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Dismemberment Plan Singer Goes Solo

Former Dismemberment Plan frontman Travis Morrison has inked with Barsuk Records for his solo debut, “Travistan,” due Sept. 29. The set was co-produced by Death Cab For Cutie guitarist Chris Walla and veteran Washington, D.C., engineer Don Zientara. Guests include Death Cab drummer Jason McGerr, singer/songwriter John Vanderslice and a string section made up of college students from the D.C. area. “It’s not indie-rock,” Morrison said of the set. “The best I could come up with is that it sounds like De La Soul’s first album crossed with the Band. But it’s very catchy and very appealing. In a lot of ways, it’s the most accessible thing I’ve done. But people who are used to hearing me surrounded by distorted guitar may be like, ‘what happened?'” Tracks include “Change” (“in which I compare myself to Moses,” says Morrison), “Angry Angel” (“which turned into a crazy Scott Walker string-section type of thing”), “People Die” (“which kind of sounds like Eddie Cochran, over a Timbaland rhythm track”) and “Song for the Orca” (“it is dealing with a heavy theme but I’m talking about animals at the zoo”). Morrison admits the Plan’s 2001 Desoto Records swansong (also titled “Change”) was dominated by serious, introspective material that contrasted heavily with the more light-hearted fare of the group’s earlier albums. But he says, “That kind of exuberant humor from the first two Plan records is actually kind of back on this one, mainly because I didn’t want to do an angsty political record.” The artist has lately been testing the solo performance waters with cover sets, featuring everything from Prince’s “Erotic City” to Christina Aguilera songs. But come September, Morrison will hit the road with a full band, featuring three keyboardists (including himself), a drummer and a percussionist. “Everybody in the band can play virtually any instrument,” he says. “It’s a pretty amazing team of people. It’s really becoming another band. It’s going to be called Travis Morrison, but I would be a fool to not take advantage of these peoples’ creative energies.”