If Rainbow Kitten Surprise and Alt-J had babies and Modest Mouse was their godfather, then you would get LA-based duo, Dan & Drum. Yes, take that in for a moment. …All good? I’ll continue.
Let’s get acquainted with two guys who are just trying to make beautifully weird music for a world gone mad to say the very least. You know, the kind of guys that create music in order to survive these dark, murky times we live in. Flashback to the days of pre-school in Thousand Oaks, California, when Dan Schechter met Phillip Thompson aka “Drum” and the two quickly developed a kinship toward each other. While the strong connection was immediately established, years down the road Dan had to move away. However, their relationship remained firmly in tact. The long-time buds relinked and made their not-too-far trek to Los Angeles together as musicians/songwriters for singer Emily Osment under the name Ramshackle. When that partnership concluded, the two friends decided to form their own entity known as Dan & Drum, of course.
With zero capital and a non-existent fan base, but the burning desire to make their mark in music, Dan & Drum self-released their debut album, Growl Pop, in 2017. It didn’t take too long for things to start blossoming for two dudes that have each other’s back all while trying to make sense of the world (as if making sense of this world was ever that easy). With applause coming from blogs like Wild Honey Pie, LA Record, and Indie Shuffle for some of their meritorious tracks, the band’s momentum didn’t cease there with influencers on YouTube—all the way up to Jenna Marbles—becoming greatly interested in spreading the word about them.
At first listen to Growl Pop, the listener will be utterly entranced by the group’s uncommon and inventive sound palette. From the peaks of alt-folk to the valleys of indie-soul and checkpoints to other soundscape regions, Growl Pop is a fitting title for a pop record with a gnarly bite. Dan’s vocals oscillate from a subtle falsetto to a gritty bellow, channeling the likes of Isaac Brook of Modest Mouse. This example is apparent on the striking track, “Mona Lisa”—an amalgamation of several genres (rock, blues, soul) molding into something of sheer elegance that you haven’t heard like this before. However, the band is skillful in the way they shift sonic gears at the drop of a hat and the song, “Wanna Ride” is an exceptional representation of this. Offering subtle guitar melodies transferred by the way of effectively stirring vocals and crispy drums, the formula for “Wanna Ride” feels as authentic as a sacred family recipe. In other words, there’s no substitute.
Their most popular track “Lester” has wit and charm for days on end. Delivered with sensitive vocals teetering on wariness and uncertainty, Dan’s superlative lyrics feel honest and relevant. Graceful and smooth around all its melodic boundaries, “Lester” is buoyed by an indie-soul cadence that will give you chills just about every time you press play. You’ve been warned, just saying. If you don’t take our word for it, then you should with those who have streamed it over 455k+ times on Spotify.
With over 64,000 monthly listeners on Spotify as well, this velocity has aided them in landing some premium gigs such as playing a pair of shows for Sofar Sounds (LA & SF) last year. They personally received an invitation by business owner Marko Shafer of The Hotel Café to perform a residency at his venue this past April. Most recently, the twosome was pursued by KCRW’s Chris Douridas for an opening gig at his curated event, School Night, in Los Angeles. For Dan & Drum, their incessant traction and significant recognition from critics and fans is prominently present. However, more importantly evident, is the talent, originality, and tenacity they have going for them that should take them well beyond their first of many victory laps.
Dan & Drum will be releasing new music later this summer followed by the release of their next album in December. Until then, take a listen to Growl Pop and understand why we’re fans of them.