Missing their prized slot on the Coachella bill hasn't prevented Doves from winging their way elsewhere through the U.S.
The Manchester, England, group was prevented from playing the California festival — and touring in support of Mercury Rev — after singer/bassist Jimi Goodwin's pipes unexpectedly failed him. "It was quite a shock. I've never really had problems before," he said. "I thought I had a nasty cold, but I had been singing on laryngitis for five weeks and not knowing it. I just had to have a break, a couple weeks off at home."
Despite the setback, and having to postpone shows in four U.S. cities, Doves played eight gigs in May and have five more slated for June. They'll also circle back to the U.S. in September to make up the rescheduled shows, still in support of their third album, Some Cities.
Issued in the spring, Some Cities shows Doves reversing the direction of 2002's big, sweeping The Last Broadcast (see "Doves Soar Back With The Last Broadcast"). "I feel that with The Last Broadcast we took that sound as far as we could," drummer Andy Williams said.
"We wanted to strip things back down again," his brother, guitarist Jez Williams, added. "The album is more played as a band in a room. The previous two albums were very precise productions; this has more of an organic feel to it."
Fittingly, the majority of Some Cities was recorded in cottages and rental homes, including an empty Scotland schoolhouse and Snowdonia, a national park in North Wales.
The latter location inspired "Snowden," a misspelled ode to the Welsh park, which is the second Some Cities single after "Black and White Town." Unlike the grittier camera work done by Scottish filmmaker Lynne Ramsey for the "Town" video, the clip for "Snowden" is more of a dream sequence, filled with bombs dropping and interspersed with live footage.
The band's newly redesigned Web site is filled with exclusives, including Easter egg videos and demos that have never seen the light of day. "Being on the road, we can always write little sketches and things and post them online," Goodwin said. "It's fascinating that you can do something in one day and it can be online in two hours. It's great to keep it fresh."
The band should have plenty of opportunity to post colorful online bits, with summer plans taking them to Britain's Glastonbury Festival, Japan's Fuji Festival and Splendour in the Grass in Australia.
After that, Doves will return to the States. Dates are TBD at this point, although they have been confirmed for Texas' Austin City Limits Festival in late September.
While making it big in the U.S. is something Doves would welcome, they don't feel the pressure to do so. "The whole concept of breaking America ... I don't know," Jimi said. "We're proud that we can come out and play here for the past six years and the gigs sell out and we have a strong fanbase. It's very much [a] word-of-mouth [following] we feel, and that's heartening in this age of mass media."
As for Goodwin, he's hoping his voice will be in tip-top shape — although don't expect many stage antics if it is. "We all grew up loving [David] Bowie and [Marc] Bolan and all these outrageous, incredibly charismatic people. I can't claim to ever be in that category, but I can write songs and sing. We like to be low-key, discreet. The music is it. The music is everything."
Doves tour dates, according to their Web site:
- 6/9 - Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
- 6/10 - Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theatre
- 6/11 - Seattle, WA @ The Showbox
- 6/13 - San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
- 6/14 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern LG