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Dr. Dog – Wild Race EP Review

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Philadelphia group—and possibly certified dog experts—Dr. Dog have a new EP hitting tomorrow, the five track Wild Race, which you should actually scramble and make a wild race to grab. Because it’s pretty dang nice.

Every song will crawl into your brain and never come out, starting with the rollicking mantra that is “Be the Void.” It strikes your folksy rock chakra and becomes a jubilant celebration of oneness with all, a real breath of fresh air thanks to the steps it takes in turning introspective lyrics into something great and enjoyable. The equally uplifting “The Sun” inserts the faux-audience for a Sgt. Pepper vibe before heading into stage pounding bar stunner. Beautiful use of tambourine that makes for a sweet and cheery poke on the nose.

The EP slows things down with “What a Fool,” a soulful track with a hint of the Orbison-Elvis tribute of “(Just Like) Starting Over,” but without the cheesy Boomer aura of nostalgia. Dreamy and haunting, “Fool” feels far too brief and leaves you longing. The fantastic “Exit for Sale” has vocals tinged with Neil Young, great harmonies, a glorious bridge and cute psychedelic jangles.

Title track and closer “Wild Race” is a hypnotic song perfect for a scenic open road that carries over some more psychedelic and spacey sounds. A total melodic cruise, “Wild” is the perfect piece to end on, showing off Dr. Dog’s skills with sound engineering.

Yes, there are hints of 60’s and 70’s here and there, but this is a wholly original and organic EP, each song so well done in the lyric and instrumental department that they’ll stay with you for days. “Wild Race” may only take 20 minutes to listen to, but each minute is pitch perfect.

A stream is available here, but definitely pick up a copy for your listening pleasure.

CD Reviews

Transistor-on Takes “The Way Back Down” on EP

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Transistor-on calls their goods “fuzzed out reverb music,” and in the spirit of post-rock, EP The Way Back Down is full of that melodious texture and sensation. Recorded at The Cottage with Damon Moon, The Way Back Down is a mere four tracks. But those songs make a satisfying sampling of a band with a big future ahead.

Atlanta duo Joey Piersante and Chris Armistead offer up a hazy fugue state that is the blueprint for this coming summer, showing that they can run with the best of the lo-fi crowd with their unique rhythms and finger-picking. The minimalist use of instruments that whip up the dream poppy wall of sound succeeds in taking the listener in a layered, chill journey.

Tracks like “Calling Out” and “Solar Flare” are so catchy (the former with its title refrain; the latter with its main guitar melody), that they etch onto your brain and trick you into thinking these are songs that have been around for maybe 20 years or so already.

Reviewers are throwing out comparisons—and they’ll continue to—of Transistor-on to Explosions in the Sky. The similarities are there for sure; both bands share a genre, after all. But saying only “they remind me of Explosions in the Sky” overlooks the fact that Transistor-on are stepping out in earnest on this EP, sounding comfortable in their skin without being jaded. Plus, having smoky vocals on the tracks adds to the spacey miasma and mystery that serves as the overarching feel of the record. The singing on “Empty Planet,” for example, highlights the track’s slow burn into its rocking guitar-driven crescendo.

Though the last piece on The Way Back Down is called “Exit,” by no means is that a harbinger of the band’s future. Transistor-on closes with a sure-footed tapestry of distortion and crisp rhythm, wrapping up a consistent and skillful release that definitely marks their arrival.

The Way Back Down is available to stream on SoundCloud or for purchase on iTunes. The gorgeous photo cover by Richard Casteel.

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Muse “Drones” Review

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Emily Hearn Saves Time in a Bottle on “Hourglass”

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Emily Hearn’s sonic journey on Hourglass shows that she is a woman coming into her own, figuring out the knots of past heartache, the bliss of newlywed life, and the passage of time.

Time acts as the overarching narrative on the record; Hourglass spans the two years following the Athens, GA native’s debut Red Balloon and 2013 EP Promises. “We fall in or out of love as time moves us,” she explains. “We learn life-changing lessons as time goes on. We figure out how to handle important relationships as time shapes us. We decide who we want to be and what we believe as time reveals our priorities. And ultimately, we grow older as time goes by.”

Hearn sings wistfully “Oh, to be young, and to have time” on the third track “Oak Tree,” longing for the naïve feeling that time would never move forward, or at least not so fast. She frets over seeing her parents age so quickly. The existential worries of a twenty-something come delivered in a package of a catchy, infectious chorus and clap-along-able melody.

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