Dredg – Same Ol’ Road

June 25, 2009

Today’s MSMOTD

Dredg – Same Ol’ Road

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Man I have spent hours and hours agonizing over this one, trying to decide which song to feature.  Dredg has such a varied and unique style that while any song is immediately identifiable as Dredg, none really encapsulates their sound entirely.  Dredg is an American prog/alternative rock band which straddles the line between art rock and pop, using in turn chunky guitars, airy strings and mysterious ethnic instrumentation.  Some songs will have crazy open 9th chords over funky backbeats which fade in and out of bulgarian chants and prayer chimes, while others have tight verse-chorus-verse structure with really catchy hooks.  They’ve released 4 full albums so far, with “The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion” just out last week.  I adore these guys, so I hope you dig the music.

http://hatedpig.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/dredg2.jpg

Apparently both the lead singer and bassist are artists and regularly incorporate their art into their albums. I wouldnt be surprised if this was done by one of them.

I mentioned bulgarian chants before, and you can hear their influence on Gavin Hayes’ vocals in Same Ol’ Road.  Bulgarian chants are very monotonic and cyclical in nature and Dredg features elements of that style in various songs throughout their discography.  Check out some awesome examples of old-school bulgarian chants Here and Here.  That vocal style may be why Same Ol’ Road is my second favourite Dredg tune.  Hayes’ vocals are just so unique and memorable, with the wavering held notes and tones stretching out to paint an image in music that matches the lyrical subject matter (melancholy, dreamy and very emotional).  Dredg’s lyrical output is often rather obtuse and symbolic, but something about this song really strikes a chord with me:

All you need is a modest house in a modest neighborhood,
In a modest town, where honest people dwell.
Making the cleanest energy,
For the greenest plants to grow,
In the richest soil that is drenched,
With the freshest rain,
Then you should sit in your backyard,
Watch clouds peak over the tallest mountain tops.

I can picture it in my mind clearly as I listen to the song.

(The official video for Information, off Dredg’s new album)

Information is the new single from their latest album “The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion” and proves that they have the chops to write super catchy pop songs in the style of U2 or Coldplay.  I debated putting this as the MSMOTD, but I just like Same Ol’ Road more.  Still, great song.  The chorus has been stuck in my head for a while.  Also, did I mention I love slide guitar?  I LOVE SLIDE GUITAR.  There.  The fact that he plays it with a wrench is just icing on the cake of awesome slide guitarness.

The cover of their latest album The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion.

The cover of their latest album "The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion".

The other songs below were also contendors and actually include my favourite Dredg tune of all: An Elephant In The Delta Waves, which is part of the Brushstrokes series (a set of mainly instrumental interludes) from their 2002 album “El Cielo”  It features a creepy dulcimer/piano/breathing intro, which then morphs into a driving groove with ethnic hand drums and wailing female vocals in some undetermined language.  Super atmospheric and I love it to death.  I actually use the first ~30 seconds as my default ringtone and I get asked about it/compliments all the time.  When was the last time anyone complimented anyone on a ringtone?  Yesterday!  Anyways, the other embedded song is It Only Took A Day, which actually follows directly after Elephant… on “El Cielo”.  It demonstrates Dredg’s harder, edgier side, with some raucous guitar riffs and a more strident vocal performance from Hayes, but also reiterating his love for monotonic phrasing.  The youtube video I’ve linked is of Sang Real, from 2005′s “Catch Without Arms”, which is often named as people’s favourite Dredg tune.  I had to choose between embedding it and Elephant…, but had to go with the latter since it is my favourite after all, and Sang Real has an airy pop feel to it, somewhat like Information and Same Ol’ Road.  Definitely check it out!

I could write and write and write about these guys, but I’ll cut it off there.  Listen to all the songs, and let me know what you think in the comments!

More music from Dredg

Dredg – An Elephant In The Delta Waves

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Dredg – It Only Took A Day

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Check out this live performance of Sang Real on Youtube.

Further info about today’s MSMOTD

Official Website: http://www.dredg.com/

Wikipedia Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dredg

Featured Review: Kyle Banick’s 5 out of 5 review of “El Cielo” for sputnik music.

“El Cielo” is a *classic* album, so you really need to go buy it from Amazon.com.  You can also buy their latest album The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion or download Same Ol’ Road from their MP3 store.

3 Responses to “Dredg – Same Ol’ Road”

  1. I really like the versatility of this group, as well as the fact that within that versatility they are unique in their own sound. I think “It Only Took A Day” was my favourite song, and I really liked “Information” as well. In fact, I think it was a tie between the two.
    The Bulgarian chants were beautiful, my favourite being the Lament. I like how they are so much deeper in tone than Gregorian chants in comparison.
    The wrench: So true! :)

  2. Yeah, those bulgarian chants were a surprise to me actually! I just found them as I was writing the post and they totally kick ass! I might have to do an actual bulgarian chant post eventually. All of the songs I posted are actually my favourite songs. Like I said, I had such a hard time choosing :(

  3. Haha, you should!
    But I think it would be cool to hear some of your own work soon, too :)

Leave a Reply