Tony Molina - Dissed and Dismissed | Album Review | By Volume

What is this life, why do we strive? Fast on a wheel, too fast to feel. One day, my love, this life will slow. Sam Brookes - One Day

Tony Molina

Dissed & Dismissed

Twelve whole minutes of indispensable guitar-pop.

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Author: on July 8, 2014

On his newest record, the lightning-bolt-fast indie rock novella Dissed and Dismissed, Tony Molina slips in a cover of “Wondering Boy Poet”. The song was originally a folk nugget from Vampire on Titus, one of the relative unknown records Guided by Voices put out before accidentally becoming a cult band with the exact same sound. Like their frontman, Robert Pollard, Molina is interested in pop songs that refuse to repeat themselves, structured around one verse, one chorus, and the occasionally incredible bridge to nowhere. His cover of Pollard’s song is a random act, like an ejection seat from one record into another: in the nick of time, he’s able to interrupt his Weezer-touting punk rawk and totally sick metal riffs to fulfil a tenderness for a band who taught him how to make quick, indispensible pop songs. The song cuts off forty-seven seconds in, shaving off the precious moments he isn’t interested in you hearing – you can hear it awkwardly but assertively roll back into Dissed and Dismissed for one final hurrah. That’s Molina all over: in party mode like Andrew W.K. listening to Pavement, but quick to lose his train of thought. He’ll pick it back up again, though.

Molina traces Pollard’s songwriting in more ways than one. On Dissed and Dismissed, he’s as anachronistic as the classic days of GbV, uninterested in how songs connect, whether or not they sound the same, or even if he recycles similar lyrics and motifs. His record is just warming up by the time he’s ready to switch things up; after four songs of quick call-backs to different areas of classic rock (the feedback-as-a-winter-coat of Yo La Tengo, the sweet vocal inflections of R.E.M. and the guitar chugging of your favourite imaginary metal band), he throws in a thirty second snippet of acoustic guitar picking, entitled “Sick Ass Riff”, as if it’s only there because he’s impressed himself. As much as Molina is attached to halcyon days and the best artists he always wanted to sound like, he’s also a show-off, the dude who made these silly songs with their awesome solos. It sounds like he wants you to feel about Dissed and Dismissed how he felt when he worked out that sick bit on his guitar.

Dissed and Dismissed is only twelve minutes long, but it’s one of those records that treats each listener individually, letting them fight a corner for their own favourite moment. Mine is his little vocal whinge of “tear me down!”, sung with a sudden and fleeting melancholy on “Don’t Come Back”, but for others it will be something else: the tone of his guitar when he unleashes it for real; the sudden acoustic ditty that unhinges the record at the last moment; one of those sustained, chunky chords. It might just be one of those simple lyrics, lovelorn, but only in the Best Coast way, as a means to the end of satisfying a good rhyme. Molina’s songs are simple, but he’s so generous with melody, and such an immediate presence, that it’s impossible to care. It’s just nice to know people are still making records like Dissed and Dismissed, the kind that sound as seamless as they do impressive, thrown off but totally invaluable. He’s only switching it up so he can bring it all home again. The wandering boy poet will return to you.

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