“Although he eschews granting himself a title like producer, he’s involved in every aspect of his compelling visuals, making sure the final product entwines seamlessly with the emotion-driven storytelling that drives his dark and seductive songs… In a resonating sepulchral baritone, Doolittle unleashes the male subconscious, pulling us down a rabbit hole of psychosexual obsession entwined with a man’s identity as a musician and performer… There’s no room for the hazy, fog-shrouded atmosphere that signals the safe remove of fantasy. Here, details and vignettes are amplified by the clear razor-sharp imagery that haunts our dreams and burns into our memory.” - Pat Moran
“...HIS MUSIC IS CATCHY AF AND I CAN’T HELP SINGING ALONG. I GUESS YOU CAN CALL THIS INDIE ROCK—IT’S A BIT FOLKY, AND A BIT ARTY, AND HAS A THROWBACK 60S VIBE TO IT WITH THE ORGAN OOM-BOP AND WEIRD AND WAVY SYNTHS. DONNIE DOOLITTLE CAPTURES A BALANCE OF LIGHTHEARTED RETRO POP WITH A DARK AND OMINOUS UNDERCURRENT OF CACOPHONOUS MELODY.” - Meghan MacRae
QUEEN CITY NERVE
Donnie Doolittle’s Lush, Dark Pop Delves Into a Shared Dreamscape
“A man got to do what a man got to do,” says ex-preacher Jim Casey in John Steinbeck’s magisterial 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath. Through the Christ-like Casey — his initials are J.C. — Steinbeck lays out a problematic code of conduct. Misattributed to John Wayne, for decades an icon of white masculinity, the quote has percolated through society, entwined with identity, morality and the threat of violence. In the popular imagination, this line, or something like it, is uttered by the hero before he takes on a roomful of bad guys.
In the video for his winding, seductive and taut single “I’m a Man,” directed by his friend Josh Rob Thomas, Donnie Doolittle delves into the code exemplified by the quote, and concludes that it’s pretty fucked up.
“That’s me flipping the table,” Doolittle says. “I’m playing with masculinity.”
The 35-year-old singer-songwriter and video maker says that he nerds out over movies. Although he eschews granting himself a title like producer, he’s involved in every aspect of his compelling visuals, making sure the final product entwines seamlessly with the emotion-driven storytelling that drives his dark and seductive songs.
In the video, which dropped in May in advance of his debut solo album, a blanket slides off Doolittle as he rises from a metal-framed bed, incongruously placed onstage at The Milestone Club. From the very first shot, the video proceeds with dream logic to detail a regimen imposed from without but accepted and subsumed within. In a resonating sepulchral baritone, Doolittle unleashes the male subconscious, pulling us down a rabbit hole of psychosexual obsession entwined with a man’s identity as a musician and performer.
“Dancing boots at the break of dawn/Romancing youth before it’s gone/ I’ve held my breath for far too long/ There’s nothing like the threat of death to turn me on... My Blood’s gone cold but it still runs thick/ The heat’s right here, I keep it on my hip…”
There’s no room for the hazy, fog-shrouded atmosphere that signals the safe remove of fantasy. Here, details and vignettes are amplified by the clear razor-sharp imagery that haunts our dreams and burns into our memory...
Get Into The Off-Kilter Indie Rock Of DONNIE DOOLITTLE “When A Woman”
When Donnie Doolittle asks us, “What’s wrong when a woman/Wants to take a man?” I start digging into the hypocrisy of how our society simultaneously slut-shames women while expecting women to be ready to sexually satisfy men, even the ones who hate them. I keep listening to his track “When A Woman” off his upcoming album DREAMY D because it reminds me how rare it is to hear a cis-gendered man say he understands and appreciates that women have a sexual appetite, too. And it’s not tied to her status as “good” or “bad.” She’s just a human that wants a fuck.
Plus his music is catchy AF and I can’t help singing along. I guess you can call this indie rock—it’s a bit folky, and a bit arty, and has a throwback 60s vibe to it with the organ oom-bop and weird and wavy synths. Donnie Doolittle captures a balance of lighthearted retro pop with a dark and ominous undercurrent of cacophonous melody. I’d love to see him perform live, and if you’re in the Charlotte, NC, area on November 27th then fuck celebrating a colonizer holiday and instead go see Donnie Doolittle for free at Snug Harbor with Funeral Chic and Dipstick.
So take a minute with me to watch Donnie Doolittle’s video for “When A Woman,” and to all of those reading this, I hope you have mind-blowing consensual sex with someone in the very near future.
Southern New Wave Artist Donnie Doolittle Croons his Critique of Utopian Fantasies with his Latest Single
Charlotte, North Carolina is where independent musician Donnie Doolittle calls home. His moody, cinematic music calls to mind Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Jack Ladder, Timber Timber, Lee Hazlewood, Johnny Paycheck, and John Carpenter.
His first single, “Utopia’s Shit”, from his upcoming album Dreamy D, is an absolute gem. Doolittle’s deep croon is brimming with melancholy and deep emotion. One can imagine it playing as someone orders an old-fashioned at a dive bar and hangs their head with introspection and regret. Groove-driven with heavy layers, the song breaks into a large, captivating chorus with dark synths and macabre plays on pop sensibility.
Both the studio and live versions of the song are available on YouTube, each with their own charms. Doolittle’s live presence is commanding and emotional for this particular brand of societal dirge.
The video for “When A Woman” is pure Southern Gothic, with a more uptempo narrative and accompanying video with a few menacing Kubrick stares and highwayman sensibility. The song is straight from the ne’er do well playbook of Lee Hazlewood, slightly unhinged. It’s bone-chilling…and catchy. For an artist so fiercely independent, Doolittle’s unique storytelling and songwriting skills are world-class.