Dana T
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Dana T

Iowa City, Iowa, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE

Iowa City, Iowa, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Alternative Art Rock




"Album Review: Dana T’s ‘tiny mind MASSIVE soul’"

Popular music is a tug of war between artistic and commercial concerns, and at the center of it all lays genre. For an artist, genres have stylistic signifiers and limits. A great musician can make punk rock that is satisfying and original within those limits, but if he or she adds a sitar or using diminished 13th chords, it usually stops being punk rock.

Then there’s Dana Telsrow. When it comes to genre, as the kids say: I can’t even. It’s rock music, but with constant tempo changes, unpredictable harmonic progressions, five piece horn section arrangements, and his restless lyrical imagination. There is historical precedence, in the form of the ’60s Marin county band Sons of Champlain, but only old weirdos like this author have actually listened to them. Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks come to mind as well, but Dana T substitutes something more sophisticated and puzzling for their addictive pop sweetness.

Dana T (like his collaborator/co-conspirator saxophonist Curt Oren) has a reputation as a prankster and goofball, but on tiny mind MASSIVE soul, he seems deadly serious. On the title track, he sings “Tune to the universe, and the universe will tune to you,” and in “Crosswalk,” he says “I’ll become a fixture of my City: A favorite faucet, dripping all night long.”

Where his last album, abbr. relation, was more whimsical, these songs are unambiguously sincere. That kind of earnestness can be deadly, but luckily Telsrow’s inventive mastery of instrumental textures ground his compositions in something less abstract and more inviting. The intertwining chromatic squiggles of “Who You” seem like he’s following 20th Century composer Charles Ives down his rabbit hole.

Dana T packs as much complexity and moony mysticism into these songs as he can, and there’s a musical depth that rewards repeated listenings. His music has an internal logic that can take a while to enter into, but it’s worth the effort. It’s not often you can find music that draws you in, even as it baffles you. - Little Village Magazine

"Premiere / Dana T / Erase Myself"

The tiny mind eventually gives way to the massive soul. Like debris on the river, the occupations of ego drift away in time. Can I tell you that I laughed today? Dana T’s songs were to blame.

Is Dana getting at something? Do the songs think about things when we don’t listen? When Dana writes these tunes is he acting as a friend? An elusive puzzleman? A mother? A griever? A survivor? Like a good ending to a book, Dana’s music feels surprising but inevitable. “Erase Myself” is as such. As you listen through, the logic of the song builds like life itself — as you have new experiences your perspective can never quite be the same since moods and emotions layer over each other slowly. The track never feels like it’s breaking itself, but it moves forward without looking back. Isn’t that wild?

The tiny mind reaches out like long fingers to feel in the fog and does it succeed at finding something? With any record whether it be from REO Speedwagon, the Ultramagnetic M.C.’s or Dana T, it is up to the tiny mind of the listener to see whether the massive soul can be reached. Either something grips or it just doesn’t. Dana made funny mondo good with his heart stuff, though, and the record is caked with very tactile soul power. I’ve heard trumpets. I’ve made friends. There is always.

Dana T’s debut LP, tiny mind MASSIVE soul, will be available to download and on vinyl 31st October on Long Play Records and White Rabbit Records. - Independent Music News

"Dana Telsrow's first album a fun, versatile listen"

Dana Telsrow’s first full-length album, "tiny mind MASSIVE soul," is a massive undertaking. It features contributions from the approximately 20 additional talented regional artists. The songs have complex arrangements and often feature shifts in tone and style with an array of instrumentations. However, in addition to the size of the production itself, Telsrow’s themes and lyrics get grandiose, too.

Most of the lyrics are like Telsrow’s musical arrangements, free flowing with shifting timbre and pace. Musically, the album has heavy jazz influences along with some funky bass, bold brass and several instrumentations not normally found on a rock album. It’s easy to imagine parts of the instrumentation in "Applecore" being part of a children’s movie soundtrack. Most songs have moments of blaring sax or horns, often with slightly discordant tones.

Other songs have moments of familiar rock arrangements such as "Who You," which features a screaming guitar solo. "Neon Blood" and "Equality" have flashes of pop-sounding acoustic guitar and “oh, oh oh” vocalizations, while "tiny mind MASSIVE soul" has a layered guitar lead-in. A bit of punk sounds surface in "Lation."

The fun, complex compositions along with free-style sounding lyrics can mask some deeper themes that occasionally surface in much of the album. In the first single off the project, "Erase Myself," Telsrow sings about losing his ego to learn about himself. “I can’t believe it took so long to figure it out,” he sings of his creative and spiritual revelation. It seems to echo a theme of the album, established in the opening song "Crosswalk," about birth -- creative, spiritual or otherwise -- where he sings “One day, I was born; I felt it ever since.”

Like the songs’ musical arrangements, which have instruments shift, change and sometimes stop entirely, the clear meaningful passages among stream-of-consciousness lyrics grab listeners’ attention. Or maybe the lyrics all have equally deep meaning that escapes me now. Either way, the result is a fun, versatile listen that features sounds and words so richly layered that its novelty and allure doesn’t fade after repeated plays. - Pulse

"Interview: Dana T talks about his new LP and the underground IC music scene"

Dana Telsrow (or, Dana T) cut his musical teeth on mathematical rockers like Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart and Charles Mingus. His arrangements border on messy at times, but come through as an adventurous, organized concept from beginning to end. These unconventional arrangements are thrown at the listener, who can try to analyze them or just let them bounce around and settle into place — which they do, beautifully. The compositional layers on his new album, tiny mind MASSIVE soul fit snugly around his vocals and suggest an experimental alliance between nature, man and a particular potency Dana conjures through controlled out-of-control songs. In other words, Dana knows the rules and is unapologetic about breaking them in such an emotional and talented way.

Dana and I sat down at Iowa City’s famed Black Angel monument during a recent Saturday sunset to talk about composition, performance and spirituality. tiny mind MASSIVE soul is an Iowa project, born and bred — written, recorded, pressed, packaged and distributed within the confines of Iowa City — and the album itself will debut at Gabe’s in Iowa City on Halloween.
Are you a self-taught musician, or did you take lessons?

My dad always wanted me to play sports and pressured me to do basketball and baseball and those sorts of things. The last year I played baseball, I hit the ball one time the entire season and it was a foul and I’m not competitive in anything like that, so that didn’t really work. One day we were going to my Uncle’s house. Up to that point I just listened to whatever my mom listened to; pop music and she went through a country music phase. I somehow heard Last Resort by Papa Roach and on the way I said “Hey Dad, I really like this song.” He always listened to the classic rock stations, so then finally we had a good thing to connect on.

He got me the guitar when I was twelve and I started school band around the same time playing trombone. I did school band all the way through high school and as far as guitar goes, I taught myself for a few years and then took lessons from a guy for two or three years and then he went to jail. He called me one day and told me he was going to jail and I actually took over for him for a while teaching. I was a sophomore or junior in high school teaching all his students. Basically, I was working thirty some hours a week and I only did it for about six months because I was in high school and that was ridiculous and I didn’t like it that much.

Did you miss a lot of school during that time?

No, but I didn’t get to do much outside of school because I was always there. It was kind of cool because they had a big studio space with drum sets and stuff so I did that. Then I came to school here at the University of Iowa. I started out with Tuba because I switched to Tuba in eighth grade. I did my first two and a half years on Tuba for school here. Tuba is cool, I really like the instrument but the career path is you’re in an orchestra or trying to be in an orchestra or you’re teaching and I didn’t want to do that. So, I switched to a BA which is a more general music degree. I took more art classes and more English classes. That’s pretty much up to now. I graduated in 2013. I thought about staying longer to do art but I figured I should just make art.

Do you think that music and composing came from a place of loneliness for you?

Maybe I didn’t know that it did, but it’s possible. I grew up in a very small town. From sixth grade through high school I lived in Wilton which was about 3,000 people. There weren’t any other bands in town; there was no art, no culture. I probably had an inherent desire to find some sort of company in that regard and just didn’t know it. I was sort of a single child. I didn’t have siblings around me. I had step siblings that lived elsewhere and I didn’t see very often so I could see how it could possibly feed in. I like to be alone and music is something I can do alone.

Where did you find inspiration for the lyrics in tiny mind MASSIVE soul’s songs?

I actually did write some of those lyrics when I was in some English classes here at University of Iowa. I had some classes with Steven Boyce who teaches some of the more avant-garde poetry classes, so I took two with him and they were two of my favorite classes I took here. I discovered EE Cummings, is that right? … One time I did this project and I had a talk about an artist and I talked about them in the wrong gender the whole time, so I just had a moment of ‘wait.’ Anyway, some more experimental stuff was really interesting to me and I think there is some of that in the lyrics.

Also, I have a really hard time coming up with a first, second, third verse and then the chorus. I always put the whole idea into a couple lines. So, I think some of the way I write comes out of that. I don’t really feel like stretching the idea out so I just jot it down and go from there. So some of it is stream of consciousness on an idea. This particular album overarching theme is spirituality, my own personal spirituality and the road from growing up sort of Christian. I went to church and was confirmed but my mom, whom I lived with, studied astrology and did taro so I had the ground work to do whatever I wanted, but it still took me a long time to figure it out fully.

Sounds like a major contrast.

Yeah, it’s interesting. I think we did it to be close to my grandparents because they go to church and that’s their generation. I guess that’s the theme. Even broader than that it’s more about figuring out you do not have adhere to anything or establish one thing you have to belong to. tiny mind MASSIVE soul is my own language to talk about my own personal findings about myself. To try and tell people they don’t have to use this established language or ideology. So, that’s the thematic content.

How long has tiny mind MASSIVE soul been in the works?

I started writing the songs in November of 2012, [over] Thanksgiving break. I said, “I am going to sit down and write as much as I can this week in this amount of time.” That was before I knew what it was going to end up being and I was just coming up with ideas. There are two really really really big songs that have all of the instruments on them and those are the ones I started then. It took me until last summer to totally finalize them. I had a lot of breaks where I wasn’t working on them or I was working on the other two EPs. Some of the songs came in between that time and then the last two I wrote last summer after our June tour. That is when I kind of knew I had the complete, whole record.

The word “conceptual” has been used to describe the first two EP’s. Do you think that fits the new LP?
The first one, not really. It is electronic and I didn’t have a band yet and I was kind of insecure, so I just figured I would do it all on my computer in my bedroom. The songs are really good but they are not really conceptual. I had a concept behind the release that I don’t really like anymore. The second EP for sure. It is four songs that span the length of one relationship. The LP, the next one certainly has a concept, a story, but it’s not super explicit or anything. Concept albums are my favorite type of album because they make the most sense as complete works as whole like Dark Side of the Moon, or Abbey Road.

How did you decide on the album’s jazzier, more avant-garde sound?

Charles Mingus is a big factor there and that line he always walks between having the dissonance and the groove. There are a lot of jazz players and there is something really amazing to me about improvisers, because as a composer, your art is writing something. But improvising is just taking this knowledge of technical music and theory and painting with it and expressing yourself with it … I just like to hear people that are good think of something.

Your voice works so well with your compositions. What’s it like to listen to yourself?

The reason I took so long putting out or doing solo music is I didn’t like to sing. It’s still hard. I think that I know where I am as a singer, and I don’t think I am great. I don’t sing in tune all the time. I don’t try to have a good tone, like David Byrne. I just try and do it as good as I can. So, it’s hard to listen to my voice. It’s gotten better. Every time someone says something about it sounding good, I am like, “ok, that’s one,” and then after ten people I think it must be getting better.

You spoke about Christianity versus metaphysical exploration. I believe creativity is born from spirituality, so, along those lines, why do you think you make art the way you do?

You’ve got to do something with your time to make life worthwhile. Art and music is the most obvious one to me of something worthwhile. For some people it’s sports or volunteer work or whatever. [Music] is something I found to be the best out of the things I’ve tried, and since I’ve started doing it I can’t really not do it anymore.

All of the production for this album was done in Iowa, from recording to pressing. How did that work out?

I had done some recording with Luke at Flat Black in the past with a band called Huge Lewis and Dagmar. And I wanted to get the best sound so I knew Flat Black studios was the best place to do it rather than do it myself so I talked to him about it. I did some of it on my own, and Luke’s wife owns White Rabbit and does all the screen printing, so we are going to screen the covers of the album there.

Wait, that’s not done yet?

That’s a whole other Mercury-in-retrograde thing.

Have you played a lot of the basement shows?

Yeah, a good number of house shows. Dog Mansion and Alex Purcell. If I had to put my finger on one person that is working hard to just completely making a scene strong here, it’s him. They’re doing art displays for the shows … and doing multiple shows a month. It’s unbelievable, and I couldn’t do what he is doing. - Little Village Magazine

"Dana T to premiere first album at Gabe's Halloween show"

Dana Telsrow of Iowa City has played music at just about every venue in the area under his stage name Dana T — including Blue Moose Tap House, The Mill, Trumpet Blossom Café, Gabe’s and the Dog Mansion, a house on the north side of town that routinely plays host to local acts.

Saturday’s gig at Gabe’s is something special for Telsrow.

His 10-piece band will perform in costume along with four other acts. But even more important, that Halloween show at Gabe’s will also be the release of Telsrow’s first album “tiny mind MASSIVE soul,” an album he’s been writing since 2012.

“I went to UI to study tuba performance. After a while I realized ‘I don’t want to be just a tuba player,’” Telsrow said while sitting at a booth inside George’s Buffet last week.

“I feel like, with this music, it has taken me a long to get this music done. Now I’ve got to get the music out to as many people as possible," Telsrow added.

Trying to describe what one’s music sounds like can be difficult. Telsrow says the comparison he gets the most is “Frank Zappa, though others say Captain Beefheart.” If he were to label the music himself, he’d call it new Baroque rock.

Curt Oren, longtime saxophone player for Dana T, calls the music “jazz rock.”

“As far as the Iowa City music scene, we’re like the weird cousin that everyone knows, but people don’t know how to describe or label well,” Oren said.

Whatever you call it, Telsrow’s music is far from simplistic. Most of the time, there are at least six or seven instruments playing while Telsrow sings as if there is a marching band of instruments behind him in studio.

While the beginning of his musical career was string-based — his father bought him a guitar when he was twelve years old — most of his musical education came in junior high and high school bands, playing alongside dozens of other horn-wielding youths as he grew up in Wilton.

After years of playing trombone and tuba, and deciding to study tuba at the University of Iowa, Telsrow had his musical epiphany and instead started studying musical composition. Before graduating from UI in 2013, Telsrow started writing the music that would become his first album.

The rest of the music poured into Telsrow’s head over the next two years as he performed with other indie rock bands in the area. “My best music happens when it just happens, when a little rift or melody just pops in my head,” Telsrow said.

That kind of sporadic and random creativity lent heavily to the recording of the album, which took place at Iowa City’s Flat Black Studio.

Luke Tweedy, owner of Flat Black, said in an email that Telsrow was “in the studio randomly for a long time, maybe up to a year.”

“I like to record that way as it gives time to pause, reflect and let it sink in," Tweedy added.

Telsrow traveled much of the Midwest to get all the perfect sounds for the album. Telsrow said he recorded a gong player at Public Space One and an accordion player in St. Louis. Oren said they even ventured as far as Minneapolis to record other musicians.

“Dana was unique in his total dedication to the record,” Tweedy said. “He cultivated and revised time and again. It was inspiring.”

As for the lyrical make up of his music, Telsrow said there were two camps of lyricsts: story tellers — think Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan — and those who share personal experiences – think John Lennon and Kurt Cobain. Telsrow said he falls into the more personal side of things.

“I could tell the songs were telling the story of my life in some way," Telsrow said. With that in mind, he felt the songs should be sonically connected, as if one they were all apart of one larger musical piece — think the aforementioned McCartney's and Lennon's "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

"I love this record. It is really something special," Tweedy said.

Now that "tiny mind MASSIVE soul" is done and ready to be released, Telsrow's goal is to get his album out and heard. "To reach 10 people with my music, I know I have to go after 100 people," Telsrow said.

The Halloween night show at Gabe's sure is one way of getting people's attention. The whole 10-piece band will be alongside Dana T — drums, bass, guitar, back-up singers, baritone saxophone, flute, alto, trombone, bassoon and trumpet — performing the just-released album in costume at one of Iowa City's Halloween traditions.

Telsrow will dress up as a vampire rodeo clown, inspired by one of his songs, while bandmate Oren isn't quite sure what he'll dress up like.

"There's going be a lot happening on that stage. I'm not sure how things will go. But this concert is kind I feel is the first big thing in my musical career, it's really start to sink in in a exciting way," Telsrow said.

Reach Zach Berg at 319-887-5412, zberg@press-citizen.com, or follow him on Twitter at @ZacharyBerg.

If you go...

What: Album release for Dana T's first album "tiny mind MASSIVE soul" at Halloween at Gabe's.

Where: Gabe's, 330 E. Washington St.

When: 10 p.m.

Tickets: $5.

Show: While Dana T will perform music from just released album, four other bands, including Brooks Strause & the Gory Details, Dylan Sires & The Nieghbors and Little Ruckus will perform as well, all dressed in Halloween costumes. - Iowa City Press-Citizen

"REVIEW: abbr. relation by Dana T"

While most people might spend their summer months drinking fruity beverages on beaches and inflating pool toys, Iowa’s Dana T found himself in a position no ambitious musician would dare pass up.

From May through September, Dana T recorded an EP, abbr. relation, entirely on his own. During a free studio residency through ps·z, he had access to a shared space auditorium to record music and create art.

All of these opportunities resulted in a truly rockin’ EP.

abbr. relation features a full cast of woodwinds, brass, and rhythm instruments. Short, accented notes characterize the first part of the album, along with some smooth solos to add contrast.

“Goin’ Down”, which ends the album, starts differently from the three tracks that lead into it with slow, meditative guitar and looming bass. Lethargic vocals continue the song’s new energy. A little over a minute in, “Goin’ Down” picks up with a brass section echoing the vocals, but the song really comes to a head with a Mutts-like collision of instruments and voices at the end. This explosive instrumentation, led in by strong bass, is really an impressive end to the album.

Swirling layers of brass, strings, and instruments with the accompaniment of off-kilter harmonies are what separate abbr. relation from many other recent releases. Being only four tracks long, it’s impressive to consider all the ground Dana T covered in such a short amount of time. abbr. relation is a great sampling of Dana T’s brand of psychedelic jazz fusion. This erratic yet absorbing trip will grace willing ears with its artful approach to music-making. - Midwest Action

"Album Review: Dana T – abbr. relation"

Dana Telsrow is a guy who recently graduated from the University of Iowa and works at Public Access TV. Over the summer he was ps•z’s first artist in residence. He’s also a composer and songwriter, and took classes in the university’s music department.

abbr. relation is a four song concept EP with undeniable ambition; I can’t think of many people in Iowa City who write songs with elaborate horn arrangements and angular jazzy interludes, while also incorporating banjo and a full complement of orchestral percussion. Brian Wilson’s Smile is an obvious influence, but where Wilson is relentlessly sweet and poppy even at his most complex, Telsrow is a little more astringent and way more acquainted with the ins and outs of music theory.

Each of these songs is a mini-suite comprising of divergent styles. Rock and roll, folk music, big band jazz and wistful pop start, stop, mingle and argue with each other. This could put them in an uncomfortable category for some listeners; a Fleetwood Mac fan (as one example) could grab on to one verse as being right in their sweet spot only to be blindsided 30 seconds later by a raucous blast of atonal horn bleats.

His lyrics are interesting in how they use clear words to say emotionally ambiguous things: “We are too smart to stay together, you can’t nurse me this time, even though I wish you could. I can’t afford to be the best thing for you, even though I wish I could.” His elliptical humor is never far off: On “Star Projector” he sings, “My everyday is Avant Garde, laugh at me, it’s all Art,” and follows up with a saxophone and trumpet literally laughing.

The loveliest song “Sylviane”—apparently about an imaginary romance with a barista (who hasn’t had one of those?)—combines Steely Dan guitar flourishes with Syd Barrett wandering melodies to make something cohesive, topping it off with a sing-along chorus. As much as I enjoy the short-attention-span theater of the other songs, “Sylviane” comes together as an indivisible chunk of unexpected pop. I never want to tell anyone as talented as Telsrow what to do, but I want more of that. - Little Village Magazine

"Dana T-abbr. relation"

What I value most in music is its ability to keep my attention. If I’m going to spend some time listening to a record, I don’t want it to allow me the luxury of checking my email or watching the tv with the sound off. That’s why you’ll never find me listening to Ariel Pink while doing chores. So, when I pushed play on Dana T’s newest release I was very pleased to hear some jazzy trumpet take the lead into some lyrics delivered very flat in a monotone voice. This is not what I expected and I am so grateful for that.

Dana T mixes a lot of instruments on abbr. relation to good effect. Its very similar to Of Montreal minus some of the guitars-like Kevin Barnes demo reels where there are only 10 people playing on it. I love the song “Star Projector.” At the beginning Dana Terslow sings “Stripped down production, here I am.” And then later the song just explodes with noise coming from every which way. With the line “My every day is avant-garde,” the song becomes something completely different. Tubas and saxophones come to the front, turning into a “Yellow Submarine”-like cacophony filled with brass and vocals.

This is just the most recent release in a long series of records Dana T has put out since 2011. It seems like something new is popping up every few months, so if you dig this you should definitely keep your eyes and ears open for new stuff all the time. You can check out his website for any info you might need, like upcoming tour dates and other art made by Terslow.

abbr. relation is available as a download for $3 on Bandcamp - Music. Defined.

"Track of the Week: “Farmer’s Market” by Dana T"

“Farmer’s Market” is the opening track on Dana T’s new EP, Abbr. Relation, and is a tempo changing, funky, pop tune that incorporates everything a person would want in a song. The song has an eclectic vibe and strives to define pop in new and unexpected ways.

Dana T combines the sounds of jazz and upbeat pop to create a listening experience unlike any other. “Farmer’s Market” is for those who are interested in different styles of pop, love jazzy saxophone, and are looking for something different and fun. - KRUI

"Album Review: Dana T – abbr. relation"

Iowa City’s very own Dana T charms listeners with his latest EP, abbr. relation. In just four tracks you’re taken on a trip of avant-garde inspired, psychedelic pop rock. Right from the top you’re welcomed by brisk sax, bold brass and fluttering flutes. Simple, layered vocals are tied together with soft banjo. Lyrics bounce along basic snare and cymbal clicks. Smooth jazz-inspired riffs fill transitions, highlighting a subtle bass line. Very clean electric guitar licks trail and play off of the sax nicely.

Dana Telsrow is the creative mind behind abbr. relation, released September 27. You can blaze through this EP in roughly 14 minutes.

The first (“Farmer’s Market”) and third (“Sylviane”) tracks barely make the two and a half minute mark. The last and longest track at roughly 5 minutes,”Goin’ Down”, is a nice note to end on. It’s a little more aggressive than the other tracks, with its garish brass and vocals (that sound more like declarations). “Goin’ Down” climaxes about three times, which is a unique quality. There is definitely a lot of fun and effective improvisation with a lot of different, warm instruments I sat in near silence thinking it had come to an end, but was delighted to find there was more to be heard from Dana T..

This EP is quite the unconventional mash-up , in a solid way. I found myself resisting the urge to skip to my next class to listen to this EP. - KRUI

"Album Review: "abbr. relation""

I’m thinking about stream of consciousness. People always used to say that Jeff Mangum’s singing and lyrics just flowed straight from his heavy brain into the microphone, through whatever shape he made with his mouth and tongue. It’s strange to think about a practiced stream of consciousness—one you can play roughly the same way every time. There wouldn’t be verses and choruses so much as thoughts, reconfigured into “songs.” And because the familiarity of song structure that we all share to varying degrees would no longer carry any relevance. It becomes one thought process directing the flow of the song, rather than a collection of preconceived notions on how a song moves or sounds. That process is then set in place using instrumentation, the result being a larger sound than just one live thought could provide.

The recent EP from Iowa City musician, Dana Telsrow (releasing music as Dana T), entitled abbr. relation is a realized version of this process. While it doesn’t particularly Neutral Milk Hotel influenced, the blasts of brass instruments are certainly still present. It’s probably closer to something like Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, with the flute swirls, time signature changes, and general charging-forward-into-the-unknown attitude. Because you really can’t know where it’s going next. I don’t think anyone knows. No repetition as a handrail. It’s walking around in a dark room, the occasional flash from distant fireworks, the only light in the room to guide you forward.

How do people write music like this?

If a line of thinking can indeed be delivered through the vibrations of a guitar string, leading an orchestra of folk instrumentation on a psychedelic trip, well, I guess this is it. - Band Bombshell


tiny mind MASSIVE soul - 2015 Vinyl LP split released by Long Play Records and White Rabbit Iowa City

abbr. relation - 2013 EP self released



Starting college as a tuba performance major, Dana T took interest in composition and the potential of wind instruments in the world of rock music which he had grown up in. After graduating from the University of Iowa in 2013, he began touring and developing an approach to music now described as  "unapologetic", "manic", and "beautifully layered".

Released on vinyl in 2015 by Long Play Records and White Rabbit Iowa City, Dana's debut LP, tiny mind MASSIVE soulis a culmination of years searching for the right combination of composition and intuition. The densely orchestrated album features nearly twenty musicians who play brass, strings, woodwinds and more. Little Village Magazine described these layers as suggesting "an experimental alliance between nature, man and a particular potency Dana conjures through controlled out-of-control songs." The arrangements often draw comparisons to Frank Zappa, while the sharp changing song structures are reminiscent of Elephant 6 members, of Montreal.

In stark contrast, Dana T tours primarily as a duo with avant-garde saxophonist Curt Oren. This stripped down formation allows a freedom to move within the songs that exposes a certain intimacy to the creative process. Dana and Curt's musical and humorous rapport maintains a personal and genuine interaction with the audience. Embarrassing and extremely honest anecdotes, jumbled sentence structures, and punchlines stretched just a little bit too far are a few of the reasons why some folks say they come just to hear Dana talk. 

2016 sees Dana touring in support of tiny mind MASSIVE soul, while preparing material for the next album. 

Band Members