steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Dave Halverson

"Apothecary Charms" CD


Genre: instrumental rock

Oakland, CA

June 29, 2009

Very pleased by this unexpected nugget from independent musician Dave Halverson. If you remember classic instrumental rock band Pell Mell, then you'll undoubtedly be pleased to learn that Apothecary Charms takes some significant cues from that band's material. Of course, this deviates considerably from the Pell Mell formula - there's more electronics, less surf guitar, and a greater emphasis on experimentation. Still, Halverson has a knack for appealingly melodic instrumentals, churning out several excellent moments on this album. Among the highlights are adrenaline-pumping opener "A Quick Dance on a Shallow Grave," twangy anthem "Song for the Chickens," and film-like epic "Shells in the Clocktower." And there's also some healthy (and successful) experimentation: "The Agonist" is pleasantly eerie and cinematic, and "K" lays tuneful guitar noodling over a bubbly, acid-like bassline.

The fact that Apothecary Charms is all the work of one man is perhaps the most impressive aspect of this release; the overdubbing involved must have been arduous! Yet despite its personnel-related limitations, this record comes off as a fully realized and thoroughly appealing artifact of independent music. Well done, Dave.

dave's myspace


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by CD Baby, released April 2008]