Los Angeles based rock band Dawes has been touring the country almost non-stop for the past year, in support of their debut album North Hills (ATO Records). As of late, they have been getting some amazing press following their numerous performances at SXSW, of which I was fortunate to catch one of their early morning acoustic sets. For having to be up playing at 9 AM, the band was still on top of their game, and while this doesn't really matter, I have to say that I was impressed they were not whining about the early show, and rather seemed quite grateful to be there. The biggest downside to the drum-less acoustic set was I didn't get to hear them play "When My Time Comes," which is easily one of the catchiest songs on their album and one that you're likely to start singing along to by the second listen.
If you've had the opportunity to see the band live or to listen to their album, you may find yourself wondering how they can sound so polished and together for a band with only one album to their credit. Dawes is in fact an evolution of sorts from a former project of two of the band members, Taylor Goldsmith and Wylie Gelber, called Simon Dawes, whose music fell more into the alternative rock category than Dawes does. Adding Goldsmith's brother Griffin to the lineup on drums and keyboard player Alex Casnoff, Dawes has done well to capture a rock and roll sound with clear influences from California's roots rock past. The band's vocals are one of their major strong points, and the fraternal harmonies of the Goldsmith brothers are perfectly suited for the music (see The Avett Brothers). That is not to sell the instrumentation short, however, as the band can pull off a rocking or musically sparse sound equally well and seemingly at the perfect time for each.
You'll no doubt be hearing about Dawes for many years to come, but let me encourage you to see them now before they really blow up. They will be touring this spring & summer with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Colorado folks should keep two potential dates in mind:
June 18 - Belly Up, Aspen, CO w/ Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
June 19 - Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO - Dawes as sole headliner ($8 advance tickets!)
(Photo credit Matt Jacoby)