Last Night Betty (Extender)

Davey Dreamnation featuring Stung, ‘Last Night Betty Extender’ (6.59).

If it seems like a long time ago that I wrote the poem ‘Last Night Betty’, that’s probably because it was. Is.

And if it seems like an eternity since I listened to this slice of mixed up toe-jam by Davey Dreamnation, a musical interpretation right up there with the rest of them, that’s probably because it is. Was. 

Until now. 

Featuring unauthorised guitar licks from Kiwi Sting impersonator Stung, and a drum beat from a nifty little app called the Rapmaster that I’ve not been able to find again, this little outtake is what in the industry is referred to as off the hook.

Strap yourself in and be prepared.

It doesn’t get much loopier than this.

Davves: “Pre-Soak” b/w “Detailed Image Package”

DNRC102 | 7″ | 2032 | DELETED

After suffering the indignity of an on-stage meltdown during the Goulburn Valley Music Festival in 2031, an act which led to his retirement from the music industry (not to mention the deletion of his ‘barnestorming’ swansong EP, The Silence of Untold Sound), Davey Dreamnation regrouped, underwent therapy and changed his name to Davves.

While this decision was approved by his therapist at the time, in hindsight it appears to have been a fatal mistake, as this rare double A-side 7″ single, the only extant recording by Davves, attests. Clocking in at just under three seconds, the purported radio-friendly unit shifter ‘Pre-Soak’ is an utter disgrace, consisting only of the sound made when plugging a jack into an obviously out-of-tune guitar. Things don’t get any better on the flipside, where we almost fail to find any traces of sound at all in “Detailed Image Package”.

In fact, the attempted release of this double piece of navel fluff was blocked via a class action taken on behalf of the listening public by the International Whaling Commission, a case which was heard in-camera due to the explosive nature of the allegations against Dreamnation / Wavves. While we may never know the full effects of the so-called sub-Tasman ‘listening parties’ carried out by Wavves in preparation for the singles’ release, the current absence of marine life in the areas where “Pre-Soak” and “Detailed Image Package” were unleashed upon the submarine listening public speaks volumes.

Upon the court-ordered deletion of “Pre-Soak” b/w “Detailed Image Package”, Wavves promptly announced his retirement from the music industry, an act only half as stupid as his initial decision to join it. Nevertheless, fans of post-punk wave foam can still find bootleg versions of this release, as well as unreleased demos, in all the usual fishermen’s baskets.

Davey Dreamnation: “The Silence of Untold Sound”

DNRC101 | EP | 2031 | DELETED

Having watched in amazement as the world proceeded to ignore his other masterpiece (the abominable That’s Buddha Mini-LP), Davey Dreamnation retreated to his Majorca lair, and rightly so. The Silence of Untold Sound, Dreamnation’s long-awaited swansong, put to rest any doubts about his good intentions, while shedding no further light as to his real talent or chances of success.

The master tapes of the EP itself were almost accidentally deleted and then restored, lovingly, from the remnants of two calculators and an Eyna record, in a remarkable tale of hardship, camaraderie and studio boffinry to rival anything Stung or Christy Burr might care to come up with. But let’s leave history to the historians, shall we?

Still, it’s worth pausing, for one second, to reflect upon the fact that The Silence of Untold Sound was DNRC’s one hundred and first release, and then to move on. The Silence of Untold Sound was also DNRC’s last release, following on almost immediately from the mis-timed and ill-conceived thought-experiment that was Scaramouche’s Quiche Lorraine.

The EP’s official release in 2031 also came almost exactly thirty years after the label’s inception in the heady early days of the new century, when the Sprite Levels ruled the roost, alongside a host of other Tribesco bands.

While this kind of contextual detail is essential for any appreciation of Dreamnation and DNRC, it provides no real entry point for any discussion of the music itself. This is a crucial observation, and one that does not need to be spelled out to the remaining two fans of Davey’s music. For the newcomer, the absence of any adequate descriptions for these songs should speak volumes.

Speaking of what’s missing, the absence of Clint Bo Dean on The Silence of Untold Sound is telling, as is that of Stung, Dreamnation’s supposed vocal coach, whose influence can be heard on neither of the two instrumental tracks: the cod-reggae ‘Son of Cave’ and the spooky-synth workout ‘Theme From Untold’.

Throughout these tracks, there’s a slightly disturbing sense that Dreamnation is asleep at the wheel, or else is not actually at the wheel at all, which begs even more questions. Things don’t get much better when we turn to an examination of the tracks that do feature vocals, as can be heard on opening track ‘You & Me’, where Stung’s helium-enhanced backing vocals spoil Dreamnation’s sometimes flawless lead performance.

Elsewhere, on ‘AH XMAS’ Dreamnation could be singing in Dutch but we’re never sure, the echo-drenched effects drowning out all meaning. One suspects the lyrics to ‘Fantasy One’, the EP’s so-called centrepiece, will not age well.

Of the afore-mentioned instrumentals, Theme from Untold is the surprise standout, perhaps because it is the only song on that attempts to relate to the EP’s title. Its final two minutes surely represent a triumph of accidental skills over premeditation, and provide a fittingly ghost-like finale to a tortured artist’s career.

It seems almost redundant to point out, even to long-term fans of DNRC Records and its loopy founder, that when the end comes it comes not suddenly, drastically or with any kind of jitchiness but almost like blinking: there’s a long period of whimpers, followed by an almost everlasting silence that doesn’t seem to end, and then does.

The Silence of Untold Sound could hardly be described as a graceful exit but an exit it nevertheless remains. We can only speculate upon Dreamnation’s emotions at the precise moment when he deliberately deleted not just his final, definite masterpiece, but also his own wholly-manufactured self, right down to the last emoticon.

In the aftermath, we can only conclude by hoping, for Davey’s sake, not to mention the sake of all of the talented artists and other less-talented people who were involved in the DNRC project, that he has ascended to some plain of untold silence, and sounds, that will never be deleted.

No stars.