Dr. Powerful
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Dr. Powerful

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DR. POWERFUL

Here’s a first at UBF: I’m giving you a heads up on something that isn’t out yet, which is perhaps contradictory of this blog's title. Fuck it. Here goes!

The finest of fine bands are comprised of members who “get it.” Know what I mean? These folks know their material, don’t feel the need to be insincerely different (hello, young art types!), take nothing beyond its worth, probably have some degree of abhorrence for the hip, but then again don’t really care that much either way. They can be themselves without worrying about a bad review from Pitchfork Media. Often, the inadvertent result of this accidental formula is something remarkably good. And that, to me, is what music ought to be.

So, uh, let’s talk about a band called Dr. Powerful. While many validate 21st century indie cred by the music’s danceability, you’ll find members of this Sanford, NC quartet operating a bulldozer poised to demolish the disco, while singer/guitarist Gordon Anderson drunkenly sings Gang of Four's "Damaged Goods" at the carnage (ya know, just to rub it in their faces). When I said the get-its have a degree of abhorrence for the mistakenly hip, well, Dr. P have the C-4 and plastique ready to go under the buttocks of drama queens and their obnoxious lady-boyfriends with black dye jobs and hospital bracelets. I could go on.

At the same time, the members (who are very nice people) aren’t so concerned with leaving a crater that they let their music suffer. With tasteful winks to Unwound, Athletico Spizz 80, Drive Like Jehu, Brian Eno and Polvo (matter of fact, Polvo’s Eddie Watkins is the drummer for this band), Dr. Powerful craft the kind of material no one seems to write anymore. It’s music that really has no use for studio magic, massive budgets or zinester hype. I mean, remember the old days of Jesus Christ Records and rock with dirty elbows? Perfection was never the point. All those seemingly desirable things (which inevitably ruin bands) can go piss off (but I’m sure they’ll take a wad of cash if you’re offering).

And so to capture the band’s true intentions came underground production legend Jerry Kee at his Duck Kee Studios. With the works of Superchunk, Polvo and Archers of Loaf bearing his engineering credit, the band felt quite comfortable at his home studio in Mebane, NC. The end result is a wonderfully tangible and honest affair that actually sounds like a real band playing! Sorry Radio 4, Hot Hot Heat, et al—y’all blew that honor. Plus, your music stinks.

Due out soon on Grand Palace Records, Dr. Powerful’s debut full-length is pretty much the indie record to restore your faith. It's a good, good thing. But hey now, don’t let this whole thing sound like some kind of ad, but at the same time, let it, because I want this band to stick around. - Used Bin Forever (http://usedbinforever.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html)


DR. POWERFUL

Contrary to the fare I float here on a weekly basis, most of my car trips and bedroom jam sessions are tracked by the smooth/gritty Sixties: the Remains, Zakary Thaks, the Litter, Mystery Meat, H.P. Lovecraft, Shadows of Knight, the Move, the Misunderstood, Golden Cups, Scott Walker and so on and so forth. If not that, then I'm dialing the catchy Seventies: Dwight Twilley, Paul Collins, Graham Parker, Justin Love, Roy Loney, Emitt Rhodes and miles more. Odds and ends are usually off the punk shelf, earlier the better. Or from the garage revival universe. Heck, tons. To answer a commenter's question from the last post: I listen to lots, but I haven't found much to desire in present day indie rock. Doesn't do it for me. I don't think of it the same way I think of the Raymond Brake or Polvo or whoever. Imagination has flattened out for the most part. It's become reliant on the fact that people will spend money on some naive chord progressions that eat off another band's plate and a sleek cowboy snap-button shirt image. I mean, that's fine, I know a lot of my favorite punk and powerpop and early indie and fuzz rock all have very similar qualities--many bands were stuffed in the same car--but the soul was stronger and less driven by the prospect of one day owning a wardrobe from Nordstrom or being Myspace's "Band of the Day," with some exceptions on each end. Unfair? Too hard a judgment? Well it'd be hard to say I'd turn down a brief case of cash in exchange for writing songs you'd likely hear over the speakers at Old Navy, but hats off to those bands that were just plain'n'simple awesome and were more than happy to have just recorded a low-rent 7" EP. There were more of them back then. I believe that. Even on major labels. Major labels weren't as major as they are today. They didn't have ringtones back then. That's another rant and I know there are a million gaps of consideration in what I just unrolled but overall, the old stuff obliterates the current new-release rack.

All that said, there are some exceptions. Assuming the anonymous commenter's definition of "today" includes the past few years (well it certainly isn't the '90s!), I think Jason Loewenstein's At Sixes And Sevens (Sub Pop, 2003) is masterful. Loewenstein is a '90s classic, himself, but he's carried his chunky warmth with him into the 21st and I'm loving the guy for it. Other than that--and we're talkin' "major" indie rock mind you, because there's good underground shit of any persuasion always--I like Love As Laughter. Although I haven't checked up on 'em in a couple years, their Laughter's Fifth (Sub Pop 2005) was nice. I got no commercial vibe from it. Just seemed like a good ol' having-fun-and-stuff recording. The stakes seem pretty low and there's a silly lyric here and there but a lot can be felt. Know what I mean? I'd hate to use Pavement as an example of that feeling, but they're all that comes to mind right now. Sadly, I can't think of any other good, well-known indie bands of present day that are exceptionally good. Garden State incrimination or not, the Shins don't suit me.

And was I showing off by naming off all my favorite way-cool near-obscure bands and artists? Shit, maybe.

But oh yeah, Dr. Powerful is another darn good present-day indie band, although they'd rifle down anyone who'd categorize them in such a way. That's one of the reasons I dig them so.

Polvo fans will be thrilled to know that drummer Eddie Watkins is, uh, drummer for Dr. Powerful.

Anyway, their new disc, Daydipsnake, comes out August 21. It's on Grand Palace Records. And I highly suggest you get you a copy. - Used Bin Forever (http://usedbinforever.blogspot.com/2007/08/dr.html)


DR. POWERFUL This week, Murfreesboro’s Grand Palace Records issues one of the most solid releases available thus far on the small imprint: Daydripsnake, the full-length debut from Sanford, N.C.-based Dr. Powerful. Recalling many of the hallmarks of mid-’90s indie rock luminaries such as Unwound, Drive Like Jehu and, most notably, drummer Eddie Watkins’ old band Polvo, Dr. Powerful layer guitars and the occasional synthesizer into a sprawling mess of intricate melodies that seesaw between shrill dissonance and taut harmonies. But rather than simply replicate the successes of their drummer’s old band, the good Dr. manage not to sound dated by infusing a fair amount of pop sensibility into their jackhammer approach with unabashedly big choruses. 9 p.m. at The 5 Spot —MATT SULLIVAN - Nashville Scene (http://www.nashvillescene.com/Stories/Arts/Our_Critics_Picks/2007/08/23/Our_Critics


Discography

"Daydipsnake" CD - Released August 2007 by Grand Palace Records

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Bio

Dr. Powerful formed in late 2004, when guitarist/vocalist Gordon Anderson discovered he was living up the street from the drummer from Polvo, Eddie Watkins, and about lost it. Even though Eddie had a big boy job and a family, Gordon pestered him to jam with them with a feverish perseverance. Eddie finally capitulated, and they enlisted Daniel to join them on bass. At this time Dr. Powerful played covers (Devo, Wire, Eno, Talking Heads, Pavement), not really planning to do anything. Then they were asked to play a show, did it as a three-piece, and had so much fun that they decided to write their own songs. Daniel moved to second guitar, we enlisted another guy named Daniel to play bass, and churned out some jams. Bass-player Daniel was ejected from band, enter Andy. They taught him the songs, wrote a bunch more, played in North Carolina, Tennessee, and New York, recorded Daydipsnake in 2006, and released it in 2007!