Singer/multi-instrumentalist John Orr has performed under the name The Last Domino since 2005. What began as simple acoustic singer/songwriter fare with his first EP has blossomed into a unique style through subsequent releases that spans a myriad genres from rock to folk to electronic to Parisian waltz. Domino shows are innovative one-man-army performances, layering organic loops and beats with various instruments like the saxophone and melodica.
Austin, TX resident John Orr, AKA The Last Domino, began writing solo acoustic music in Indianapolis, IN in 2005. The Romanticide EP was released soon afterward, showcasing songs that were mostly dark and moody (think Ryan Adams-meets-Jeff Buckley). The Last Domino did not perform live much in its first year due to John's desire to write more up-tempo songs, which would be conducive to putting on a live show with more variety.
In late 2006, Orr began writing new material for a full-length entitled Seconds. The music on Seconds is, in fact, much more lively than previous material, and is what started Orr on the path toward his unique one-man-band style performances. The Last Domino's solo shows implement organic beats and guitar loops, which serve as the foundation for appearances from such unexpected instruments as the melodica, djembe, kazoo, and saxophone. This all breathes a different form of life into Orr's already entrancing songs.
During autumn 2008, Orr recorded and released his ambitious double album, Diamond Days & Firenights. With a loose concept behind it and a collection of songs that span a myriad genres, Diamond Days is both the summation of and the glimpse into the future of The Last Domino's music. "Let's Try This Again" and "Loophole" are reminiscent of songs from past Domino albums, but incorporate full band instrumentation, which Orr would soon replicate live with drummer Dave Evans, bassist Matt Foster, and violinist Kevin Kirk backing him up for even more powerful shows. Other tracks like "Dark Alleyway" and "Girl With The Rhino Skin" unleash The Last Domino's heavier side, but John also stays true to his roots on the discs with singer-songwriter tracks like "Definition Of Love" and "Rift", featuring that signature saxophone.
Immediately following the release of Diamond Days, John was invited to play the 11th annual Jeff Buckley tribute festival in Chicago. Keeping the festival mindset going into 2009, Orr conceived, booked, hosted, and performed at La Vida Variety!, which featured various kinds of local acts. The show was lauded by the Indy press, and La Vida Variety! became a recurring series with different themes and performers chosen by Orr himself.
The end of 2009 brought Orr back into his home studio to record an EP of Björk covers entitled Björksongs (Domino In The Dark) prompted by TLD's previously-recorded "Hyper-Ballad" being featured on bjorkremixes.com. The experimental nature of Björksongs prompted Orr to be more adventurous with his 2010 full-length, When Elephants In The Room Dance With Skeletons In The Closet. Stylistically, the album brought The Last Domino back to its acoustic beginnings, but with minimal electronic programming baselining many of the songs. Orr also learned the piano and cello for a couple of the tracks.
With setlists more intricate and richly textured with the new songs, John moved to Austin, TX to continue his endeavors as The Last Domino in solo form. He immediately began playing shows in prominent clubs around the city and at various benefits for the local Humane Society. Later in the year, two Domino EPs were released: From Austin, With Love (a collection of acoustic covers dedicated to Indy fans) and Tusks And Ribs (a b-sides/live "sister album" of When Elephants...). Both of these were released to tide listeners over until the next full-length is released in 2014. Orr plans to reform The Last Domino as a full band for Two Thirds Of Our Lives: a fast, heavy, dancy rock album that will begin a new chapter in TLD's ongoing quest for a style unbound by the confines of genre.