Listening Party: Nevada, The Green Fields and Dig Shovel Dig

This week, we’re kicking off the Listening Party with local Western-leaning, moody-indie-rock act Nevada. The group has come a very long way since their first unstable steps onto the Asheville stage, and spent the better part of their first few years together in the shadow of vocalist Sean Robbins’ brother’s band, Wayne Robbins & The Hellsayers. But, with the release of their 2007 debut, The Sunlight and the Sound, Nevada has proven to be the dark horse, seemingly coming out of nowhere to become one of the most interesting and relevant bands in the local scene. We suggest starting with “She’s gone,” which is currently available on the group’s MySpace page.

Next up on the playlist is The Green Fields, an unabashedly joyful band helmed by Chris Mondia. There’s a kind of happy tone to their music which has often — and not inaccurately — been compared to the sound of the early Beach Boys, the Byrds and the work of Gram Parsons. In a sense, Mondia’s music is a throwback to the kind of musical optimism of rock music the early-to-mid 1960’s, before the counterculture became jaded and cynical. Assuming you’re in the mood for its relentless onslaught of upbeat and dreamy Americana, there’s a lot to like about the Green Fields’ sound. We suggest starting with “Here tonight.”

Closing out this week’s Listening Party, we thought it would be a good idea to wipe clean all the reflective emotion of Nevada and all the happy, easy-to-get-lost-in bliss of the Green Fields, and instead give you something can you can only enjoy if you really set your mind to it. What could be better fit for this than the music of Dig Shovel Dig? In order to “get” DSD, you’ll probably find it helpful to view them either as unabashedly experimental musicians in search of a new soundscape, or as a pair of incompetent auditory visionaries who like to hunt down an unruly sound, grapple it to the ground, give it a pink-belly and make fun of its mother until it’s too furious to be made into anything resembling regular music. There’s a good argument for both views, but the end result is the same, being a chaotic and bizarre explosion of sounds that, every so often, hints to an underlying vision. It’s not that Ted Robinson and Mark Williams aren’t good musicians — they’re outstanding in the right context, actually — but rather that they seem to have little interest in making any kind of music that isn’t interesting to them first and foremost. We suggest starting with “Higher Starts With A T,” which is available on their MySpace page.

Now, it’s your turn. Tell us your thoughts on these performers by posting into the comment fields below. This is your chance to be the music reviewer, so praise and pan as you see fit.

Also, if you’d like to suggest a band for Listening Party, or have questions about the column, visit this thread on our forums


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6 thoughts on “Listening Party: Nevada, The Green Fields and Dig Shovel Dig

  1. djmrthebest

    hey there peeps. Mark from DSD here. just wanted to say that Yes, our myspace page takes awhile to load up, but it is way worth the wait. Once its loaded, you can listen to 3 of our albums in their entirety and watch a ton of live video taken from the past five years!!we’ve also posted a live show from our rival residency of the Smashing Pumpkins last year. We played 7 days in a row at 7 different venues. the Show posted is from the Mellow Mushroom. you can listen to all of that here:

    recently we have added a guitarist to our band, the one and only Logan Duren!! we are now back to playing as a “rock” band but still incorporating the electronic elements of recent past. And just remember, our music isn’t made to drive you insane, its made to keep us sane. take care

  2. ben saylor

    if any band goes down in history from this town, it will be dig shovel dig.

  3. Rev. Johnny Lemuria

    I must take issue with this line:
    “….a pair of incompetent auditory visionaries who like to hunt down an unruly sound, grapple it to the ground, give it a pink-belly and make fun of its mother until it’s too furious to be made into anything resembling regular music.”

    They’re not incompetent at this. They’re very good at this.

  4. [b]Lemuria:[/b] I wasn’t saying that they were actually incompetent, just that it might help the uninitiated get into their music a little more easily if they looked at it from the view that it isn’t so much a finely crafted collection of radio-ready songs as much as it is a chaotic ride by people who have a good idea where they want to go, but little idea how to take anyone else there in a bump-free ride.

    This is coming from someone who has been following DSD more-or-less since they started. (Pre-gym sock, actually, as the first thing I heard was Ted’s “Panda-Dub” CD, which may even pre-date the band itself by a few months.) I’m have nothing but respect for DSD, but it’s not the kind of music you want to listen to without a bit of warning.

  5. This just might be the best Listening Party yet.
    3 very different bands that are all uniformly excellent.
    I’ve been a Nevada fan for awhile (saw them at Orange Peel) and definitely like what the Green Fields do with their sunshine-pop influences. Just listened to DSD for the first time and am really feeling it. They remind me a lot of Suicide, a revolutionary synth-punk duo from the 70’s known for chaotic live shows. good stuff!

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