Cavedweller / Shapes Have Fangs 7″ Voted BEST SPLIT
Our split 7″ was voted tops by the Austin Chronicle. You can BUY IT HERE!
by Shon Toney
Cavedweller – The Best Version of Gloria Ever There Was
The Temple Inc. and Business Deal Entertainment, 2006
Cavedweller’s newest begins expansively and ends explosively. Skipping across the country to finish a trail of illegitimate conversations his imagination snuck away and spawned on drunken nights he was distracted with trying to keep the headlights going in the same direction. He’s a more seasoned traveler for this round of shimmery falsetto folk psychedlia. Making a clear distinction between the man and the horse he road in on. Despite being inseparable, seemingly unable to stable her liberties because he “can’t afford” it.
And for good reason– there’re bits and pieces of him all over the map! As he leaps in and out like Google Earth on a meandering scavenger hunt for black majick rhythms, cocaine cookies, and post modern love conundrums. Everything’s fuzzy at first, dropping us into a fractured ocean of details sharpening themselves against the stoned groove. Yet, our Cavedweller is always acutely aware of his location. Even when drifting through the space between… or closer and closer to the sun. But like mythic Icarus– you’ve been lovingly warned.
Three tracks in, “Can’t Cook Down No More” seems to hold the jangly, life-sized road map. Tracing the unlikely highlights of Cavedweller’s journey from a pubescent puking on planes to an adolescent who knows better than steering into a place called “Gun Barrel City” Texas (especially having already been run out of much friendlier sounding locales). Just to retire in the first line of the very next song.
But the journey’s only begun. He still has to climb the sky’s precipitations, shedding styles like cherished rattlesnake skins, to stare at the sun until it becomes the eyes of the girl who believes, letting everything else burn and burn and…
“The Best Version Of… Ever” is relaxingly well honed, purposefully meandering, and deceptively simple. Like a ninja posing as a folk singer who rides the same bus for 17 years just to pull off a hit… but much more restless. Cavedweller admits that, like every runaway train, he might have to sleep in the ditch. But not before conjuring other restless spirits for rounds of libation, mesmerism, and, as needed– silky execution.
But Cavedweller doesn’t want to hurt anybody. Just lure them in to his warm sonic lair, buried under haunted layers of rock, and sing them a funeral dirge. About how illogical hell thinks heaven’s being… How to sew a seamless shirt… How to stick a feather in your hair and call it something besides macaroni… How the hi-way stretches on forever (if the sun doesn’t burn us alive first)… Until all the conversations are tucked safely with care back into their wombs… And he rides off… Alone at last.
CAVEDWELLER – THE BEST VERSION OF GLORIA THERE EVER WAS
BUSINESS DEAL RECORDS
Cavedweller was formed by Dirk Michener in 1995 in Austin. Michener writes most of the band’s material and plays much of it, too, with “additional instrumentation provided by T.W. Bond and Jamie Welwarth,” according to the liner notes. Be warned: despite the album’s title, there is NO cover of “Gloria” on the disc. I was struck by the variety among the songs on the disc. Some—such as “A Horse and a Man”, “I’m Retired”, and “Forget About Heaven”—are very folksy. Others (e.g., “Black Magic”) are soulful and bluesy; while yet others (such as the VERY Buddy Hollyesque “Eyez”) sound quite retro. In general, though, there is an extreme lo-fi, indie sound to the music here. That, the catchiness of the tunes, and the heartfelt intimacy from the lo-fi quality all made me really enjoy this. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who likes things a little off the mainstream radar. -tekolote
The Best Version of “Gloria’ Ever There Was (Business Deal)
Cavedweller is Dirk Michener, who doesn’t hail from a cave but rather the Denton area, where he was instrumental in co-founding the now-Austin-based Business Deal Records. In the tradition of the label’s lo-fi bedroom recording aesthetic, Michener’s new LP fuses psych with pop, much like 2004′s Sugary Glue and a Bow of Bees. Acoustic opener “A Horse and a Man” paves the way for the blues explosion of “Augusta, Ga,” while “Can’t Cook Down” is pure pop as Michener sings about vomiting Captain Morgan’s. Sebadoh? Sure. The Violent Femmes? A little. Mostly, though, Gloria is concerned with folk’s dusty past (check “It’s All Over, David Blue”). On “I’m Retired”: “I live by the highway; it stretches on forever.” And later: “I’m only 22, and I don’t mind dying. I have a cobra around my neck for style.” The harmonies are beautiful. “Eyez” is another standout, with its bizarre Fifties love swoon (“Don’t you know you have pinkeye, little girl?”), and the handclap swagger of “Black Black Magic” is totally T. Rex, especially when the electric guitar comes in and melts faces. “Steppingwolfe” is the most vibeadelic, all strumming strings and droned vocals.
The Best Version of “Gloria” Ever There Was
2006 Business Deal
Imagine a musician who sounds like he was listening to early rock and rhythm & blues radio in the ’50s, ’60s and maybe early ’70s. Then picture him descending underground for about 20 years with a guitar, and a seemingly limitless supply of notebooks and pens. Now wonder what he wrote…Concrete and abstract observations, stream-of-consciousness poems transformed into lyrics, eventually set to heartfelt rock ‘n’ roll – something I didn’t realize I missed until I heard Cavedweller live for the first time at Trophy’s in February.
Cavedweller, a.k.a. Dirk Michener, formed a one-man musical project with an occasional live band in Denton, TX in the mid ’90s. And with acoustic and electric guitars interchangeably in hand he pays homage to early American folk, blues and country – the precursors of rock.
As much as I enjoyed his last CD, 2004′s Sugary Glue and A Bow of Bees (he seems to prefer long titles these days compared to his first releases, dating back to 1996), The Best Version of “Gloria” Ever There Was is his most accessible recording so far. “A Horse And A Man” gently shepherded me like a lamb on a West Texas hillside. The iconic James Brown and the gutsy vocal delivery of Cavedweller become the heroes of the blues rocker, “Augusta, GA”. Can you fall in love with a CD? By the time I heard what could be an ode to the best of ’60s rock, “Eyez”, I thought it was possible; and after “Black Black Magic” I was ready to make a commitment. Maybe it was the lyrics: “I believe in girls who believe in rock & roll.” Thank you Cavedweller for making a believer out of me again. ..>