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Rose City Band - Summerlong - cd -

Price per Unit (stuk): €17.95

Taking cues from privately pressed loner folk and independent psych-rock albums, Wooden Shjips/Moon Duo member Ripley Johnson anonymously ushered his Rose City Band project into the world with a limited-edition LP that included almost no technical information. The band was mostly just Johnson, joined by a few friends to flesh out recordings of his stripped-down psychedelic country songs. The vocals were often buried in effects and the songs stretched out from simple chord progressions into lengthy guitar explorations reminiscent of the Grateful Dead's cosmic traveling. Shortly after the album's release, Johnson went public about the project. Second album Summerlong peels back the haze of the first album for a far more country-accented set of songs. This is apparent from both the relative clarity of the vocals and the expanded instrumentation, which now includes go-to country-rock embellishments like mandolin and pedal steel. The songwriting still lies somewhere midway between psychedelia and indie country, but it leans more towards straightforward song structures and arrangements. Album opener "Only Lonely" is a classic country-rock lament, with Johnson singing wistfully melancholic lines over a shuffling beat. Where the first album stretched out into darker experimenting, Summerlong's best songs have more in common with bands like WoodsYo La Tengo, and Bonny Doon than the cannon of psychedelic travelers that Wooden Shjips belongs to. The countrified boogie of "Real Long Gone" continues Rose City Band's inclination towards Grateful Dead-inspired tunes, tapping into the same gentle rocking of the rowdiest moments on Workingman's Dead. "Reno Shuffle" also works out a similar country blues style, with some drawn-out segments of guitar shredding for good measure. Summerlong isn't completely devoid of Johnson's distinctive breed of dazzled psychedelia. The appropriately titled "Floating Out" ends with a lengthy vamp of delay-coated guitar soloing and the album ends with the ever-so-slightly Krautrock-tinged medley of "Wee Hours > Wildflowers." No longer masked by layers of texture, Summerlong allows Johnson to showcase his gifts for songwriting and psychedelic wandering in equal measure.

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