There was a time when Dana Janssen was perhaps best known for his role in Akkron Family, that is, until a few years ago. He released Summer Bodies, which surprised me by how much I grew attached to his approach, far different than his other act. It’s electronic fare, but the way that he works with the melodies inside his songs is undeniably catchy. I’m really excited he’s got something new by way of his Preacher EP, which is slated for a July 22nd release date. If you’re looking for lofty melodies and electronic compositions, then you need look no further than the return of Dana Buoy.
It’s really hard to narrow down a list of Top Albums of 2012, especially when you have four contributors with different opinions. We gave the reins to Nathan.Lankford and Nicole Baumann on this one, since they write the majority of the album reviews, but we all have a little representation within this. Now, we do realize that our site has specialized tastes, so please realize that these are our OPINIONS. You’re welcome to disagree, and, in fact, we encourage that process. Also, we’re doing a Top 100 because so many records came out this year, it wouldn’t be fair to narrow it down. Not to mention it might lead you to discover some hits you hadn’t heard about yet. Oh, and we don’t really like Frank Ocean or hip-hop…just a personal choice…here’s the first segment.
Having been a fan of Akron/Family for some time now, it’s interesting to see where their music leaves off and Dana Buoy takes over. Summer Bodies is a great bit sunnier in its construction than any of the work he’s done with his band up until now. That being said, you can definitely see the lineage between his solo work and his work elsewhere.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Dana Buoy‘s solo outing until I made it beyond the first minute of the opening track, “Anatomy of Now.” For that minute, you get little more than vocals, but then a sort of indie-clad tribal element comes in to join Buoy. There’s definitely a light-hearted mood created, but it’s not overly exuberant…I like a little restraint. “Call to Be” follows it up with another emphatic number, though this one is a touch darker in its musical quality. The chorus line of the rising oh into “this is just a call to be” is possibly one of my favorite moments on the record.
One of the great things about Summer Bodies is Buoy’s ability to build anticipation for the listener, leading you into the glorious hooks slowly. He does this with the opening track, and he does it again with “So Lucky.” But, while those two tracks have heavier (sort of) beats kick in, he can also build into a slow jam like he does with “Sattelite Ozone,” a song that mellows just as it begins to pick up. It might go too far at time, as the formulaic approach begins to grow a bit expected, but it’s a cool touch that I definitely appreciate.
And as much as I enjoy the beats that encourage me to tap my feet, I appreciated Dana Buoy‘s ability to go in a different direction altogether. “Futures Part” is one such song, again building slowly, yet there’s a gentle touch to the track as it unfolds. Time and time again, you think Dana could just go far off into rhythmic bliss, but he’s showing his ability to hold back just enough and explore softer sides. You’re probably going to overlook such tiny nuances, but in a day and age where songs come fast and heavy-handed (in regards to hooks and beats), it’s nice to find someone pulling up short.
Listening to Summer Bodies comes off a bit like a two-sided affair, yet it definitely has enough to tie everything together. Side A has the tendency to hit hard, using beats to catch your ears. Side B wanders a bit, in a pleasant sense, showing that Dana Buoy still has the wish to use his gifts as a writer of exploratory pop songs. Tied in together, the whole record has the ability to thrill and uplift, time and time again. Label me a pleasantly surprised fan of Dana’s solo work.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/03-So-Lucky.mp3]
Download:Dana Buoy – So Lucky [MP3]
The Internet has already given some great coverage to Dana Buoy, who really is Dana from Akron Family. His debut album Summer Bodies will be coming out in a few short weeks (May 8th) via Lefse, and we’re all pretty excited around here for the street date. For me, I fell for this song because of the way it builds, using atmospherics, then his voice enters, then it continues to build with a bit of a background stomp until the end. These sort of tracks are always entertaining, and for some reason, there’s a little bit of an emo affectation to his vocals that’s really working for me today. Just give a listen and see what you think.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/03-So-Lucky.mp3]
Download:Dana Buoy – So Lucky [MP3]
This edition will bring you a nice little variety. I have an older track from Glass Candy that I’ll use to highlight one the best movies I have seen in a while. I have a track from Superhumanoids that is short and sweet. An old-school feeling trance track from Acid Washed that is new, I promise. Loose Fit busts out some funky bassline action for a genre I like to call “theme music”. I’ll finish up with a stellar track from Dana Buoy you can download. Dana Buoy is in Akron/Family, this isn’t an Akron/Family track.
Head past the break…