Joel Dobbins
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Joel Dobbins

Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Bands of the Month - Reviewed by Deborah Singer"

Who: Joel Dobbins

What: This singer-songwriter creates catchy, feel-good songs that are very unique.

On The Web:

Sounds Like: Jason Mraz with more of a pop edge.

Stand Out Single: “At The Door” - Hear/Say

"Independent Music Discoveries, Issue #10"

Joel Dobbins - Pop / Rock - Pennsylvania, USA
Joel Dobbins is a talented young singer-songwriter who crafts heartfelt tunes and then, with his latest release Investment, gives them away for free! "What's Come Over Me" is Joel Dobbins at his best, a sweet, soft, electro-tinged melody with just a dash of the Postal Service. Investment is an album which, in many ways, is the sound of an artist still trying to find himself, but who says a little soul-searching can't be fun to listen to? - A Future In Noise

"Joel Dobbins - Investment"

Joel Dobbins’ free online release Investment is almost astonishingly well produced. And Dobbins certainly has an ear for the grand, but this album is too epic for its own good.

From the first track Tears of Joy - an impressive sonic accomplishment - you can’t help but feel that Dobbins is walking a tightrope over mindless pop oblivion. And you can’t help but cover your eyes for fear that he won’t make it to the other side. He doesn’t make it. But Dobbins doesn’t die in the fall, either.

In Investment, at least, Dobbins comes across as a young man who seems to instinctively know that that good writing and catchy melodies are all that matter. But he hasn’t yet reconciled that truth with his amazing technical proficiency. Conserving the pop gadgetry for when he really needs it would do Investment wonders.

In the third track, Out of the Blue, Joel Dobbins combines the slick studio instrumentation you might expect from a committee-written studio pop CD with indie-rock style staticy flair. But once the song is over, you’re still not sure whether it was a good idea.

Indeed, Dobbins seems trapped between a Green Day style protest of narcissism and the too-crisp pop sound he often tumbles into. It’s a conflict that leaves an unbridgeable gap between hip party favors like Life on Paper and the mostly unlistenable Out of the Blue.

What makes his inconsistency all the more frustrating is the brilliance of tracks like What’s Come Over Me, a tastefully understated sonic wonder.(Although it could lose a few notches on the vocal effects.) It’s no coincidence that Dobbins’ voice sounds best at the end of Selective Memory when the filters finally give it a rest and Does Heaven Have a Flag.

My numerous gripes aside, it’s undeniable that this album comes from the heart of a nifty lyricist.

“If I want a legacy worth leaving/ This is something that I must believe in/ Life is not a human right/ It’s simply
something borrowed and we’re running out of time/ How will you invest it?”

Dobbins asks in Question of Ownership, one of a number of Investment’s surprisingly adept new wave-style tracks.

Joel Dobbins’ “Investment” is a bit like like reading reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s high school English papers. The talent is there, but who is the demon over his shoulder telling him this is how it has to be done? Once he figures that out, a masterpiece seems almost certain. - Air & Sea Battle

"Other Music: Joel Dobbins - Tears Of Joy"

Joel Dobbins – Tears of Joy

This guy is peculiar and has a great sense for music, he is quite good with keyboards and I must accept that I was impressed for the entire album ‘Investment’ which has really good tracks. If you have a chance go to his myspace and check for “Origami” and “My Heart Has Found a Home”. The last one is a 10min track that begins with piano and begins to get more power with every second it takes. Honest recommendation. - Stuart Price Lounge

"Performer Brings Acoustics To Store"

Joel Dobbins may have forgotten his guitar pick for his live performance, but he did bring acoustic tunes Tuesday night to the Hot Topic in the Nittany Mall, 2900 E. College Ave.

Where racks of CDs and accessories were pushed back against the wall of the store, this makeshift stage became the local artist's for the hour-long set.

Dobbin's performance managed to draw about a 20-person crowd of everyone from store employees and friends to passersby who heard the echo of the guitar from outside of the store.

The artist's self-written songs in his set ranged from up-tempo tunes with intricate finger work such as "Angel" to more vocally focused songs like "Here in the Dark."

Toward the end of the set, Dobbins announced that his mouth was dry.

"Picks and water, I'll have to remember those next time," he said.

Dobbins ended his set with the song "So Happy," which he said he just recently performed live on a Penn State radio station.

He performed with a red Takamine guitar that displayed his first name printed in bold white lettering.

"I pretend I'm famous enough to go only by my first name, like Britney or Oprah," he said.

He also gave reasoning behind the fact that he needed a lyric sheet for a couple of songs in his set.

"Those ones I just haven't listened to or played that much," he said. "I have a really bad memory."

This detail did not stop listeners from speaking highly about Dobbin's music and vocals.

"He has a nice natural voice, not fake like everyone else," Ashley Cronk, a Bellefonte High School student, said.

Erica Lorin (sophomore-public relations) compared Dobbins to a more well-known artist.

"He kind of sounds like the guy from The Fray," she said. "I can see a lot of potential in him."

Dobbins said he had instigated the in-store performance.

"They had a sign on the door saying come in if you want to play, so I came in and said I wanted to play," he said.

Natalie Nau, Hot Topic store manager, said Dobbin's tunes were welcomed for the next installment of these acoustic performances.

"Everything is about the music," she said.

Written by Beth Ann Downey

Video of performance: - The Daily Collegian

"Undiscovered Talent: Joel Dobbins"

Somebody please - sign this kid right. fucking. now.

I'd like to introduce you to Joel Dobbins. I've been listening to his album "Investment" for about a week now and it's one of those albums that you weren't expecting to be good, but quite surprisingly, it's beyond brilliant.

Take a listen to key tracks like "Tears Of Joy", "Origami" , "Does Heaven Have A Flag" and "Life On Paper" and you'll be asking yourself "Why haven't I heard of Joel Dobbins before?"

In his bio, he said that he also recorded this album in like two weeks. What? Are you kidding? Kid - that's talent. You can't bottle that. He's like a new Casey Stratton. He's got the X-Factor and then some.

So if you're a major label that's looking for something fresh. Check out Joel Dobbins on Myspace now.

I'm sure you'll be just as blown away like I was...

link: - ElectroQueer

"Joel Dobbins' Investment is worth a listen"

Written by Jessica Walsh

What has Joel Dobbins been doing during his time in State College, PA? Listen to his latest album, Investment and you’ll get an idea. Joel’s music is great for anyone to listen to because it has no profanity. His voice shines through on this album; it’s definitely a gift that makes listening even more enjoyable.
If I had to use one word to describe Joel’s music I would say, “uplifting.” Most of the songs on this album have a catchy rhythm. Each song is unique, and you won’t be wondering, “did I just hear this song?” He writes about controversial topics in the song, “Does Heaven Have a Flag?” asking, “are there people at the borders who are dying to get in/are there leaders giving orders/send them back to Hell again.” It is a piano piece that displays his talent for song writing.
Joel does have a comical side; whether you see him perform live, or listen to his album he’ll say something to make you smile. In, “Life on Paper” he says, “I’m actually out of lyrics for this song/but I was shooting for like three and a half to four minutes/so um see if I can find something to fill this space.” The song continues with a guitar solo which displays his gift for playing the guitar.
I really enjoy, “My Heart has found a Home;” also the longest at ten minutes. It’s one of two love songs that talk about being in a committed relationship.
Check out to hear Investment. It’ll be in your playlist after one listen. - CD Insight

"MMC Noteworthy: Joel Dobbins"

We're going to keep the weekend Millennium Music Conference Noteworthys a little bit shorter. For your Saturday morning pleasure, Spotobe gives you State College-based singer/songwriter Joel Dobbins (hit it to hear some of his music).

Dobbins plays soulful, radio-ready rock, and clearly has the ability to write a solid, melancholy rock song. He released his first album Unreal in November of last year, and it's a pleasant collection of highly accessible and highly listenable songs.

Sometimes music that’s intended to be this emotional can come off as maudlin. Of the mopier songs on Unreal, “Sober” is probably the strongest, and it includes a passage that goes, “So pour the girl another drink/ It’s better not to stop and think/ Your friends are headed for the brink/ But still you follow/ So raise your glass and drop your guard/ Harder drinks for harder hearts/ Truth and pain are much too hard/ for you to swallow.” If those lyrics were whined, it would come off as annoying, but Dobbins’ clear, strong voice keeps the song from crossing the line.

The best song on the album is probably the more up-beat track “Hypocrite.” It’s at the same time an admission of imperfection and a take down of the holier-than-thou. The track toes the line between rock and pop, but the guitar part gives it a little bit of an edge. Dobbins is said to put on a pretty good live show, so he might be worth checking out next weekend.

He’ll be playing at Carley’s on Saturday the 14th with Elana Brody, Jesse Gannon and Evan Toth. In that venue, I would expect a little bit more piano and a little bit less guitar. - Spotoblog - Justin Kunkel

"Review: Joel Dobbins - Unreal"

Joel Dobbins - Unreal
2008, Joel Dobbins

Joel Dobbins is a unique young voice, mixing wit and gravity in a manner not generally seen in an artist his age. Joel Dobbins’ 2008 release Unreal (his third) is an exciting and unique look at a young artist as he develops. This might be the sort of album you hang onto.

Unreal opens with At The Door, an upbeat musical plea to a lover on the edge full of both hope and angst. It's a highly radio-ready song that might play well to college radio. Half Past Noon is a Matchbox 20 type anthem with smooth, highly produced instrumentation and the mellow yet clear vocals of Dobbins on top. Break The Locks is my second favorite song here, and probably the track with the most commercial potential without sounding blatantly commercial. It's a great melancholy pop song. Midnight Conversation has the potential to be a gorgeous piano ballad but gets caught up in the programmed drums and effects that surround it. The Song I Have To Sing calls to mind 1980's Brit-pop bands as Dobbins blows the roof off with a great pop tune.

My favorite track on Unreal is Hypocrite, a tongue-in-cheek admission of imperfection. Dobbins finds the perfect mix of pop sensibility, alternative edge and rock and roll rebellion in this gem. Also notable are the obscurely beautiful Here In The Dark and So Happy.

Joel Dobbins has obvious song-writing talent, and a distinct sense of melancholy pop. Unreal gets a little too mired in the melancholy at times, but on the whole is a strong listen. Dobbins has a highly pleasant voice and we look forward to hearing his future projects. In the mean time, give this disc a spin.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Joel Dobbins at Unreal was just released on November 5, 2008. As of the publication date of this review I could find no outlets online selling it. For the time being you can stream some of the songs off of Joel Dobbins’ MySpace page (Link above). You might try writing to Dobbins through his MySpace page. - Wildy's World

"Joel Dobbins - Unreal"

Written by Edward Applebee

As I pulled up to the venue, the dice felt hot in my hands…so I rolled them without a second to lose. Euphoria! Two cars were forfeiting prime real estate! Was the show over? Maybe these patrons were thrown out for disorderly conduct? Bloody henchmen! They paid their money, let them juggle flaming hot toilet paper rolls if they so desire! Maybe the real party was their next destination? Should I follow them? Never. Stick to the plan I thought, and resist the heat. This desert climate has a tenancy to dry up foresight.

As I pulled into one of the spots, a lowrider Toyota truck pulled into the other. I glanced at the motorist. He was on his phone, so I quickly exited my vehicle, believing haste was the best remedy of avoiding any verbal interaction. I quickly slammed the door on my seatbelt. The incorrect sound was immediately forgiven by the lingering cacti. “Nothing can disrupt us,” they chanted.

As I untangled the mess, a voice behind me spoke. “You here for the show?” Goodness, I thought. Is it 20 questions already? “Ah, ya,” I said, quickly stuffing my wallet down my pants. “Cool, man,” the voice responded. “Cool,” I thought? As I turned to face the verbal assassin, my eyes were deflected to the lowrider truck. It’s turquoise paint, chrome fender trim and bed cover were dated. The driver could tell I was disturbed. “It’s a rental,” he said.

“Well, they don’t rent’m like THAT anymore,” I replied, “It’s a shame, really.” My wallet began to fall down my pant leg. Brilliant I thought, no one ever checks your ankles. The kid stared at me like I was some kind of street performer. I smiled and nodded. You can never go wrong with the “nod.” It outwits most cops 2-1.

“Ok man, well I’ll see you in there,” he said. “I’m Joel by the way.” “Conrad,” I replied. The kid smiled and put on a cloth blazer. He rolled the sleeves up, popped the collar and walked into the venue. Was Conrad a real name or a communist party? I had blurted out the first fake name I could think of. I began to walk slowly behind Joel, as to not reveal my wallet. His lowrider rental had a bumper sticker on the back which read: Splatter Paint Is Quaint.

The air conditioning in the venue gave me a head rush. The contrast from desert sky to neon beer advertisements seem surprisingly similar. All of a sudden a bunch of cheers let out from the stage area. What’s happened? Is someone naked? The feedback from the microphone being picked up set the mood. I’ll be damned! The Joel character was up there! He had arrived in a lowrider Toyota truck and now he was on stage grinning at excited fans!

My mission was complete. The random show I had selected by covering my eyes and slamming my finger down on the weekly show listings had paid off. The credits began to roll as Joel played Hypocrite. Check him out this Pennsylvania musician at and when you get there also listen to Break the Locks. - Enoch Magazine


"Unreal" - 11.05.2008

"Hatatoy, Atatahoy!" - 02.01.2007

"Fishing For Piranhas" - 12.06.2006



Joel Dobbins grew up and discovered his passion for music in Maine and has spent the recent years writing and recording in Pennsylvania. He has written over 130 songs, but being a perfectionist by nature, is rarely satisfied with his work. His influences come from all over the place, and as a result, his music tends to be all over the place (in a good way). Several songs from his latest album are being remixed and promoted by a publisher in Thessaloniki, Greece for placement in Hollywood films.