August 17, 2007

Celebrate the Damnwells’ Air Stereo release anniversary with old demos & new album news!

I am deeply in love with the music of The Damnwells now more than ever. I’ve been on a kick lately, and as far as I reach in, they meet me there with their music. As my friend Scott wrote, “[Lead singer/songwriter Alex] Dezen uses the pen like a rapier to carve little bits out of your heart and soul.”

Yesterday marked one year since Air Stereo (2006, Rounder Records) was unleashed upon us unworthy masses, and if you don’t own it yet, why not? Why, oh why not. I discovered this in 2007, so it doesn’t get to go into my top list of the year that I’ll put out this Deccember, but that’s just a technicality. This is undoubtedly one of the best albums of my year, one I’ve listened to the most, sang my lungs out to in the car, and spent time alone with on my iPod.

The great news this week is that Alex has revealed some juicy details of work commencing on a new album. He writes, “The Damnwells will be going back into the studio before the end of this year to record a new record. I’m thinking a self titled affair. Really, when you consider all the pressure and nonsense—both existential and metaphoric—we always had to deal with every time we went into the studio, this will be the first Damnwells record we will ever be able to just make. ‘No pressure,’ Paul, our A&R guy at Rounder says. ‘Make the record you want to make.’ What a crazy idea! Not like we were ever making anyone else’s records, but there was always compromise.

Where art and commerce meet, there has to be. Your mixed-medium, six foot canvas doesn’t fit in the six by three inch display case at Wal-Mart, and no amount of dieting or exercise is ever gonna fit your square peg in that round hole. Compromise is a part of life—at least the kind that includes a roof over your head and food on the table. So now that we’re supposed to make this record, the one we want to make, without the pressure and nonsense, I think I may be feeling a little Stockholm syndrome coming on. How the hell am I supposed to do that?

Guess we’ll find out.”

In the spirit of Damnwells love, I’ve unearthed some more demos from their early days and they are heartbreaking, insanely good, wrenching, melodic — some of the best stuff I’ve heard in months. I love the ferocious romanticism of The Damnwells, and that’s a kind of romanticism that can be manly too (not talking like bubble bath romantic, more like bleeding out in the backcountry following your dream romantic).

Information about these is incredibly scant, and my normal methods of reconaissance are failing me. If you can confirm anything else about these demos, I’d love to hear it. Far as I can tell, these are mostly demos for the PMR (Poor Man’s Record) + 1 EP, which you can still buy over at CD Baby. There are two demos from the Heart Hazard EP which was a self-produced, hand-stamped job that I can’t find a trail on either.

PMR+1 and Heart Hazard EPs
Sweet Marie
Smile Guy
Stay (demo)
For My Own Good
Goodnight Tonite
Ballad of You (demo)
Have To Ask (demo)
Three Day Old Lover (blue version)
Three Day Old Lover (red version)
How Do I Say Nothing (demo)
Televised Telephone (demo)
The Only One Who Laughs (demo)
While You Can (demo)


Damnwells will be playing Bumbershoot in Seattle on Labor Day weekend. Wanna go?

Tagged with .


  • I absolutely love your Damnwells posts. I happened upon them last year and ever since I was hooked. Thanks for these!

    Natalie — August 17, 2007 @ 12:41 pm

  • Damnwells in Seattle w/ Heather? Sure, I’m in.
    Hell, I’d go see Bryan Adams if it was combined with Seattle and Heather! When do we leave?

    jakehutch — August 17, 2007 @ 1:14 pm

  • Heather,

    Big fan of your blog. Thanks for sharing the Damnwells with me, can’t thank you enough. Oh, please check the 2nd to last song, it has the same path as the Telephone song….see you in Seattle.

    Anonymous — August 17, 2007 @ 1:28 pm

  • They self-released The Damnwells EP, selling it off the stage and through select retail stores, before recording PMR and releasing it.

    Selling several thousand.In Music We Trust soon re-released PMR with a bonus track, re-christening the record, PMR + 1.
    they had hundreds of songs and 30-40 recorded. A bunch of the songs were recorded during the same sessions as PMR + 1.
    mick d

    Anonymous — August 17, 2007 @ 3:02 pm

  • Very cool. I discovered the Damnwells last year and really love Air Stereo. Alex is the brother of a female singer/songwriter here in Houston and her husband (Alex’s brother in law) has been on the road with the Damnwells as their drummer this year.

    Jeff — August 17, 2007 @ 3:09 pm

  • Thanks, Anon, for pointing out the bad link. It’s fixed now.

    heather — August 17, 2007 @ 3:17 pm

  • thank you for dropping the damnwells on me. i am a leaver, about 17 times today. friends all over the uk, usa and the great white north up here all blistering around their abodes as we speak.

    fuel…. a big fat full-O-life thanks.

    Anonymous — August 18, 2007 @ 9:40 am

  • You have brought new Damnwells music into my life, so now I will love you forever!!! Seriously, they are one of my favorite bands. If you haven’t seen Golden Days (a documentary about them), you should find a way! The premier was here at the Phoenix Film Festival, so I got to see it and meet the band/hear them play! They are great guys, and I can’t wait to hear what they come out with next. Glad to know that someone in the blogosphere is advocating for them :)

    Ann — August 18, 2007 @ 5:04 pm

  • thanks, Heather!

    Laura — August 19, 2007 @ 4:34 pm

  • Heather – I have all the available Damnwells stuff and was surfing around trying to find out where your tracks came from when I came across this link: It seems to have pretty much all the “unavailable” Damnwells you could ever need :)

    Matt — August 27, 2007 @ 4:17 am

  • Thank you so much for the Damnwells love and the demos, amazing. I’m a huge Damnwells supporter, probably the best American rocknroll band around right now. Keep the posts on them coming.

    Mike Dunn

    Mike Dunn and the Kings of New England — September 9, 2007 @ 4:24 pm

  • Thanks for the MP3′s of the demos. I used to roadie and do photography for The Damnwells back in the day and was good friends with all the guys, especially Alex and Steve. I lost touch after I went through heartbreaking relationship with a girl I was seeing in 2004, but have followed them from afar. I was in Cambridge with the guys the night Rounder first offered them a contract, and I remember Alex playing me a demo of “heartbreaklist” in the van and asking me what I thought of the song. I remember telling him it was brilliant and had hit written all over it. It was great to see these demos you posted, though I know they are incomplete. I have heard others that Ted has, and Ted also once burned me a copy of the rough first mix of Bastards Of The Beat, which is slightly different from the released version. Anyway, love your blog, Heather- we should chat ourselves sometime :) (

    Anonymous — April 28, 2008 @ 10:11 am

  • Any chance that these demos are still available? just saw you had em, and would love to hear em.

    Travis — January 4, 2015 @ 7:58 pm

Comments RSS

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Subscribe to this tasty feed.
I tweet things. It's amazing.

Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

View all Interviews → View all Shows I've Seen →