Dustin Prinz' Drugs LP
Singer/songwriter Dustin Prinz is exploring a much bigger sound.
His 2009 album, "Learning to Love Yourself," was partially recorded in the backseat of a car, but for his latest, "Drugs LP," the Oklahoma City musician upgraded his vehicular, basement and apartment studios for a spare bedroom. The new album is fuller, yet at its extremes sounds eerily emptier than anything he's released so far.
The upbeat exceptions are "Media," which features manic guitars and kick drum' recorded while performed simultaneously, according to Prinz' with an indictment of the forces that manufacture feelings and control culture, and "Bipolar," which despite its heady subject matter, is as lighthearted as mental illness can be.
Interspersed with nonsensical, rhythmic vocal machinations, Prinz riffs on pill-bottle warning labels and echoes a refrain familiar to anyone who's way too familiar with practitioners and dispensaries. "Going to the doctor, I've taken medication / But it makes me feel so much worse," he relates. "Instead of just my problems, I get all these other problems / 'Cause the symptoms of the drugs are the curse."
Prinz co-wrote "You Know I Know" with Okie singer Anna Kinder, who plays piano and provides vocal harmonies throughout the disc. Together, Prinz's melancholy is more bittersweet, and Kinder's breathy, whispery vocals are a welcome balance to his most brooding tendencies.
"InstruuuMental" is more of Prinz's familiar low-fi. The track is overmodulated, has a weird resonance and is poorly recorded. Despite this (or because of it, probably), the tune is haunting and bothersome, in an interesting, compelling way. If you were a friend, lover or parent, and you discovered this song on an unlabeled CD in your beloved's bedroom, you'd be justified in dialing either a psychotherapist or a well-known producer.
The "Drugs LP" is affected, and its mood is infectious. Just make sure you're in the mood to catch the sickness.
The album was released June 22 and is available through various online retailers. Prinz performs 7 p.m. Saturdays through Aug. 28 at In the Raw, 200 S. Oklahoma. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/dustinprinz. "Joe Wertz