Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
The Dinosaur Feathers dudes left us a couple things when they were first here earlier in the year. They didn't have a poster to put on our wall and we think that they felt horribly insignificant for such an infraction, for the fact that they'd be omitted from our hallowed halls. After all, they'd slept on our floors and yet, here they were without even a small token of a We Were Here memento. So, in an attempt to reconfigure their future, they returned to their van and brought back a small Igloo cooler - the same size that a construction worker would take every day to the job site, with a ham sandwich, a can of soda and a big grab bag of kettle-cooked potato chips tucked inside - signed the top with their fondest regards, and left that in lieu of a promotional poster. We think that they were looking to jettison said cooler anyway, for they even left the re-freezable cold packs inside, getting rid of it all at once. We choose to regard the present a very kind gesture and we wish that we could hang it on our wall, but there's just no way. This was the second thing they left. The first is better. It's much better. It's the session that they taped and it points to a band that has a bead on a sound all its own, taking listeners into a wild mystery of perfect, albeit very idiosyncratic pop music that draws on sweet barroom bluster, hippie folk, Californian sunshine, running through flowers and fragrant weeds, intellectual conversations that happen after a half-evening of beers, years and years past, extinct lives and the pure joy of just singing your lungs off. Lead singer Greg Sullo, Ryan Michael Kelly and Derek Zimmerman made a debut album, "Fantasy Memorial," that bodes well for a prolonged attempt at getting into ears as it's a piece of art that finds numerous ways of engaging and prolonging the contact high that comes from the melodies that seem to stem from some innate beauty - as if they were in you all along and they're just now being unlocked and accessed. Sullo writes lyrics that take us into the den of his nightly thoughts, the ones that might occur to him by surprise and chance (deeper and more advanced in their recollection), the ones that he finds himself connecting with in abstract, but close and personal ways. He has a tendency to come to us as someone without his head in the clouds, but as someone who is peeking into and pecking at the abyss, extracting all of the robust and matured pieces of sentiment that he can find in his daily doings, or in the observed portions of the doings of others. He sings at the end of the standout track, "Vendela Vida," "We can't help it, we're dreamers, we're dreamers," and it feels like such a natural bit of self-identification, an acknowledgment of where he and Dinosaur Feathers happen to be coming from. It feels as if that is the musical equivalent of a pen being forced into his hand and him being asked for his autograph. That phrase, that admission, that plea is what comes out of his cursive. Earlier in the song, he sings, "She only comes when I read her/You only come when I go/I got a past and a future/You're working on your present tense/And while I examined the sutures/You were mending your fence/And I have got the cross to bear for your confusion/Dreamers always end up back in Chinatown/And if you really, really, really are connected to the things that you believe/Well, to finally write your story is to let a thousand other stories bleed/And if you go, well you know, you got nothing to hold on to, but wait, it gets worse/It's a gift, it's a curse." We are at that point of someone who is in touch with the fulcrum -- able to teeter between all control and the inevitable explosion logical happenstance that leaves you with unsettling amounts of debris and all of it makes sense.