Urdog- a band whose lifespan may have been somewhat transient, yet whose mysterious, mercurial musical force perforated for eons- originally released and performed their mantric form of viscous, “spacey psych” in 2003 in their native Providence Rhode Island, before seeking other pursuits in 2006; guitarist/vocalist Dave Lifieri began a record store, organist/vocalist Jeff Knoch moved to the desert, and drummer/vocalist Erin Rosethal studied plant medicine. The band occupied a cyclonic whirl of 70’s inspired, improvisational psych jams- earning the triumvirate likenesses to “early Floyd” and the frenzied dirges of “Amon Duul II”- while also wielding the folk-y maelstrom of the 21st Century US underground thriving around them. Additionally, the seemingly disparate, esoteric influences of “Robert Wyatt, Incredible String Band”, “but especially This Heat, Riot Grrrl and 90’s hardcore.” cultivated the singular Urdog sound, Erin explains, while also attributing the band’s convergence to “…the horror of late-capitalism…” and meeting Dave whilst “bouncing on a couch like two 5 year-olds’ while at a Flying Luttenbachers show.”
This collision of far-off influences, yet nevertheless resulting in a musical monolith both profoundly focused and also stretching it’s mystified, fog-enshrouded tendrils into many regions, is one beloved of Rocket Recordings’ Chris Reeder and John O’Carroll – long-time Urdog fans, who have now compiled those three years into an eight-track compendium; Long Shadows: 2003-2006. Chris and John had originally found the band in the early 00’s through Steve Krakow of Plastic Crimewave Sound and via the fabled Aquarius Records new release list. Their love of the band was re-ignited during lockdown after revisiting the two full-length albums, urging them to try a 15-year old email address, through which, luckily, they received a reply from Urdog’s Jeff Knoch. “Over the years since then, where I have been asked to DJ at festivals I’ve played Ice On Water and more or less guaranteed to get at least one person coming up to me asking ‘What is this?’”, Rocket’s Chris Reeder tells of the track. Ice On Water was recently released as the first from the LP, promoting Urdog’s transcendental aura through tribal, thumping drums, cosmically dissonant organ, and a dervish of guitar strokes.
Rocket have now released Eye of the Moon, a behemoth stretching across 13-minutes, and a compelling video to accompany it. The track moves in incrementally tense segments, separate but complimentary entities, beginning with the organ’s glistening haze and Rosenthal’s sparse yet rampant drumming, before Lifieri’s stringed incantations slash through the thick, eerie Providence fog which the band espouse. Rosenthal’s wondrous vocals play in a rhythmic clamour over this bewitching instrumentation, whose tumult gives way to a ruminative section of sparse guitar and simmering percussion; rising to an organ-blasting, guitar-blazing blowout.
The video melds the track’s tidal, pulsing psych-cataclysm with fittingly eerie and macabre, monochromatic lunar imagery; amongst a myriad of other cosmic, mysterious imagery, as the Farfisa organ’s mellifluous intonations heighten the surreal kaleidoscope. Bask in Urdog’s aural and visual beauty below.
Listen to Ice On Water here. Long Shadows: 2003-2006 is released on March 5th, via Rocket Recordings, and is available on numerous aesthetically spectacular vinyl variants: Ice Black splatter and Gold limited edition pressings. Pre-order the Ice Black/clear splatter vinyl here– the Gold version will be exclusive to record stores.
- The Open: Intro
- Ice On Water
- Ani Nie Ma
- The Open: Extract
- Eyelid of Moon
- Triumph (Digital Only)
- Zombie Cloud