By: Julia Simon
When dios (malos) emerged out of Hawthorne, California in 2004, they were simply known as dios. Under that moniker they dropped their self-titled debut to immediate accolades and drew comparisons to the Beach Boys (also Hawthorne natives), landed a track on The O.C.‘s Mix Two, and earned a slot at one of the year’s only surviving music festivals, Coachella. Little has changed about the band since then, except, of course, their name. Ronnie James Dio (post-Ozzy frontman of Black Sabbath) issued the quirky quintet a cease-and-desist order, and since dios couldn’t play by Dio’s mob rules, dios (malos) were born.
On their sophomore release, the band still sounds like a bunch of slackers who spend all day in the sand channeling textured, melodic pop — of the power, chamber, and lo-fi variety — into a sun-soaked, psych-washed noodling. This time around, though, they sound tempered. Frontman Joel Morales’ vox hardens his band’s breezy brio as he reflects on expectations and anodynes, and his somber stanzas sound like they could have been penned by Elliott Smith: On “My Broken Bones,” Morales sighs with surrender, “Alcohol leave me cold / Mary Jane take me home,” and on “So Do I,” he swaggers out, “I get high but I don’t remember why / And I’m losing all control / Some drugs good / Some I never understood / I’m awake and far from home.”
Elegiac drug odes notwithstanding, dios (malos) should be hardly known as a host of hopheads. With the effervescent and uptempo instrumental, “Tokyo Sunrise,” the lo-fi glow of “I’m Only Day Dreaming” and the beach-pop ballad “EPK,” the band clearly culls phosphorescent soundscapes under resplendent rays, not in a basement on a hill. It’s no wonder that listening to dios (malos) is anything but sobering.
dios (malos) tour dates:
10/14, San Francisco, CA (Great American Music Hall) 10/15, Portland, OR (Dantes)10/16, Seattle, WA (Chop Suey)10/18, Spokane, WA (Fat Tuesday’s)10/20, Salt Lake City, UT (Halo)10/21, Denver, CO (Larimer Lounge)10/22, Omaha, NE (O’Leavers)10/23, Lawrence, KS (Replay)10/24, Ames, IA (Maintenance Shop)10/25, St. Louis, MO (Blue Note)10/27, Minneapolis, MN (Varsity)10/28, Chicago, IL (Subterranean)10/29, Detroit, MI (Magic Stick)10/30, Cleveland, OH (Grog Shop)11/1, Pittsburgh, PA (Club Cafe)11/2, Hoboken, NJ (Maxwell’s)11/4, New York, NY (Mercury Lounge)11/5, Philadelphia, PA (Northstar Bar)11/6, Boston, MA (Middle East)11/8, Baltimore, MD (Ottobar)11/9, Chapel Hill, NC (Cat’s Cradle)11/10, Nashville, TN (Exit In)11/11, New Orleans, LA (One Eyed Jack’s)11/12, Houston, TX (Walter’s on Washington)11/13, Dallas, TX (Dan’s)11/16, Tucson, AZ (Congress)11/17, Phoenix, AZ (Modified)11/18, San Diego, CA (Casbah)