Monday, December 20, 2010

Carly & Donna "Believe In Yourself" cd-r (self released/2002)

Even though 2002 wasn't that long ago, this cd certainly takes me back a bit. It takes me to a time in Long Island DIY history that I look fondly upon. From my vantage point, I have felt for the most part that punk or DIY culture's cry for diversity has always been largely for window dressing at best as very seldom do you see artists or bands really go against the grain and when they do make an appearance it is safe to say they aren't met with the most open of arms. Plain and simple most people, despite the grand standing and soapbox discussions want nothing more than Peter Pan-esque party time pop punk reassuring them they can stay young forever. However, with that being said I do have to say in a brief period in the late 90s early 2000s I do believe I experienced a genuine sense of diversity not only from musical stand point but also from an ideological as well from a gender stand point. And mind you the latter was far from perfect but from my perception as someone who had already been involved in independent/ music for a considerable amount of time, I found the involvement of women in the Long Island scene at that point in time in every aspect to be prevalent as well as inspiring. Whether it was music, arts, zines or organizing it was clear that women were an enormous part of the community and as someone who has always been serious about practice what you preach and as someone who put a lot of stock in DIY culture it truly meant the world to me that at least locally the creative community I involved myself with was growing past merely being a forum for white suburban male adolescents (and 20 somethings) to express themselves.There was a lot of excitement over getting Freespace off the ground so perhaps there was a sense that EVERYONE was working towards something bigger.

Personally, it is hard for me to excited about shows if each band is a rehash of one another sonically, lyrically, etc. etc. And in that period of shows for me it certainly was exciting for me because it seemed like every show each had bands that sounded nothing like one another but what tied everything was a sense of respect and genuine camaraderie. And that was the common bond. One of the projects that started turning up at shows and "turning things down" so to speak, were a female indie pop/folk duo, Carly & Donna; which was Carly Comando from Slingshot Dakota and friend Donna Baxter. In some ways this powerful duo epitomized how awesome shows were in this time period. A hardcore band like Solidarity Pact or Scent of Human History or post punk band like my own Yes Sensei or Empty Silos Echo War or even Latterman could be on a show with Carly & Donna and it wouldn't feel out of place or forced or anything like that. People would be just as attentive for their set as any of the other bands; sometimes even more. Who knows perhaps I remember things differently than others but I have to say it always stuck me rather vividly how natural everything was.

As far as the music, it is crisp and clean indie pop/folk much like The Softies or Holiday Flyer. Both Comando and Baxter possess such wonderful voices and the way they harmonize is nothing short of heavenly. The harmonizing vocals is what really reminds me of The Softies. And to hear the vocals intertwined with the the clean strummed acoustic guitars and Comando's fantastic keyboard playing, Carly & Donna were able to create a perfect brand of indie pop/folk that while subtle in the sense that it wasn't a rock band set up in the DIY show scene but in many ways was more powerful than most bands. Punk culture generally doesn't reward musicianship so it was a pleasant surprise to not only hear something different from the norm but music that was not haphazardly put together but instead beautifully woven together.

The cd-r demo Believe in Yourself features 3 songs though one is only a 35 second short melody and vocal over a metronome which seemed like more of quick idea but still there is a charm about it. As far as I know I don't believe they ever recorded any other songs though I certainly recall more being played live. Comando went on to form Slingshot Dakota who have released two full length albums Keener Sighs and Their Dreams Are Dead, But Ours is the Golden Ghost.

Carly & Donna Believe In Yourself track listing:
1. "Through It All"
2. "For Lauren"
3. "You"

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