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At two small shows over the weekend—-Friday at the Metro Gallery in Baltimore and Saturday at Eyeclopes in Fredericksburg, Va.—-reunited D.C. post-punks The Dismemberment Plan surprised fans with a few brand-new songs. Debuting eight songs total, the four-piece played seven of the tracks in Baltimore. (See Erica Bruce’s slideshow here.)
Alongside “What Do You Want Me To Say?” and the Baltimore-related “Ellen and Ben,” the new stuff sounded like classic D-Plan. They traded in the dancey beats, melodic keys, and full-band rock workouts from later albums Change and Emergency & I.
“Daddy was a real good dancer/ that’s what everybody said/ Daddy was a real good dancer/ until he had enough of it and threw his dancing shoes away,” goes the chorus of “Daddy Was A Real Good Dancer” (on YouTube as “NEW SONG #2!”). Singer Travis Morrison sat down to play keys as Jason Caddell used a guitar slide to hold long notes on the poppy number.
On “Lookin'” (“NEW SONG #6!”), Morrison sings a love song as he strums a 12-string guitar: “Sometimes you give the very same love you gave when we first met/ The very same eyes, the very same smile/ How can I forget?/ The background is always different … What did you say? What did you say? What did you say?/ Oh, I’m sorry, Oh, I’m sorry/ I was just lookin’.”
A song (“NEW SONG #7!”) played during the encore at the Metro Gallery cemented the idea that this was the same old Dismemberment Plan with the same grasp of melody and fine-tuned pocket grooves, just slightly grown up.
Working names for the songs include “Mexico City Christmas,” “White Collar, White Trash,” and “To Be With The One You Love.” Morrison posted a list of titles on Facebook.
The group hasn’t released an album of original music since 2001’s Change LP, but regrouped in 2007 for two shows, and then again in 2011 for a tour in support of an Emergency & I LP reissue.
Was the crowd floored by the new material? Hard to say. No one seemed shocked to hear unfamiliar tunes—-most just looked happy to bounce along to anything the band played. According to a post on the group’s Facebook page, there are no plans to record the songs yet, “although certainly those conversations are happening now.”
If you missed both shows and are suitably bummed, steel yourself for Aug. 24, when tickets for Virgin Mobile FreeFest go on sale. Dismemberment Plan is joining the all-over-the-place megabill—-right up there with Skrillex, Nas, and Jack White.
See all of Erica Bruce’s photos from Dismemberment Plan’s Baltimore show in the slideshow.