De Novo Dahl – Wild Card

denovodahlSometimes it’s difficult to pinpoint the moment when a band becomes bigger than a “local band.” When did the Features do it? Feable Weiner? Venus Hum? Bands tend to grow fairly gradually until one day, they’re touring Europe and you’re thinking “I think their bass player still owes me rent.” But in the case of De Novo Dahl, that moment will come on Saturday January 29th when the band releases their ridiculously ambitious double album, Cats & Kittens, at the Exit/In.

De Novo Dahl threw out the pop band rulebook early last year when they hit upon the idea of recording more than an album’s worth of songs, remixing each song and releasing all 32 tracks as a double album. Such an undertaking has destroyed more experienced bands. Nonetheless, DND has made it through intact and resulting Cats and its remixed Kittens should strengthen their already familial bonds.

The album proper is impressive enough – DND often sound like The Divine Comedy playing Kinks’ songs on Pulp’s instruments — but the remix disc is just jaw-dropping in its imaginative scope. No song is “traditionally” remixed. “We remixed, we reworked, restructured, re-did the music,” says Joey Andrews, drummer. “Sometimes we even took the words of the songs and made them say other things. We had no boundaries.”

Absentee Ballad is recognizable only by the occasional repetition of words from MondayMorning. Otherwise, it is a bizarre soundscape over which DND recorded someone’s voice mail messages. Magic makes a disco song out of Cowboy and the Frenchman. Such dedication to taking their own songs apart makes putting the pieces back together a blast. Their completely new takes on the songs makes Kittens just as listenable as its source material – a rare feat for a remix disc.

Now situated with the ever-impressive Theory 8 Records in Nashville, De Novo Dahl is poised to make their impact on the indie pop scene at large. Aaron Hartley, president of Theory 8, “was very open and receptive to the idea [of a double album]. He’s a chance-taker, a go-getter,” says Andrews.

It’s a perfect fit for a band who says “we’ll try anything.” A philosophy that includes a hot dog vendor at the CD release show and, of course, cats and kittens, courtesy of the Humane Association.

[This piece originally appeared in All The Rage.]