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Songs Everyone Should Know - School of Seven Bells' Dust Devil

Sometimes I neglect recommendations and then forget about them. Often these are the bands I end up regretting the most when someone finally actually gets me to listen and then tells me all about the shows on those early tours I missed. Obviously, this is one of those bands.

Many people, both in real life and on here have talked to me about School of Seven Bells. Every time I said “sweet, I’ll check em out” and then carried on my merry way with whatever my obsession du jour was (pro-tip, it was probably the only band I talked about that day), and filed the name away into the bin of “bands I should probably check out” and in a couple of cases with sviib, even listened to a few tracks, explored, but wasn’t caught by them. My bar for attraction is kind of weird and high. I’m super specific about my tastes, and they don’t always make sense.

Then, a few weeks ago, on our anniversary, my wife and I were taking a rare day. We didn’t travel, but the kids were with family and we had a day to ourselves, so we explored our recently revitalized downtown, had lunch, wandered, and had a couple of drinks. Eventually we made it to a place that I can only describe as a new hipster bar (which is unfair, and completely accurate), exposed brick, exposed ducts and piping, all natural wood, in some cases clearly reused, mixed drinks that didn’t exist 10 years ago, flights of whisky or mezcal, and craft beers, along with a menu which was trying way too hard. But the drinks were solid and the prices were surprisingly not as crazy as some of their neighbors. So we sat next to the window and people watched and talked.


About half an hour in, I hear a song, and a voice, and I know I’ve heard the band, and the voice, but I cannot place the song. And it’s fucking driving me nuts, it’s got this DRIVING beat, and these ethereal vocals, and this baseline that just inspires snakelike thoughts. So, before I miss my chance, I Shazam the damn song. I practically facepalm myself. It’s School of Seven Bells’ Dust Devil, playing on a system which is magic in its simplicity (early 70’s analog receiver and a pair of stupidly good high wall mounted speakers). And then, because it’s the barkeeps phone/iPod that’s playing music, the remix of the same song comes on the song after next. At this point the song is buried in my head.

Another confession, we set aside a bit of money to enjoy for our anniversary, but we didn’t do gifts this year, Xmas was just about the kids, and our anniversary was more about spending time together. So I didn’t really have any spending money. So for the last couple of weeks I’ve been streaming this album, listening on YouTube, checking out social media and dealing with the inconvenience of not actually owning an album I am obsessed with. I haven’t done this in years. It reminded me of all the years I spent slowly amassing a giant music collection, it sparked something. Music is now something I am seeing everywhere. I’ve reactivated some social media accounts and watches/notifications. I suddenly want to write about music again. And this was the song that brought me back.

A few days ago, after paying all of our bills, and doing the math, I noticed that I could put some money aside, and still cover everything, including starting to try to rebuild savings (this last year has been crazy), so I spent what would be my beer/one lunch a month out/need something for myself money and ordered Disconnect From Desire (on Amazon, because I could get the stream / download immediately, which ended up including the two remixes that the digital version comes with, that I actually had decided to forgo because I wanted to save the fifty cents by ordering the cd (Amazon’s pricing is weird).


I’ve listened to practically nothing else. This album is my soundtrack. And my life is many times over the better for it. This whole album is amazing. I’ve ordered albums on the strength of a single song, this one I had already lived with for a couple of weeks, in inconvenient formats, and knew it had to be mine. The only reason I’m feature the magic which is Dust Devil is because it was the catalyst. But ILU, Windstorm, Heart is Strange, hell… everything from this album is amazing and worth talking about.

The synths, the vocals, the beats, the instrumentation, it all adds up to magic. I can’t recommend this album enough. And it reminds me that no matter how much I listen to music, there will always be something I missed. And that I need to remember to listen to the recommendations of those around me who know me.


(Of course, sometimes I just don’t like something… like the band Ride, or LCD Soundsystem, or VNV Nation, and it’s weird, because most people around me love them, and I just can’t, and often it’s something about vocal pitch, tonal qualities, or some X factor that just doesn’t work for me).

Gamecat235 was a music reviewer once upon a time, has been listening to music of all walks for just about his entire life, and has far too many CDs, not nearly enough records, and befriends DJ’s very very easily. This series was started when an online discussion made him realize, yet again, that he knew more about the music he loved than he really had any reason to, and that he missed writing about it. You can find him online all over the place, but he’s most active here. Have any songs or albums that you think everyone should know about, but no one does? Share them in the comments!


You can follow the link… to see all of the posts in this series.

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