''Take the string from the balloon and watch it imitate the moon, and here's the secret: you can paint the walls whatever you want'' (Paint the Walls)Dappled Cities Fly
is an unashamedly romantic band. Formed more out of friendship and a willingness to experiment than a grand musical vision, they have always felt that they can truly paint the walls whatever they want.
Having gotten off to a quiet start, being underage in what is a very small Australian music community, the four Dappleds quickly set about recording anything they had written, any way they could. A song made it to national radio very early on and gave them the opportunity to tour the long dry coast of Eastern Australia. They jumped on the road by themselves, clocking up tens of thousands of Km's before their first album was released. They shared the stage with their favourite acts, from Fiery Furnaces, Grandaddy, and the Brian Jonestown Massacre, to Augie March, Lou Barlow and Wolfmother. They learnt how to make album covers from cardboard and nylon. They stayed on a thousand floors.
The culmination of this touring and activity led to the band's first full-length recording. "A Smile"ˇ (2004) was recorded across various studios with money scraped together from various parties. They still thank these parties. The album hit national airwaves and was given praising reviews and immediate airplay. Album of the week status was bestowed on the indie record by many an Australian station and publication. More touring ensued, and after countless drives, flights, festivals, backyards and games of cards, it was time to think broader.
In 2006 the band trekked to Europe and America in the hope of finding a home for their music elsewhere. Following gigs at the South by South West Festival, the band signed to American indie label Dangerbird Records, home of La Rocca and Silversun Pickups. This label gave them the opportunity to make the type of sophomore record they really wanted. In the meantime, the usual hive of activity went on its merry way: a (now rare) remix EP, "A Crooked Smile", was made with contributions from Wolfmother, Decoder Ring and Paul Mac; live recordings were made for National radio; NZ was explored; soundtracks for various plays and films sprang to life.
“Step onto the salted banks at the pace of a granddance. This is the rise and fall of leaps and pauses, leave it all behind"ˇ (Granddance
The recording of their second album saw a movement towards a bigger, but more beautiful sound, perhaps in part due to introducing a keyboard player to the line-up and moving to Los Angeles for a month to finish the record.
With Jim Fairchild (of Grandaddy fame) and Peter Walker on board to produce the record, a frightfully illuminated Dappled City began rising from the recording studios of Hollywood. The buildings in the city were soon to be decorated by the master of sonic design, Jacquire King, who can now add Dappled Cities to his impressive list of mixing
credits including Modest Mouse and Tom Waits. In this environment, the time was taken to create songs that each person really cared about, each sound was fondled over, like a teething cuddly tiger, were cuddly tigers to teeth. By August 2006, after spending the best part of a month in Sunset Sounds (not even slightly ironic is the fact that this same studio gave birth to Prince's Purple Rain masterpiece) and Sonora Recorders, eating too much Mexican, drinking too much coffee, feeling too much summer heat, "Granddance" emerged.
Within 3 months of returning home triumphantly Dappled Cities had joined forces with Australia's Speak'N'Spell Records (Antipodean home of Editors, and The Dears) and started to let the public vote with their ears. Triple J were spinning the debut single 'Fire,
Fire, Fire' within hours of hearing it, and it quickly became a playlist favourite as 'Granddance' was declared Album Of The Week on the highly influential youth network. Right in the middle of the release tour madness, Dappled Cities broadcast a secret show from Sydney live to the world to continue educating the third-world nations about their imminent arrival - before a quick flight across the Pacific to sell out their inaugural CMJ showcase in New York City. 2006 ended with Dappled Cities being voted "Australia's #1 Band" on a poll that combined voting lists from Australia's top 25 music blogging sites. 35,000 kids can't be wrong surely!
And the new-year doesn't show signs of things slowing down at all. 2007 began with Modest Mouse inviting Dappled Cities to open their Australian tour with them. This was a great way to warm-up for Dappled's inaugural Big Day Out and Laneway Festivals - just before they slip off to the US for more shows in New York, LA and their 2nd-ever SXSW performance. The album will be released in the US this Spring. Tim Goldsworthy and the crew at the DFA label have remixed the 'Fire Fire Fire' single and the results are as New-York-cool as it gets! Meanwhile the band have been longlisted for the Australian Music Prize, an industry poll that determines the best album release of the year, based solely on creative criteria. Phew.
The new "Granddance" sure is something. It traverses a line between chaotic, energetic indie rock and orchestral grand old melodies of the past. Things are shining bright in the Dappled camp. Certainly with this new record the bizarrely wistful Dappled Cities have moved to a new place, as they always will, as they repaint the walls of their own creation.
Say hello when you can.
We love you.
What people are saying down under-BIG ISSUE - National, Australia
Here they've channeled the famous West coast harmonies of the Byrds and The Beach Boys. This is an album of dramatic pop songs, where voices dive and fly together. - one of the most ambitious and rewarding local records of the year.ˇ FOUR STARS ****
MX - Melbourne, Australia
"The second release from this Sydney five piece is chock a block with great yearning bittersweet tunes in a similar vein to the Flaming Lips and The Sleepy Jackson, without being derivative. Utterly mesmerising."
FIVE / FIVERolling Stone - National, Australia
Sydney indie-rock oddities step up. they produce wildly inventive, melody-blitzing music that outdistances their peers. high-impact symphonic and well-crafted pop.
4 STARS ****Brag - Sydney, Australia
Woo's and la's have never sounded so good since the Beach Boys were around, it's Sydney pop at it's finest.
4 STARS ****