Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Wander on by davederby
I'm very happy to announce a very last-minute but fantastic thing:
My song "Wander On" recorded by my band Gramercy Arms will be featured on "Mercy"
Tonight at 9 PM ET on NBC
You can stream the song here at:
You can download "Wander On" and the rest of our debut record on iTunes
Posted by dd at 6:40 AM
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
As a consequence of living in a big city with limited space, I've been trying to get rid of things I don't really absolutely need. And sad to say, (actually I don't feel all that sad about it to be totally honest) CDs are on that list.
I've been ripping them all over the last week or so and have had a few recurring thoughts.
One: They already feel like artifacts of a past that we have just left behind. They already feel outdated and are therefore sad-making things. They seem like all-too-real metaphors of the collapse of an earlier era.
Two: these things really are pieces of crap. What were we/"they" thinking? The utterly disposable and replaceable plastic cases break all time and just piss you off. CDs were designed to save a failing industry. Read the first few chapters of "Appetite for Self-Destruction" to learn the details of the sordid tale. It does make me appreciate digipaks and people who actually spent the money and took to the time to add something to the visual experience. Liner notes, lyrics etc. I have found myself hesitating for a moment before ultimately tossing these into the bin with all the other plastic flotsam and jetsam.
Three: As a result I don't really feel much emotional attachment to them. Looking at some of these CDs does remind me of when I got them, or bands/artists I once knew and toured with etc. but I do feel like I can easily let go of these pieces of plastic and be done with it. Much less so with vinyl. Maybe it's just the fact that I owned vinyl in my younger, formative years and now when I buy vinyl it is the result of a long selective process. But I also think a lot of this has to do with the fact that albums are sturdier. Maybe it's because I know that the creation of CDs (even though they did introduce some--debatable--audio enhancements) were part of a greedy, cynical ploy on the part of the loathsome major labels whom I have detested for most of my adult life.
Four: For better or worse and very ironically, CDs were the beginning of the digitization of music. Really the beginning of the end of the old guard. As someone who has made a living as a musician/composer and technologist I see good and bad in that. More than anything I see an inevitability in that.
Five: Ripping your CDs really does create a paralyzing freedom in your music collection. It really is your own act of "killing the album" Do I really need the entire album of "Wilco AM?" Don't get me wrong. I love Wilco. I might listen to the mp3s in my itunes at some point. But one thing's for sure. I don't think I'd ever take the CD player out and listen to the CD again. I don't have a dedicated CD player anymore and I hate listening to CDs on my computer because of that whirring sound.
Six: As Devo once observed, "freedom from choice is what you want." I can and probably will delete tracks I never listen to from my hard-drive (if I ever listen to them again). I am freed from the tyranny of the CD! But I actually do want to listen to some of my music the way the artists intended them. So there is something lost. Also, even though I can set my iTunes on randomizer, it's not the same as happening upon a record or CD spine and listening to something I haven't heard in a long time.
Seven: I think a lot of these issues have to do with the overall decline of music. Not just as a business. But as an experience. Granted I'm older and have always been a bit too curmudgeonly and close to the source to ever be a good fan. But truth be said I am as passionate about music as anyone. For some of these reasons, and ones I don't even feel like addressing right now, it's just getting harder to care.
I don't want to end on a total bummer. Music can still have that impact (on me at least) where hearing a new song can literally make my day and transform my experience of the world around me. That still happens to me. Another irony is that I actually do believe that we are living in an era where there is fantastic music all around us. In many ways it feels like there is more great music than ever. (There is, I think more dreadful crap as well but that's modern life for you) It's actually a challenge to find the good stuff.
I do believe that we are living in a transitional period and that the medium is going to change. The change will be both good and bad probably. If I had to bet, I would put my money on ubiquitous, all-encompassing streaming services. Ripping MY collection of MY CDs and archiving MY mp3s is ultimately pretty boring and unsatisfying. Napster in its early days was one of the most exciting things I experienced as a fan. Suddenly I had access to the entirety of the candy store.
Posted by dd at 4:48 AM
Monday, September 21, 2009
We are hard at work on a french language version of "looking at the sun." our brilliant and insanely talented co-conspirator Verena Wiesendanger just wrote a superfab translation of the song and rocked the mic on it. More to come.
Other than that we're starting to gear up for our next record and have all sorts of crazy ideas brewing in Gramercyland.
Posted by dd at 7:07 PM
Monday, September 14, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
We are excited to announce we have a couple of shows coming up next week with the fantastic Soft Power, featuring Mary Timony and members of Aloha.
Come on down!
Saturday August 1st
The Cake Shop
152 Ludlow Street NYC
Soft Power featuring Mary Timony with members of Aloha 11 pm
Hot Lava 10 pm
Gramercy Arms 9:15
$10, 8pm doors, 21 and over
Sunday August 2nd
TT the Bears
Soft Power 11 pm
Gramercy Arms 10 pm
Shepherdess 9 pm
Posted by dd at 5:05 PM
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Okay, file the curried beans under failed experiment.
I watched "Bustin Down the Door" the other day and thoroughly enjoyed it. For those of you expecting a happy-go-lucky surf movie with wet-dream guitar noodling, you might be surprised to find sadness, loss and bittersweet nostalgia. I found the bit about localism to be painfully sad for all involved.
I think the film tried to present a relatively even-handed approach but some people wound up looking worse than others.
What could be sadder than feeling you need to fight to defend something that was lost before you were even born?
Posted by dd at 12:15 PM
Monday, June 29, 2009
I am eating Batchelor's Curried Baked Beans for lunch right now. Not sure what made me buy it. My grocery store just underwent a major overhaul and now has an "English Food" section. It was sort of pricey but I must say they are pretty good.
The Doug Gillard show was a lot of fun. I wish more people were there to see Doug. But the other bands were fantastic. It was a fun night of hanging out in Red Hook, not far from where I used to live in the indie-rockin mid 90s.
Actually here's what they look like but i like the Heinz can better.
Posted by dd at 11:58 AM
Friday, June 26, 2009
I'll be playing guitar and percussion in the insanely talented Doug Gillard's band tomorrow night at the fabulous Bell House in Brooklyn. We'll be opening for Scott McCloud's Paramount Styles as well as Steve Wynn and his Miracle 3.
Doug Gillard Electric on first at 8 PM
Paramount Styles (Scott McCloud ex G.VS.B) at 9
Steve Wynn and The Miracle 3 performing the entire Dream Syndicate album "Medicine Show"
Doug Gillard Electric is:
Russ Fink - Bass, b. voc
Jeff Ottenbacher - drums
David Derby - guitar, perc.
Doug Gillard - guitar, vox
The Bell House is located at
149 7th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Posted by dd at 3:54 AM
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
I heard this other day and was literally blown away by how incredibly relevant and heartening this sentiment is right now. I find it encouraging to think that we've been here before, and I feel grateful that we have such simple yet powerful poetry to guide us. Happy Birthday Pete!:
Posted by dd at 12:00 PM
Monday, April 20, 2009
My band, Gramercy Arms, has three pieces of fantastic news to report:
1. "Looking at the Sun" from our debut record, "Gramercy Arms" is going to be featured in the upcoming April 27 episode of Chuck (NBC)!!!!!!!!
The show airs Mondays 8/7c
2. We've also received word that the song is going to be used in an upcoming campaign of really beautiful looking and cool Lenscrafters ads. We'll be providing you with details about that as soon as we get 'em.
3. We are currently booking shows for Boston, New York, Philly and a few other undisclosed locations for June-July with such fine artists as Versus, Plus Minus, Mary Timony's Pow Wow, Mascott and others. Details coming soon on that as well!
Posted by dd at 12:37 PM
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Today I want to thank one of my heroes--Ian McLagan for reminding me that a song can break your heart if you let it.
Written for his recently departed wife Kim.
Do yourself a favor and buy the entire record. Mac is back!
Posted by dd at 9:51 AM
Friday, April 3, 2009
"Gramercy Arms" is now available in physical form in North America courtesy of the fabulous Cheap Lullaby Records!
The record has been available digitally and you can still find it at iTunes, Amazon and usual online suspects, but now you can support your local record store and own a copy with brand new artwork for the North American physical release.
Gramercy Arms is an ever (r)evolving collective band project of New York-based artists.
On this record, Gramercy Arms comprises members of Guided By Voices, Luna, Joan as Police Woman, Dead Air and The Dambuilders, along with comic Sarah Silverman, Their self-titled debut album is a summery blast of gorgeous power pop, heartfelt tales of love and loss and the city they call their home.
Clocking in at a lean and mean 30 minutes, bassist/vocalist Rainy Orteca (Joan As Police Woman, Dead Air) describes it as “the hottest thirty minute love affair available.”
The album is a celebration of all that is New York in its dirty-beautiful splendor. Musically Gramercy Arms is a classic New York sound--Dave Derby’s disaffected poetic sensibilities mesh with the guitar virtuosity of Sean Eden and Hilken Mancini in the grand Gotham tradition of the Velvet Underground and Television shot through with a love of seventies pop rock.
The album has garnered rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic and has received airplay on BBC2, BBC4 and BBC6.
RECENT PRESS ON GRAMERCY ARMS
“Oh Gramercy – we’re in love! … gorgeous conventional songcraft and sun-kissed vocals … laidback power pop, if that's not a contradiction in terms.
Sun kissed, subtly well constructed things that suggest Teenage Fanclub occasionally touched by the all-American pop suss of Cheap Trick. It's all at once woozily beautiful and incidental--or, as one Luna lyric had it, "The moment is eternal/for as long as it lasts."
This kind of music should be easy to pull off … but the best kind of power-pop (and Gramercy Arms definitely belongs in that group) nails the intanglibles. It instinctually know what chord to hit next, when to drop to a minor key, when to let it loose. When members of varies indie luminaries (Guided By Voices, Luna, Joan As Police Woman) came together to make the album they—lucky for us—got it right.
Easily one of the best pop albums released in 2008 … Pop doesn’t get much better than this.
“Classic sounding pop.”
-Quick Before it Melts
Posted by dd at 10:33 AM
Monday, February 23, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
The morning after doing a Gramercy Arms show at TT the Bears in Cambridge, I discovered an old trove of Dambuilders "Pop Song Equals Food" 7 inches in the basement of my friend Hilken's house in Boston. It was the sole release on Puppethead records, a label we started in our flesh-colored house off Medford, MA's glorious Fellsway and finding it reminded me of a lifetime ago when I had a bowlcut, drank lots of Kappy's beer (I think we figured that it cost something like 25 cents a bottle), loved Lubricated Goat and wrote a fanzine. I think we only pressed up 1000 copies so they are somewhat rare.
Posted by dd at 4:24 AM