopper and Leatherbag, whose latest album Love Me Like the Devil blew us away several months ago. All of Israel’s tracks feature these layered vocals that remain slightly off pace rather than cleanly harmonizing and give the songs the feel of our eavesdropping on the stream-of-consciousness echoing inside his head. While the effect may have gotten stale through a whole album, it certainly doesn’t here, even on the nearly twelve-minute closer “If Money is Love.”

At times Israel’s lyrics push their cleverness a little too close to the edge, as with the Hefty Smurf, heart on the sleeve analogy in the final song. But even these sometimes too tongue-in-cheek moments don’t distract from the overall beauty of the songs, and by the end of the album they redeem themselves in the vein of Berman’s often quirky poetics. It’s difficult to determine what a songwriter might be capable of from a single release, and Israel’s writing does still show elements that could use more development, but These are the Clothes We’ll Wear When We’re Old is an astounding album in it’s own right and full of a promise of things to come. - Austin Sound


Discography

�DISCOGRAPHY�
Say Goodbye to Sorry (2009) - Vinyl LP/digital download - Natrix Natrix Records�
Recorded in Chicago by Kris Poulin (Pinback, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Jim O' Rourke) and in Austin by Michael Landon (the Sword, Bill Callahan, Neil Michael Haggerty and the Howling Hex); mastered by Jason Ward at Chicago Mastering (Sufjan Stevens, Deerhunter).�
Super Cali Fragile Mystic (2007) - CDR - Soda Pop Sounds�
These Are the Clothes We'll Wear When We're Old (2006) � CD/digital download - Soda Pop Sounds�
in Texas Top
Recorded and mastered at Superpop Studios by Seth Gibbs.�
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�COMPILATIONS & VARIOUS�
Starfruit Compilation� - 2009 CD Compliation - Soda Pop Sounds �
Also features Sunset, Jonny Corndawg, One Happy Island, Wild Moccasins,�Woozyhelmet, Moth!Fight! and more.�
Natrix Natrix Compilation Tape - 2007 Compilation Tape - Natrix Natrix Records�
Also features Deer Tick, Viking Moses, Adam Lipman, Spenking (Dirty Projectors), Mandarin Dynasty, and more.�
Jana Hunter � Carrion � 2007 EP � Gnomonsong/Woodsist
David Israel performs backing vocals on the track "There's No Home".�
Lonnie Eugene Methe � Untitled - 2007 LP - Unreleased
David Israel performs guitar and keyboard on Lonnie Eugene Methe's (Mountain Goats, Simon Joyner, Saddle Creek) as yet to be released album.�
Leatherbag � Love Me Like the Devil � 2006 EP � Superpop Records
David Israel performs backing vocals.�
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Photos

Bio

After a stint at Bard College in upstate New York, studying with Laurie Anderson collaborator Bob Bielecki and experimental composer/Village Voice writer Kyle Gann,�David two-stepped on down to Texas, exploding onto the indie/folk rock scene with the EP These Are the Clothes We'll Wear When We're Old.� Since then he has toured both US coasts and in between, working as a preschool teacher, sharing the stage with Nat Baldwin (Dirty Projectors), Laura Gibson, Sunshine Fix (Elephant 6), Vivian Girls, Peter and the Wolf, Jeffrey Lewis, The Shivers, Balmorhea, Weird Weeds, Delorean, , Picastro (Polyvinyl), Arrington Di Dyonso and many other like-minded folks. ���
With his cohorts in sound, he will attend the 2010 SXSW Festival with an official showcase.With his deep and dynamic voice, David Israel's music has been described as "caustic garage folk", himself a "folk rocker" who "pens delightful, lovelorn folk songs" and "sounds eerily like Calvin Johnson joined the Silver Jews" (Austinist).�� Using his knowledge of theory and practice playing with experimental mediums, but without abandoning D.I.Y. folk ethics and an avant-americana ethos, David and collaborators explore a variety of genre-whatchamacalits including experimental pop,�indie classical, psychedelic art/folk, and organic rock n' roll.�
�November 2009, Natrix Natrix Records released David�s first full-length album, Say Goodbye To Sorry, on limited edition 180 gram vinyl LP as well as for digital download. �
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