Although their particular brand of rock 'n' roll might sound radio friendly, or&mdash to be more inline with the more modern (if ill-fitting) vocabulary we're used to 'round here&mdash "poppy," the Dandy Warhols are actually one of the more contentious, combustive American rock bands to grace the scene over the past 20 years. This is perhaps best indicated in the 2004 documentary DiG!
, which paralleled the Dandies with psych-rockers The Brian Jonestown Massacre through the friendship of their lead singers, Courtney Taylor-Taylor and Anton Newcombe, respectively.
The Capitol Years 1995-2007 is a "best of"curation of the Dandy Warhols' work throughout their career, with one new bonus track "This is the Tide." Curated by whose standards, exactly, I'm not entirely sure (although the band's website says it was produced by one Dennis Wolfe for EMI). What is certain is that if you've ever had a remote interest in the Dandies and what they do, this album right here is the new requisite point of entry.
Capitol Years has a bit of everything 'The Dandies.' 1998's "Boys Better"kicks off the thing and is grungy, mean, and growly, but hardly menacing, thanks mostly to an infectiously catchy keyboard riff that balances out the whole thing— it provides a pretty accurate prognostic for the rest of the Dandy's catalogue. "Not if You Were the Last Junky on Earth"has a purposefully sloppy Oasis-y droll to it (although, I find the intro/chorus of, "Heroine is so passe..." to be a bit too tongue-in-cheek for my taste, but it seems to fit the bill). It's Americanized Brit-pop, non-anthemic, but more on the Travis end of the spectrum than, say, Coldplay. And of course, there's the classic "Bohemian Like You,"which is great and is something I'm sure you folks have already heard.
Other highlights: "We Used to be Friends"features Taylor-Taylor exercising some falsetto, which breaks up the 90's teenaged mopiness up rather nicely. "Plan A"comes from a more experimental area, and is a little bit more minimal, with a noticeably higher pitched twang occupying every notable faculty. The new track, "This is the Tide," is actually very good. It, too, is grungy, fuzzy, distorted, but comes across lyrically and more unintelligible, more visceral than the rest. It has an off-the-cuffness to it that seems to be a hidden forte of the band's. I like it.
Capitol Years is a nice curation of the Dandy Warhol's familiar sound. If you don't like wading through old albums to find the good stuff&mdash and sometimes that really is exhausting&mdash this is a solid, well-executed introduction to a great band that never really made it to the next level. A quick word to diehards: you can skip this— there isn't really anything you haven't heard before, anyway. -chris gayomali