Music

Herman Düne + Julie Doiron: 29 October 2009 - Chicago

Words and Pictures by Kirstie Shanley

David-Ivar Herman Düne has a problem. You see, he’s really a superhero and he has to find a way to tell his girlfriend. It’s a good thing he’s an apt lyricist or there’d be no hope for the situation at all. It’s topics like these that separate French duo Herman Düne from other bands concentrating heavily on the singer/songwriter format. The idiosyncratic makes for great conversational elements and interesting rhyme schemes. It also helps keep the audience listening and, at times, even laughing.

Not all of Herman Düne’s songs are about superheros, though. Many of them are also about small moments and creating a song around them. They’ll make you hear Strange Music as well and perhaps you can also appreciate it. Often times the songs begin simply and slowly in a more gentle fashion and proceed to an intense crescendo with Néman Herman Düne helping out on drums. But frequently the main idea or sense of meaning from the song is repeated to emphasize it specifically, for instance “No World Without You” sung with honesty and weight over and over again. At one different point in the night, David-Ivar Herman Düne even elevated his lower voice to an anxious tenor while repeating “I shout your name” to give a heightened sense of emotional urgency which proved rather effective.

Playing for nearly an hour and a half, Herman Düne also sang a great song, “Shadow of a Doubt,” and spoke about his love of the Hitchcock film. Considering their intellectual proclivities, this came as no surprise. It also wasn't shocking that David-Ivar Herman Düne mentioned how much he was a fan of both Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen in-between songs, considering his singer-songwriter folk featured perfectly matching guitar. Yet there was a more whimsical sense at times, between roaring like a lion while meeting at next year in Zion and his, sometimes, very quirky topics. But regardless of whether his mood took on a more silly or serious element his sincerity didn't waver.

There were times when both Dünes sang together, which made for an interesting contrast between vocal ranges. “Try to Think About Me (Don’t You Worry a Bit)" was a favorite highlight for this reason. Also, as a special treat, Julie Doiron joined Herman Düne on stage towards the end of the set. According the David-Ivar Herman Düne, the pair met ten years ago in Chicago at the unfortunately now defunct club, Lounge Ax. It was lovely to hear some of Doiron’s vocals complement the songs to establish a perfect balance between masculine and feminine. There was a sense of comfort and ease there, which made the lyrics flow well and set up the song “Walk Don’t Run” for a very powerful conclusion.

Doiron’s set beforehand was also lovely as usual. It was interesting how Doiron presented herself. It was almost as if she had a conversation with an old friend on a telephone, the way she rambled for large expanses of time between songs. If it were anyone else it might prove annoying, but with Julie Doiron it was, instead, endearing. It was also better to have just her on stage singing solo and playing her guitar rather than with a band as on recent tours. There was something altogether more intimate about it, the inherent tendency of the songs it seemed. Doiron played for a little over 45 minutes and as usual took requests from the audience, relating stories about each song before beginning them. She often leaves the impression that all of her songs are autobiographical, about her kids, her relationships, and her place in the music industry as well as the world. It felt like a genuine gift she was able to give to strangers by sharing her life experiences. The best part of her set was the way she ended it: with a powerful medley between “No More” and “The Wrong Guy.”

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Scholar Judith May Fathallah's work blurs lines between author and ethnographer, fan experiences and genre TV storytelling.

In Fanfiction and the Author: How Fanfic Changes Popular Culture Texts, author Judith May Fathallah investigates the progressive intersections between popular culture and fan studies, expanding scholarly discourse concerning how contemporary blurred lines between texts and audiences result in evolving mediated practices.

Keep reading... Show less
8

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less
3
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image