Pop & Hiss

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Doveman flutters gently at Room 5 tonight

November 17, 2009 |  5:31 pm


The chamber-pop sleeper band Doveman is spearheaded by Thomas Bartlett, a soft-eyed and softer-voiced musician whose pedigree is equally informed by classical training and the kind of introspection that can only be earned by wandering the streets of New York at odd hours, with the rush of taxis zipping by in the rain. A native of Vermont and in his mid-20s, he's disturbingly young for all his polyglot accomplishments, which includes studying piano in London with renowned instructor Maria Curcio, and more familiar to most, recording with an international roster of coolness, including Antony and the Johnsons, Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, the Frames, Bebel Gilberto, Arto Lindsay, the National and Yoko Ono.

Jealous yet? So are we. He will play the Room 5 Lounge tonight, and though we're not sure who's touring with him, his fellow ornithologists on record include drummer Dougie Bowne (Iggy Pop, Cassandra Wilson), banjo player Sam Amidon, guitarist Shahzad Ismaily (Rage Against the Machine) and trumpeter Peter Ecklund. We promise to quietly listen and not wrestle Bartlett to the floor to get phone numbers for Ono or Byrne out of his iPhone. Oh, yeah, and here's an odd detail: He has a legally contentious cover of the "Footloose" soundtrack floating around out there.

To stave you off till tonight, here's "The Best Thing," a Doveman song featuring the National's Matt Berninger, from the outfit's third album, "The Conformist," released last month with contributions from Martha Wainwright, Nico Muhly and Norah Jones. This little watercolor of a song is so pretty, it should probably be played only near sunrise with a furry cat in your lap and tea in hand, when you're most open to the world.

Doveman "The Best Thing"

-- Margaret Wappler

Doveman plays tonight with Javier Dunn, Matt Owens, the Golden West and Michael Doman at Room 5 Lounge, 143 N. La Brea, (323) 938-2504.

Photo: Bartlett at a New York apartment show with Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Credit: Blake Zidell & Associates