Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The greatest band you've never heard of

There are good bands that you have heard of, maybe have one or two of their songs on your iPods; Oasis, Snow Patrol, Linkin Park. Then there are the legendary bands that is a staple on everyone's playlist; U2, The Beatles, Led Zepplin. But what about those bands, the ones that are just as good the first time you hear them as the hundredth time? These are the bands that not everyone has heard of, or even heard on the radio, or even heard at all. These are the bands that are specific to the person who hears it, who makes a judgement whether it's good or bad, if they choose to play the CD or skip to the next. I am here to tell you of your new favorite band, and is the greatest band that you've never heard of: Dayroom.

Dayroom is a funky but softer alt rock band that formed and based themselves out of the college town of Athens, GA in the 90's. Unless you attended a southeastern college during the last decade you most likely do not recognize the line "Come over anytime/We'll open a bottle of cheap wine/Wake up stinking like a wild Irish Rose." I can tell you that this line from Dayroom's most famous song, Cheap Wine, made every college co-ed and frat boy alike line up at the drive-thru of Sam's Package and order bottles upon bottles of Boone's Farm to drink at their apartment before hitting the bars while listening to the catchy tune. The song comes from their second studio album Contagious, which is also host to several other ditties with ridiculous lyrics like "I keep getting older and you keep looking like death warmed over." from Wait a Minute or "Turn the key and push the gas/It's time you move your ass/I've got no time to waste/Your shitty little car's gonna make me late." on Time Bomb where the driver seems to be possessed with a nasty bout of road rage for 6 minutes and 58 seconds.

From the time you listen to the title track, Contagious, you are hooked by the voice of lead singer Michael Winger, who sounds as if he is singing through his teeth in anger, but it comes out like he's having the time of his life. Backup keyboards and an almost whiney guitar keep the song moving and really set the tone for the rest of the album. It is next to impossible to listen to Contagious without getting out of your seat and moving around, or even just crack a smile and burst into laughter. The songs are so catchy and Winger sounds like he's having so much fun singing them that you can't wait to relisten to the lyrics just so you can memorize them and join in the party. As the album continues, there are more than a few references to sex and nighttime fun with tracks like Lying Awake and Come on Over which act as tantric foreplay to the climax of Contagious. It makes you wonder if the songs are about and particular girl or if the band just needed to get laid. Either way, the songs work and put the finishing touches on a superb breakthrough album.

They say it's better to go out on top, and with Dayroom's third and final studio album Better Days, they did just that. The beginning is absolute perfection with Winger's guitar riff and inviting lyrics "Come in and sit down for a while/Come in and I'll sing you a lullaby," in Not Enough. The title track is the type of song that starts a little soft but explodes towards the end and is guaranteed to have you singing at the top of your lungs in your car. This album has a little more depth to it than Contagious, with a few more ballad-type songs and a little less sexual inuendo. There is even a full out love song with Till I Die, which was written for a band member's finace. Keyboardist James Riddle takes his turn on the mic on Condo with a piano led chorus that states, "I eat my soul food from a can/This world is small and it's all in our hands." It's non-sequitors like this that add to Dayroom's charm. They use background noises like car horns, house keys, and even a hint of R2D2 from Star Wars in their songs and this creates an atmosphere of good times with good friends and good drinks.

Crazy is addictive with a sharp chorus of "Bang! Bang!/Slam the door!/It's quarter to 4!/It's time to go to sleep!/I guess I'll sleep on the floor." Are they sending a message to the college students of UGA in Athens, or just merely repeating a story after a night out with the boys? Crazy is to Better Days what Cheap Wine is to Contagious. Finishing with an acoustic sounding Maybe is a genius set-up to the last track Postcards From a Midwestern Salesman. It's like the band knew this was their last album and were waving goodbye with an encore to finish their 8 year career. If Dayroom welcomed you to come in and sit down for a while, then they wish you farewell with "So I get up/It's time to wake up and leave/I put my bag on my back and my heart on my sleeve/I head out the door/And know what I left behind me."

Dayroom is by far one of the most talented bands of the 90's, even if they didn't really leave the CD players of college students from UGA. Their albums can still be found for sale online, and are contributors to many complation albums out of Athens. They can even be found on myspace, even if the members disbanded in 2000, only to reunite once in 2001 for a sold out show at the Georgia Theater (I was there and it was absolutely electric). I suggest buying the albums and use your time stuck in traffic to your advantage: have some fun singing along to Dayroom, the greatest band you've never heard of.

But that's just This Girl talking...

1 comment:

-josh said...

"It's non-sequitors like this that add to Dayroom's charm."

can you please dumb it down a little? i don't know what the hell non-sequitor means.