Dan McCarthy channels Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo style on new album

Toronto-based vibraphonist Dan McCarthy and his band Songs of the Doomed have announced an album of music inspired by the writing of journalist Hunter S. Thompson.

The band’s repertoire on Some Jaded, Ativistic Freakout comes from a new compositional style created specifically for the group called the “Gonzo Cypher.” With the cypher, McCarthy would submit a word, phrase or paragraph of Thompson’s writing and encode it into a “weird and likely obnoxious ‘tone row'” to be used to compose the music.

Led by McCarthy, the quintet features guitarists Don Scott and Luan Phung, bassist Daniel Fortin and drummer Ernesto Cervini.

The sound of the band was inspired by the Gary Burton Quintet of the 1970s on ECM Records, which featured a similar lineup: Burton on vibes, accompanied by guitarists Pat Metheny and Mick Goodrick, bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bob Moses.

The 13-track recording features “thick tapestries of sound” that are “weird and intense,” according to the album’s press kit, which also compares the music to The Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix.

Some Jaded, Ativistic Freakout features all-original material by McCarthy, except for White Rabbit, which was composed by Grace Slick.


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Here’s the track listing:

  1. Morning in Woody Creek
  2. Hell’s Angels
  3. Some Jaded, Ativistic Freakout
  4. Irresponsible Gibberish
  5. We Were Somewhere Around Barstow
  6. Kingdom of Fear
  7. What Limes?
  8. Strange Rumblings in Aztlan
  9. The High-Water Mark
  10. Owl Farm
  11. Gonzo Journalism Article #3
  12. White Rabbit (feat. Jenn McCarthy)
  13. Evening in Woody Creek

Dan McCarthy’s Songs of the Doomed: Some Jaded, Ativistic Freakout will be released Nov. 11, 2022, via TPR Records.