John Dufilho can very well be one of the best musicians you've never heard of. The multi-instrumentalist from Dallas, TX has his own band called The Deathray Davies and he's also been the drummer for Denver, CO indie band The Apples in Stereo since 2006. Along with being in two bands, Dufilho put out his own self-titled solo record in 2005 along with two eponymous albums under the name I Love Math in 2002 and Getting To The Point Is Beside It in 2008. His brand new album is another eponymous record, this time under the same John Singer Sergeant, after the famous 19th-century portrait artist. Unlike his previous solo and eponymous work, this record just has Dufilho composing, recording and performing backing music with a star-studded variety of musicians providing the vocals to each track.
Featuring the vocal talents of Centro-Matic's Will Johnson, indie/garage rock prodigy Ben Kweller, The Old 97's Rhett Miller, Apples in Stereo band mate Robert Schneider, Death Cab For Cutie's Chris Walla and former member of funk pioneers Kool & The Gang Sir Earl Toon, Dufilho's new album is very unique with the variety of styles and techniques used in each song. One track can sound like a psychedelic space trip while the next one is a disco-funk anthem that will make you jump off your seat and start movin' your feet.
"Big Distortion" is just that, a genuine rock song with Johnson's gravelly voice accented by keyboards that sound like they're from another planet and a steady drumbeat along with an acoustic guitar. "Mountains, Oceans, Elephants" has Kweller singing while strumming his guitar followed up with a soft bass line, rhythmic drums and a psychedelic guitar from Dufilho that reminds me of The Kinks, The Pixies and Pink Floyd all at once. "Jinxed" is a great indie-pop track that has Schneider's hazy voice over what sounds like a tape rewinding, tapping snares and a simple guitar riff. "Dizzy Joy" is funky, sweet and sassy with Sir Eari Toon's silky smooth voice and a groovy guitar that is guaranteed to make you do the boogie right when you hear Toon start the track with a simple "Testing 1,2,1,2,1,2....." Don't take my opinion as gospel though, grab a copy of the record and formulate your own opinion.
Since John Singer Sergeant is pretty much a compilation but with all original songs featuring different musicians, it's very possible that Dufilho won't be going on tour and rocking the stage at your favorite local music venue anytime soon. While you're sulking and wallowing in your sorrow because you'll most likely never see the amazing tracks off of John Dufilho's new album performed live, why don't you wipe those tears away, get up off your sorry ass, and purchase a copy of the album on the glorious internet or at your local record store? John Singer Sergeant will cure those blues right after you press play.
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