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SCENE & HEARD: Dandy Warhols still bohemian after all these years

When it comes to bands that are loath to be painted into a sonic corner Portland alt. rockers The Dandy Warhols would have to sit pretty close to the top of the tree.

While they have enjoyed considerable commercial success with such bangers as Bohemian Like You, Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth and We Used To Be Friends, the Dandys have always been a band more interested in musical adventurism than commercial success.

And when they hit the stage for their anticipated Scene & Heard Festival gig frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor told Newcastle Live that fans could expect a set covering the breadth of the Dandy’s 10-album catalogue with a few surprises thrown in.

“Man, we just love to get it on,” he said in his laconic drawl.

“We always try to play one or two songs from each of our albums and we are a very jammy band so you can expect some extended noodlings and basically as much breadth as is humanly possible.”

While there will be a healthy dose of revisionism in the Dandy’s Scene and Heard set, they are definitely not a band keen to rest on their sonic laurels.

In fact, at the turn of the century, the band bought a quarter-acre block in their hometown of Portland, Oregon and turned it into The Odditorium – an eclectic rehearsal space and recording and mixing studio.

And they’ve basically been recording ever since.

The latest fruit from the Odditorium is the Dandy’s tenth studio slab Why You So Crazy an eclectic mish-mash of styles that adds up to an undeniably fun whole.

While Courtney said the album differed considerably from their last effort, 2016s Distortland he added that it continued in the same Dandy Warhols vein of sonic rebelliousness.

“Distortland was a kind of pastiche of that kind of London and Manchester thing – you know that sound of, like 1991 or 1992, and I guess for this one, it’s more about us going back to the roots of what we are – controlled chaos.

“There is also definitely that desire to inject a little bit of a sonic f**k you into what we do, too. By that I mean, we avoid anything that is popular – we look for the anti template.

“I mean, just look at a band like Coldplay. We like to make sure that we are doing the exact opposite of any of the elements in their songs that caught on. That’s how we know we are on the right track.”

Courtney also used the example of the snare sound on Why You So Crazy as an apt example.

“For this record I wanted everyone to be reminded what a real drummer sounds like,” he laughed.

“So, obviously stuff like snare sound was very important. I had an idea in my head and was struggling to communicate it to the engineer until I said that I wanted our snare to sound like I had been hired to produce an album for Sheryl Crow in 1994 and after she heard the snare sound I pulled she f**king fired me.

“And that’s what we got. Also, we played a show at the Brixton Academy in January and I was chatting with various people backstage about the album and then Rat Scabies the drummer from The Dammed came over and told me that he heard the record and loved the drum sound.

“I relayed that story about the snare sounds and he said: ‘mate, the snare sound is the haircut on a really good song. I definitely felt vindicated.

Catch The Dandy Warhols at Scene & Heard on Sunday 10 November. Get your tix here.

Written by Stephen Bisset