Van Dale

Last week I argued that we’ve reached the point where building your band around guitars automatically marks your sound as retro, and here’s an example of why that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Van Dale is a rock trio from Columbus featuring two members of Way Yes, a group that tends to combine warm synth tones, global rhythms and twee songwriting into something that sounds very in-step with the definitive indie bands of its day; they draw frequent comparisons to Animal Collective and Vampire Weekend. Van Dale’s approach, on the other hand, is as back-to-basics as it gets, deploying drums, bass, and loads of guitar in the pursuit of melodically charged alt-rock straight out of 1994. Think Weezer, Pavement, and Built To Spill. “Bed Of Bricks (Isn’t It)” is one of several tracks on Van Dale’s self-titled debut that sound like the blue stuff at 96 percent purity — not that Heisenberg blue, that Rivers Cuomo blue. The melody is laid on thick, the distortion even thicker. It’s basically the love child of “The World Has Turned And Left Me Here” and “Say It Ain’t So,” and if that sounds as sublime to you as it does to me, you ought to check it out below.

Van Dale is out now digitally and 10/8 on vinyl, both through Bandcamp.

[Photo by Nick Fancher]

Comments (5)
  1. I’m glad I didn’t really read that article you wrote. The parts I scanned sounded pretty dumb, and I’m not even sure if you believe it. It sounds like the kind of article I’ve grown to expect periodically from Tom, those ones that are only meant to generate hits by being provocative through any means necessary. Here, I’ll leave you with a quote:
    “Guitar groups are on the way out.”–Decca label rep dismissing some young lads called the Beatles

    • If you would have actually read the article before trashing it, you would have noticed that very same quote is referenced and a nuanced argument is presented, an argument I wholeheartedly believe.

      • As often happens on Stereogum these days, it wasn’t long before I found myself reading the comments, many of which were from people who reacted with similar incredulity after reading the whole article. The fact that you are aware of that quote and yet still chose to write all of that just reinforces my belief that the whole piece really was just a ploy to generate hits. Obviously, history repeats itself and everything moves in cycles, and only an idiot would not realize how pointless another article speculating on the death of guitar rock would be at this point. Also, as someone who allegedly cares so much about guitar rock and as a published writer who necessarily has some influence, you must realize that, you become a part of the problem if anyone actually does choose to drink your Kool-Aid. Stereogum is becoming the Fox News of music blogs. “If we can get them to ignore the facts long enough, then they will just react like frightened animals, which is how we pay the bills.”

  2. Great review Chris. Love the Breaking Bad reference. I can’t wait for this album. Such a perfect song.

  3. I sincerely hope this band’s name is a Seinfeld reference.

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