Review: Friends of Dean Martinez

by Gordon Downs


Having returned from hiatus in a most tasteful way, Friends of Dean Martinez have come back to the harsh world of indie rock with their latest and extremely decadent and ambient recording, “On The Shore”. Originally founded in 1994 with members of Calexico, Friends of Dean Martinez (aka Bill Elm) parted ways with his former band mates long ago, and has since found a new life in the realm of original and picturesque sounds. Living in Texas certainly does have its’ ups and its’ downs. “Austin is nice,” Elm, explains, “it’s just a drag that it’s in the middle of Texas.” Lackadaisically adding that, “It takes eight hours to drive out of Texas, like in any direction you go.” Though I’m sure the annual South By Southwest Music Festival certainly must be a positive aspect for a native Austin musician? Or at least native Austin restaurant or Hotel proprietor. “I don’t know…” Elm contemplates, “It seems like it’s more about selling wristbands and stuff then it is about giving bands an opportunity to actually get some business done.” Though he quickly adds that it was the last SXSW which FODM played. Friends of Dean Martinez create picturesque background music – akin to cinema in the film noir genre, as is quite evident on the latest album, “On The Shore.” When I asked what his opinion on the ambient and often spooky music Friends of Dean Martinez seem to create, Elm simply replies, “Honestly I don’t know. Personally, I don’t listen to our music.” Currently signed with Narnack Records out of New York, it seems to be written in the desert stars that people outside of Texas and the world over will be listening to Friends of Dean Martinez and “On The Shore”. Let the onslaught begin.