From the first moments of “Lantern,” the title track of his upcoming LP, Dain Norman makes his intentions clear: he's obsessed with the period of time when rock and roll was coming into its own, transforming from the amped-up boogie of the '50s to the more sophisticated melodicism of the early '60s and the British Invasion. Starting out with the “Bo Diddley beat,” which serves as a calling card of the '50s, Norman layers Beatles-esque vocals on top for a purely infectious tune.
Norman has referred to his music as revivalist rock, and that rings true, with Norman wearing his influences like a heart on his sleeve.
“My grandfather was a producer, actually, and growing he was kind of my father figure, in a way,” says Norman. “He had a lot of 1950s vinyl around the house, so I grew up listening to a lot of Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, and of course the Beatles. I was also really into Blink-182, and lots of punk music, because I used to skateboard. And then you got Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, of course, but that was more when I got to high school.”
For the past couple months, Norman has been steadily releasing his new album piecemeal, dropping each new track the moment he's done mixing and mastering. We're now standing at nine songs, close to the 12 he says will eventually end up on the record. The experience of listening to these songs is not like being transported to another time, but like having transmissions of lost songs from 1964 magically delivered to you, slightly warped and modernized along their journey. The one constant is the presence of John Lennon's touch in the music, from Norman's vocals down to the ragged and raw instrumentation.
We first started noticing Norman for the sheer amount of performing he does around Tacoma and the surrounding areas, both as a solo act and with his band the Chrysalis Effect. For the longest time, it seemed like you could manage to see Norman live somewhere at least once a week, which is an admirable practice to get into for a musician. When it comes to Norman, he says that playing his music live is where he feels most at home.
“I mean, really, it's like medication for me,” says Norman. “My favorite thing to do is probably be on stage; I'm more comfortable there than I am in my everyday life. I haven't gone on a long tour, and I really want to go on a nationwide tour. The kind of music I play is really best heard live.”
Dain Norman's new album, Lantern, is tentatively set to be released in full on October 25th. This Sunday, though, he'll be performing at Honey as a two-piece, with TJ Cope. If you're feeling nostalgic, or just want to see an amazing show, come on down and check out this revivalist rock. Get tickets here.