Dot Gov, Ugliest Patch in the Quilt
The five-piece birthed from Temple University’s music department released their first EP, Ugliest Patch in the Quilt, this last June. The compilation opens with “Freeze Ray Love.” The chill alt-pop track invites the listener to float along in the serene first verse before dropping into the chorus’ serious groove. It’s a solid preview of not only Dot Gov’s versatility as musicians but, through lyric content, sense of humor as humans. Buckle up kids, because that’s only the tip of the batty iceberg when it comes to these songwriters.
“Ghost in the Closet” carries this humor but flips the musical vibe with an introduction dominated by dramatic piano and violin. We begin to learn the tale of a man with socks on his ears, sung in a story-telling style and carried downstream with piano. This is interrupted with a chorus of voices bursting into an energetic ballad, reciting the man’s message of a ghost in the closet. They open the door to a jazzy breakdown before the second verse beings. It’s one of two breakdowns in the song, the second abandoning their original sound path to lay down the hammer to seme seriously jammy content. Of all the things going on in this song, I think my favorite is that you can hear the fun Dot Gov had recording it, and that excitement is gifted to the listener.
I’m pretty sure I’ve watched my friends race down Rainbow Road to “Ugliest Patch in the Quilt” before. This 16-bit styled instrumental piece is mainly carried by warped basslines and the drumkit, casually interrupted but some funky effects. I can only imagine the dance moves that this song exercises. “TV Angst” opens with this darker bass sound, again presenting the listeners with a story, this time told in a Claypool-esque tone: that interesting, off-kilter story and sound. The album softens its edges, ending with an acoustic song decorated in gongs and chimes.
Nipper the Band, Practice
The Philadelphia three-piece opens their first EP, Practice, with nothing but high energy. Harpsichord toys with electric guitar and builds into a hurricane of heavy riffs until silenced for the first verse of “Pretty Rich Girl.” My initial thought that comes to lead vocal Paul LoPresti’s singing is theater. He delivers lyrics with the same spirit as an actor in character, and the strength of the band’s music matches his emotion. Keyboard keys switch between their own characters of harpsichord and piano while sprouting sound between lyrics. The song’s breakdown allows for each mechanism of this trio a slot to debut.
All of the energy from “Pretty Rich Girl” is silenced and replaced with heavy-handed piano and the lone vocals of Charlatans’ introduction. A simple electronic pulse drops into the mix and maintains the beat as it layers into a captivating soundscape. The change of pace immediately draws the listener in, and the message Nipper the Band is about to deliver is one we can all afford to pay some attention to.
In the chorus, the three harmonize: “You’re resisting, you’ve been missing out. You’re missing the point, I don’t have to join just because it’s tending.” “Charlatans” ballads a battle against our current world’s obsession with creating and maintaining an online presence.
“Bad Penny” and “Witch Doctor” draw back into the drama. Opening with the first verses sung like a musical’s monologue, echoing of the great rock operas of old. “Bad Penny” is a forceful narrative, one which I did not need to know the inspiration to feel that I knew the familiar story, and it gives the feel of the rising action before a climax. That climax is “Witch Doctor”, a mighty coda you can almost see playing out on the stage in your mind’s eye.