Monday, November 13, 2017

Album Review: Los Doggies : "Ear Op" Proggy Indie Rock Will Move You


























When Los Doggies aren't expounding on their fashion (see Facebook vid) they are crafting proggy indie rock somewhere in New York. The three piece band latest release is called Ear Op available on 12" vinyl and digitally via Bandcamp and is their first studio effort with local producer, Kevin McMahon (Titus Andronicus, Swans) in upstate Gardiner pounding out sounds in a crusty old barnyard of a studio with a "reverb silo" out back. The EP is inspired by / about in large part Evan Stormo's childhood ear tube operations. He plays plays drums and sings in Los Doggies along with brother Jesse who mans guitar / vocals) and Matt Ross who drives the bass. The three have been making music for a decade.

As I listened to Ear Op with it's both frenetic and kinetic style with syncopated edges that seem to intricately shift in and out of beats in a progressive personal way I thought of bands like Pavement and Built to Spill. The sound is dramatic and freewheeling. The track S'Long is intensely jammy. There is a lead section with ride cymbals highlighting the way that is exquisitely tight (as is the entire track). This song like others seems to meander in an improvisational sort of way and it is cool to follow the boys find their way if that is indeed what is happening.

The title track Ear Op has thick jubilant bloodstreams flowing through it and in this case it is fun to know the back story on the EP and this song and put the lyrical puzzle pieces together. The guitar sounds are bright but attacking and just work so well with the vocal performance. Often times the Stormo brothers sing together and it seems to me to be a part of their sound, a really good part. Los Doggies do not go for conventional compositional styles, don't expect verse verse- chorus- verse- chorus bridge yada yada. Their sense of building songs feels more like a trek down a road and they take you on the adventure. Love the fun sense of this track.


The track Baetyl has an almost majestic air. There is a sense of 70's rock twisted into the proggy indie. It is a good time to describe the general sound on this album. It is pretty stark, big but not over produced. The approach is minimalistic which for me is so KEY here. I mean Los Doggies is a three piece band so when Baetyl explodes into a delicious lead break I appreciate just hearing heavy ass bass and drums holding those notes up on display. NO need for an overdubbed rhythm guitar here. Producer Kevin McMahon makes it heavy as hell but bright too. Great sound here.

There is something about As It Were So that feels somber and uplifting too. The vocal melody style like getting words out before someone shuts the door on you in contrast to the mid tempo open beat works so well. Midway the song becomes quiet only to cry out musically deepening any wounds in such a heavy lovely way.  Would love to hear this track live. It would be such an amazing emotional closer as it is on this album.
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Robb Donker



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