Dog Gone Presents: Best of 2013

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Well folks, here we are again looking back on another year gone by. Fresh out of the frost, here’s the list of albums that received the most play around these parts in 2013. You’ll also find a mix containing some of our favorite songs from 2013 at the bottom.

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The Entrance Band – Face The Sun

Four years on from the release of their previous full-length, LA psych juggernauts The Entrance Band returned with an album built upon the personal struggles and spiritual transformations experienced by all three band members during the extended period of gestation. Balancing both sides of the journey toward the light, Face the Sun finds The Entrance Band in a more transcendent, melodic space while maintaining a hauntingly beautiful darkness in its undercurrent. Songs like “The Crave” and “Year of the Dragon” depict the introspective journey through the tunnel of addiction and sorrow, while “Fine Flow” and “Fire Eyes” channel a more cosmic side with the interplay between guitarist Guy Blakeslee and bassist Paz Lenchantin at near subliminal levels. A journey to the depths of the darkness can be known to strip away the heart and soul of a band, but in the case of Face the Sun it seems as though the members have returned to the surface with a brighter and more inspired outlook than ever before.

(originally published in Relix Magazine)

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White Fence – Cyclops Reap

Once again, in 2013, the ever-prolific Tim Presley released an album loaded with lo fi, garage-rock nuggets that sound like they could have been released over 40 years ago. Recorded during a 4 ½ year span and largely inspired by the loss of his father, Cyclops Reap strips away some of Presley’s trademark punk murk, making way for a more spacious, folk-inspired sound. Surely one of the finest to come out of the White Fence cannon.

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Foxygen – We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic

These two young California sons managed to meld the ideas they’d been crafting while separately away at college into a beautiful piece of ‘60s inspired paisley psych-pop. As history often shows, combine two unique songwriters, especially one who possesses a highly volatile personality, and magic is bound to happen. However, tragedy and conflict are often bound to follow.

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Endless Boogie – Long Island

There aren’t too many bands that still embody the old New York spirit the way Endless Boogie has for the past decade. Long Island, the band’s third proper release for No Quarter, unapologetically churns and tunnels its way through the group’s signature, riff-caked groove, tugging at their namesake for 80 minutes of stoned-out bliss. You either love ‘em or you don’t. They certainly don’t give a shit.

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Steve Gunn – Time Off

For nearly 15 years, New York-based guitarist and songwriter Steve Gunn has existed on the periphery of the contemporary avant-folk scene, acting as a solo artist and touring member in Kurt Vile’s Violators, as well as one-half of the Gunn-Truscinki Duo. But on Time Off, Gunn’s immense talent comes into full view as he leads a trio of old pals through a series of six extended folk journeys that touch on everything from Pentangle to Fahey to Indian Ragas to the Grateful Dead. Gunn’s soft, slightly haggard voice is showcased on songs like the heady acoustic jam “Lurker,” while the guitar interplay on “New Decline” would have Bert Jansch and John Renbourne singing praises. The title, Time Off, perhaps is not so much a suggestion that these songs were recorded during a particular downtime, but rather a nod to the music’s timelessness—where time can simply be switched off leaving music as the only dimension in which events may take place.

(originally published in Relix Magazine)

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Wooden Shjips – Back To Land

For Back to Land, the new album by West Coast Psych amblers Wooden Shjips, leadmen Ripley Johnson and Omar Ahsanuddin packed up and moved to Oregon to record their first set of tracks outside of the Bay Area. With the lush climate and natural surroundings inspiring their musical direction, the pair tapped into a more grounded, organic sound without diverting the course of their modernist space-psych core. Throughout each the album’s eight tracks, a distinctly brighter flag flies atop the Shjip, as melodies step out into the forefront, washing away much of the sledge-y murk that cloud their previous recordings.

(originally published in Relix Magazine)

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Night Beats – Sonic Bloom

Recorded in a Tacoma, WA warehouse, Sonic Bloom album perfectly captures the Beats at their drugged-fueled, raved-up best.

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Ty Segall Sleeper

California’s garage rock son turns in his electric and fuzz pedals for a simple acoustic on the emotionally-charged, introspective Sleeper LP. Recorded following the loss of his father, Sleeper showcases the unadulterated beauty of Segall’s knack for melodious songwriting.

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Kevin Morby – Harlem River

Harlem River is the debut solo album from Woods bassist/Babies guitarist Kevin Morby. Aided by a stellar cast of backing musicians, along with the help of Rob Barbato’s (Darker My Love) impressive production work, Morby delivers an intimate collection of songs that touch on the loneliness, addiction and hardships of a touring musician. Having joined Woods before he was legally allowed to drink in bars, Morby’s tale rings with the wisdom and experience of a man who’s spent the better part of his life on the road.

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Fuzz – S/T

For the past several years, Ty Segall has largely existed as a solo artist. But with Fuzz, his latest project formed together with high school friend and Ty Segall Band guitarist Charles Moothart, it seems the lone wolf has finally found a pack in which to roam. Heavy psych of the highest order.

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Endless Boogie – “Taking Out The Trash”

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There aren’t too many bands still holding onto the spirit of old, gritty New York as much as Endless Boogie. And there’s even fewer still making new music. The the ever more vanilla ways of rock these days just doesn’t seem to churn them out the way they used to. But there are, of course, exceptions.

Formed in 1997 by a group of Matador Records employees and a professional record collector, Endless Boogie honed their craft for years before first appearing on stage in 2001 as an opener for Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus. Since then, they’ve gone on to play some smaller tours, but mostly stick to playing shows around New York and Brooklyn—and only when they’re invited. Their music follows a simple formula–four bars of some blues rock riff repeatedly hammered into oblivion at the hands of guitarists Paul “Top Dollar” Major and Jesper Eklow–but it’s in this simplicity that the Boogie finds its magic. Like the repetitive ways of krautrock, the Boogie’s blues riffs expand into transportive journeys that can make an hour of droning rock seem like a few minutes.

On February 19 the group will release their third long player, Long Island, recorded this past summer in Brooklyn. Listen to “Taking out the Trash” below.

Pre-order the record via No Quarter.

Show: A Psychedelic Explosion! feat. Endless Boogie + La Otracina

TONIGHT, Brooklyn psych-thrashers La Otracina team up with the similarly labeled Endless Boogie for A Psychedelic Explosion at one of my favorite spots in Williamsburg, Union Pool. Visual projections will be provided by BAMIAM.TV throughout the night along with a killer poster designed by Erin Klauk/Erinaceous Illustration. Come take part in a night of astral adventures with some of Brooklyn’s psychedelic juggernauts. See ya there. RSVP HERE

Listen to La Otracina’s 20min take on the Dead’s ““Cryptical Envelopment>Drums>The Other One>Cryptical Envelopment”.”