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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Artist of the Day: Dead Man's Bones


Just in time for Halloween!

Dead Man’s Bones sounds like it may be some sort of death metal/goth rock with roaring vocals and a lead singer that may bite the heads off of bats, but the name of the band couldn’t be more misleading. 

In actuality, Dead Man’s is what I like to call the indie goth-rock folk stylings of actor-turned-musician Ryan Gosling and his right hand man, actor Zach Shields.  Together with the Silverlake Conservatory of Music Children’s Choir, a music education facility based in Los Angeles that was co-founded by Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Flea, the group has made a debut record (released Oct. 6) that is extremely unique and ghoulishly entertaining.

With over half of the band’s tracks from their self-titled debut featuring The Silverlake Conservatory of Music's Childrens Choir, an important question is raised:  How does Dead Man’s Bones go on tour when the bulk of their music uses children ages five to 17?

The answer:  By using children’s choirs from the different cities that they visit. 

Pitchfork interviewed the band earlier in the year and Gosling offered his insight into their unusual touring idea:

“I think it'll keep it interesting for us, because every time we'll get to work with new kids and get new ideas and hopefully tailor each performance to that experience," Gosling said. "And, you know, we can't play bars with kids, so we'll have to put together a night-time version of our act, which we're working on. I think we're excited about that, we're excited about how many different ways we can dress it up, with different kinds of choirs and artists, and it should be interesting."

It was also announced that instead of having a band for the opening act, every show will open with each city’s own local talent show.  Fliers were sent out prior to each performance asking for “Sword swallowers, tap dancers, magicians, impersonators, kid bands, and anyone with a talent of any kind to display.”  They also mentioned that Halloween-inspired acts would get the preferential treatment.  Understandable.


Currently, there are no dates slated for the Southern region of the United States, nor the Eastern region, but given time to work out the kinks and give this new style of touring a test run, hopefully DMB will be making their way to the Classic City some time in the near future.

There are already two videos available online that feature songs from Dead Man’s Bones’ album, one; a live recording of The Silverlake Conservatory of Music Children’s Choir, Gosling and Shields singing “In the Room Where You Sleep” as well as an eerie music video of "Dead Hearts" that follows a mechanized walking wishbone around a world of burning houses, horse spirits and human toys. Both of these can be viewed on the groups Myspace page. 

So, Trick or Treat?  Dead Man’s Bones is a hands down Treat, between Gosling’s surprising deep, classic vocals, and the refreshingly new style of indie rock, these are definitely tunes that are a hauntingly fun listen, even after All Hallows’ Eve.


Zombies, Werewolves, Vampires, College Students and Banshees alike --- Check ‘em out!

Who's Who:  Ryan Gosling (Vocals, piano, guitar)  Zach Shields (vocals, drums, guitar) The Silverlake Conservatory of Music Children's Choir
Formed:  2007
Label:   Anti Records/ Werewolf Hearts Records
Latest Release:  Dead Man's Bones (2009)
On the Web:

-          Jessica Cole

Currently Listening to:  “Pa Pa Power” by Dead Man’s Bones

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