Dead and Dreaming

Nominee at the 10th annual LA Music Awards

Dead and Dreaming features bands in a generally emo/screamo vein covering a batch of Counting Crows songs. It makes sense — the median age of this tribute’s participants can’t be higher than 25, so their teenage years undoubtedly coincided with the Crows’ high season. Indeed, the melodrama that’s such a huge part of the sound of a group like Number One Fan can be traced at least in part to Adam Duritz. Said band does an OK, piano-laced job with “Holiday in Spain”; New York’s Houston Calls rocks up “Einstein on a Beach,” and adds a whizzy keyboard to that “…world begins to disappear” part; and “Long December” becomes a teary-eyed emo ballad in the hands of Bayside. Not everything on Dead and Dreaming works. Hidden in Plain View are completely out of their league on “Mr. Jones” — the guitars might crackle, but the vocals are thinner than cheap chicken soup. The Hawthorne Heights side project International Language can’t quite turn the corner on an unplugged “Rain King.” They want it to be a Low-like dirge, but it lacks structure and sounds too restrained. Between the Buried and Me’s similarly austere “Colorblind” (from the Crows’ 1999 record, This Desert Life) is better, though it might have been cool to hear the explosive metalcore kids tear into the handclapping swagger of “Hanginaround.” Even if its execution isn’t ultimately as successful as its concept, Dead and Dreaming is a good idea. The scene these bands come from can lack imagination, so hearing them step outside of all that is interesting and occasionally rewarding.