Death Ships
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Death Ships


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Best Local Release of 2006 - KRUI"

Awarded Best Local Release of 2006 by the 11 DJ's and Staff of KRUI / 89.7 FM, University of Iowa's radio station. - KRUI - University of Iowa

"Mammoth Press - Sept. 24, 2006"

Recorded in only ten days but not released until a year later, Seeds of Devastation is a pop album shimmering with easy confidence and solid melodies. Singer Dan Maloney's olive-oil voice inhabits a slim juncture between David Bezan and Even Dando, and the arrangements have a real eye for the radio in the right way, with lap-steel fills and full-sounding choruses. It's a surprisingly mature effort for a debut album.

One problem that always comes with maturity, however, is a tendency to play it safe, and if this record has one weakness it's a sense of caution that pervades most of the songs. There's not really a single bad song on the record: "Remains to be Seen" for example sounds like a hidden gem from a collection of Teenage Fanclub B-sides, and "Echo Children" reminds me pleasingly of Car, Button, Cloth...-era Lemonheads. The problem is that there's not really any truly great songs on the record either, no single to rally around and force your friends to sit down and listen to.

But this is definitely a strong enough debut that makes me believe Death Ships is completely capable of turning out great things in the future. Consider this album an appetizer anticipating a memorable meal to come. In the meantime, we've got an appealing pop record suitable for rainy afternoons and long drives with open windows, so until that hypothetical great album comes I'm perfectly content to put on Seeds of Devastation and wait at the table with my napkin tucked in and my fork and knife ready.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10
RIYL: Lemonheads, Pedro the Lion, Teenage Fanclub, Death Cab For Cutie - Aric Annear

"I Guess I'm Floating Blog - July 28, 2006"

Four months ago I was really enjoying two songs by a band called Death Ships. I liked them so much that I even made a post on them. Well, now Death Ships has officially left the water wings and dove head-first into the deep end.

I can only imagine how frustrating it must have been to be lead singer/songwriter Daniel Maloney. Here is a guy that had all of his songs written and recorded in August/October of 2005 and didn't get them mastered until June '06. Patience is, indeed, a virtue for it has resulted in a solid debut album. Death Ships have been amassing a solid following in the Chicago/Iowa City area and seem to be extremely eager to break free from the confines of the Midwest. Record deal just in time for Fall, anyone?

Any expectations I could've mustered up for this debut have been silenced. The once acoustic side-project of Maloney has now become a labor of love. His labors have paid off and, with any luck, some of the record label types will notice the same.

Buy Seeds of Devastation!
See Death Ships live and be sure to check out their CD Release party/show on Sept. 1 in Iowa City!

- Nathaniel

"NewCity Chicago - Jan. 9th, 2007"

Tip of the Week - Death Ships

Sure, Curtains, Deerhoof and Sharks and Seals each make impressive, spasmodic and bizarre creations that somewhat defy categorization, but in the fourth slot tonight is the calm, pretty and pop-sensible Death Ships, whose dreadfully overlooked "Seeds of Destruction" pleasantly flows in its indie-pop accessibility and, at times, sheer beauty. The Iowa City band sounds like The Shins--there's no avoiding that comparison--but also, much like Matt Pond PA, puts as much effort into emotional, sometimes biting lyrics as they do the music, and it pays off in bundles, or if you wish, shiploads. Some songs are slightly tired, just by their presentation--acoustic ballad "Little Mystery" seems a bit out of place--but in the end, "Seeds of Destruction" is a solid, promising record that has the potential and passion to be someone's very favorite record, or at least one that they hide from friends and keep to themselves, a personal little gem that's a confession from the inside out.

Death Ships play January 11 at Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western, (773)276-3600, at 9:30pm. $8. - Tom Lynch

" - Aug. 24, 2006"

There are several strange and well-known characteristics of college-town life, especially in the Midwest. Kids who will seemingly grope anything while drunk can�t look each other in the eye when sober; hip kids at record stores and coffee shops want to be anywhere else but can�t ever leave; everyone is liberal in a state full of conservatives; the town is boring but we�re staying up all night; everyone has friends yet everyone is lonely, etc. And that makes it a veritable breeding ground for the type of material that makes damn good country music.

Which makes getting to know Iowa City�s Death Ships a little bit about shattering expectations. Where you might expect a band in a college town fronted by an indie record store employee to be an art-rock/noise project or something dripping with irony and pretentiousness, Death Ships� debut, Seeds of Devastation, is a very clean, very honest alt/pop/rock/country record. They�ve harnessed all the tragedy and irony and joy in small-town life, and in doing so, they�ve achieved, however modestly, something that we non-artists assume all bands are striving for: a specificity that sheds light on larger human experiences.

Album opener �It Remains to be Seen� is indicative of these themes. A line as simple as �People pass you without glancing / And you�re underpaid and tired� is as true in Iowa City as it is in New York City, but the rest of the song makes such generalities effective rather than meaningless. An acute sense of self and cultural awareness distinguishes the track, and sets the tone for the album: �If you don�t already know who you are / it�s �cause you wanna / slip beneath it all.� The lap steel, played by Troy Stains, adds just the right Jayhawky vibe, and while �second verse same as the first� works for this particular track, it is a marker for the predictability that it is the album�s weak spot.

�Little Mystery� starts off as country Afghan Whigs, a little electric riff and acoustic strumming as singer Dan Maloney croons �I�m a man that you need,� and �I will make you come inside.� But where Greg Dulli might launch into a testament to masculinity and cocksureness, Death Ships reveal those lines as a fa�ade that cover feelings of desperate insecurity and yearning. The confidence shown early becomes a problematic, likely foolish attempt to convince a �little mystery� (and we�ve all had one) to open up to us, a process all the more frustrating since we know it will fail in the face of our egomania. The song ends with the repetition of �[I�ve] got a whole lot to offer,� as much a lament as a plea.

�Story Never Gets Old� directly challenges Death Ships� genre classification, since it is essentially a �60s pop song. At the song�s foundation is Ofer Sivan�s simple, bouncing piano riff, supplemented by double-tracked lead vocals and various other voices helping out in the chorus and bridge. By the time we get to the climax of this thing, the piano is in full-force, guitars have added their presence along with a muted trumpet and cymbals, and everyone is singing along. The song�s denouement strips most of those elements away, until we are left with piano (now sounding almost honky-tonk) and the acoustic guitar, reminding us of both where we�ve been and where we�re going.

Unfortunately, that path changes a bit with �Knocks Over Time.� The album�s closer is certainly the most �rockist� of the songs here, and ultimately suffers from its own desire to be an anthem. The vocal and guitar distortion that come into play here are tolerable, if uninteresting elements, and their arrival on the last song seems odd since this type of aesthetic is virtually absent in the rest of the album. The vocals do showcase Maloney�s low-range (not Crash Test Dummies low, but think the guy from The National), yet something with this track feels unsettling; after taking us so far through this sexually charged, lonely, political, and emotional journey, someone changed their mind and wanted to rawk! Which might not have been a bad thing, had these elements been sprinkled throughout the disc, although that move itself risks embarrassing consequences for country-ish albums (The Elected�s Me First comes to mind).

For all of the benefits that come from music that seems so tied to place, Seeds of Devastation also suffers from some of the predictability and repetition that plague any town. Maloney�s voice, which is always at the very front of the mix, has character but not quite the range (or lack-of-range-quirkiness a la Tweedy) to carry the record for its whole length, and the rhythm section could use a boost. Lyrically, the album can lean toward the simplistic side, but I can�t imagine these songs being sung with any other words.

Seeds of Devastation is a type of still-life with accompaniment. With impressive scope and musical dexterity, it shifts its focus (perhaps unconsc - Craig Eley

"Delusions of Adequecy review of This is Indie Rock Vol.2"

But the best idea of all was throwing in the mellow stuff, as Death Ships’ alt-countryish contribution “Thelma Lou” is worth the cost of the album with an amazing set of vocals, clever lyrics, and brilliant use of subtle atmospherics. If you don’t believe me, go hear the song at - Delusions of Adequecy

"PopMatters - Slipped Discs of 2006 - Jan. 12, 2007"

Here’s the problem with year-end lists that no one mentions: they cost the reader too much money. After sorting through a few lists, you run out to the record shop and fritter away some food money for records that end up forgotten by the end of the next year. But that’s partly OK, because that’s what music fans do. The real downfall comes when you realize that after comparing polls from your favorite magazines, newspapers, blogs, web sites, and stores, and after spending all your holiday cash and gift cards, your music collection ends up looking exactly like everyone else’s.

This is where PopMatters comes in. We gave you our collective best 60 albums of the year, but now we’re giving you the discs that slipped through—the records that most matter to our writers that no one else seemed to notice, whether it was because of weirdness, poor marketing, or bad luck. Here you can find that import-only that’s going to be next year’s Stateside blog darling, those indie rockers that are as talented as they are poor, and even the songwriter who’s the next Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash rolled into one, without the sartorial affectation.

But don’t think we designed this unranked, barely alphabetized list simply to increase your hipster cred. Sure, some of these picks might require ordering directly from the band’s made-up label, but we’re not after esoterica; some might appear to be driven by distinct contrariness, but we don’t want to be combative. What we want is to share those few records from 2006 we just can’t keep to ourselves, even if we will absolutely not loan you our only copy.

And if you still think it’s about hipness, let me just point out that Cheap Trick is on the list.

Death Ships - "Seeds of Devastation"
Don’t be thrown of by the band name or album title. This isn’t a dire black-clad excursion into drone and sludge. On the contrary it’s about as far from that as you can get. Iowa City’s Death Ships have crafted a remarkably nuanced rock record that bleeds ever so slightly into alt-country. It’s a sound that, depending on how you hear it, has the band either straining at the confines of their heartland roots or pushing past them with a respectful nod and wave. At the album’s best, the songs on Seeds of Devastation begin as proper salutes to the country rock sounds of John Cougar Mellencamp, Buffalo Springfield or the Byrds, but that propriety never lasts too long. On “City Never Sleeps”, “Great American”, and “Knocks Over Time”, those sweetly-spun melodies spiral into acres of guitar distortion and rising waves of drums and searing vocals. Primary singer-songwriter Dan Maloney’s impressive control over his songs, wringing maximum emotional weight out of a riff or a phrase, is all the more impressive when considering this is Death Ships first release. The bar has been set high. - Peter Funk

" - Nov. '06"

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 Owls

Iowa City natives Death Ships have concocted indie rock ambrosia with their debut Seeds of Devastation. With a myriad of different moods set to consistently plush and ear-pleasing instrumentals, they may just be your new favorite band. Vocalist Dan Maloney lends slick and solid vocals to every track, including the lilting "Sarah" and "Little Mystery," which echoes of Dinosaur Jr.'s sweet and somber tendencies.

From the Flaming Lips-esque opener, "It Remains to be Seen" to the utterly atmospheric closing track, there is no filler to be found. "Grand Deceiver of Information" pulls off a melody that would have fit perfectly into the Smashing Pumpkin's Siamese Dream. Perhaps the most powerful and accessible track, however, is "Story Never Gets Old," an upbeat ballad armed with a chugging piano and hook after hook.

Death Ships seem to have the entire package. It should be a matter of weeks following this release that their career sets sail. - Gabrielle Goodbar

"Alternative Press Review - Nov. '06"

Rating: 5 out of 5

Album: Seeds Of Devastation (FAITHFUL ANCHOR;

Who? One of our former AP&R picks who just spent the past month opening and being the backing band for former Wilco guitarist Jay Bennett.

Sounds Like? Well-constructed indie-pop/alt-country with equal amounts of lush ballads and uptempo toe-tappers.

How is it? Sometimes bouncy, sometimes pensive, always memorable�Seeds Of Devastation has it all. Death Ships should be the next big thing any day now.

Rocks Like: Wilco, the Shins, Iron & Wine
- AP

" - Jan 12, 2007"

Live - Death Ships at The Empty Bottle | CHI

Iowa City's Death Ships are no strangers to the Chicago music scene. They've played most of the typical clubs and have been attracting attention from some of the city's movers and shakers. A recommendation from our own resident music guru Robert English was enough for me to make it out on a rainy, cold, winter night in Chicago to see what the fuss was all about.

Death Ships, looking slightly less cool than the average indie rock hipster in the audience, took the stage around 10pm to a scarcely populated room and burst right into their first song without saying a word. After working the kinks out in song one, frontman Dan Maloney alerted us all that the keyboardist and bass player for the night were not actual members of the band. In fact, they were temporary replacements for this one show and had just learned all of the songs in less than two days time.

Obviously, I was slightly disappointed that I wasn't seeing the band at full capacity, but the fill-ins, while not adding much in terms of "energy" on stage, did an admirable job and didn't make any blaring mistakes all night.

That said, Death Ships pulled their set exclusively from their debut album, Seeds Of Devastation, which was released last year via uber indie Faithful Anchor Records. A collection of American heartland inspired ballads, up beat rockers and country-tinged offerings, the album is actually quite good and I'm surprised it didn't make a little more noise in '06.

Live, songs like "Great American" and "Symmetrical Smiles" translate well and show some promise. Maloney and drummer Adam Havlin's between song banter can be a little "too much" at times however, as they spout off inside jokes and various other random thoughts that add little to the set besides distracting filler while guitars get tuned up.

Overall, I left last night's show wanting to see the full band, as even with a couple of subs, they still showed a few flashes of brilliance. Maloney is without question a talented songwriter and the guitar play between himself and lead guitarist Randall Davis was exquisite. The band walks an interesting line between John Mellencamp and the Counting Crows and I found myself thinking "America, Fuck Yeah!" at a couple different points in the set, but it worked for them. Word on the street is that these guys have some friends in high places, so with a little fine-tuning and a few of the right allies, these guys just make a splash in '07. - Matt DuFour


Seeds of Devastation: 11 song album officially released Sept. 5th, 2006 on Faithful Anchor Music

This is Indie Rock, Vol. II compilation: Song "Thelma Lou," released May 10th, 2005 on Deep Elm Records

Faithful Anchor Tape Club: Self-released cassette self-released Oct. 6th, 2003 with Infinite Jest.



Setting sail from the landlocked environs of Iowa City, Iowa, Death Ships are not what you'd expect. Rather than a band full of heshers, overrun with long flowing locks and cranking out screeching metal from Marshall full stacks, the band's sound eschews this notion by mixing up elements of rock, folk, pop, and alt country to conjure up thoughts of The Shins mixed with Wilco. Started as a solo project by lead singer and guitarist, Dan Maloney, in 2001, Death Ships now has a full crew, and is presently promoting their recent release, "Seeds of Devastation," self-released Sept. 5th, 2006 on their own label, Faithful Anchor Music. This new release builds on the momentum the band has established from playing with the likes of The Decemberists, Pinback, Tapes n' Tapes, Low, Jets to Brazil, and Sound Team, as well as playing frequently at such Chicago ports of call as The Metro, Schubas and The Empty Bottle. The record also comes on the heels of earlier success with their single, "Thelma Lou," specifically chosen and released by Deep Elm Records as part of their "This is Indie Rock" compilation series, and which debuted at Number One on University of Iowa's college radio station, KRUI. Lauded by both press and blogs alike, Death Ships were declared in the May 2006 issue of Alternative Press magazine as "Unsigned Band of the Month." "Seeds of Devastation" was recorded with crunk hip-hop/rock impresario, and old friend, Matt Malpass (Young Bloodz, Lil Jon, Juvenile), in the summer of 2005 in Atlanta, capturing all the songs in a week. With a new album under their belt, as well as new management company, Undertow Music (Pedro the Lion, Centro-matic, Jay Bennett of Wilco), the band is gearing for smooth sailing on the road for the rest of 2006.