New Music | Dawg Yawp, Sitar Acid Rockers
“More cowbell” is so 2000. In the year 2016, the new catchphrase is “more sitar.” I’m willing to bet my Ravi Shankar vinyl collection that Dawg Yawp is the band that will make my prediction a reality. The Cincinnati twosome of Tyler Randall and Rob Keenan play a brand of alt-folk-psychedelic music that can be distilled down to “sitar acid rock.”
Regardless of what you call it, the Ohio twosome’s sitar-painted sonic landscape is meditative music for the ADD generation, unifying tradition and modern tech to create a new brand of American music that will have you chanting for “more sitar.”
Dawg Yawp gave Crave an exclusive track-by-track breakdown of their self-titled, debut LP, which came out October 14th via Old Flame Records.
Maybe, no, yes. It’s nice to be unsure, not sure, and sure all at the same time. Life is exciting when you can’t help but look at it from every angle. Our producer Rob Fetters was a key part in developmental encouragement and structure.
“I Wanna be a Dawg”
This was a magical moment for Rob and I. We were living together in Newport, KY when Rob walked into the living room playing a beautiful fingerpicking guitar pattern, as heard in the intro and beyond. I don’t remember where the words “I Wanna be a Dawg” came from, but they happened. We were so happy and sang those
words over and over. Tyler took a nap and woke up with the sitar part in his head. We started putting it all together and then two American Bulldogs who had broken free of their domestic prison literally showed up on our front patio. We let the dogs in, they ran around our house as we wrote the song, then they left. A mystically true story.
“Lost at Sea”
This began with our friend and old drummer Austin Barker a few years back. We recorded it in Rob’s parents basement and had everything but Rob’s feedback guitar amplification coming through headphones. We remember explaining to his parents that the feedback made sense, but they were confused. Eventually we took the original demo recordings of the bass and feedback and turned it into an entire piece during sessions for the album. It’s about not trying to find an answer to everything and feeling lost, yet free in not knowing.
“Not So Sure”
This song isn’t about anybody in particular, unlike some of the others. It more applies to any potential lover, and the fear that when they find out how ugly you really are, they won’t be able to handle it.
“Need You to Know”
Tyler was in love with a woman for about five years before telling her. While on a beach, he waited for the sun to set as a signal that he must then confess his love. He told her he loved her, she laughed, and then this song came about as a reflection of that experience.
“East Virginia Blues”
We first heard locally-based group The Tillers play this traditional American folk song off their live album; Farewell to the Historic Southgate House. While we were first learning music of this style together, this album was one we listened to the most. So we sped it up and played it in a higher key which better fit our voices (Tyler had to invent a sitar capo, which works) and added a few verses from the Ralph Stanley version.
It was New Years Eve, I was all by myself and my family dog Milo. I was staying home and playing bass. There was a woman that I had been attracted to for a long time and she could not commit to hanging out with me, kept kinda stringing me along. Also at a different moment there was someone I believed I was in love with and she made me a scarf. Instead of coming inside to give it to me, she left it in my mailbox and drove away because she didn’t want to see me. Those two stories were combined for this song I guess because they are like, the same story.
Tyler was in Canada on a fishing trip with his father, brother and uncle as they do form time to time. Recovering form a love that just wasn’t working out, the feeling of letting go finally set in. Laying on a couch in the middle of nowhere (everywhere) the line “I got an 18 carat gold heart, that you’re gonna have to mine” came so he got up and wrote it down.
Hung up on a love not meant to be. Desperately awaiting text message responses. Craving validation. We made a demo and then chopped it up so Rob could play all the parts, except sitar, on the MPC. Then we took those samples and put it back into a song form. The first time we played it live, we played it last and received our first encore. That was a really electric feeling.
“I’ll Quit Tomorrow”
The music was written right around the same tie as “Can’t Think” during a moment of clarity. It was called “Hope” at that point, because after a long creative block we felt like we could write music again. We added lyrics and had fun with our voices. That feeling where you wanna leave everything but maybe you should just sleep on it, that’s what this song is about.
For more sights, sounds and info on Dawg Yawp go here.