I had a dream last night that I was reviewing the debut EP from the Dazies–except in this case it was actually a speed rap artist and not the solo project of Mean Creak drummer Mikey Holland. In this dream, Mr. Holland was telling me (via Facebook chat) that he was sometimes compared to Velociraptor or AnDante, and that while he was not as fast as either of these rappers, he had just as much to say. And no, while I’m not making this up, I do think this dream was trying to foreshadow a whole lot of drag racing, baseball card collecting, graffiti spraying, cannonball splashing, adolescent fun that we find here in this music.

Mikey Holland is a drummer first and you bet he loves Levon Helm. While never considered the fastest most technical or the hardest hitting drummer, Helm was one of those musicians whose folksy character and brilliant eccentricity endeared him to fans of The Band with a devoutness rarely seen in drummer fandom. In a sense, Levon Helm was sort of like the Satchel Paige of music—a legend in his own time, a barnstormer, and a mystery–and it’s in this underdog spirit Holland and friends Paul Sentz (Slowdim), Erik Wormwood (Mean Creek) and Eric Penna (the Trabants) made this recording.

Five tracks here won’t disappoint fans of Mean Creek (I’m certainly one, and Holland himself is way more than just a drummer in that group), but the music here doesn’t have the strident tension that makes Mean Creek songs stand straight. More laid back and jangly in its vernacular, the Dazies go after the sound of being wonderstruck, rather than simply tell tales of it. Like a Satchel Paige pitch, or a Levon Helm drum fill, nothing is going to knock listeners clear over with pure fury or force, but rather with rocking style. At two short-minutes, “I Don’t Mind (Going Nowhere)” pits a jump-the-gun verse against a rollicking shout-along chorus and a dizzying blur of guitar-sweetness on the breaks. “Into the Sea” is straight-ahead jangly-power pop with Byrdsy harmonies that gel right away. “Nobody’s Bring You Down” is the ballad of the bunch, with a soft and sultry Marc Bolan-meets-Ricky Nelson vibe. But “Wake Up” is my favorite of the bunch, with a palm-mute “Jessie’s Girl” intro that veers into a cool, sassy vocal interplay on the chorus. He might not be a speed-rapper, or a power pitcher, or Neil Peart (thx God) but Mikey Holland knows how to put his hooks together and doing so finds plenty of life for his songs here.

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