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Dashboard Confessional at Saint Andrews, 5 Things To Know

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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When Dashboard Confessional returned to duty last year after a five year hiatus, fans wanted to know when they'd hear some new music.

They got their answer this month, by surprise.

On Jan. 19 the quartet popped an EP, "Covered + Taped," via Spotify, featuring frontman Chris Carrabba's take on songs by Justin Bieber, the 1975, Julien Baker and Sorority House. It's not the full-fledged set of new music we've been waiting for since 2009's "After The Ending," but it's a step in the right direction.

And Carrabba promises that there's more coming...

Carrabba, 41 -- who started Dasbhoard as a solo acoustic project in 1999 -- says the decision to release the EP came from an adjustment in his own way of thinking. "I stopped being precious about (stuff)," he acknowledges. "I had started becoming a little obsessive at some point about, 'What's the right approach about reintroducing music to the world after an official long absence?' Then, as I often do, I recorded some covers for fun, and I was like, 'Wait? I can just do what I like? Eureka!'"

The choice of covers, according to Carrabba, is random. "If a song strikes me, I'll do it," he says. "When I'm working on my own music, I loosely swear off listening to new music while I"m making a record. But I've secretly been making a record for a long time, and that was a long time not to listen to any new music. So I started listening again, and that's how I found the songs I'd eventually cover."

Of the four tracks on "Covered + Taped," Carrabba's version of Bieber's "Love Yourself" is the one raising the most eyebrows. "I really like Justin Bieber's voice, but his style of music doesn't always translate to the things that kind of like tug at me," Carrabba explains. "But when I heard 'Love YOurself' I thought that was the bravest song, 'cause he's got every right to oversell every performance he does, and I just thought, 'Wow, this guy's like a master of restraint right now, and he's telling this really direct story. If I were to turn on my car and (the song) came on the radio, I would turn it up instead of off, so it really felt like something I could make work for me."

Carrabba may be releasing actually new Dashboard music sooner rather than later. Maybe. "I you told me I had to release (an album) today, I could. Just don't tell me to," he says with laugh. "I would say we have 40 songs that I would actually pick from. Let's just say there's no shortage of songs. On the other hand I'm still writing, not because I'm like, 'Oh, I've got to amass material' but because I'm just inspired right now, and I don't want to stop writing just yet."

After playing amphitheaters last summer on its "comeback" tour, Dashboard is now back to smaller clubs and theaters, and Carrabba says he likes the mix. "It'd be foolish to say the grandeur of those giant places doesn't mean anything. They do," he notes. "The fact that we do those rooms is an astonishment in and of itself to me. But there's part of us that belongs to a niche that both audience and band enjoy in a certain, smaller place, and if that means spending three days in the same club instead of doing one down at a bigger place, that's OK. What's the rush? We'd rather fulfill the common desire, I think. It's really rewarding."

Dashboard Confessional. Vinyl Theatre and This Wild Life

Friday, Jan. 27. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit.

Tickets are $30.

Call 313-961-6358 or visit saintandrewsdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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