SoundTrack web extra: Dosta

Dosta, the new album by Alien Music Club, is a playful-dark exploration through jazz, pop, rock and lyrics that project whimsy, acrimony, wit and oddity, funhouse-mirror style. Songs are written and performed by guitarist Jonathan Pearlman (stephaniesid) with an array of guest artists. And, while the nine tracks are wholly unique, there are hints of The Goodies’ art rock and Hellblinki psych-cabaret.

“Mama in a coma near a cobra tree, methadone clinic refugee. Screaming like a banshee wolverine,” Pearlman chants, low and raspy over a snarl of bari sax (Jacob Rodriguez) and slinky trumpet (Justin Ray). The song, “Jesus Was an Alien” dances a sharp edge between playful surrealism and twitchy darkness — and the music supports and enhances that experience.

“Who Are the Jazz Police?” showcases Pearlman’s jazz guitar styling. The melody rises and fall in cool waves, opening into a velvety expanse of background vocals, bells, clarinet (Rodriguez) and flugelhorn (Ray) explorations. The song evokes a prohibition-era cool, filtered through modern sensibilities, tempered with paranoid charm.

“Ways To Die” (with Will Mitchell on strings and Pearlman’s son, Jaron, on backup vocals) is among the album’s more psycho-sideshow offerings. It creeps and stalks with haunted carnival piano parts, atonal and rattling like dry bones. It’s a song that was either inspired by or deserved an Edward Gorey illustration. At the one minute mark, the song scape changes, smoothing out like a steam punk flying machine taking to the fog-thick sky. It’s a delightfully imaginative track.

There’s a thread of darkness that runs through, even at the album’s brightest points. On the breezy “Another Perfect Day,” Pearlman sings, “Who cares if the masses are brain dead, who cares if the planet explodes? Who cares if all the windows are painted? That’s just the way it goes.”

Opening track, “Beam Me Up, Scotty” poses the question, “When did I become so jaded?” And that’s an apt theme. There is a revisited cynicism throughout, though it’s layered among the crisp instrumentation and upbeat melodies. And, as the band’s website says, “Alien Music Club is an eclectic blend of alternative music in diverse musical genres ranging from all forms of rock to jazz to funk to anything in between with intelligent lyrics and a playful sense of humor.” So what if it’s hard to tell if the ire is slipped in between bouts of fun, or if the cheer is snuck into the snark? In the end, it makes for an entertaining and engaging collection of songs.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.