In the spring of 2003, the Dandy Warhols released Welcome To The Monkey House, their fourth full-length. Co-produced by Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes, the album turned out a couple of cult favorites (“We Used To Be Friends,” “I Am A Scientist”), and settled into the Billboard 200. Fans commended the band for expanding their sound into a mix of organic and electro elements that today, over six years after the record was released, seems particularly forward-thinking and relevant.
Prior to the release of Welcome To The Monkey House, the band had been pressing for a version mixed by Russell Elavedo, a GRAMMY-award winning soul mixing engineer whose credits include D’Angelo’s Brown Sugar, The Roots’ The Roots Come Alive, Common’s Like Water for Chocolate, and Alicia Keys’ Songs in A Minor, among others. But contrary to the band’s wishes, the Elavedo mix of Monkey House was shelved by Capitol Records, and an alternate mix the label had arranged was put out instead.
Now, in 2009, established as owners of the label, Beat The World Records, the Warhols, as independent artists, have the freedom to release the original Elavado mix of Monkey House, aptly titled The Dandy Warhols ARE Sound (out July 14).
As Taylor-Taylor describes it, “There are two different approaches to mixing. One is very slick and clean, and Welcome To The Monkey House fits more into that category. ARE Sound, however, has a sneakier profile. It seems very lo-fi and earthy, but the fact is, it’s extremely precise.”
Where Welcome To The Monkey House was all about hi-tech production and instrumentation, ARE Sound is more stripped down. The melodies – the very things that align fans and critics worldwide to the Warhols – are allowed to rise to the forefront. “I Am Sound,” for example, a song that on Welcome To The Monkey House is amiable and funny, becomes more introspective, even serious, once the musical accoutrements are taken away. The same goes for “I Am A Scientist,” which, recast as “Scientist,” is equally fun as the original, but seems noticeably less forced. “Heavenly,” as mixed by Elavedo, is more consistent, more complete than the first version, and on “Plan A,” he allows the song to build up into something much more powerful than it did on Welcome To The Monkey House, where everything is presented at the onset.
The Dandy Warhols ARE Sound is, in all, a more mature, more pertinent effort from a band that’s never been afraid of showing its emotion. It is truly the Warhols’ record; the music that they wanted to release, how they wanted to release it. As to the when, well, to Taylor-Taylor and the rest of the band, its delay hasn’t been a problem. “It’s never until a year or two has passed that any of our releases have actual success, anyway” he jokes. “So we’re just on schedule.”
The Dandy Warhols have already established themselves as musical icons with their songs “Bohemian Like You” and “Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth,” but now with their own label, Beat The World Records, firmly in place, they are able to truly determine their own place in rock history. Earth To The Dandy Warhols..., their sixth full-length, came out in August 2008 on Beat The World. Released initially as part of a subscription service, which also gave members access to the exclusives through the rest of the year, the album was followed by a successful world tour. Beat The World has also released albums from Portland’s The Upsidedown and LA’s Spindrift, two Earth To The Dandy Warhols... remix EPs, and has started Breathe Easy, a musical project that combines the talents of visiting bands and benefits the Three Rivers Land Conservancy.