Review : Dawes - North Hills
Absolute punkNorth Hills is the major-label debut from this precocious quartet (formerly known as Simon Dawes) and the disc is a collection of 11, near-flawless roots-rock offerings that drip with such a defined sense of soul, grit and harmony, it feels nearly criminal to label this album contemporary. Evoking the sun-drenched whimsy of 1960s Laurel Canyon, the album begins with the pensive California valentine, "That Western Skyline," in which vocalist Taylor Goldsmith sings, "Oh the trees, the birds and the falling snow, no, they were not meant for me." In much the same way that "Round Here," begins August and Everything After in such a profound and poetic manner, so too does "Western Skyline." In some ways, every song that follows will attempt to touch its grandeur, while also trying to make their own collective cinematic arguments. ...full text
The line of best fitAs with many imports, this second release from Los Angeles Americana four-piece Dawes is actually a prequel album. Originally released Stateside in 2009 on ATO Records, the critical acclaim their breakthrough Nothing is Wrong (2011) has garnered a desire for more, and thus North Hills finally gets its European release via Loose Music.
With a sound so evocative of their Laurel Canyon predecessors, and with a title, too, that nods to the inspiring views of the North Hills of San Fernando valley it’s no surprise that a 2″ analog recording was the band’s favoured method of documentation. The album itself, especially in its opening two tracks, exudes a rawness at its core and a frayed edge of authenticity in its production, so much so that it is often hard to believe this was recorded only three years ago, and even more so that the musicians who have made it have an average age of a mere 20 years. ...full text
Hub pagesThe album North Hills is one you should pick up before Dawes comes out with their second album this Summer. It is always great too follow a band and see how they progress. It is best to do this while the band is putting out their music. There new album comes out June 7th and is called "Nothing is Wrong."
What a great American 'chill rock' album. Though they pick it up in a few songs, this is a great relaxing album. Put this one on a summer night while sitting around the fire with your best friend. It is interesting enough to listen to when the conversation is low and not distracting enough that you can't talk....full text
DIYCalifornia four-piece Dawes describe themselves as an "American rock n roll band": both an entirely geographically accurate statement and an apposite description of the band's sound which could only come from the heart of America. Dawes are made up of two brothers, Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith on vocals and drums complemented by two long-time friends Tay Straithairn on keyboards and bassist Wylie Gelber. There is an extremely close-knit feeling of intimacy in Dawes’ tight bond that comes across well on their debut album ‘North Hills’, which is a lovely collection of bruised and soulful Americana.
Intriguingly, ‘North Hills’ is actually the band's debut which was given a very low-key release in 2009 but is now being re-released to follow the success of their critically acclaimed 2011 album, ‘Nothing Is Wrong.’ In that respect ‘North Hills’ offers an interesting insight into the band's formative beginnings. The sound is folky and intimate throughout with a strong focus on sun-drenched harmonies and rolling melodies. Fellow Laurel Canyon resident Jonathan Wilson produces the album and Wilson has helped the band to deliver a wonderfully organic sound....full text
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