Dawes

The dream of the Laurel Canyon 70’s is still alive in Dawes-landia…

Dawes band photo

STANDARD DISCLAIMER: Every post on this site is meant to be a constantly evolving diary of my musical views. Therefore, any and all posts should be considered incomplete at any given time.

I’ve been listening to Dawes since their second album was pretty new. Let me bottom line this: if they’d come along a generation ago, they’d be one of the biggest rock bands in the world. But it’s the post-rock era, so they aren’t, and are simply a moderately successful act.

Taylor Goldsmith is a brilliant songwriter, with a gorgeous voice. If you don’t listen to Dawes, you’re missing out on something that seems wonderfully familiar yet utterly unique.

ALBUMS

North Hills

Release Year: 2009
My Rating: B+


While it sounds great, Dawes' debut amounts to really well-written and produced "sad bastard music" (h/t Barry Judd). They'd lighten up a little bit on later records, and there are a few classics here, but overall this is probably my least favorite Dawes LP. Probably a minority opinion, but just too heavy on the melancholy for my taste.

HIGHLIGHTS: "That Western Skyline", "When My Time Comes", "Peace In The Valley"

Nothing Is Wrong

Release Year: 2011
My Rating: A+


The most literal album title in history. A total masterpiece.

HIGHLIGHTS: all of them

10th Anniversary Bonus Material:

Stories Don't End

Release Year: 2013
My Rating: B+


Dawes always SOUNDS great, but for me, the SONGS here aren't as strong as those on the albums it's sandwiched between.

HIGHLIGHTS: "Just Beneath The Surface", "Most People", "Hey Lover", "From The Right Angle"

All Your Favorite Bands

Release Year: 2015
My Rating: A


I love this album - the first 4 songs are absolute masterpieces, and it just has a really nice, jammy feel to it. Turns out it was produced by Dave Rawlings of Gillian Welch fame. That probably has a lot do with my love for it. Outstanding work.

HIGHLIGHTS: "Things Happen", "Somewhere Along The Way", "Right On Time", "Now That It's Too Late, Maria"

We're All Gonna Die

Release Year: 2016
My Rating: B+


Momento mori as party music? Great tunes as always, though a little heavy on the hedonism for my taste. Still, Dawes is such a great band, and the production and songs so strong, that it's hard to give even an album I'm not that crazy about anything less than a B+.

HIGHLIGHTS: "Roll With The Punches", "Picture Of A Man", "When The Tequila Runs Out"

Passwords

Release Year: 2018
My Rating: A


I was late to this one, because We're All Gonna Die didn't do a lot for me at the time, but DAMN: this is one fine collection of songs. Chalk up another masterpiece by Goldsmith and co.

HIGHLIGHTS: "Stay Down", "Crack the Case", "Feed The Fire", "Telescope", "I Can't Love"

Good Luck With Whatever

Release Year: 2020
My Rating: A-


Another solid LP, Dawes is really on a roll at this point. And I'll be damned if "Didn't Fix Me" isn't one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard - reminds me of friends and family long gone, but somehow makes all that loss feel a little better? Or just a little less painful.

HIGHLIGHTS: "Good Luck With Whatever", "St. Augustine at Night", "Didn't Fix Me"

Misadventures of Doomscroller

Release Year: 2022
My Rating: A


Dawes has always had the jam in their DNA, but on their 8th LP, they go full PROG, and it totally works. Love to watch this band get better and better as time goes on.

HIGHLIGHTS: "Someone Else's Cafe / Doomscroller Tries To Relax", "Everything Is Permanent", "Joke In There Somewhere"

OTHER RELEASES

  • “Christmas in L.A.”
  • “I Will Run” (2018): Really lovely standalone single, a different feel for Dawes, classic easy listening sort of feel.
  • “Fisherman’s Blues”
  • “Easy/Lucky/Free”
  • “Things Happen (Celeste Version)” (2021): Lullabye approach to one of their best songs. Not entirely necessary, but an interesting take, I guess.
  • “The Interest of Time” (2022): Another great standalone single from Dawes, this one has a little bit of a freeform feel to it. Love to see this great band continue to subtly evolve in a jammier direction, that is their destiny.
Dawes We're All Gonna Live album cover

We're All Gonna Live

Release Year: 2017
My Rating: TBD


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HIGHLIGHTS: "Coming Back To a Man"

MISCELLANEOUS / RELATED

  • Simon Dawes: coming soon
  • Middle Brother: coming soon
  • The New Basement Tapes: coming soon

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BOKY RATINGS GUIDE

Here’s my totally scientific method for grading albums. I’m sure you’ll find it revolutionary:

  • A+: CLASSIC album – I revere this bad boy.
  • A: GREAT album – a repeat listener from start to finish.
  • B: GOOD album – I’ll probably listen again at some point.
  • C: MEH album – not awful, but I have no desire to listen again.
  • D: BAD album – not sure why anyone would listen to this.
  • F: TRULY AWFUL album – monumentally bad and offense against music.

Gradations between letters (A-/B+/B-/C+) simply indicate it’s somwhere between the two letters.