MP3 Dan Wallace - Neon and Gold
"...a tremendously catchy and yet intriguing album. As wildly creative as Radiohead or Rufus Wainwright, and as poppy as Ben Folds..."
14 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Psychedelic, POP: Quirky
This CD comes encased in a beautifully illustrated 6-panel lyrics book.
What the critics have been saying about "Neon and Gold" (Fan reviews are at the bottom of the page):
Smother Magazine (https://www.tradebit.com), Editor''s Pick by J-Sin, Mar 2006:
Bobbing and weaving his way through a myriad of punchy indie-pop tunes, Dan Wallace finds himself cornered into writing a tremendously catchy and yet intriguing album. As wildly creative as Radiohead or Rufus Wainwright, and as poppy as Ben Folds, Mr. Wallace is also an accomplished musician lending his unique voice, guitar, bass, hand percussion, and keyboard skills to the mixture. Great songwriting is one part music and two parts lyrics to me and Dan nails each and every one with the accuracy of an Olympian.
Performing Songwriter Magazine, Top 12 DIY Pick by Mare Wakefield, Jul/Aug 2006
Singing with the same suave whine that made you fall in love with Morrissey, Chicago-based artist Dan Wallace waxes poetic on his latest release, Neon and Gold. Rocking drums and multiple electric guitars contrast nicely with Wallace’s dreamy lyrics. “I fell upon a face tattooed in bronze / It had an air of grace, knee-deep in sin,” he sings in “Fell.” Stacked harmonies and classical guitar decorate “Ladies, Gentlemen,” while “Too Soon” carries a chaotic, circus-like air as Wallace pounds out dissonant chords on the piano while singing of illicit bargains and rebirth.
It would be too easy just to categorize the entire album as avant-garde, but there’s definitely something innovative about Neon and Gold. Maybe it’s the neo-psychedelic arrangements, the Alice-in-Wonderland lyrics or the smooth-as-silk delivery. Maybe we should listen again.
The Big Takeover (Issue 58), by Mark Suppanz, May 2006
This Chicago-based songwriter/composer and frontman for The Pindrops (he''s also scored music for theatre and film) has drawn apt comparisons to Rufus Wainwright and Ben Folds, mostly due to his music''s unconventional song structures, whimsical lyrics, and a flair for the dramatic. Wallace prefers using traditional rock instrumentation for his waltz/cabaret-like compositions, peppering them with keyboard, organ, hand drums, and Elisabeth Johnson''s sporadic violin. On the more rocking tracks such as "Fell", "Too Soon", and "Vante Left Them Human", Wallace''s debonair voice resembles a less melodramatic version of Gene''s Martin Rossiter. Elswhere, his slower acoustic songs really recall Wainwright, with hints of Divine Comedy (he also does a credible Brian Wilson imitation on "Pindrop"). It''s hard not to fall for this intoxicating and expertly-crafted LP.
*Sixeyes (https://www.tradebit.com), by Alan Williamson, May 09, 2006
How did I come across this guy, Dan Wallace? He has some fantastic music here on his album, Neon and Gold, music which is different enough to my ears to cause them to prick up and familiar enough to slip into those well worn ruts in my musical taste. Chicago based Wallace has a fondness for minor chord sadness and his voice is well suited to it... here''s an example:
+fell +jacques +too soon +maybe
This is not your typical sounding indie boy, but this is imaginative and intelligent music... someone was thinking when they made it and that will get you thinking.
Illionois Entertainer, by Mike O''Cull, Jun 2006
Chicago-based songwriter Dan Wallace mixes indie and surrealist influences with pop on his latest CD, Neon And Gold. His goal is to retain passion and sincerity while blending a wide range of influences, and he mostly succeeds. His music is not mainstream pop by any means, but has a certain nervous charm that should appeal to the slightly left-leaners out there.
https://www.tradebit.com, by A. Riggs, Mar 2006 (excerpt)
Mixing innovative music styles, with a heady range of influences from Ben Folds, Todd Rundgren, Beach Boys, Richard Thompson & Eels - Dan has stretched himself on these fourteen songs (55 minutes). The record starts off strongly with the catchy pop of ''Fell'' - the sequencing of the songs works well, which keeps the listener''s attention throughout. With clever lyrics and an ear for a good melody Dan treats his audience to a pot pourri of songs. Dan even has the confidence to put an instrumental interlude in, with ''Sonatina'' where he demonstrates his dexterity on acoustic guitar. Lyrically on ''Homage'' Dan handles the slings and arrows of fame - ''she''s a hostage to his laughter, he''s the needle at her hip''....''they''ve got the sweetest smile you''d ever hope to see, they''ve got the sweetest lives that anyone could lead'' - finishing off the song with a fine guitar solo.
The strength of this record and innovative style only reveal themselves after several listens - when Dan''s ''Neon & Gold'' reveals much of it''s treasure. A fine debut.
Luna Kafe (https://www.tradebit.com), by Havard Kloften, Jul 2006
Former Pindrops frontman Dan Wallace is a Chicago-based songwriter/composer who makes his debut with Neon and Gold. And some debut it is. Wallaces music has a wide range of influences, which makes this album a colourful compilation of different "indie-pop/rock/neo-psychedelia" songs.
The more up-tempo tunes here, like the opener "Fell" and "Maybe" can be compared to fellow American pop magician Ben Folds - but one can also hear elements of early 80-ish artists like Wire and their followers like Franz Ferdinand, Rakes among (too) many others. Inbetween these songs are a number of more minimalist tunes - even ballads and instrumentals: "Ladies, Gentlemen", "Before We Sleep", "Sonatina". These are of a more timeless kind, underlined by the overall use of classical guitar and instruments like hand drums, violin and oboe (actually keyboard, but whatever...). Here you can hear elements of artists like Cardinal/Eric Matthews, Rufus Wainwright and even Shins in their more sophisticated moments.
Most of all, however, Dan Wallace sounds as himself. The orchestration and arrangements are full of neat surprises, and the fourteen songs, in all their difference, are beautifully put together as a perfectly balanced unit. I very rarely have the patience to listen to an album of 55 minutes without taking a listening break. "Neon and Gold" makes an exception. Well done, Danny-boy!
https://www.tradebit.com by Deirdre Walsh, May 2006
Neon and Gold, the dark indie pop record by Dan Wallace, is reminiscent of a local carnival at night. “Ladies and Gentleman” will take you on a creepy carousel ride up and down the musical mystery of “noone,” while “Back of my Mind” is like the salt and pepper shaker—shaky. The most commendable aspect of this album is the song flow. The tempos vary and keep the listener entertained for the entire hour. Fans of the Dresden Dolls, Ben Kweller and Rufus Wainwright should check out this Chicago-based composer.
Aiding & Abetting (https://www.tradebit.com), Mar 2006
Wallace takes the "everything is more" approach to roots rock. There are minimalist ballads, dense acoustic prog pieces, pretty bits enlivened by electronic paintings and, well, more.
Each song is built around the vocal melody with guitar of some sort (generally both acoustic and electric), but past that all bets are off. Wallace also incorporates a good amount of piano and keyboard, and he likes to cram a lot of notes into small spaces--kinda like Frank Zappa writing a prairie opera.
Or a more acoustic version of the Dixie Dregs. Or (much) less bombastic Kansas. The funny thing is that Wallace has just as much grand ambition as all the folks I mentioned, but he''s more willing to restrain himself in service of the song. Which makes his work that much more listenable.
He''s still one idiosyncratic puppy, to be sure. Wallace will always take the road less taken, though he''s careful to line it with rose petals. That consideration for the listener is what makes this album such a simple pleasure to hear.
by R. Garcia at https://www.tradebit.com, Feb 2006:
Dan Wallace''s Neon and Gold is an insightful, somewhat personal indie pop album that will resonate easily with most listeners. Wallace''s honey-coated, slightly mournful baritone is his best asset, as it combines the deep, powerful tones of a Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) with the versatility and range that any singer-songwriter needs to succeed. Neon and Gold proves to be refreshingly unconventional while remaining entirely within accessible bounds. The lively “Homage” marries masterful guitar experimentation with Wallace''s always-precocious lyrics (“everybody leaves before they learn to stay/everybody cheats before they learn to pay”). “Vante Left Them Human” outdoes Ben Folds at his own act, while “Maybe”''s gleefully bouncy pop-rock riffs would uplift anyone''s day. Dan Wallace''s unique take on indie pop is sure to shine.
https://www.tradebit.com, by Luc, Apr 2006
Restait-il une place entre Neil Hannon et Rufus Wainwright? Oui, Dan Wallace l’a trouvé, et bien plus grande qu’on ne la croyait.
Vous vous attendez bien évidemment à m’entendre parler de ce que j’appelle pop de chambre (chamber pop) ou de ce que certains appellent pop baroque. Et bien non. Parlons plutôt de Dan Wallace sur fond de Neon And Gold.
Vous auriez habité Chicago, peut-être auriez vous fait sa connaissance comme co-directeur du Chicago Chamber Music Collective. Ceci expliquerait donc la présence de l’unique instrumental de l’album, Sonatina. Ira-t-on jusqu’à causer musique classique dans ces colonnes, je ne sais pas, en attendant, ma ferveur pop rock ne m’empêche nullement d’apprécier ce morceau magnifique, qui s’enchaîne parfaitement avec Homage. Le passage de témoin entre l’acoustique et l’électrique fait merveille. D’autant plus que ce homage nous emmène dans une envolée pop de grande facture.
Donc, Dan Wallace, qui a côtoyé le monde de la musique classique, est fan d’opéra et notamment de Bizet. Il ne serait pas français, ce Georges là ? L’occasion rêver de vous parler de Jacques, le frère. Tout le monde connait, Frère Jacques, fameuse ritournelle de notre enfance. Et bien le Jacques de Neon And Gold ferait fureur dans les boites à musique de nos bambins. Quelques accords entêtants et délicats, mâtinés à deux ou trois reprises de psychédélisme à la Cardinal , le groupe de Richard Davies et Eric Matthews, font de ce morceau un classique avant l’heure. On retrouve également un titre in french Le Néant, mais toujours chanté en anglais. Et pourtant, il m’a avoué parler Français, apprécier le cinéma francophone et nombre de nos artistes (Gainsbourg et Brassens notamment pour les textes).
Vous allez me dire, on ne cause pas beaucoup de l’album avec tout ça. Soit. De toute façon, dès le premier morceau, Fell, on part dans une pop accrocheuse. S’ensuit un Too Soon aux accents jazzy. The Lizard And The Cat laisse entrevoir les fantômes mélancoliques de David Bowie et Richard Butler. Alors voilà, on la tient, la force de cet album. Chaque chanson est portée par sa différence. Chaque intonation dans la voix sait se grimer pour coller à l’esprit du morceau. L’ensemble est pourtant étonnamment cohérent, fichtrement arrangé. A partir de là, tout est possible. On ne peut connaître la suite, mais c’est certain, il pourra se permettre toutes les excentricités. En attendant, on a ce Neon And Gold à découvrir, et dieu sait comme il est particulièrement riche et passionnant de finesse.
https://www.tradebit.com, by G. Bailey, Apr 2006
Dan Wallace, who in the past has written music for film and theatre, and fronted The Pindrops, has released his newest album, Neon And Gold on Torito Bravo Records.
Neon And Gold is a rarity of an album, in that though it can be compared to other music, it is not easily categorized. The music is indie rock with some strong pop and folksy singer-songwriter elements to it. The songs cover the spectrum from Ben Foldsy piano numbers like “Vante Left Them Human,” to rockers like “Maybe,” which features a great guitar hook and an awesome solo.
Wallace has a good baritone voice, but in a bit of a quirky way; at times Wallace sounds like Scott Weiland on his 12 Bar Blues solo album. The album features well-written, fairly catchy lyrics, such as on “Maybe:” “We will escape the living rooms, riding away on magic brooms/ Some things may never change but I’m not to blame/ Maybe you’re the crazy one they sing of/ Hey, I can deal with that.”
Overall: An original, well-played album. On top of being an accomplished musician Dan Wallace looks like Chris Elliot’s longhaired twin brother…not that that has anything to do with anything.
Radio City Discos (https://www.tradebit.com), Apr 2006
RadioCity apadrina uno de esos debuts que hacen preguntarte dónde estaba este tipo hasta ahora. Hermosas y elaboradas melodías pop. Muy alto andará en nuestras listas. Conexiones: Todd Rundgren, Jason Falkner, Archer Prewitt.
Islas de Robinson, by Luis, Apr 2006 (https://www.tradebit.com
Uno de los descubrimientos de la temporada; no mío, sino de nuevo a cargo de "Radio City". Éste es un disco complicado en el mejor de los sentidos. Tiene 3 ó 4 ganchos melódicos de esos que te atrapan en la primera escucha y te hacen pensar que tienes el disco "controlado". Después lo vas poniendo y ves que hay mucho más aparte de esos aciertos melódicos. Dan Wallace combina un montón de influencias, pero siempre a su manera, de forma bastante original, evitando la senda fácil, pero sin perderse en el camino. Así, las canciones te van retando en cada nueva escucha; sabes que está ahí, que hay algo especial de verdad que confirmará tus mejores augurios, surgidos nada más ver esa bonita e inquietante portada; ese disco autoeditado tan bien cuidado. Y sí, ahí está; no tarda en surgir esa magia artesanal del mejor Pop actual; elaborado y cerebral, pero al mismo tiempo, sencillo en apariencia y ejecutado con toda el alma. Al final acabas descubriendo que ni esos ganchos melódicos eran tan sencillos (más bien monumentales) ni el resto del disco tan distinto de ellos... Todo acaba encajando entre una atmósfera de tonos agridulces, inundada de cierta melancolía propia de los Kinks, en un continuo y apasionante vaivén que recuerda a los mejores momentos de los discos de Jason Falkner. Un gran disco.
By Coe Douglas at https://www.tradebit.com, Feb 2006:
Neon and Gold, the lastest from Dan Wallace is out and I urge any fan of great independent music to get a copy. From beginning to end, this disc is filled with amazing songs rich with dynamic textures, beautiful arrangements, lush harmonies and strong musicianship.
Clearly an evolution in sound and substance over the well-received Pindrops CD, Neon and Gold shines brightly in what has become an increasingly dull and contrived music scene.
Stand out tracks include the infectious Fell, the very personal The Lizard and the Cat, Too Soon, Maybe, Homage and Sonatina. With that said, make no mistake, this album is solid from the first note to the last. And pay special attention to the guitar playing, an element that could easily get lost among the profound lyricism and memorable vocal performances.
Yes, this is a glowing endorsement. But this is one of those under the radar records you’re gonna wish you had so you can say you were listening to Dan Wallace before he blew up.
With “Neon and Gold” (Torito Bravo Records), the innovative emerging singer-songwriter Dan Wallace has accomplished a compelling and cohesive work of art. Each song manages to play a role in the album as a whole while shining in its own unique way. From the hauntingly beautiful vocals and adventurous pop-song structure of “Fell” to the circular melodies and surreal lyrics of chamber folk gem “Jacques”, this album has something for everyone - including a terrific solo classical guitar piece! One also can’t help but notice the stunning illustration by artist Vesna Jovanovic. In this digital age of podcasts, downloads and calculated mass marketing, it is refreshing to see as much creativity and consideration put into the packaging as was put into the music itself.
Dan Wallace - vocals, guitars, bass, piano, organ, hand percussion
George Lawler - drums, hand percussion
Elisabeth Johnson - violin
Produced and Mixed by Dan Wallace
Mastered by Mike Hagler at Kingsize Sounds Labs.