This is an entry in an ongoing series for 303 Magazine, which will provide a range of local album reviews. It is our intention to highlight the talents of local musicians, whether veterans to the industry or newcomers. Like the bands, the album can be fresh or something we just haven’t had the power to take off repeat in the past few months. Check out previous entries in the series here.
The Dead & The Daylily are a beautiful example of the masterwork created from the combination of raw musical talent and real, naked emotion. Bringing their dream folk music to Denver, The Dead & The Daylily have stories to share, stories which they tell in their self-titled EP, The Dead & The Daylily — produced by Joe Richmond. The EP is a first for the band, whose five members played their official first show together last July at the Underground Music Showcase. What started as a duo between Hannah Alzugaray and Russell Brozovich turned into an indefinable five-piece who have created their own version of dream folk.
For Alzugaray, dream folk has a two-part definition. Alzugaray and Brozovich began as gardeners with a passion for music. They eventually decided to start creating folk songs together. The music was emotional, described by Alzugaray as “sounding like waves of feeling.” This moving aspect of folk is what she loosely defines as the “dream.” When paired together, you’ve got this abstract genre of dream folk that The Dead & The Daylily produce and perform so beautifully. And though they’re still asking themselves questions — “who are we and what do we sound like?” — they’ve weaved together the music and lyrics with a style truly unique to themselves.
Though The Dead & The Daylily contains just four songs, the EP is full-bodied and well-rounded. With two songs written by Brozovich and two songs written by Alzugaray, there’s a good balance of vocals and lyricism as well. The album’s lyrics read like a personal notebook, leaving no emotion untouched and no feeling left unwound. Alzugaray is behind “Count Me Out” and “Air Makes Fire,” which she describes as songs of hope. “Count Me Out” is a song about silver linings and seeing yourself through difficult times of life. The song is particularly special for the band, with it being the first song Alzugaray ever wrote and a song that is “the most fun to sing together.” Alzugaray wrote “Air Makes Fire” after the end of a relationship. It is an oath to the individual who can build themselves up on their own — a personal fight song that began with a solo ukulele and transformed over time.
Brozovich is the mind behind “Just Go Crazy” and “Baby Rae,” the latter of which is a response to a tragedy experienced by Brozovich and his wife. This song saturates our deepest human emotions. “Just Go Crazy,” on the other hand, paints a fantastic picture using an unexpected analogy. In alluding to linemen working for power companies back in the ‘20s and ‘30s who dangerously climbed towers with no protection and no tools, Brozovich expresses how this life can oftentimes feel — “No neck for an acrobat who’s snuffing arcs with an old felt hat.”
Brozovich describes The Dead & The Daylily as a “combination of organic and synthetic sounds,” which is how the band found their name. Working on the flower beds, Brozovich and Alzugaray would say “it’s time to take the dead out of the daylilies.” The organic, folk sound is the daylily and the dead is the digital, synthetic sound that the organic has joined forces with. This evolution is through the addition of three more band members — Trevor Jargon on the bass, Colin Hill on drums and Valerie Jargon on synth. Together, The Dead & The Daylily have found the full, cohesive sound they were searching for. Together they are ready to start working on a new, full-length LP as a fresh and unique five-some.
Check out their self-titled EP here.