Scott_Williams on 08/26/2009 at 05:57PM
When I first came across Amen Dunes' CD "DIA" in WFMU's new bin a few months back, it was some crazy Serpent and the Rainbow zombie business on a pink matte background staring back at me, which is one surefure way to get me to pay attention to you. Listening to it fulfilled the proverbial deepening-of-the-enigma that's so essential but elusive. I couldn't figure out if this guy was coming from Mars, drugs, Beach Boys, paranoia, Krautrock, isolation, or just a good old-fashioned strange record collection.
Turns out he comes from Philadelphia.
Seriously, what's in the water in our nearest southwesterly sister city? Oh, right: Death. Well, we've gotta live with it, right? Amen Dunes is a guy named Damon McMahon, and while he's long since moved on to such exotic locales as Boston, the Catskills, and Beijing, he seems an exemplary musical exponent of the death-in-life vibe that only Philadelphia Pennsylvania can instill. Songs like "White Lace" and "Gemhead" crackle with energy and life, while at the same time hiding behind walls of the past that just give meaning to all that living energy. Death giving back to life, like that maypole song in The Wicker Man; not to suggest that Amen Dunes sounds even remotely like Britt Eckland.
Amen Dunes made it down to WFMU in August 2009, and I'm especially chuffed to say it happened on my show. Damon was accompanied by Sara Shaw, both of them played Gibson SGs on the day of Les Paul's demise. Jason Sigal engineered, Caleb Townsend assisted, and I just blissed out.
Two important things: the album is called "D.I.A.", not "Dia". And "Amen Dunes" is not homage to "Amon Düül" - I know, I was surprised too!