Dawes carries full house like a soft folk-rock breeze, Hiss Golden Messenger captivates (The Social)

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THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND 
Dawes at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Dawes at the Social
There’s nothing especially sexy about Los Angeles band Dawes. Sure, there’s a good bit of current interest in slightly indie updates of soft folk-rock, but it’s not like it’s going to spark an orgy or anything. In defiance of that seeming nonstarter, however, they managed to really own the night at their recent Orlando show (April 12, The Social) with a patient, full-bodied radiance.

Dawes at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Dawes at the Social
Dawes at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Dawes at the Social

More soulful glow than rock & roll flash and dazzle, their sound is all about space, a very particular and golden one. And with songs that are wide, reclined and awash in easy amber West Coast rays, they occupy it with impressive warmth and plenitude. Even in the absence of edge or angle, their size, presence and melody lifted the full house without any hint of, or need for, strain. The California dreaming of Dawes is far less about incision as it is about envelopment. And that smooth wind has a pretty undeniable way of surrounding and carrying you away for a while.



Hiss Golden Messenger at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Hiss Golden Messenger at the Social

Although perhaps just as gentle and soul-stroking, North Carolina opener Hiss Golden Messenger – a band currently on respected indie label Merge Records – comes from a very different place closer to the fringe. Their alternative take on folk and country music rolled out with an interesting leftward lean, using the relative sparseness of a trio of acoustic, electric and bass guitar to explore some intriguing expression and juxtaposition. And I’m pretty sure more people there would’ve been impressed had they reserved their dumb, loud socializing for the stage changeover.

Hiss Golden Messenger at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Hiss Golden Messenger at the Social
Hiss Golden Messenger at the Social - JEN CRAY
  • Jen Cray
  • Hiss Golden Messenger at the Social

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This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene.

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