When The Dodos Meric Long sings for a means to conjure you up, he isnt referring to the San Francisco indie-rock acts long-extinct namesake. Its possible Good, off this years No Color, is an open letter to the elusive sound he and bandmate Logan Kroeber have been looking for since their 2005 inception.
The closest we got to it was on the last record, but it was just a certain quality of sound that comes out of heavy drums and acoustic guitar when theyre together, Long said. When theyre playing at the same time and recorded the right way, they produce a thing that we have in our minds that we cant exactly reproduce because of the difficulties of engineering and recording. Its not a natural sound. The sound were going for is really cheating whats organically possible.
The attempts are percussion-heavy with, in Longs words, the drums grasping at a semblance of whats happening in the bands other half: If youre playing the acoustic guitar in the style that I do, which is pretty aggressive, if you were to put your head inside the sound hole of the acoustic guitar, what would you hear? Hear their interpretation when they play a free show tonight on the University of Oklahoma campus. Seize the opportunity while you can, however; their hectic schedule for the last few years is slowly tapering off, and their success has taught them a hard lesson about working musicianship.
Weve just become more snobby.
In 2008, when things started to pick up for us, we were super-busy. There were so many things coming in that we had to pretty much drop everything and tour the entire year, Long said. Weve gotten older and are trying to plan out our years a little better. Having another year like 2008 I dont think were ready for that.
Their brief fall jaunt likely will end with The Dodos back home in the Bay Area, flexing creative muscles instead of racking up miles. Long said their recording style has become more stand still-ish of late, with him laying demos to tape instead of working the songs out live and playing them the same night onstage, due to constant touring.
The way we wrote songs before was very much off-the-cuff; wed write something and then play it that night, he said. Now, were slowing down and trying to find new ways to write. Just finding a different way to write a song is a thing weve had to try to do to keep ourselves interested and excited about making music.
Perhaps The Dodos have figured out how not to go the way of the dodo.
Given our age and our health and our mental insanity or sanity, I mean! weve had to learn how to say no to things and be more careful about what we do, Long said. Weve just become more snobby, I guess.