"San Francisco duo the Dodos matches fleet strumming and picking with steady percussion and select other instrumentation, playing deceptively low-key songs that accrue a modest power like proverbial stones and moss" Time Out New York
PORT O BRIEN – Though raised in the small coastal town of Cambria, CA, Van Pierszalowski spent all of his summers on Kodiak Island in Alaska, where his father works as a commercial salmon fisherman. Every summer, Van would (and still does) go up North to work on his father's boat, the Shawnee. The work is intense (20 hr. work days, weeks after weeks without touching land, no showers or toilets, stormy seas), but ultimately rewarding (beauty, inspiration, and money.)
Over the past couple of years, Port O'Brien has evolved into a full 4-piece band and currently performs all around California. Onstage, their youthful vigor (the average age of a member is 21) compliments their folkish sound in a way that feels exciting and new, as if Cap'n Jazz were translating a set of Will Oldhams most approachable material.
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Visiter by San Francisco band The Dodos is their second full length and first for Frenchkiss. Originally formed in 2006 under the moniker Dodobird as a one man acoustic act, Meric Long would gig around SF playing folky guitar w/ a combination of loops and ambient keyboards. Having already studied West African Ewe drumming, Meric got turned onto country blues fingerpicking and sought to create a band where the drumming could be a center role and help bring out the syncopated rhythms coming out of the acoustic guitar. Through a chance introduction by a roommate, Meric met Santa Cruz transplant Logan Kroeber, who had also been experimenting with drumming, but in the area of progressive metal. Eventually the band changed their name to the Dodos, through constant harrowing from first tourmates Peter and the Wolf, and got a rehearsal studio where they'd spend long hours improvising the music that would become their first record Beware of the Maniacs. The band quit their day jobs as a line cook and a printer and hit the road in Oct. 2006.
The Dodos' principal concept behind Visiter was to reconnect with the energy and intensity of their live show. They decided to return to Type Foundry Studio where Beware of the Maniacs had been recorded. With producer/engineer John Askew back at the helm, they began expounding upon what they had learned since the previous record. The basic drum and guitar takes were recorded live simultaneously with very minimal post production. Type Foundry's warehouse-sized live room led to experimentation with mic placement, capturing a variety of ambient & natural sounds. At one point during tracking, the audible din of a thunderstorm inspired an impromptu horn session between Meric and guest trumpeter, Cory Gray. A small section of this can be heard between the songs "Fools" and "Joe's Waltz" on the record.
Visiter was completely written while on the road from the fall of 2006 to the summer of 2007.
The name of the record came from a drawing a kid did for them when they played for his special education class at Dorsey High in South Central on a road trip down to LA. With all of their time being spent on the road, Meric's lyrics drew heavily from his experiences while touring. They would come home for days at a time, and then leave for a month, always coming and going, which pretty much shaped every relationship the band had during that year.