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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Thirdeye Memories – ‘Digital Sage’

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A couple months back, we spoke with Guy Blakeslee of the The Entrance Band about his recent series of solo recordings and his passion for collage art. Guy has now released a second volume of recordings, titled Digital Sage. You can hear a select track below or purchase the full volume via Bandcamp. As with the previous volume, each deluxe order is accompanied by a custom, one-of-a-kind collage piece by the artist along with handmade CD and a personalized typewritten letter.

Read our full conversation with Guy Blakeslee here.

Feature: Interview with Guy Blakeslee of The Entrance Band

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Photos by Amanda Charchian

One of the more inspiring figures you’ll come across these days is Guy Blakeslee, guitarist and vocalist for West Coast psych juggernauts The Entrance Band. While known for his onstage energy, offstage Guy is a deeply spiritual individual who radiates with genuine kindness. Having recently released a collection of solo recordings paired with a series of custom handmade collages, Guy spoke at length with us about his music outside of Entrance Band, collage art, meditation and his newly discovered love for the sober side of life. He also tells us that The Entrance Band will release their new album, Face the Sun, later this year.

Listen to/purchase Guy’s Third Eye Memories: Volume 1 here.

Tell us about this new collage/music package you’ve just put out. What is contained within it and what was the creation process like?

I have been exploring my archives of unreleased and home recorded music for the past year, in addition to recording new music.. Having recently learned how to use the computer to do editing and mixing, I started digitizing all of my old four track cassette recordings from the past 10+ years. I have also been making a lot of collage art in the past year, in a more focused way than in the past. SO I decided to create a special mail-order package  where each person receives a small handmade collage that is the one-of-a-kind original version, and a handmade CD of the music along with a high-quality instant download.

There is one album that features 13 songs from the “Entrance” project dating from 2002-2006, before the official formation of The Entrance Band, and there is another that is a 5 song compilation of  home recordings I have done in the past few years,  4 of the 5 were done on the cassette four track and edited in the computer, and one was recorded on my Iphone! With both albums, the emphasis is much more on the spirit and the energy of a moment in time captured and frozen for transmission, than on the fidelity or perfection-ism that usually crops up in a more “official” recording.

Some of the collages are already made and then chosen for a particular person, and some of them are made specifically to fill the order. With each collage I try to read a little bit of the person’s energy at a distance and give them something that they will connect with and cherish.  The impetus for this project was partially to earn some money, and to do so in a way that is an extension of what I am already doing. That is,  rather than get a minimum wage job, I found that I could apply some discipline to the things I was already making and increase the time I spend making art and experimenting with my home recordings…  It’s a very interesting life that I have been living all these years as a self-employed musician and I am just now learning to have a little more focus when it comes to treating this work like my full-time job and being creative with my time and energy.. It’s certainly a gift to be able to pursue my creative dreams as a way of surviving in the world, however uncertain things may seem at times,, it has always paid to remain in trust and faith that everything is as it is meant to be and keep working harder at what I love to do , going deeper into the possibilities even when I feel discouraged.

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Video: The Entrance Band – “Mellow Fantastic”

The Entrance Band have released a video for the new tune “Mellow Fantastic.” The song—accompanied by a short surf film, shot in southern California on Super8 by bassist Paz Lenchantin—is, as the title suggests, a superbly mellow, futuristic stoner jam that coasts along like a transcendent waterfall of sound, like a rider cruising the waves off the sun soaked shores of Topanga.

Visions of Austin Psych Fest


As many of you know, the 5th annual Austin Psych Fest took place last weekend with one of the best festival lineups in recent memory. This year’s APF featured over 50 bands from all walks of the psych genre, including Brian Jonestown Massacre, Woods, The Black Angels, The Black Lips, Meat Puppets, Olivia Tremor Control, Golden Dawn, Thee Oh Sees, Wooden Shjips, Dead Meadow and many more.

Set across two adjacent venues—with a courtyard/hippy bazaar between—attendees could easily navigate between the shows to check out at least part each band. Over the course of the weekend, there were lots of familiar names to check out and a few impressive new discoveries as well. Some personal favorites were sets by Tuareg guitarist Bombino (from the same community as the members of Tinariwen), Woods, Sun Araw, MMOSS and Quilt. All in all, the food was good, weather was perfect, and tall boys were only $4.

Below you’ll find a series of AFP videos from some of my favorite performances.

Bombino

MMOSS

Orange Revival

Quilt

Woods

Entrance Band

The Paperhead

Night Beats