Album Walkthrough: Dave the band break down Slob Stories, share Insta filter
It's a big day for the Newcastle group, with their debut album released ahead of a launch show tonight, and the arrival of an Instagram filter too.
Today's a big day for Novocastrians dave the band, but it's been a long time coming. Over the last four years, the Newcastle group have grown into a band at the upper echelon of the city's rich live music scene, with a notoriety for high-energy punk mixed with the grittiness of 90s grunge and 2000s alt-rock, a combination that in their live shows, really has the ability to come to life and transform into an entirely different beast - something that's only grown with everything they've put out.
From their arrival back in 2016 with their debut EP Sunny Days in Winter, dave the band's trajectory into a newcoming favourite of Australia's rock scene was already set into place. From there, however, they've only come to grow and evolve, deepening their sound with new influences and energies as they follow it up with further collections that all sit within this alt-punk-esque realm without being too similar to one another; their follow-up 2016 EP Poor Kelpie, 2017 Yoch! Bangers collection and 2018's Never Yoch Alone EP being examples of which.
Now, however, with their debut album Slob Stories, dave the band are finally reaching the newfound peak that's been such a long time coming. It's a collection of ten tracks that introduce dave the band at their most refined and polished, welcoming a new heavy-hitter to Australia's rock world while also encapsulating the journey it's taken to get there, and everything that's gone into that. It feels like a summary of their journey in a way, with nods to their past sounds brought forward into present-day, all while teasing new avenues for future potential paths for their next chapter - something a debut album should be all about.
Recorded in Chicago with Steve Albini (Nirvana, The Pixies), Slob Stories spotlights dave the band's DIY spirit front and centre. As we mentioned, it's their most refined and polished work to date, but that doesn't mean they lose the rough-around-the-edges charm that's helped further the group over the years. It's definitively punk - not just in sound (and sure, there are moments where their punk edge certainly merges with other sounds), but in its spirit too, and how they're able to channel moments quite emotional and heartfelt into searing, vigorous anthems that really bring their spirit forward.
Slob Stories comes at quite a transformative time for the band, and it's really just the main focus of a larger universe the band are starting to create today. The album arrives ahead of two launch shows tonight at Newcastle institution The Cambridge Hotel (you can get tickets to the early show here, but the later show is already sold out), a place that's become central not just to the rise of dave the band, but a burgeoning rock world quickly becoming notorious to Newcastle, and the community that's got into elevating that and making it what it is.
Then, there's also the launch of the 'What Dave Are You' filter, which arrives alongside the record's release today. You can head over to their Instagram to check it out, but basically all you got to do is film yourself with the filter active, and it'll turn into somewhat of a Harry Potter sorting hat of infamous Daves: Dave Brubeck (the jazz pioneer), Dave Grohl (who really needs no introduction), dave. (the rapper), Dave Le’aupeppe (who also needs no introduction, but it's the Gang of Youths frontman for those unfamiliar) and Dave McCormack (of Custard).
Anyway, you can take a dive into the album below, check out the Instagram filter here, find information on their shows tonight here, and if that's not enough for you, we've got the band walking us through the album's creation one track at a time too, as a part of our latest album walkthrough:
Ultrahard started with a riff that I wrote years ago, but I could never find the right tone to turn it into a complete track. The opening lines came to me one day in the surf and I finished the rest in my head before I came in. I knew straight away that it would be the album opener and first single on Slob Stories. The song is about dealing with massive highs and the inevitable lows that come after. It sets the tone for the darker and heavier themes on the album. Recording with Steve Albini, we are able to capture the emotion and intensity of our live performance in a way that we haven’t been able to before. We did hardly any overdubs, letting the raw emotion of the song come to the forefront.
Where you are
Where you are was one of the first tracks written on the album. I felt like it had a different feeling and mood to our previous releases and was the catalyst for the shift in tone and themes throughout the album. It’s also the first dave song to only have one vocal take throughout the whole track – normally I would sing it twice through to give a chorus effect. When I suggested singing it a second time, Steve said in his deadpan way, “or you could not double everything,” so we stuck with the one take.
I wrote the lyrics for Footy Socks when I was pegging my washing one afternoon. The line “footy socks don’t get lost” came to me when I’d lost yet another indistinguishable black sock, however, my blue and yellow footy socks always stuck together. When I picked up the guitar that arvo, the riff came to me straight away and the lyrics I’d written earlier seemed to fit perfectly. I still get a bit nervous playing Footy Socks live because it’s so different to the rest of our high voltage set. It always goes down well though. It gives everyone a chance to take a breath and chill for two and a half minutes.
This is the “fun” song on the album. It’s more light-hearted compared to the other tracks on Slob Stories but is really important to the bigger picture of the album. I think of it as a little bit of sunshine peeking through the clouds on an otherwise dark and gloomy day – a sentiment that sums up the entire album pretty well. It’s about reaching a turning point where you realise that you’ve got to stop dwelling on the BS that is happening around you and get on with your day. Putting certain thoughts at the back of your mind, if only for a couple of hours, and letting yourself focus on the important things. I remember Steve said it sounded like The Breeders and it made me happy.
Fine! is my idea of what it sounds like when you’ve got a million things running around your head and you’re telling yourself that it’s going to be OK when you know it won’t. It’s like a cathartic release when we play it live and it felt the same when we tracked it in the studio. I’m pretty sure we did it one take.
Brave is a song that I’d recorded as a solo endeavour by myself at home prior to bringing it to the band. It was really pretty, with harmonies and glockenspiel. It wasn’t a typical dave ‘banger,’ but it was song that meant a lot to me and I wanted to be able to play it with the band. The lines “in the morning the sun stood on the sea / the reflections drew a line directly to you and me / I knew that we were where we needed to be,” were written when I was surfing at sunrise in Sri Lanka. The sky was pink and I was surrounded by coconut trees and friendly locals in this strange, tropical place. I think about it every time we play the song.
I had the idea for capsule when I heard a friend talking about his trip to Japan where he’d stayed in a capsule hotel. It was written just as winter was ending and I was reflecting on the last few months that had passed. We’ve always been influenced by Cloud Nothings but this is the track that makes me think of them the most. Gabe and Max are chugging away so hard in the verses that all I need to do is strum each chord once and it feels like the song becomes this living and breathing thing that we are engulfed in when we play it.
Endstart was written the day after Capsule and felt like the second movement of a bigger piece. We always play the two consecutively in our live shows. I didn’t even know if it would end up as a dave track when I was writing it, we workshopped heaps of different arrangements until coming up with one that felt right. It’s a really personal song and I play it at nearly every solo show I play, as well as dave shows. When I sing the words, I’m partly singing it to myself, as well as a few good mates who I was thinking about a lot at the time of writing.
Sadsack is an older song that I wrote on the piano. We’d tried a few different versions of it before settling on an arrangement. We ended up doing it in the simplest and most straight-forward way that we could. It adds to the honesty and vulnerability of the song. This is the only track off the album that we’ve never done live. Max reckons that nobody would want to hear it (it’s a joke, I think).
Eating me up
This was the last song written for the album. It was about a month before we were about to leave for the States and I was on holiday up the coast. I sent a voice memo to Max and Gabe so they could learn it and play it when I got home. It was one of those songs that came out and was finished in about ten minutes. It’s like the end of a massive day and you’re lying in bed with everything racing through your head. It felt straight away like it would be the perfect closer for the album.
Follow Dave The Band: FACEBOOK