Me: “That was Instagram.”
Josh: “What’d you Instagram?”
The collective: “Ohhoho!! Okay! Let’s have that! We’ll take that!”
Obviously this relationship is off to a fine start.
Actually, this relationship is off to a rather shady start: we’re chatting in a corner of a dark alley behind the esteemed Troubadour in West Hollywood where they just opened the night ahead of two other notable LA bands; Crash Kings and Vanaprasta. It’s my first opportunity seeing Dreamer’s Dose live. For the most part, I’m a creature of habit my first time with a band: but for the occasional polite applause I’m remain fairly still because I’m watching, listening, and feeling. And also keeping an eye out for particulars that irk or excite me. What was up on that stage 20 minutes ago has shifted from aggressively bludgeoning yet sharply nuanced alternative rock into four amiable young men with varying degrees of unchecked animation. It’s charming.
“My name is Josh Conway. And I am the drummer in Dreamer’s Dose.”
“I’m Andrew Stogel and I’m the singer in Dreamer’s Dose.”
“My name is Jesse Perlman and I play lead guitar in Dreamer’s Dose.”
“I’m Levi [Dylan] and I play bass.”
For approximately 2 ½ years the band was called Blowing Up the Moon, but recently Josh, Jesse, Andrew, and Levi altered their moniker to Dreamer’s Dose; the name so fresh it doesn’t even have its own Facebook page yet. If you feel the urge to question what musical veins have had a somewhat significant influence on the gang of four, you need look no further than a line from the Queens of the Stone Age song, “Medication”:
“Is this the dose you’ve been dreamin’ of?” Andrew semi-sang the line along with affirming that “Our music is the dreamer’s dose.”
|Andrew & Levi|
What they dose out is a sound that honestly belies their ages: heavy enough to break your skull to if headbanging is your thing, yet oddly artful (their almost blasphemous definition of their sound follows later). Granted, anyone can (and in LA “anyone” does) pick up the four basic instruments (drums, bass, guitar, voice) and thrash, bash, and hash out sounds and call themselves an honest to goodness band. It doesn’t take much. But Dreamer’s Dose, while still formative, has managed to solidly master the heft of psychedelic and grunge density sans the annoying propensity to drone and be painfully predictable. So far. They’re loud. Loud is good. Jesse’s guitar is a raucous buzzsaw that gets a world of support from Levi’s notes below, and drummers like Josh are interesting in that he and his highly physical output are impossible to ignore. Andrew?
I tend to tweet a lot when at shows and about two songs into Dreamer’s Dose’s set, it went like this:
“There’s a pretty good chance that a bit of the essence of Layne Staley has found its way into @DreamersDose.”
That and something about them being way too young to sound that good….which brings us to the age thing.
Jesse: “The rhythm section is 18 and…”
Andrew: ”…the ‘better’ section is 17.”
Levi: “We’re hanging out with minors right now.”
That’s right: Levi and Josh are 18, and Andrew and Jesse are 17. No matter how shitty you’re inclined to let that make you feel, once you get over it, you have to acknowledge that these guys are flat out talented. Talented enough to have just finished recording their 12-song debut album titled At Least We’re Happy with the venerable Alain Johannes (Eleven, Them Crooked Vultures, Eagles of Death Metal) which is due out this year and I call dibs on a listening session.
Interviewing the youthful exuberance that is Dreamer’s Dose is fairly pleasurable; they talk a lot to and over one another in their effort to express almost every thought and, although that presents difficulties for an audio version of an interview, it’s priceless to my mental files. Almost as priceless as this collective description of their sound:
“Afro-beat classical, two-step, hip hop. With mariachi.”
Jesse: “I think in our future we have some dubstep in us.”
The only genre that three out of four wholly shot down was “pop rock.” For reality’s sake, let’s just call it alternative, neo-psychedelic grunge and nobody will get hurt or go to Hell.
Andrew: “There’s a psychedelic side to it, like a “love all” side to it. For the flower child and accepting on the album. Some of the other songs are darker on the album like the song “Boys and Girls” which deals with suicide.”
|Josh & Andrew|
The words “sex rock” were floated out: Yes I heard that, but part of me wishes I hadn’t. In the end, respect for the goodness of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Radiohead, Queens of the Stone Age, and a strong love for Elliott Smith also rose its head so it seems there’s much hope for these young guns. I suspect that to be the case because I walked away from the evening with one pervasive (albeit inelegant) thought about Dreamer’s Dose: they do not suck. And I appreciate that in a band.