I think this is a strange one!! It was written and recorded back in 2008 before the band was even formed… It pre-dates all of the other three releases from these Kentuckian souls, before they had even chosen the band name!!
The 16 songs are shortish (for a proggy album) with The Stagebeing the longest track at 7 minutes 18 seconds just… However, despite their collective shortness, Matt Page and Joey Water’s efforts show the promise that has been realised and recorded in their later releases!!
The sounds? From a light picky start, the 1st track Home swiftly develops into a post rock song of surprising quality. Only a short track though @ 2:42, It left me wanting to hear much more from the duo…
Track 2, We Smell The Blood, a more sedate number with some heavy guitar work – good song but hard to pick out the words at times – that post rock fuzz builds up!! From around 3 and a half minutes though everything calms down again to some ethereal guitar picking…
Track 3 Father Francis – a melodic song, Matt’s vocal range brought right to the fore here.
Track 4 reminds me of some Oasis songs – Ok if you like them I suppose… Come to think of it, the whole album shows some influence from the Gallagher brothers??? On repeated listening, one can pick out influences from other sources – Muse, early Anathema, to name just two…
Overall, I liked this prequel album, it justified my purchase of their earlier (later) publications. Matt has a fine voice and his song writing talent is in no doubt. The guitar work is excellent throughout the album too – the gentle track 7, One Last Fix proves my point.
Halfway through the album at track 8, It Will All Be Over Soon you hope it won’t! The River Current is a light and wistful song (a Dylan influence?) which balances a lot of the heavier music heard earlier. Track 11 Sounds Like Magicis a pure Oasis clone with a better guitar lick now and again.
Acoustic guitar over a mushy radio broadcast reminiscent of some Roger Waters work for #12, and then that excellent guitar jolts one back to the real world for Soulfulwhich, for me, has the best vocal work of the album… I’ll not forget the phrase – Apostle of Hypocrisy – I’m gonna use that in my own writing I think! By far the best track on this album.
The last 3 songs deliver more of the same – high quality musicianship leavened with some thought provoking lyrics…
KENTUCKY PROGGERS ALSO SHARE FIRST SINGLE ‘WE SMELL THE BLOOD’
Dream The Electric Sleep have announced details of an unheard ‘lost’ 2008 album ‘The Giants Newground’ which will be released on 18/05/18 via 7Hz Productions and shared the first single to be heard from the album We Smell The Blood.
Dream the Electric Sleep officially formed in 2009 but in 2008, Matt Page and Joey Waters decided to write and record an album together. It was the first time Page wrote the lyrics and took over the lead vocal position in a band, and the first time Page and Waters were the sole writers of a project. “After years of playing together, Joey and I were ready for something different… a new direction, and honestly at that time, a last attempt to find a way forward together as a band. We had played with so many different people and never found a line up that captured what we wanted so this was it! We were attempting to reconceive our efforts together and this album represented that departure” explains Page.
When the album was completed in 2008, it had a limited regional release and it happened to land in the hands of bassist and songwriter, Chris Tackett. He was living in Huntington, West Virginia at the time but had just accepted an art directorship at a company in Lexington, Kentucky where Page and Waters lived. After Tackett heard the album, he was impressed and intrigued. Through a mutual friend, he found out Page and Waters were looking for a bass player. Waters and Tackett set up try out rehearsal and after the first song, Page and Waters were sold. Chris Tackett would be the new bass player on this new journey. Page, Waters, and Tackett had no band name at that point and rehearsed the songs from the recently released album to start playing some regional shows. It didn’t take long for the trio to begin writing new material. That new material became the band’s first official release, ‘Lost and Gone Forever’.
Dream the Electric Sleep never played songs from that first unofficial album that brought them together.
Discussing the looming presence of the lost release, Matt Page explained: “Over the years I thought about that album a lot. It haunted me a bit. The album meant so much to me on a personal level but I knew we had to move forward, not return to something old. In the summer of 2017 I realized it had almost been 10 years since that album came to fruition. It occurred to me it would be a great time to revisit the material and put together a 10th year anniversary release. It’s a way for the band to reflect on our origin and share that with all those who have supported us over the last decade. That album was the springboard for what would become Dream the Electric Sleep.”
The album titled, ‘The Giants’ Newground’, was revisited, re-tracking some guitars, bass, vocals, and drums, mixed with many of the original takes from 2008.
“We wanted to update the album some but leave the original feel. We worked over the summer of 2017 and are finally ready to release this 10-year anniversary album! It feels good knowing this album can go into the world and become part of the DTES catalogue where it belongs. I felt like it was a homeless album for so long and now it will have a place to live. I can finally move on from it knowing it is out in the world.”
‘The Giants’ Newground‘ is based on a series of Appalachian Jack tales that Page’s mother read to him when he was young. “They were these dark, old, mysterious stories that had a deep impact on my imagination. The book that we had in our house was old and falling apart and had been in the family for a long time. The stories always revolved around the main character, Jack, and his constant wandering and leaving. That idea of drifting from place to place, living on the edge, constantly on the run, felt familiar to me when I was in my mid 20’s and it’s the reason I decided to use those stories as inspiration to write an album. It’s a modern re-telling of Jacks search for home, something I too was searching for. A place to find shelter from the storm of my life and mind.”
‘The Giants’ Newground’ will be released worldwide on May 18th 2018 via 7Hz Productions (ADA) and will be a precursor to a brand new album being presently recorded and due for release in 2019.
Ahead of their first ever London show at The Black Heart in Camden on February 8th, I got together with Dream The Electric Sleep‘s Matt Page.
Vocalist and guitarist Matt formed the band with Joey Waters (drums), and Chris Tackett (bass) in Lexington in 2009. After two self-produced, independent releases, “Lost and Gone Forever” (2011) and “Heretics”(2014), Dream the Electric Sleep’s third album, “Beneath the Dark Wide Sky,” marked a clear shift in the band’s songwriting style and sonic quality which Prog Magazine hailed as ‘monumental’.
You formed in 2009, how did you guys get together initially?
Joey, our drummer, and I are cousins and have played together for over 20 years so DTES has been in the making for a while! We played in other projects and kept trying to figure out what we wanted to do with our sound, our direction and the sorts of songs we wanted to write. We heard Chris Tackett was moving to town and he was a in a band we loved (Chum) from many years earlier and he contacted us to see if we wanted to try and put something together. After the first rehearsal we knew it was the sound we had been looking for and DTES started 🙂
Which bands were the early influences on your style of music?
We each have some similar influences but also some very different ones. I think all three of us would agree Pink Floyd and Zeppelin would be the core set that we as a band constantly look back to, but that is really just the tip of the iceberg. I grew up on Rush, Metallica, Tool, U2, Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Tori Amos, Joni Mitchel etc… that was where I came from. Chris was into Swans, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Queen, and Neurosis and Joey loved all of the above plus Soundgarden, Pantera and Alice in Chains.
And who do you listen to now?
Its all over the map! St. Vincent, Beach Boys, The Life and Times, Gorgoroth, Buried at Sea, Dragged Into Sunlight, Tom Petty, Janis Joplin… no continuity as you can see! We try to let all these things come in and find a place in what we do. It makes this project so much more interesting to see how sounds will collide!
You released your third album “Beneath the Dark Wide Sky” last year, how would you say this record differed from your earlier releases “Lost and Gone Forever” and “Heretics”?
I would say it is more deliberate. It was the first time we worked with a producer, and that was a great experience for us. Nick Raskulinecz was another lens to see the music through and he helped us tighten up the vision we had for the album. The earlier releases are more experimental, which I like and I think we will return to, but this time we wanted more focus to see what that would do to us, our writing, and the final product.
I believe “Beneath The Dark Wide Sky” is about a historical moment in the US called the Dust Bowl? What inspired you to write about this?
“Beneath the Dark Wide Sky” is inspired by photographs taken of the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s by American photographer Dorothea Lange. Lange worked for the United States Works Progress Admiration and hoped her photographs could be used to educate the masses (via photo essays in major news publications and magazines) to the poverty and desperate living conditions of thousands of farming families and migratory workers who lived and worked in the drought-struck American Great Plains. Lange believed photographs had the ability to shine an objective light on issues of social justice and environmental degradation and could be used to persuade and motivate social and political change.
Much of what motivated Lange motivates me as the lyricist of the band. How does art inform the way we understand the world we live in and can it motivate us to challenge and change our assumptions? I am not sure there is an easy correlation, but I am very interested in those who try to bridge the gap between art and life.
Prog Magazine described the album as ‘monumental’, do you actually consider yourselves to be a prog band?
That is a good question. I think progressive music has MANY definitions and we fit some of them but not all of them. I never set out to be in a particular genre and because of that, many influences found their way in. This diversity of sound made it harder to define the band and that pushed us further into the progressive community. That particular community wants music that at its core is difficult to define but also music that is searching for something and I would say we fit that bill. We see ourselves as coming out of the spirit of bands like Floyd or Zeppelin or Peter Gabriel or Queen. Those bands are loved by the progressive community and outside it… that is the space I think we are trying to occupy.
Do you think there has been a resurgence in progressive music over the last couple of years?
I do. I think people are craving substance again in music. They want to hear an artist struggle, a reaching for something beyond their grasp, for artists invested in asking questions, thinking about the world, searching and seeking. I think progressive artists are more likely to be engaged in these frameworks and that is where the resurgence is coming from.
Your gig at the Black Heart is your first ever London gig, how much are you looking forward to it?
It is something we have looked forward to for a long time! Most US bands hope to go meet their supporters in other countries and most of the time it never happens. For us to be able to go to London and meet our supporters face-to-face and shake their hands is a big honor. These are the people that have supported us for years and I want to personally thank them! I just want it to be fun for everyone in the room. Live music is a celebration and that is what I am doing, celebrating that moment together, band and supporters united!
Who are your favourite live artists and what is the best gig you’ve ever been to?
I will speak personally here. For me seeing Roger Waters perform the Wall was a big one as well as Peter Gabriel on the 25th anniversary tour of SO. I know Joey recently went to see Devin Townsend and loved it as well as Ghost.
With the advent of the internet, streaming and illegal downloads is recorded music being devalued and are live performances now the best way of connecting with your fans?
Really our best way of connecting with fans has been the internet and releasing albums in that way. In the US the live market is just terrible. I won’t get into the details, but its tough over here. To be able to reach into other parts of the world so easily, it made it possible for us to build a niche of support within the prog community that is spread out all over the globe. Live performances have been way less effective in getting this project where it is. That being said, I am hopeful we can find a way to utilize live performances to reach more people and this current tour is a test of that. We will see if it yields positive momentum!
Do you consider Dream The Electric Sleep to be mainly a live band or a recording band?
I think we have always wanted to be both but as I said in the last response, the US live market is really anemic and scattered right now, at least for us. Because of this we have spent most of our time writing and recording albums as this seems to have been the most productive thing we can do to move the project forward.
What advice would you give to new up and coming artists?
I would tell any band getting started to see this is a long haul process. Finding ways of building a sustainable project should be high on the list. Progress is made inch by inch.
What’s next for the band?
After the tour its time to write again! I hope to take a little bit of a break to reflect on this project and what it needs to be going forward. We have poured every ounce of extra energy we have into this project and over time, you learn more about what you want out of it.
See Dream The Electric Sleep live at The Black Heart on Wednesday 8th February – Free Admission.
Dream the Electric Sleep, who released their 3rd album ‘Beneath the Dark Wide Sky’ last year, have announced a one off UK date as part of their upcoming European tour. Taking place at the Black Heart in London on 8th February the band will be bringing their expansive electric sound to the city for the very first time. Vocalist Matt Page comments:
“It has been an extraordinary year for Dream the Electric Sleep with the release of our third album, “Beneath the Dark Wide Sky.” We have moved forward in ways we never imagined possible and with the help of our fantastic team of partners in the UK and Europe, we are thrilled to be coming to play our first show in London at the Black Heart! We have pooled all of our resources together and worked feverishly to make this happen with the hopes of showing our tremendous gratitude towards those who have helped keep this band going all these years. The music industry is tumultuous these days and we see great bands come and go too often. Making this project long lasting and sustainable has been a high priority of ours and after nine years of writing and recording albums we are finally coming over to play a show and say thank you to our supporters in the UK, face-to-face, for helping keep this ship sailing for so many enriching years. See you all soon!”
The band was formed in Lexington, KY by Matt Page (vocals/guitar), Joey Waters (drums), and Chris Tackett (bass) in 2009. After two self-produced, independent releases, “Lost and Gone Forever” (2011) and “Heretics”(2014), Dream the Electric Sleep’s third album, “Beneath the Dark Wide Sky,” marked a clear shift in the band’s songwriting style and sonic quality which Prog Magazine hailed as ‘monumental’.
Wednesday 8th February – Black Heart, London – Free entry
Not the revival tent meetings slavishly recreating the sounds of a bygone age, but new, young bands pushing the envelope, bringing new influences to the table.
Elements of Indie, dub step and shoe gazing form part of the lexicon that Dream the Electric Sleep bring on their new album.
When I say “Indie”, it’s not the fey wimp with a guitar and a whisper type but the noise merchants of death approach taken by Ride, Spiritualized and those post rock bands that issue manifestos that take longer to decipher than their lyrics- Crippled Black Phoenix produce some fabulous music, but the band’s in fighting and fallouts make Fleetwood Mac’s antics seem tame. Justin Greaves has a chip on his shoulder about a lot of things, but his heart is in the right place and his stand on Animal Welfare is brave and noble one that as a Vegetarian for 30 years I am in sympathy with.
So where do Dream the Electric Sleep fall?
Well, for a start it’s a stupid name. How are you going to widen your fan base when you call yourself after a bad double translation of a Philip K Dick novel?
And, yes, Androids do dream of Electric sheep. Electric sheep jumping over little digital gates.
Philip K Dick is THE author to name drop in the US, his books are all films or TV series or both it seems, so the origin of the name is sound, but c’mon. “Ladies and Gentlemen, please give a big welcome to the headline act, Dream the Electric Sleep” doesn’t roll of the tongue. Not without hallucinogenic intervention anyway.
But what do I know. I was in a band once, for a whole gig. We called ourselves “The Mighty Airbag Re-inflated”. We were legends in our own break time (not brave enough to claim a whole lunch hour of fame)
(Picture by Rob Dickes)
So what do they sound like?
Well, imagine Coldplay getting so agitated that they throw away the rulebook, turn the amplifiers up to 11 and let rip with their best Muse impression.
Or Spiritualized get sucked into a studio and end up with Jem Godfrey as producer.
Frost* are the nearest equivalent I can associate them with , but there are echoes of “Antimatter” nihilism there, a splatter of Snow Patrol anthemic pop, alongside the hints of a Coldplay type band under the guitars .
Another band that DTES linked to in my warped and twisted mind is (or was) Pure Reason Revolution. They share a common ancestral link back via shoe gazing bands that utilize layers and layers of echo and reverb to create cathedrals of sound that the vocalists then preach their sermons in.
The guitar sound folds over itself to create strata of harmonic distortion which drives the vocals on, not quite shouting, but not far off.
The ‘Sleepies’ are full of energy and write songs that may not be complex 40 minute epics with numerous time changes, chord structures that require an excess of digits to replicate but they are still “Prog” , but in a modern style, mixing disparate elements and forging their path .
The path travels through the shoe gazing fields, along the path of indie, bypasses the swamps of instrumental excess, skirting around the chasm of death metal whilst aiming straight on for the Harmony Mountains.
In conclusion, if you like the idea of music that refuses to sit in a box with a neat label on it, if you like contemporary production values were the sum is greater than the parts, then take a listen.
It’s prog, but not just prog. It’s firmly in the post rock camp, deserving of the full attention of your ears.
I could go on and name drop Ulver, Nordic Giants, The Cure, The Sisters of Mercy and No Sound.
In fact, Kscope would be the ideal home for these guys as they fit nicely into that whole post rock constituency.