June 2019: Tom Dyer – 1+1 = ?

OMG! It is time for yet another Album of the Month!

This month GMR is pleased to release Tom Dyer – 1+1 = ? As you know, that is me, but I will pretend to be objective here. Y’know, neutral-ish.

Here’s what I sent out to the press:

And now for something different. In this latest rendition of the Tom Dyer Saga we step away from his usual pop/rock meanderings and head deep into left field for something strange and beautiful. Is this Dyer’s masterpiece or just a bucket full of indulgence?

1+1 = ? is an album of collaborations. Tom Dyer and mostly one other person, trying to make a sound that is interesting, pure, unfettered. The orchestrated opener, “Everything In The World Is Returning To A State Of Nature” started living in Dyer’s head in 2004 while riding the commuter train to Boston and looking at rust. A 2017 call to Jim of Seattle finally brought it to vibrant life. The clangorous train-wreck song “Death At Mounts Road” did not exist in any form until Tom and Amy Denio walked in the recording studio on a January 2018 Saturday morning.

More than half of these songs do not have drums. Most are slow. Some songs were written prior to the collaboration, others like the psycho-matic “Alaska (Put It In Your Head)” with The OF’s John Carey are pure improvisation. Ornette Coleman’s “A Girl Named Rainbow” was purchased as sheet music in 1977 and was the final song recorded for the album, in 2019.

Photo by Howie Wahlen

Dyer: “I started this album almost ten years ago without knowing it. The songs on this album were all one-offs. Accidents. While this album was taking its slow course, I completed seven other albums. Along the way accidents kept progressing, songs that just didn’t fit elsewhere. Some became singles. Some just hid. It was only when Amy came to Olympia for a day and we recorded “Mounts Road” that I realized there was a thread between them. These one-off orphans were all collaborations with one other person, and I was the glue. Since then I recorded three more songs with various collaborators and one by accident. Now it is done.”

This album stands alone as an artifact. These songs will not be performed in public. There will probably be a video or two, but don’t hold your breath. This is sufficient.

                                                                                                  ### As you no doubt know, it is pretty hard for me to have any perspective on the album at this point, but let me say this. I think that some folks will probably think this to be a bunch of avant garde  foolishness. I don’t think that at all. I think this is beautiful music, not quite The String Quartet Tribute to The Velvet Underground and Nico, but beautiful. It is pure to the essence of my soul and that is all I can do. As is typical for many musicians, my favorite track is the last one I recorded, Ornette Coleman’s A Girl Named Rainbow. Whatever one likes or does not like about my music, I think it is encapsulated there. And I do hope you like it.
Photo by Howie Wahlen
I must take a moment to thank the folks that participated on the album: in order of appearance -  Jim of Seattle, Kat Dyer, Amy Denio, Ben Dyer, Roger Royset, Joe Cason, John Carey, Kenny Smith, Phil Herschi and Mark Brunke. Most of them had no idea they were working on an album because I didn’t at the time. They were all a delight to work with!

I have a new video for “Everything In the World Is Returning To A State Of Nature.” I tried to make it beautiful too, so I hope you like it. Thanks to the folks that helped get this off the ground: Maggie TeachoutDante & Eros FaulkMarc Sterling, Garrett Tatsumi, Dan Neelands, Dan King, and Carlton Lonergan IV. Bravo all!

I also did an extensive interview with VP Howie Wahlen that you can read right here!

So what else is up?

Well, next month we are releasing the debut of Sally Barry – Renditions. She and Mark Brunke recorded some of these songs in 1997 for Kill Me Records. They have recorded anew all the songs this year just for you! This album is acoustically driven beautiful weirdness. Just what you expect from GMR – something completely different!

In August we will be releasing Chemistry Set – The Complete Works. This release covers their brief shining moment in the 80’s. The master tapes from back when were baked and have been mastered and it is glorious! We have been threatening to do this for about four years, so for those of you who have been waiting patiently, you can breathe easy soon. There is a definite rumor that the band may play a show for this release. I love rumors. In September, we will be releasing Toiling Midgets – Sea of Tranquility. The Toiling ones have many fine releases in the dark past, but this is their first on GMR. So exciting! They will be touring in Europe this fall. Dante and Eros Faulk are going into the studio to record their follow up to 2017’s Beirt – it will likely be out before the year’s end, so a potential stocking stuffer! Finally, GMR is in secret negotiations to release one of Seattle’s trumpet greats. It is too early to say the eagle has landed, but our fingers are crossed. On the video front, Jeff Kelly has released yet another video for his new album, Beneath The Stars, Above The River. The video, Hush of the Southern Night, is Jeff’s fourth video for this album. You want to view them all! There is also a new interview with Jeff posted that you will want to read right here!

Shows this month? Hmmm.

Swedish Finnish is playing at Darrell’s Tavern in Shoreline this Saturday the 22nd with Mopsey and The Pop Cycle. Rock out, baby! Also Saturday the 22nd, The Shaken Growlers are playing out in Port Orchard at the 4th Annual Shift Into Summer! Hot Rods! Pin-ups! Local vendors and artisans of all types! Trophies! Burnouts! Music! They’ll be playing in the Hi-Tide Bar and Grill 1371 Bay St, Port Orchard. Whee!
TD with Stacy Bloch @ KZAX FM in Bellingham WA
I may host a top secret GMR Summer Party with The True Olympians this year. Rumor has it that a certain Mr. Kelly may be ready and willing to debut his acoustic combo at the event. Talk is cheap of course, so we shall see. On a final note for June, I am now a radio disc jockey on KAOS 89.3 FM in Olympia. My show is FreeForm Northwest, airing on Wednesdays from 1 – 3:00pm. If you are far away, you can stream the show from the station’s website (kaosradio.org) for up to two weeks after it airs. I play every kind of music there is in the greater Pacific Northwest (‘cept GMR stuff – FCC violation!).  I do occasional interviews with Northwest musicians, which I also post on my FFNW Facebook page www.facebook.com/FreeFormNorthwest/. I think that about covers it for today. Carry on! td 6-21-19

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