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Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
15
Dongs of Sevotion
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on January 25, 2016
This is Callahan at his best.
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on November 14, 2001
as a fan of old and new smog, i think this record hasn't been done justice. sure it is a little longer than past smog efforts, but it's not like the songs are over-indulgent jams or anything. they are still sparse and plaintive and smog. once people learn not to judge a record by its first single and catchiest track (dress sexy - which when i saw him play last year, had to be requested - he didn't even think to play his 'radio-friendly hit', if you could ever call a smog song a hit...well maybe cold blooded old times)the world will be a better place.
tortoise fans won't recognise the backing of jeff parker and john mcentire on most of the songs because they are playing in 4/4 with a lo-fi troubador instead of bitney, mccombs and machine. they provide a wonderful backing (the velvet underground chugalug never sounded so fresh - see cold discovery).
the melodies themselves are very appealing. if red apple falls was his well...red (very o'rourke) record, and knock knock was his teenage record, then this is his love record. his dry wit has never been so sharp.
the various producers don't mess the songs up and it end with a beautiful melody complete with 'oh god's' and a twinkly piano.
and if you thought the little kids on no dancing and hit the ground running were out of place (but not at all) then cop an earful of the dongettes on bloodflow.
i liked it and you will too. you will want to listen to it more than 5 or 6 times.
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on May 27, 2000
Another year, another Bill Callaghan CD. The main man of Smog, he's written some really not very happy records in his time. Last year's Knock Knock was deemed to be his "teen record" though for some reason it failed to challenge Britney Spears for chart position. And his new one, Dongs of Sevotion (stop it! My sides are splitting!) is unlikely to, either. Which is a tragedy. Put simply, music isn't there just for the nice things in life, it's for the sad, odd, slightly deranged bits too. In this LP, Happy Bill sings songs about [well, sort of about, you're never entirely sure] Rwanda in Bloodflow "No time for a tete-a-tete, can I borrow your machete", rape on Cold Discovery "I can hold a woman down on a hardwood floor", and lightens up considerably on Dress Sexy At My Funeral, in which he tells his wife to make a speech at his funeral telling the congregation the numerous public places they had sex. There's always a dry humour alongside the melancholy, stopping Smog from becoming a miseryfest, though it takes a few listens. Put simply, don't play this to your new lover...fantastic stuff.
I wonder if Ricky Martin will do a cover of "Strayed"?
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on April 10, 2000
Billy Callahan (aka Smog) has been undergoing an amazing development and maturity as a song and album-writer. Beginnning with his 1995 release "Wild Love", he has been learning to express emotional complexity and desolation without falling into the trap of sentimental melancholy pap. Although individual songs stand out (most notably "Bloodflow" and "Dress Sexy at My Funeral), this album, like all of his others, is strongest as a coherent whole, an epic-lyric emotional narrative.
His emotional progress as a songwriter has walked hand-in-hand with a progression as a producer from Super-Lo-Fi to Slightly-Hi-Fi. The strumming acousto-electric chords, children's Choir and handclaps of "Knock Knock" have been replaced by a (slightly) more-rocking beat, cheerleaders (the "Dongettes"), and, alas, slightly less of what had become Smogs guitar-strumming genious.
While the hi-fi-ness of this album can be considered the next logical step in his progression and maturity, I hope that he'll reign it in a little bit and that his next album will be a step closer to his acoustic strumming roots.
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on April 6, 2000
well, to be totally honest, i was expecting another disappointment (a la 1998's "knock knock") when i saw that smog had a new album out. however, i was pleasently suprised. bill callahan (who IS smog) seems to have crafted some fine songs here eerily similar to his "wild love" album. "justice aversion" has a whole new melody but a similar beat, instrumentation and mood as "bathysphere." but, bill adds more. on "bloodflow" he adds a chorus that sings a song literally about blood. on "strayed" he has a nice little foray into a black sabbath-esque riff. but, the gem on this one is the second track, "dress sexy at my funeral." it's got all the smog staples: deadpan delivery, themes about loss, love, and death, and the symphony of the five piece band that is sometimes lost in post-red apple falls smog records. all this adds to a good record, plus a better backing band that includes guitar player jeff parker and multi-intstrumentalist/producer john mcentire from tortoise.
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on September 3, 2004
From reading the reviews below, I don't understand why everyone is shocked at this being a well produced album. The two albums that Bill released before this were produced by Jim O'Rourke, and you can't tell me that guy can't produce. Anyway, on this album teams up with Tim Mcentyre from Tortoise to produce this album and let me tell you it sounds great. The album is really long and full of some choice songs. Justice Aversion is a nice descending chord progression played out on a keyboard w/the classic Bill Callahan twists in the lyrics 'I root for the bank robber, in the getaway car'. Dress Sexy at my Funeral is a classic and should be a staple in any Smog fan's collection. Overall if you like (smog), Leonard Cohen, or the Velvet Underground you'll probably really enjoy this album. Good music for when you lie down and turn out the lights for bed. Highly recommended purchase.
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on December 17, 2004
I only recently got into Smog after being introduced to Bill Callahan's work by a friend of mine. This is the first Smog album I heard, and after going through two or three others, I must say that it's still my favorite. It's simply full of excellent music, from the sparse electronic beat of Justice Aversion to the drum and piano instrumentation on Permanent Smile. Along the way you have the dry as dust humor of Dress Sexy at my Funeral, the country simplicity of Strayed, and the haunting background vocals on Nineteen. Although a little more slick and well-produced than his earlier work, all of Smog's trademarks are here: Excellent lyrics, Callahan's voice (which perfectly matches the mood of the songs in both tone and pitch), a minimalistic approach to the instrumentation, and just the right touch of dark humor to break through all of the gloom. Why Smog isn't more famous is beyond me.
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on December 14, 2000
Dongs is not what fans of Smog's early work will be looking for. It is loaded with songs that nuzzle up to popular song styles, with decent production (compared to the 4 track stuff on most of the old albums).
That said, Dongs is a brilliant record. Its bound to build Smog (Bill Calahan) a much wider audience, which could upset some long time fans. Still, this album isn't selling the staunchly DIY Calahan out. Quite the contrary. The songs are still insightful and slightly weird. For example, Dress Sexy At My Funeral, the albums second cut. Strange title, hilariously dry song. And that's just the beginning.
Dongs is a lot brighter than Red Apple Falls, almost giddy by comparison. I would reccomend this as a starting point for anyone curious about Smog. The early stuff is a bit challenging. This album is just fun.
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on June 6, 2000
You have to give 'ol Bill Callahan kudos for versitility. While to the casual Smog listener it may sound like same old same old, those who have delved deep into Smog's back cataolgue will be able to appreciate what a departure this is from some of his previous work. Dongs of Sevotion is worlds away from his last LP Knock Knock, which is a shame in a way, because that record contained some of the most memorable Smog songs ever (I'm thinking of Teenage Spaceship and River Guard here). This new record somewhat reminds me of Wild Love, it has the same kind of irreverent eclecticism of that release. Dongs of Sevotion is good, but didn't really touch me the same way previous Smog records have, perhaps it's length (about an hour long) is a factor in this. The last song however, Permanent Smile, with its Phil Spectoresque wall of sound, hints at greater things ahead.
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on April 17, 2000
I'm rather ashamed of myself really, cuz I think of myself as somewhat knowledgable of the current music scene, yet Smog seems to have slipped through my fingers, until now. I have to confess, I only heard about Smog because I was so impressed with Chan Marshall's (of cat power) cover of Red Apples that I had to investigate...now that I have one of Smogs cds, I need more. His style is somewhat simple, yet totally unique. The tunes are generally melancholic and slow, but there are few faster ones. I'm might be a bit hasty by saying this album is flawless, but after three or four listens, I'm still waiting for something that I don't like to emerge. I don't know what to compare this to exactly except perhaps Will Oldham,...anyways, please at least listen to this on the computer...I'm pretty sure most people will like something about it.
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