Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley
It's easy to imagine what Dios Malos are doing right now. They're doing nothing. They're sleeping and they probably will be for the next few hours - deep into the afternoon. They're hibernators, these big bears. They are likely ragged from a long night of DIY recording, weed consumption and sound experiments that could make anybody require a bed and a half a day of recuperation, so the process of creation can start again the next day when the time seems fit, after the dinner mint and following the downing of the third beer.
Right now, it's noontime in Hawthorne, Calif., where the boys live, and it's not a good time. Waking now would have them working on severe sleep deprivation and you can't make up for that time lost. For a band that has drifted so unexpectedly onto the map and away from it over its short life, this laidback approach is actually a reminder that persistency and artifact are the best reflections of each other during their mating seasons - when pushing never becomes shoving and there's a leisure excavation to the process of pulling the music from the inside caves and caverns.
They observe the calls of the nightingales, though the sounds may just be the sandy sea shells gossiping as they're licked by the soft black waves of the Pacific, and they operate on a standard time that sees sunsets as the only sunrises they know. The band is a living documentation of the full, no bond captivity that the obsessive work of countless pop songwriters that came before them can have on people when they just give over to it. They've allowed themselves to get buried in a world that can be maddening and fascinating in the same beat, a world that offers inspiration, but in stifling measures in that the stuff that makes you feel like you just got your bell rung is the stuff that an aspirant may never reach. It won't stop the search or the climbing of the walls though, that possibility of impossibility.
Dios Malos hold themselves up against no other band, but those writers and composers that they have reverence for are not well hidden. They love 60s pop in big gulping doses - The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Zombies, The Turtles, all of the sharp-suited young men who defined the song about the girl first for radio. The path well-trod is completely visible from where the band started in the late 90s and yet, their divergent wonderment in the same veins that spruced has been what's made them still one of the most interesting bands to have seen progress and one of the reasons that the counter culture gospel Fader magazine considers them such an original and boundary-pushing outfit. It's hard to argue.
Still working on its third record, a process that's taken up well over two years as it's been label-less and manager-less, forging a different way while still being hand-picked to open shows for TV on the Radio, the band led by lead singer Joel Morales, has made it its life's work to stretch itself and its techniques in the pure pop structure as far as it can go without going crazy, though there could be some of that in there as well.
What's finished with the third album, a sampler version of which they handed us with a Xeroxed photo of Magic Johnson on the cover in March and a nearly complete version with the same cover was forked over when they were last by in August, is another sprawling bit of personal posture, caked with references to all of the convergent interruptions that stride into the dollhouse, or in this case, the fantasy world that they pledge to and that makes it alright for them to play with a constant, gleeful daze. The schizophrenic, loopy and all-powerful world that Dios Malos makes its home in is one for the diehards, for the bachelors for life, for those who don't have room for any new friends for the mistress - the all encompassing one - is the perfect song and it's a lady that can only be touched by the dedicated.
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