JPR Live Session: Super Doppler
Three years ago, Super Doppler* bought a used van, booked over 150 shows in nine months, and embarked on their first-ever national tour. There were no labels or booking agents or tour managers at the time, just a bunch of twenty-somethings with an independent streak and a shared love of making music. It wasn't glamorous — it still isn't — but they all agreed it beat the hell out of working a day job. The band pushed that van to its limits and beyond with their relentless tour schedule, developing a rapport with the tow truck drivers of the greater Norfolk, VA area as they burned through three different engines and blossomed from local favorites into one of the most promising young rock bands working today.Super Doppler has a new van now, and, more importantly, they've got a new album to go with it, one that fully delivers on their promise and then some.
Produced by fellow Virginia wunderkind Matthew E. White, Moonlight Anthems is a raucous blend of soul, roots, and rock that tips its cap equally to Levon and Lennon. Pop Matters hailed that album's "propulsive soul energy," while The Huffington Post described its sound as "Chicago meets the Grateful Dead meets The Band," and RVA Magazine raved that it had "not only revived, but given a psychedelic face-lift to the soundtrack of the dancehalls of the '50s and '60s." The record offered but a taste of Super Doppler's ecstatic live show, which began to draw sell-out crowds across the region and earned the band a slew of high profile festival slots everywhere from Firefly to Floyd Fest in addition to support dates with Charles Bradley, Os Mutantes, Antibalas, and more.
Though democracy has been the downfall of many a band, for Super Doppler, it's the defining feature of their sound. There is no single frontman, no one songwriter. While the kernels of most tracks begin with ideas from Neal, Michael, or Harry, the eclectic finished products are almost always the results of melodies and riffs run through the spin cycle of six wildly creative minds. "Everybody's got their own influences that they're individually bringing to the table," says Michael. "Creating a song for us is all about condensing that into a cohesive whole. Our only guiding principle, really, is that if it sounds cool, we like it."
*Super Doppler was previously known as Major and the Monbacks