Dummy Free Energy

Label
Trouble In Mind
Released
6th September 2024

Format Info

LP - Indies Inverted Hyperspace Splatter Vinyl

Dummy is a rock band from Los Angeles comprised of Alex Ewell, Emma Maatman, Nathan O’Dell, and Joe Trainor. Their debut full-length “Mandatory Enjoyment” (Trouble in Mind) arrived in late 2021, becoming one of the year’s sleeper hits and garnering praise from Pitchfork, Stereogum, and more. Coming out of lockdown, the band spent two years touring in support of the record, and it is this transformational experience that pulses through “Free Energy”, the exhilarating follow-up to “Mandatory Enjoyment”.

A creatively restless band, Dummy (Ewell: drums, synths, bass; Maatman: vocals, synths, organ; O’Dell: vocals, guitar, organ; Trainor: guitar, bass, synths) wanted to get harder, dancier, more psychedelic for their next record. This meant applying explorative potentials of electronic textures to the elemental qualities of rock i.e. more vocal loops, sampling, more crazy rhythms, and playful synths – but make those samples of Trainor’s guitar, let Maatman sing bolder, experiment with using cold mechanical elements in warm and sparkly ways, and lean harder into traditional-yet-still-awesome forms of rock guitar experimentation like feedback. The result is a record that celebrates music’s ability to move the body, whether that be through a teeth-rattling wall of MBV-esque noise, a sticky pop chorus, or a joyous drum machine or, if you’re Dummy, maybe all of them in the same song.

Pop music has always been a big part of Dummy’s sound and it manifests in different ways all over Free Energy: the bubbly synth sequence made with a Korg EM1 popping all over “Nullspace,” the revved-up drone-pop inspired by second and third wave Dunedin Sound bands like Look Blue Go Purple and Dadamah, and the motorik beat powering “Nine Clean Nails,” perhaps the most confidently pop song Dummy has ever recorded and one that exemplifies “Free Energy”’s balancing of live performance intensity with electronic augmentations, the dancier rhythmic elements created out of a drum loop recorded by Ewell while the bridge recalls the Feelies with call-and-response guitars from O’Dell and expressive vocals from Maatman.

“Free Energy” also features guest appearances from Oakland-based saxophonist and electroacoustic artist Cole Pulice (Moon Glyph) contributes saxophone and wind synths and Jen Powers of Powers / Rolin Duo (Astral Editions, Feeding Tube Records).

Other Releases by Dummy