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In darkness my heart was won
September 9, 2012 7:04 AM   Subscribe

After more than 15 years on hiatus, the punk-spawned, world-music-defining Dead Can Dance released their eighth album Anastasis one month ago. The reunited act are on a world tour.

Words are not sufficient for Dead Can Dance, so why not sample the new album, live?
Children of the Sun
Anabasis
Agape
Amnesia
Kiko
Opium
Return of the She-King
All in Good Time (B/W The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove)

Bonuses:
Song to the Siren (Brendan singing).
The Host of Seraphim
The Ubiquitous Mr Lovegrove (Live 2005)
Black Sun
Severance
In Power We Entrust the Love Advocated
Toward The Within (Previously)

Bonus bonuses:
True Love (Marching Girls, Brendan Perry's previous band, from Dogs In Space)
Severance (covered by Bauhaus)
The Human Game - Lisa Gerrard & Pieter Bourke
posted by Mezentian (36 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

 
YES YES YES YES YES YES YES this is good news.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:22 AM on September 9, 2012


Is it possible for a band to be well-known, almost universally loved, and still underrated? If so, DCD is. That live 'Mr. Lovegrove' is fantastic.
posted by googly at 7:28 AM on September 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


My favorite of DCD is "The Host of Seraphim", soundtrack of "The Mist". Thanks for keeping track and sharing.
posted by nostrada at 7:44 AM on September 9, 2012


We just saw them on this tour a month ago. The version of Song of the Siren was fantastic, if unexpected. Go see them if you can.
posted by gingerbeer at 7:48 AM on September 9, 2012


I have always wondered whether the name of this band is a sentence asserting that the dead are able to dance, or whether it refers to a dance executed by dead cans.
posted by escabeche at 7:55 AM on September 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


I was at the Seattle (Redmond) show in the second row, directly in front of Lisa Gerrard. It was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I don't know of any singer that has her presence. She is what I imagine Angels would look and sound like when they are singing. Host of Seraphim indeed.

Brendan is great too, but I have such a hard time remembering that when he is next to Lisa. Saw him solo awhile ago and was a little sad it would be sans Lisa, but then it turned out to be pretty awesome after all.
posted by Lapin at 7:56 AM on September 9, 2012


I have always wondered whether the name of this band is a sentence asserting that the dead are able to dance, or whether it refers to a dance executed by dead cans.

The name refers to how early music instruments were made from animals parts (bones and skins) and in making music, the dead can dance.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:05 AM on September 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


I have always wondered whether the name of this band is a sentence asserting that the dead are able to dance, or whether it refers to a dance executed by dead cans.

I’m going with the latter.
posted by bongo_x at 8:48 AM on September 9, 2012


This snuck up on me.. Didn't even know they were speaking.
Looking forward to listening.
posted by incandissonance at 9:28 AM on September 9, 2012


I'm listening to the new album (it's $6 on Amazon MP3) and it's good, sounds a lot like their earlier material. Which given the hiatus is impressive.

But maybe it's just me, but isn't DCD awfully cheesy? I loved them in college, have all sorts of bootleg CDs, went to a live show. But when I listen to those albums now it looks more like a youthful indiscretion. The music is so pretentious! And way overprocessed; how good would they sound if you remove the heavy delay? I apologize if I sound like I'm hating here, the music still gives me pleasure. It's just, well, a little Thomas Kinkaidesque. No?

(By contrast, I absolutely love Portishead's revival album Third and admire it for how it relates to the previous material but is also new. And well made. I'm also somewhat optimistic about the rumoured new My Bloody Valentine album although we'll see how that goes.)
posted by Nelson at 10:13 AM on September 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was lucky enough to score a last-minute great seat to the show two nights ago here in Austin. The show was mesmerizing, definitely among the best performances I have ever seen. Impossibly, they sounded better live than on their recordings. I had chills run up my spine many times, and was unexpectedly moved to tears twice. Just brilliant.
posted by theperfectcrime at 10:18 AM on September 9, 2012


Wonderful! I didn't know they were back together. Thanks, Mezentian!
posted by homunculus at 10:29 AM on September 9, 2012


We also saw them in Austin on Friday. Fantastic show, four encores, standing ovations between them all. Both of them were in fine voice, and the cheesiest thing I encountered (from the stage) was one point where I really wanted that synth to be a bagpipe. The friends we went out with afterwards, who also saw them on tour at Radio City with us in 2005 or so, agreed it was a better show than the last.

(And the music seems less Kinkadesque when you hear them talking about the songs. There's a little cultural tourism in a lot of world music type bands, but having been to a lot of Celtic live shows, they clearly have the love the way a lot of the Celtic bands do. Or at least he does; she doesn't talk much.)
posted by immlass at 10:30 AM on September 9, 2012


The music is so pretentious! And way overprocessed; how good would they sound if you remove the heavy delay? I apologize if I sound like I'm hating here, the music still gives me pleasure. It's just, well, a little Thomas Kinkaidesque. No?

I haven't made an effort to listen to everything DCD ever recorded, but of the stuff I know, Serpent's Egg is the only one I can listen to without reservation. It's not completely without kitsch, but it keeps it to a relative minimum. Earlier DCD recordings are fine examples of 80s "ethnotronica" kitsch. Later albums, including this one, sound like Cirque du Soleil music. It's repetitive and homogenous, and the instrumentation seems to be going more for "mood" than musicality (e.g., Middle Eastern musical kitsch, African musical kitsch).

I'd love, love to pieces, an unplugged Lisa Gerrard album of vocalise pieces. No cheesy synths, no "ethnic" instrumentation. There's a ton of beautiful, well-known vocalise pieces out there.
posted by Nomyte at 10:34 AM on September 9, 2012


Dead Can Dance are one of those groups where I've only ever owned one of their albums (Spleen & Ideal), have liked it a lot, but nether bothered to pick up anything else. There's a lot of music out there by a lot of artists, I suppose, and I am very happy with the single album I own by this one band. I realize how this must make little sense, but so be it.
posted by item at 10:39 AM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was an awesome show, and I'm sad that all of the North American dates are done, because so many people are just now realising they are in the midst of something special with this album and tour.

I love DCD and have done for more than a couple of decades. Their output goes beyond music for me - it gets into my soul and does important work there. It's at the center of some amazing memories. Seeing them live is a spiritual experience for me.

My only other show of theirs was Seattle in '05, and they seem happier, healthier, and more connected this time around. I hope anyone who has a chance to see them on the further legs does so.

During one of the three encores, Brendan Perry performed a song that I never remember the name of, but it broke down every man in sight of me. Some weeping, some sobbing, all clearly emotionally taken with it. The reason I can never remember the name is because of this very effect, which absorbs me beyond the lyrics.

I will be so happy when I can buy the album, and will be somewhat regretful for a long time to come that I missed out on merch completely. Of course, just having their music ripple and rip, shimmer and shred through me was entirely worthwhile and memorable and I certainly don't need tangible items to recall any of that very special experience.

How have I not known all this time that one of my favourite songs from Dogs in Space involved Brendan Perry?!
posted by batmonkey at 10:52 AM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Add me to the list of people who REALLY WANTED to like DCD the first time around and just couldn't because of the production. It was the 90s, I was a teenager, anything that didn't sound like it had been scraped off the floor in Steve Albini's basement was Pretentious Garbage. (Never mind that the Steve Albini's™ Basement Floor sound is just as strong and distinctive a production style, and in its own way just as heavy-handed. It was as inaudible to me as water is to a fish until another decade had gone by.)

A couple of older friends who meant a lot to me, and had a huge influence on my musical tastes, really loved these guys. It's occurring to me that I oughta give 'em another chance one of these days. I can finally listen to Oingo Boingo without cringing reflexively (and now OH JEEZ HOW THE FUCK DID I IGNORE THOSE GUYS FOR SO LONG) so maybe DCD have a chance.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:03 AM on September 9, 2012


I saw Dead Can Dance 15 years ago on their last tour before they got back together again, and I remember being really disappointed that most of the really cool instrument sounds that I wanted to see live (the weird whistles, rattles, chirps clicks and the like that I'd assumed to have been obscure instruments from various tribal cultures) were all just samples triggered by a guy behind a keyboard.

Also, Lisa Gerrard really seems to hate gothic people, and used to state in interviews that she wished they wouldn't come to their shows. A friend and I had an idea of selling bootleg shirts of Lisa Photoshopped with an upraised middle finger on the front and "WE HATE OUR FANS" on the back, but we never actually made it happen.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:04 AM on September 9, 2012


Serpent's Egg is the only one I can listen to without reservation

One of my friends who's seriously into DCD says it's easily their best album.
posted by immlass at 11:05 AM on September 9, 2012


Had heard of them but never heard them; really sorry now that I hadn't, I would have loved them 15 years ago. If I had to tell people today about them, I would say it's like Trent Reznor and Sigur Ros traveled back to the '90s and had a music baby. (I mean this in the most positive way.)
posted by resurrexit at 11:39 AM on September 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


How have I not known all this time that one of my favourite songs from Dogs in Space involved Brendan Perry?!

Now there's an excellent and under-rated film.
posted by ovvl at 11:52 AM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Used to fall asleep listening to http://www.echoes.org/ which plays and talks about bands like Dead Can Dance. For some reason lineup of bands on the program took me out to space better in that program than standalone. Especially while drifting off.
posted by saber_taylor at 12:30 PM on September 9, 2012


> Is it possible for a band to be well-known, almost universally loved, and still underrated?

Cardiacs.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 12:42 PM on September 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I went to buy the CD and it hadn't occurred to me that it wouldn't be on 4AD. I picked it up and thought "what the hell is PIAS?" It just doesn't seem right.
posted by otters walk among us at 1:34 PM on September 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


One of the first CDs I ever bought was Passage in Time (Yes, I got on the CD bandwagon late). I've loved them ever since...

My friend offered me the opportunity to see them when he bought tickets for the Chicago show, but between my social anxieties, depression and work load I wasn't able to go, which really sucks.

But I am sooooo glad they have new material out on disc, and appreciate the linkage to the new tunes. That Children of the Sun reminds me of Song of the Stars...

Also? I want to have Lisa Gerrard's babies.
posted by symbioid at 1:48 PM on September 9, 2012


Yeah, I kinda of agree with the polished, overproduced, pretentious complaint, but, like The Church, they're a product of their time and they're just so damned good despite that. Don't have to have production values like Guided by Voices to be a great band, and I guess it's pretentious to believe so.
posted by Jimbob at 2:26 PM on September 9, 2012


Lisa Gerrard really seems to have aged backwards.
And manages to rock a cape, which is pretty amazing.

Although I am confused by all those people who think they are '90s and over-produced. Not something I had ever heard mentioned before (although I hadn't realised that fully half of their recorded output was released in the 1990s, of course I cherish all the albums up to Aion on vinyl.

I'm also a bit shocked to see that they rely so heavily on keyboards live, so what the hell do I know?

I still think I have whiplash from the first time I heard The Fatal Impactand then veered into Spleen & Ideal .

And I dearly, dearly love A Passage In Time more than I should love any best of.
Until Friday Night I had no idea DCD had recorded a new album, and I have pretty much being playing it on repeat since Saturday.

Fans of Dead Can Dance may also enjoy Eden, also from Australia, also probably "over-produced", and working very much in the same space before they went all psychedellic. And here they are busking in Melbourne, which is a cool thing I found. I think that's Polyester Records.
posted by Mezentian at 4:12 PM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, Lisa Gerrard really seems to hate gothic people, and used to state in interviews that she wished they wouldn't come to their shows.

She and Andrew Eldritch should form the "We Hate People Who Buy Everything We Release" club.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:28 PM on September 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Toward the Within, and especially the track Rakim, get a lot of play in my classroom between class changes and before and after school. It is one of those albums that has been in heavy rotation for years. I am VERY excited about this new release. Awesome post.
posted by vkxmai at 6:38 PM on September 9, 2012


...and I'm sad that all of the North American dates are done...

Well, there are still some dates in November in Mexico. You should go, because it's too expensive for me to fly down there. Most of the dates in Europe are already sold out...
posted by sneebler at 7:12 PM on September 9, 2012


She and Andrew Eldritch should form the "We Hate People Who Buy Everything We Release" club.

Eldritch might have to be excluded due to his policy of not releasing stuff.
He can form the "We Hate People Who Still Remember Who We Are And Come To Our Gigs" club, I suppose.
posted by Mezentian at 7:15 PM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


AVC: Do you feel out of touch with your audience?

Maynard James Keenan: For the most part, I have no idea who those people are—especially when we're traveling through Europe. And it's not all our fault; it's a whole series of events. [You play] heavy music, and your record company, which has never owned an album anything like what you're doing, immediately markets you to the obvious stinky kid with the dreadlocks and the B.O. and the urine on his shoes because he's been sleeping in his own filth in a festival in the middle of the rain. They basically market right to that guy. And then you realize the only people showing up to your shows are those primates—these weird, cretin people
- avclub
posted by saber_taylor at 7:36 PM on September 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Stinky kid with the dreadlocks and the B.O. and the urine on his shoes does indeed sound like how I remember Tool fans.

I don't think Dead Can Dance were ever explicitly marketed as gawthic any more than any other 4AD band. I mean, 4AD was a pretty wide-ranging label.

Of course, gothic music is music that goths like. So, it's a bit of an issue there.
posted by Mezentian at 8:20 PM on September 9, 2012


I also saw them in Seattle, and wow, it was truly an incredible show, definitely with a better feel than back in 05 - though I wish they had sold a live album of the show like they did before.

The crowning moment? Hearing The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove live. It's such an amazing song already, and then turned up a notch hearing it in person... I've rarely ever been that giddy at a concert.

And to all of you with just a few DCD albums - check out Toward the Within. I'm mostly so-and-so on the studio albums, but this one, being recorded live, is just truly amazing. I've owned it for well over a decade, and just never stop listening to it regularly.
posted by evilangela at 9:16 PM on September 9, 2012


Maynard James Keenan: For the most part, I have no idea who those people are—especially when we're traveling through Europe. And it's not all our fault; it's a whole series of events. [You play] heavy music, and your record company, which has never owned an album anything like what you're doing, immediately markets you to the obvious stinky kid with the dreadlocks and the B.O. and the urine on his shoes because he's been sleeping in his own filth in a festival in the middle of the rain. They basically market right to that guy. And then you realize the only people showing up to your shows are those primates—these weird, cretin people -

If punk rock deserves credit for nothing else, it's that you'd never hear this shit coming out of Keith Morris or Ian MacKaye or Henry Rollins or Dave Dictor.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:36 AM on September 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would say it's like Trent Reznor and Sigur Ros traveled back to the '90s and had a music baby.

Sigur Rós: Stunning new short film for ‘Ekki múkk’
posted by homunculus at 3:04 PM on September 24, 2012


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