For better or worse, most of us remember Vancouver singer-songwriter Ryan Dahle from his time in '90s alt-rock band Limblifter and his previous outfit the Age of Electric. But within the Western Canadian music circle, Dahle has made quite the name for himself as a recording engineer and mixer in recent years. And now he's putting all that to good use for his first ever solo album, Irrational Anthems.
Released on Burnaby, BC-based Sandbag Records on Tuesday (August 25), Dahle's 12-track album is chock full of eccentric, left-of-centre indie pop rock, adding a newfound retrain and subtlety that makes this record a far cry from his bombastic, chart-topping AOE work. However, Dahle didn't go it alone, with notable guest contributors including Dahle's brother, Kurt, who also played drums with him in his two '90s bands and now in the New Pornographers, and Megan Bradfield (the Salteens, A.C. Newman), who adds bass, double-bass, cello, clarinet and vocals.
While Dahle began his career penning alt-rock radio hits such as "Remote Control," "Tinfoil" and "Ugly," his solo album is in many ways a more artistic and ambitious effort than those of his previous bands. It seems his production work with acts like Billy Talent, the Manvils and, most recently, mixing work on the soon-to-be-released Hot Hot Heat album has allowed him to step back from the mainstream rock/pop world a bit and indulge in his own musical experiments.
Irrational Anthems also benefits from Dahle's ongoing collaboration with Vancouver visual artist Steven Shearer, who, according to a press release, was a huge influence on the album's artwork and the music itself.
To check out the record - which we recommend you to do - Dahle is currently streaming the whole thing over on his website here.
3. "Target Practice"
6. "Sixes & Sevens"
8. "Question Mark?"
10. "Beta King Stilts"
11. "Eek, It's Hallowe'en"
12. "Lion Piano"
9/10 Vancouver, BC - The Biltmore
10/1 Montreal, QC - O Parto Vys
10/2 Toronto, ON - Supermarket
10/3 Ottawa, ON - Zaphod Beeblebrox