Dollshot
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Dollshot

Brooklyn, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

Brooklyn, NY | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Classical Indie

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"Dollshot at (le) Poisson Rouge"

” . . . the moody material [Dollshot] serves up on the bandstand is as likely something by Schoenberg, Poulenc, or Ives as by Jimmy Van Heusen or one of the group’s members. The group’s sound is impossible to pigeonhole, and well worth lending an ear.” - Time Out New York


"Dollshot Has Creepy Fun With Classical Art Song"

This is a Halloween album. New York ensemble Dollshot’s M.O. is to take hundred-year-old classical “art songs,” do a verse or a chorus absolutely straight-up and then matter-of-factly and methodically mangle them – which might explain the “shot” in “Dollshot.” Usually the effect is menacing, sometimes downright macabre, but just as often they’re very funny: this group has a great sense of humor. Pigeonholing them as “punk classical” works in a sense because that’s what they’re doing to the songs, but they also venture into free jazz. And all this works as stunningly well as it does because they’re so good at doing the songs as written before they get all sarcastic. Frontwoman Rosalie Kaplan’s otherworldly beautiful, crystalline high soprano, which she colors with a rapidfire vibrato in places, makes a perfectly deadpan vehicle for this material. Pianist Wes Matthews circles and stabs with a coroner’s precision in the upper registers for a chilly, frequently chilling moonlit ambience. In the band’s most punk moments, tenor saxophonist Noah Kaplan is the ringleader: when he goes off key and starts mocking the melodies, it’s LOL funny. Bassist Giacomo Merega alternates between precise accents and booming atmospherics that rise apprehensively from the depths below.

The three strongest tracks are all originals. The Trees, written by Matthews, sets nonchalantly ominous, quiet vocals over a hypnotic, circular melody with bass and off-kilter prepared piano that hints at a resolution before finally turning into a catchy rock song at the end. “The trees are falling…the trees are choking…the pail is falling…” Surreal, and strange, and also possibly funny – it perfectly capsulizes the appeal of this band. Noah Kaplan’s Fear of Clouds is the most stunningly eerie piece here, ghost girl vocalese over starlit piano and then an agitated crescendo with bass pairing off against quavery saxophone terror – it would make a great horror movie theme. And the closing cut, Postlude, layers sepulchral sax overtones over a damaged yet catchy hook that refuses to die.

The covers are more lighthearted. Woozy sax pokes holes in an otherwise dead-serious and absolutely spot-on version of Arnold Schoenberg’s Galathea and his twisted little waltz, Der Genugsame Liebhaber, which by itself already seems something of a parody. Poulenc gets off a little easier: the band adds add murky apprehension to La Reine de Coeur and leaves the gorgeously ominous Lune d’Avril pretty much alone other than adding some sepulchral atmospherics at the end. Bouncing gently on some completely off-center, synthy prepared piano tones, Jimmy Van Heusen’s Here Comes That Rainy Day is reinvented as art-song with a comic wink, yet while bringing the lyrics into sharper focus than most jazz acts do. And a Charles Ives medley of The Cage, Maple Leaves and Evening makes a launching pad for the unexpected power in Rosalie Kaplan’s stratospheric upper registers, as well as Matthews’ mountains-of-the-moon piano and an unexpected minimalist, ambient interlude that only enhances the nocturnal vibe. You’ll see this high on our list of the best albums of 2011 at the end of the year. - Lucid Culture


"Dollshot (Dollshot) album review"

“Updates of classical music are a risky proposition, rarely delivering a thrill equal to the original. Here’s an interesting exception. The songs are expanded on, but much of their original superb harmony is retained, as are their moods, generally a sort of fin de siècle brooding that’s carried over to the originals by Matthews and N. Kaplan and the jazz standard “Here’s That Rainy Day” (Burke-Van Heusen). It’s haunting in an ominous way that Dresden Dolls can only dream of.” - The Big Takeover


Discography

Dollshot (Dollshot)

Featured in the Top 10 of 2011 by Francis Davis (rhapsody.com)

" . . . the moody material [Dollshot] serves up on the bandstand is as likely something by Schoenberg, Poulenc, or Ives as by Jimmy Van Heusen or one of the group's members.  The group's sound is impossible to pigeonhole, and well worth lending an ear."  -- Time Out New York

"Updates of classical music are a risky proposition, rarely delivering a thrill equal to the original.  Here's an interesting exception.  The songs are expanded on, but much of their original superb harmony is retained, as are their moods, generally a sort of fin de siècle brooding that's carried over to the originals by Matthews and N. Kaplan and the jazz standard "Here's That Rainy Day" (Burke-Van Heusen).  It's haunting in an ominous way that Dresden Dolls can only dream of." -- The Big Takeover

"While Dollshot's instrumental combination of vocals, piano, saxophone and bass may not seem out of the ordinary, the music they make with those instruments will be unlike anything you've heard.  From Schoenberg cabaret tunes to Poulenc deep cuts, Dollshot performs their repertoire (including originals) with sparkling creativity.  They often exude the off-kilter feel of 20th century modernist compositions fused with the laid back atmosphere of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue." -- Jacob Sunder, Beacon Pass NYC

"Dollshot are a local quartet who cover an unusual selection of songs by modern classical composers like Arnold Schoenberg, Franics Poulenc & Charles Ives, as well as an old jazz standard and a couple of originals.  It is rare to hear a local ensemble cover such odd material, but this is no regular quartet . . . I really dig that it is adventurous, often restrained, simultaneously forcing us to look closer at the crafty arrangements.  Dollshot is/are one of the most unexpected gems I've heard recently."  -- Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

"The music's high sense of drama, combined with Kaplan's sweetly sonorous voice may recall . . . groups like Slapp Happy or Art Bears.  The alternating segments of cabaret and free music give the impression of two parallel conversations, using a popular genre to convey more avant garde intentions." -- New York City Jazz Record

"Frontwoman Rosalie Kaplan's otherworldly beautiful, crystalline high soprano, which she colors with a rapidfire vibrato in places, makes a perfectly deadpan vehicle for this material.  Pianist Wes Matthews circles and stabs with a coroner's precision in the upper registers for a chilly . . . moonlit ambience.   In the band's most punk moments, tenor saxophonist Noah Kaplan is the ringleader . . . Giacomo Merega alternates between precise accents and booming atmospherics that rise apprehensively from the depths below." -- Lucid Culture, NYC

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