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C3X Thanksgiving Festival, Day 1: The Dismemberment Plan

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"Emergency & I" Album Pack


The Dismemberment Plan is a band that truly has a sound of their own -- an impressive and rare honor that cannot be said about many groups. I first uncovered this indie rock group from Washington D.C. over the summer and have very quickly grown to appreciate their incredible music. Today, let's kick off the Thanksgiving Festival by completing their most well-known and highly acclaimed album, 1999's Emergency & I.


I originally charted the full album as one track only for drums, as drums are the standout instrument in most of the songs, but thanks to yaniv297, GreenPanda12, and Meta123, all tracks from the album can now be played individually on any instrument!


Please note that any minor errors in the chart preview videos are most likely fixed in the downloadable versions of the tracks.



"A Life of Possibilities" (vocals: yaniv297)



The album starts on an off-kilter and sudden note, with a fat, synthesized bass sound, weird and jumpy falsetto, and a strange drum beat. Despite this, the opening track is fantastic, especially when it all comes together at the end.



"Memory Machine" (vocals: yaniv297)



The album's second track features the first of many phenomenal choruses on Emergency & I, from the keyboards to the disco beat on drums. It's a more energized and anxious track than the first while still managing to be a very cool song.



"What Do You Want Me to Say?" (vocals: GreenPanda12)



Perhaps the most accessible and straight-forward song on the album, this absolute anthem is a straight-up banger that anybody could probably get down with. The groovy bass in the verses, the belting vocals in the choruses, and the tremolo tension in the bridge put this together as an all-around bop and certainly a standout entry-level track.



"Spider in the Snow" (vocals: yaniv297)



Who knew loneliness and depression could be so beautiful? The more fast-paced and personal vocals on this slower and calmer track tie in the themes of the album very well, and the recurring keys during the choruses make it sound even more complete.



"The Jitters" (vocals/pro keys: yaniv297)



It's fitting for an outcast-like track to sound awkward and cumbersome, and that's exactly the case here. There may not be much variety instrumentally on this one, but it perfectly encapsulates that off-kilter yet beautiful sound that goes with the song so well.



"I Love a Magician" (vocals/pro keys: yaniv297)



In stark contrast to the last track, this one is all over the place. The frantic vocals and drums as well as the jumpy bass make this a nervously charged song that keeps you on your toes.



"You Are Invited" (vocals: yaniv297)



Definitely the most basic track on the album instrumentally, as it has only light guitar work, programmed drums, and vocals for the vast majority of it. That big chorus when everything comes together and the whole band gets to play, though? Totally awesome. Totally worth it. Bassists can feel free to leave after the second chorus on this one ;)



"Gyroscope" (vocals/pro keys: yaniv297)



Perhaps the most obvious use of time signature tomfoolery on the album, this fast-paced and fun track has complex rhythms that keep it interesting throughout. The drums and vocals are punchy and the guitar gets a little hectic in the choruses, adding to the fun.



"The City" (vocals/pro keys: yaniv297)



Absolutely one of their most iconic and well-known tracks (despite the lack of a bass part), and for good reason. The keys riff is instantly catchy and gives the song a great hook, the drums are very tricky and have a complex, unorthodox beat for the majority of the song, and the vocals are not only introspective and touching but also impressive in range. The second the very first notes on guitar play, this song sets a tone of excellence that it only builds on.



"Girl O'Clock" (vocals/pro keys: yaniv297)



Pure chaos. That's what this song is -- unadulterated, unrestricted, unchained chaos. The incessant stuttering and frantic ohs on vocals make the song sound panicked, frantic, and worried. The guitar has some very strange segments towards the beginning and end. And of course, the drums are insane. When you aren't having to cross under to hit the toms in the main hi-hat beat, you'll be juggling around a very quick and varied disco beat, trying to keep up. It's extremely fun once you get the hang of it, though! Maybe don't play this one for a huge, unexpecting crowd though.



"8½ Minutes" (vocals/pro keys: yaniv297)



There really nothing quite like the end of the world, is there? Although "8½ Minutes" isn't actually, well, 8½ minutes long, it still packs quite a punch. Every instrument here has something of note, with the ever-underappreciated keys even getting a pretty cool solo. Once again, maybe don't play this one in front of the whole family.



"Back and Forth" (vocals: GreenPanda12, pro keys: Meta123)




And here we are the album's final song. It's by far the most repetitive track instrumentally -- guitar, bass, and drums basically hover around the same pattern for most of the track -- but it's a damn good one in its own right. It just sounds triumphant and as if it's pushing forward the whole time, and it's a lyrical masterpiece. Especially that last verse, man.


I hope you all enjoy this album even a fraction of as much as I do! If you would like to download the entire album as a pack (rather than individual songs), you can do so here.


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Phew! So good to have another big project out there. And it's the first full album release I'm involved in - and it's such a cool choice for it.


Now, a word for the community: I know for the big majority of you, your first reaction to this post was: "Who??". But really, trust me, I know everyone says this about their customs, but really, you absolutely want to check those guys out. And here's three reasons why:


-It's a masterpiece. That's not just me saying, that's pretty much the consensus. Here's just a few major opinions:

Pitchfork have given this album their ultra-rare perfect 10.0 rating (I'm pretty sure only 3 albums received this grade rating since 2000). Their review simply read: "If you consider yourself a fan of groundbreaking pop, go out and buy this album right now. Now. Get up. Go" (yep, that's the entire review). Rolling Stone magazine called it a "a game-changer for indie rock fans", Glide called it a "landmark masterstroke". PopMatters gave it a perfect 10, saying they "just can't get enough of it" and proposing to revise the rating system to give it a new rating: 11/10. Allmusic called it a 'firecracker' and gave it 4.5/5. Consequence of Sound gave it 5/5 and called it "music that first opened our eyes to worlds unseen".

I could go on and on, but you get the point: I'm yet to hear of somebody who heard this record and wasn't left astonished.


-There's nothing else like it. Usually, when describing smaller artists, you do it by comparing them to bigger bands. But here, I honestly have no idea. This record is unique, it seemed to exist in it's own vacuum. I have no idea what it was influenced by. It doesn't seem to belong to any genre or movement. I suppose it's alternative rock - well, it's rock because they use electric guitars and drums, and it's alternative because it's so damn weird, but it doesn't really sound like what you associate with 'alternative rock'. We have a lot of customs on this DB, but I'll easily bet this record is among the most unusual customs in the entire DB. It's fascinating.


-It's perfect for Rock Band. This is still a game after all, and not every masterpiece fits it - but this one does. Guitars are soaring and brilliant, bass is melodic and groovy, and drums - oh my god, those drums. If you're a drummer, prepare to discover your new favorite customs. I can't quite describe the absolutely unbelievable drumming on this record. They're extremely challenging, but not in the usual "let's abuse the double bass pedal" way, or Keith Moon's 'extremely fast messy fills' way. It's challenging because it's honestly original, unusual and super cool work. And if you want an example, just check out "Girl O'Clock" - the first 30 seconds will give you enough of an impression.


So yeah, just check it out. It's thanksgiving, it's weekend, you have some free time. Just download it, choose an instrument (I recommend drums, but they're all great) and give it a go. It starts off normally enough - opener "A Life of Possibilities" is probably the most orthodox song on the record - but it will reveal itself, it will surprise you and it will take you for a ride. Especially the second side - from the pure weirdness of "I Love a Magician", the disco groove of "The City", the complete, bat-shit insanity of "Girl O'Clock", the groovy apocalyptic vision of "8.5 Minutes", the emotional rock/rap fusion of "Back and Forth" - there's nothing like it.




Now a word on Nolan and the project. I've always wanted to work on this record, but honestly I thought I'm not good enough to chart it - mostly the drums freaked me out (I still have no idea how the hell he charted some of those). Than one day, out of the blue, a user I never heard of called Nolan dropped the entire goddamn album as one huge, 45 minutes, drum only custom. I downloaded it and was extremely impressed by the quality of the charting. I contacted him, and we decided to bring you this full band project. He amazed me for the second time by adding guitar, bass and keys to all songs insanely quickly. I did my parts, mostly vocals, and we got some help from Meta123 and a brilliant last minute push by GreenPanda - but mostly, it was Nolan's project.


So I just want to thank him for his work, for making this great album come to Rock Band, for charting instruments I didn't even dare to try, and I hope this work will get to as many players as possible.


And finally, here's a playlist I made of all the charts of the album, so you can conveniently preview it and get an impression:



Happy thanksgiving everyone. Have a good one!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Bit late to this (I didn't see this until today), but this is fantastic! I love this band, and this album sounds like good fun on every instrument. I never thought I'd see any of these songs get charted, let alone the whole album. Hopefully this can get the band more attention around here, but I'm just glad this exists.

Great work, guys!

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  • 1 year later...

ik this is almost two years later but do you think you can make a full album chart like you did with drums but do it with full band?


Hmm well it's up to Nolan really and he wasn't around for a while. Personally I don't think it's really worth the hassle, playing the entire thing at one go is seriously tough, none of the songs blend into each other, and just making a setlist works fine for me (and allows you some time for a water break!). I'm glad to see those customs are getting some love though, they're still among my all time favorites.

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So since this was bumped this week, I gave the Dismemberment Plan album a listen.



Wow. Good shit right there. Beard approved!


Yes! I'm glad this is reaching new people. Just played it a week ago too. I still think this is one of the coolest releases I was ever involved in. Phenomenal record and fantastic for Rock Band, even though I can't drum half of it to this day. I'll be forever grateful to Nolan who did an unbelievable job charting this, it's so complicated. I've done 200+ customs and I still don't feel like I could have charted most of the instruments here alone.

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