Music

The Dons: Dawn of The Dons

Gary Glauber

The Dons

Dawn of the Dons

Label: Not Lame
US Release Date: 2002-08-06
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

Don Mogill has a rare natural ability to craft finely melodic guitar-driven pop songs with sweet harmonies that are easy on the ears. These songs seem to recall a vaguely distant happier simpler time when matters of the heart were what mattered most. As such, this debut CD from the Dons arrives with equal parts glorious guitar jangle/sheen and guardedly fond nostalgic feel.

These are delicious pieces of ear candy, cleanly produced by Steve Refling and mastered by the band's rhythm guitarist Ken West (Receiver). When such sweet songs wend their way into your subconscious, the only real question is why they aren't finding a larger audience.

Dawn of The Dons opens with the hook-laden "Cakewalk", an unapologetic song about songwriting, playing out and "music on the run". In simple terms, Mogill explains you get it done: "Gonna chew on the microphone / State my point of view / Belt out a rhythm, ring it in your ear /And abandon desperation."

Another catchy melody that clocks in efficiently less than three minutes (and one that seems like it could fit into the Rosenbergs repertoire) is "Till We Meet Again". In "Stain", Don Mogill has written perhaps the classiest song yet related to Monica's oral escapades in the oval office.

Most of the music here recalls rockers with a fondness for sweet melodies, big hooks and equally infectious harmonies like the Posies, Velvet Crush or their requisite component members and affiliated friends (Auer, Stringfellow, Sweet, et al). "One Horse Town" has a real Posies feel to it, a tale of trying to put a happy face on the hurt pride of having being jilted for another.

"Only Guy" is that perfect radio-ready single with marvelous jangle guitar sounds (and a great middle lead), impressive harmonies and even the requisite "Oh Yeah" chorus. This song covers similar subject matter, the man pleading his case before deciding to move on, setting the parameters of what her yes or no will mean.

"Diane" shows the Dons' capability with the softer ballad, another pretty song whose beauty masks the seriousness of its topic matter, a relationship that has reached an impasse. Kudos go out to the rhythm section of Jesse Jay on bass and Doug Riggs on drums with their fine work on "Everything We Need".

Another strong song worth singling out is "On My Way Down", with equal parts great harmonies and strong guitars (Mogill and West really do a great job), and even a mid-song key change. Lyrically, it is an examination of the type of normal apprehensions and fears that can encroach upon the thought processes while in a relationship.

"Together" is further proof that Mogill has saved up a whole satchel-full of rocking songs for this debut (check out the fab 1960s-style lead that follows the middle bridge). "Fallen Angels" is more soft rock, West-coast style, and even seems a bit Beach Boys/Brian Wilson-ish, while "It's Over Now" seems to mix new wave energy with a chorus that seems a wee bit Don Henley/Eagle-ish.

The brief closer "I'll Show You" shows us merely that there's no drop in quality from the first song to the last (though there also is a bonus alternate version of "On My Way Down" included as well). The Los Angeles quartet known as the Dons has produced a real gem of a debut album, one that grows sweeter, more pleasant and soothing, the more you play it. If you enjoy sweet harmonies and melodic well-crafted pop/rock, turn your ears toward Dawn of The Dons.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Blues' Johnny Ray Daniels Sings About "Somewhere to Lay My Head" (premiere)

Johnny Ray Daniels' "Somewhere to Lay My Head" is from new compilation that's a companion to a book detailing the work of artist/musician/folklorist Freeman Vines. Vines chronicles racism and injustice via his work.

Music

The Band of Heathens Find That Life Keeps Getting 'Stranger'

The tracks on the Band of Heathens' Stranger are mostly fun, even when on serious topics, because what other choice is there? We all may have different ideas on how to deal with problems, but we are all in this together.

Music

Landowner's 'Consultant' Is OCD-Post-Punk With Obsessive Precision

Landowner's Consultant has all the energy of a punk-rock record but none of the distorted power chords.

Film

NYFF: 'American Utopia' Sets a Glorious Tone for Our Difficult Times

Spike Lee's crisp concert film of David Byrne's Broadway show, American Utopia, embraces the hopes and anxieties of the present moment.

Music

South Africa's Phelimuncasi Thrill with Their Gqom Beats on '2013-2019'

A new Phelimuncasi anthology from Nyege Nyege Tapes introduces listeners to gqom and the dancefloors of Durban, South Africa.

Music

Wolf Parade's 'Apologies to the Queen Mary' Turns 15

Wolf Parade's debut, Apologies to the Queen Mary, is an indie rock classic. It's a testament to how creative, vital, and exciting the indie rock scene felt in the 2000s.

Books

Literary Scholar Andrew H. Miller On Solitude As a Common Bond

Andrew H. Miller's On Not Being Someone Else considers how contemplating other possibilities for one's life is a way of creating meaning in the life one leads.

Music

Fransancisco's "This Woman's Work" Cover Is Inspired By Heartache (premiere)

Indie-folk brothers Fransancisco dedicate their take on Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" to all mothers who have lost a child.

Film

Rodd Rathjen Discusses 'Buoyancy', His Film About Modern Slavery

Rodd Rathjen's directorial feature debut, Buoyancy, seeks to give a voice to the voiceless men and boys who are victims of slavery in Southeast Asia.

Music

Hear the New, Classic Pop of the Parson Red Heads' "Turn Around" (premiere)

The Parson Red Heads' "Turn Around" is a pop tune, but pop as heard through ears more attuned to AM radio's glory days rather than streaming playlists and studio trickery.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Blitzen Trapper on the Afterlife, Schizophrenia, Civil Unrest and Our Place in the Cosmos

Influenced by the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Blitzen Trapper's new album Holy Smokes, Future Jokes plumbs the comedic horror of the human condition.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Fire in the Time of Coronavirus

If we venture out our front door we might inhale both a deadly virus and pinpoint flakes of ash. If we turn back in fear we may no longer have a door behind us.

Music

Sufjan Stevens' 'The Ascension' Is Mostly Captivating

Even though Sufjan Stevens' The Ascension is sometimes too formulaic or trivial to linger, it's still a very good, enjoyable effort.

Jordan Blum
Music

Chris Smither's "What I Do" Is an Honest Response to Old Questions (premiere + interview)

How does Chris Smither play guitar that way? What impact does New Orleans have on his music? He might not be able to answer those questions directly but he can sure write a song about it.

Music

Sally Anne Morgan Invites Us Into a Metaphorical Safe Space on 'Thread'

With Thread, Sally Anne Morgan shows that traditional folk music is not to be smothered in revivalist praise. It's simply there as a seed with which to plant new gardens.

Music

Godcaster Make the Psych/Funk/Hard Rock Debut of the Year

Godcaster's Long Haired Locusts is a swirling, sloppy mess of guitars, drums, flutes, synths, and apparently whatever else the band had on hand in their Philly basement. It's a highly entertaining and listenable album.

Film

The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.