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The Dismemberment Plan are a bit of a hard band to pin down. An amazingly tight rhythm-section, experimenting with new beats. They sound like a dance band. Are they? Probably not. The vocals change often; sometimes Travis Morrison is emotional, sometimes nostalgic, sometimes sad, sometimes upbeat, sometimes going with the beat and rapping. He even covers Ludacris', "What's Your Fantasy?"... I would upload that MP3 but I lost it in a computer crash ages ago. They have a genuine funk side, reminscent of early stuff by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Maybe that will encourage people to download them. Maybe it will put you off. Don't let it.
The band are often picked as the one band who perfectly defined University life and the aftermath in the same way that the novels Rules of Attraction [by Bret Easton Ellis] or Generation X [by Douglas Coupland] did. This is fairly accurate, in my opinion. The lyrics are super-sharp, super-smart and reflect geniune emotions in a way that new-age-"emo" music can only pretend to. Listen to The City [an ode to a lost-love and the questioning of one's inner flaws] and then you'll understand. Their third album, Emergency and I, is the only one I own of theirs but personally I think it's amazing, so go buy it.
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What do other people say about the band?
"The Dismemberment Plan, the D.C. art-rock quartet that made hip-hop, R&B, samplers, and having fun safe for the basement-show punk set" - Barsuk Records
"[They were] the finest band to come out of Springfield, Va. Often considered a DC band by dint of their proximity to the Nation's Capital - and owing to the fact that in its heyday, the band all lived in town - there was something about the fact that they were spawned in a suburban basement that contributed unique flavors to their sound" - DeSoto Records
"Sometime in 1999, between the recording of Emergency & I and now, this odd little platypus of a band, hopelessly stuck between categories, suddenly became everything to everyone. This was before nearly 20,000 copies of Emergency & I were sold; before the band started selling out clubs everywhere they went; before said album appeared on innumerable best-of-year (and quite a few best-of-decade) lists; before Pearl Jam asked them to open for them in 14 European cities; and before the Dismemberment Plan's name became a constant reference point in underground-rock reviews of all kinds... The melancholy, landmark Emergency & I showed everyone there are roads left to travel for indie rock and one of the widest goes surprisingly close to Mary J. Blige's existentially haunted house of R&B" - Their press kit, from their site
"The Dismemberment Plan [are] truly, unequivocally, the new new wave... 9.6/10" - Pitchfork
The Dismemberment Plan
What Do You Want Me To Say?
The Face of the Earth
Ellen and Ben
Pay For The Piano [fan remix]
They made such interesting music; there's something for everyone to appreciate. The funk, the dance, the rap, the indie, the rock, the geek-lyrics, the chic-style. Pay for the Piano reminds me of Bloc Party at the very first break-down sort of bit, when he sings "Everyone here, I need your ears". Ellen and Ben reminds me of early Chilis. The sound is entirely their own however, and that is a truly unique thing.
In case you didn't know, the band have split up, and have been split up for ages, and Travis Morrison's solo album got a rating of less than 1/10 [i think, going on vague recollection] from Pitchfork. But I think they'll be a band I will listen to for a very long time. I discovered them a few years ago and still find them fascinating to listen to. Also, one of the ex-members is in Maritime. Who're good. Discover all about them soon. And check out those novels I mentioned earlier... they are the Zeitgeist...
Click here to read an old tour diary by Travis Morrison [during his time with The Dismemberment Plan].