Old Pup

REVIEW: Old Pup “Incognito Lounge”


Old Pup — Incognito Lounge (Hear Here Records)

Old Pup hails and blazes the trails of Psych Folk straight from the bleeding beating heart of America via Milwaukee. Drawing on influence from great American poets like Jim Harrison and Denis Johnson, Incognito Lounge gets the nails dirty quickly, pulling up healthy and strong musical roots with a fine complement of soldiers: Drue Devente/Brendan Andrews (Bass), Nick Spiroff (Drums), Jacob Bicknase (Percussion), Andy Goita (Piano/Organ), Benjamin Boehm (Cello), and Will Hansen on Vocals, Guitars, Lap Steel, Harmonica, and Banjo.

No official lyrics were provided so I’m going in blind on this one, which I love doing anyway, so here goes:

“Town v Train” is probably my favorite track, spitting up bright neon splatters of Townes Van Zandt and, hitchhiking its way across the great beyond in a minor chord merry-go-round. The opening riff is a classic lost highway heartbeat of a riff. Adding immediately to my road trip playlist.

“Slow Death,” despite the title, is refreshingly upbeat like an ice-cold Paloma in the heat of the suburban summer. The vocals are peppered and phrased like Dylan or maybe Edwin Sharp with a mysterious Wiccan tidal wall of sound reminiscent of Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood’s better efforts.

“Cut the Difference” haunts the western trails with the ghost of The Tennessee Three backing the rhythm section and great lines like “Cut the difference. Sweeten the distance. Gonna miss him. When it’s all said and done. Dead on the run.”

“Beware O Wander” is not hard to imagine popping up somewhere in a David Lynch film as our hero drifts off into oblivion. “The map is the shredder, and you’re gone. You ain’t gonna find it in no department store.” Hints of Velvet Underground and Iggy Pop vocal stylings layer over the sonic textures like a knife slowly waving frosting on a freshly baked birthday cake.

What I like most about Incognito Lounge is how true it stays to the folk-country roots and psych roots without over-flavoring the whole dish with either ingredient. The sequence is perfect and the Lo-Fi, recorded-live on-the-floor, nature of it all lends an honest quality that is refreshing and alluring, like when a friend surprises you with a free lunch. 

Goes great with:
Johnny Cash
Townes Van Zandt
Flaming Lips
Empty bars near closing time

Incognito Lounge will be out April 23 via Hear Here records. Check it out HERE: https://bandcamp.com/private/T7NJ3JZ0

Production and Design Credits:

Jenny Vanderheiden-Album Art & Layout
Madda Udvari-Solner & Ryan Holman-Art Direction

Recorded by Barrett Guzaldo at Treehouse Records in Chicago, IL
Mixed by This Random Machine (William Ryan Gardiner) at Hear Here Studio in Milwaukee, WI
Mastered by Justin Perkins at Mystery Room Mastering in Milwaukee, WI

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