DUSTIN LOVELIS: BEEN HIT BEFORE
When a listener thinks about music, they may not think about the production—but for better or worse, producers can have just as much influence on how an album sounds. (Phil Spector’s signature sound marks ever albums he touched.) And sometimes when a musician wants to get closer to their vision, they need to do it themselves. That’s just what Dustin Lovelis did for his self-produced Been Hit Before. Here Lovelis has composed and produced a 10-track collection of songs that blend elements of folk, indie and a little 60s psychedelia to great effect. The songs are ephemeral but timeless, each complementing the next while avoiding the overly dated cliches that damage many bands whose music draws on a retro aesthetic. I’d set this album next to the type of stuff Joel Jerome was doing on the early dios records, as well as some of Jerome’s solo material. While much of the album is quite downbeat and dreamlike—such as the amazing opening song “Dead Grass,” rooted in an organ melody and choir vocals that are almost church-like—Lovelis was wise to mix in a few more pop-influenced tracks, such as “Mystery Boys” or “Nervous Suspicion”—it’s just the right amount of ups and downs to make the entire ride enjoyable. Lovelis is proving to be just as strong a producer as he is a songwriter—I’m very much looking forward to what he has in store for the future.