Travis Morrison and I have a very long history. The Dismemberment Plan were the band that got me into indie rock, which got me into college radio, which got me into a lot of things a lot more interesting than indie rock. In 2000, I was a college freshman and I saw a flyer that said the Dismemberment Plan were playing a local (Fayetteville, AR) venue called Clunk Music Hall. I had seen the name in the past month’s issue of Spin, so I fired up Napster and downloaded some tracks. I liked it. I ended up not going to the show and instead went to a Rocky Horror Picture Show showing on campus. But I kept listening to those tracks I got from Napster and became a huge D-Plan fan. I went to the local indie record store (Clunk Records) and bought Emergency and I and The Dismemberment Plan Is Terrified. I was in love.
Then, the D-Plan came back to town right after I had come back from school. My mildly interested brother and I drove up to see them. It was the first real “rock concert” of my life (I had seen a few lame local cover bands and a praise band or two in my tiny hometown, but this was the first proper concert). The opener was some lame band whose name I’ve forgotten, but Enon played next. They got the whole crowd dancing and churning and made an instant fan out of me. I didn’t know how the D-Plan could live up to that. But, of course, they did. And they did over and over again. I saw them seven times and each one was an amazing experience. And then they broke up, Travis Morrison went solo and things began to go downhill.
I was studying abroad in Japan when the Dismemberment Plan announced their breakup. I was worried I would never see them again, but they had a hefty “goodbye” tour scheduled and most of it would occur after I had gotten back to the States. Travis launched his solo website and the first thing of note he posted wasn’t a hot jam or even a lame jam. It was a defense of George W. Bush and his planned invasion of Iraq. It was then that I began to discover how Dylan fans felt after the motorcycle wreck.
Travis posted a few tracks on his website. The first, “Checkers and Chess” and “16 Types of People” were’t too impressive on first listen, but grew on me. Then he posted the atrocious “Song for the Orca” and followed that up with a downright unlistenable acoustic cover of “What’s Your Fantasy”. The frontman of one of my favorite bands, a man who had written lyrics that had pierced and broken my 19 & 20 year old heart in the most graceful and beautiful of ways, had reduced himself to jokey-frat-dude-with-an-acoustic-guitar-in-a-shitty-bar level covers of popular rap songs. It was Self Portrait, but it wasn’t on purpose.
I got back to the States and saw the D-Plan three times on their goodbye tour. Once in Cleveland (still one of the best shows of my life) and twice in NYC. And, despite the bad omens, I awaited Travis’s upcoming solo album. It came out, and it sucked five million dicks. It was bad. After I got over how bad it was, I stopped thinking or caring at all about Travis’s career.
Then, a year or so later, he played a bar in my town. I, and not too many other people, went. And in a shocking turn of events, it was really good. He had a new backing band that was great, but most importantly he had a bucket of new non-Travistan songs that were nearly as good as anything he had done with the Dismemberment Plan. He said he was working on a new solo album to be called All Y’All. I got really excited. But I never heard anything about it again. Every once in a while, it would come up in conversations with the friends of mine that went to that show. But that was it.
The Dismemberment Plan jumped back into my (and the Internet’s) consciousness with two shows done for charity. I downloaded the boots, they were great, but there was no new information about All Y’All. Then Pitchfork posted a news article about it and mentioned that Travis was streaming the new album on his website.
I listened and it was great! Not D-Plan good, but still really really good. Like, make the haters forget Travistan ever came out good. Like, career revitalizing good. Like, I won’t bring up your support for the Iraq war good. Yeah, that good.
I’d love to post and talk about one of the album cuts, but I’d feel guilty about releasing a stream-ripped mp3 into the wild only 2 weeks before the album drops and there will be plenty of error corrected 320s for everyone. So I’m just going to repost the digital single As We Proceed, which you can find all over that there internet. Lyrically, it is what you’d expect: personal anecdotes set to music, but with Travis’s cleverness always peeking around the corner. I’d like to say that it’s more mature, but Travis was never a immature songwriter to begin with.
As We Proceed
Stream All Y’all