April was due to be the month beloved indie outfit The Dandy Warhols went back out on the road to play tour dates on the East Coast of the United States. Instead, like so many of us, they find themselves bunkered down in Portland and (in drummer Brent DeBoer’s case) Melbourne, beginning the journey of adjustment to the new living restrictions imposed because of ‘the virus’. But like a flower blooming through the cracks of a concrete pavement, true magic can often yield strong under such painstaking confinements; as is the case with the conjuring of The Dandys’ sixth studio album Tafelmuzik Means More When You’re Alone.
The epic 4-hour LP, released through Bandcamp Wednesday 1 April, rejuvenates a new appreciation of play, experimentation and innovation, paying homage to the light-hearted baroque collection of ‘Tafelmusik’ that used to be played during the banquets of yesteryear. A true gift to unsuspecting fans the world over, the recordings took shape after the four-piece finished their fifth studio album Odditorium or Warlords of Mars. “It started out with me pushing everyone to play different instruments,” explains Dandys’ guitarist Peter Holmström. “I ran a drum machine through some effects and then we just fucked around. Courtney and I had keyboards of some kind and Brent was playing bass and Zia was playing the Farfisa.”
“Peter had us all whipped up into plugging power tools into guitar pedals and recording every single instrument in our 12,000 square-foot studio,” says singer-guitarist Courtney Taylor-Taylor. “There was no goal or end in mind; at the time, it felt like the culmination of around 15 years of collecting antique, toy or eccentric musical instruments.” A lover of Tafelmusik with a penchant for dinner parties, Courtney felt it only natural to finally create the perfect music to accompany them. She reminisces “At some point during one of our dinners, we noticed that the emotionally buoyant nature and ambiguity of it was perfect. We began organizing it for long multiple-course meals. This gave us a loose framework and really led us to look at the long flow of a three-to-four-hour musical trip.”
There’s something poetic and beautiful about the timing of this release. As musicians around the world are putting together material in various formats to entertain their respective fans, The Dandy Warhols have yet again done what they do better than anyone else and taken a sideways step out of the current convention by bringing out a record originally created for a banquet when everyone’s in isolation.
Keyboardist Zia McCabe explains why the record is being made available now, rather than at a later date. “I saw on our fan page all the posts of old live shows, videos and interviews people were posting in lieu of seeing us live and realised these guys were starving for new material and there was no way we could get a new album to them in time. I’d recently listened to our never-released Tafelmuzik album and realised it would be perfect. Not only because we could get it out quick, but the music itself felt like just the right medicine for these troubled times. Okay, it’s not a cure for COVID-19, but it could help cure the boredom of being stuck inside – and its light-hearted nature could lift the spirits of people while they organise their own drawers and cabinets.”
She signs off with: “I also think it will be a very special treat for everyone who first enjoys this musical journey alone when they finally get to hear it as the backdrop next time they’re allowed a proper feast with some of the friends they’ve been missing.”
Tafelmuzik Means More When You’re Alone is out now via The Dandy Warhols Bandcamp music.dandywarhols.com.
$1 from each purchase will go to Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, a charity who provide financial assistance to musicians.
For further information on Sweet Relief and to donate, visit: sweetrelief.org
For further news and information on The Dandy Warhols, visit: dandywarhols.com
Listen to Zia’s Coronavirus Spotify Playlist here