Switched On

Practice isn't supposed to begin for a few more minutes, so [DARYL] bassist Jeff Parker sits on one of the two couches outside of the room the band rents at Universal Rehearsal, smoking a Winston and ashing into an empty Dr Pepper can he found in the hallway. Leaning into the back of the well-worn couch, he looks at the CD resting in his lap and smiles.

Singer-guitarist Dylan Silvers and keyboard player Chad Ferman are inside setting up their gear, and with all of the amplifiers and keyboards and microphones and guitars and the drum set, the room looks too small for two people, let alone five or six. The rest of the band--guitarist-keyboard player Dave Wilson and drummer Mike Lamm, who pretty much everyone calls Spammie--isn't here yet, and neither is violinist Nicole Siu, who'll be sitting in with the group at a gig later in the week. In another rehearsal room, the closest one to the couch where Parker sits, another group is already in the middle of its own practice. It doesn't sound as though it's helping all that much, but who knows. It's hard to ignore, but Parker isn't really paying attention to that or anything else that's going on right now. He's looking at the CD.

"This is, like, the greatest day of my life," Parker says, still smiling, turning over the shrink-wrapped CD in his hand. It's a copy of The Technology, [DARYL]'s first full-length, which arrived in the mail only a few hours ago, and just two days before the CD release party the group had scheduled at Club Clearview. "My last day of college, and the CDs are here," he explains, tearing open the disc. At the moment, it's clear he's more excited about the arrival of the new album than being freed from six-hour film classes at the University of North Texas.

Parker and the other members of [DARYL] have more than enough reason to be relieved at the sight of a few boxes filled with copies of The Technology, courtesy of Washington, D.C-based Beatville Records. (The label's connection to [DARYL] goes back a bit: Lamm's old band, The Graduates, was signed to Beatville, and Ferman's other group, Kid Chaos, released an album on the label last year.) The band's last release, a 7-inch single ("Axonometric" b/w "Reconstruction") issued by Quality Park Records, was supposed to come out late last year but didn't show up in stores until April. And the last time [DARYL] scheduled a CD release party at Club Clearview--for last year's Communication: Duration EP--the boxes that showed up in the mail from Urinine Records, the label that released the disc, didn't contain exactly what the group thought they would.

"They sent us a spindle of 50 CDs and laser copies of the covers," Ferman says later, after the rest of the band turns up and everyone moves to the post office next door, the nearest place for some peace, quiet and protection from the wet-blanket humidity. "We had to cut them out at Kinko's."

"I was so pissed off," Silvers says, picking up where Ferman left off. "I had to get jewel cases. And that was the fucked-up thing: They didn't tell me." To make the thrown-together copies of the EP worth something to fans who wanted one that night, and to make good on the CD-release promise, the band numbered each disc, turning Urinine's gaffe into a special limited-edition version of Communication: Duration. Still, after cutting posters and hunting down jewel cases for two days, Silvers says, "It wasn't really what I imagined for a CD release party." No kidding.

This time, things are different, and even if they weren't, The Technology is worth waiting for. The album borrows guitars from The Police and recipes from The Moog Cookbook, yet the band comes up with something completely its own, music that uses old sounds as a jumping-off point, never a base of operations. The songs on The Technology don't take the easy way out, but they don't make it too hard for you to follow them to where they're going. More than anything else on the disc, you can hear how much the five members of the group love playing these songs, love playing them together. Even though [DARYL] has already released an EP and a two-song single, this is what they were really working for.

That's why Parker was so excited to be holding a copy of their new album with plenty of time to spare. Well, one of the reasons. After all, the band had already seen one release date for The Technology come and go with nothing to show for it, made another set of plans that were too late to change. Three releases in, [DARYL] almost expects delays, practically counts on them.

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Zac Crain
Contact: Zac Crain