The Moondoggies – Don’t Be A Stranger

by Woody on September 16, 2008

For those of you that have not been to a live show with me, I have been known to let out a loud scream. It’s an unintentional mix between Ric Flair at SummerSlam and Grace Jones reaching orgasm and usually occurs during a rather intense jam. Songs that have led to his outburst have included The Drive-By Truckers’ “Where The Devil Don’t Say,” half of The Black Keys catalog, and any time The Dead kicked out “Scarlet Fire.”

Rarely does an entire album illicit that reaction, let alone from a band I’ve never heard of and on the first listen. Well that’s exactly what happened one Wednesday morning on the way to work while listening to Don’t Be A Stranger. The song was “Changing” and the band was The Moondoggies.‚  “Changing” has a nice little 48 second intro from the tune just prior called “Save My Soul” that Oz so aptly pointed out, sounds a little like “Lake of Fire” by The Meat Puppets. “Changing” kicks off with a great riff as the song’s protagonist fights against the change that his life demands.‚  Back-and-forth he goes, between madness and sanity as the music jams. Three minutes in, The Moondoggies launch into a furious finish that led to my visceral scream.

The Moondoggies are The Band, The Dead and Little Feat rolled up into one. Some have compared them to The Fleet Foxes, probably because of their harmony and home state of Washington, but there are distinct differences in their sounds. While The Fleet Foxes’ harmonies are strikingly beautiful and borderline surreal, The Moondoggies’ harmonies are rougher around the edges, like an old tee shirt. Oh, and they rock harder.

And speaking of The Dead, I was always squarely in the Phil Lesh camp. He was my favorite guy in the band and while most dudes wore their Jerry Garcia tee shirts and the girls thought Bobby’s ponytail was cute, I was enamored with Phil. Rarely is a bassist singled out in one of my album reviews, but Robert Terreberry wields the bass like a young Phil Lesh. On “Make It Easy,” Terreberry’s bass line slowly rumbles along and had me longing for the old days when I was wearing my “Bass Great Less Philling” tee shirt at Phil’s 50th Birthday show.

The other Moondoggies mates include Murphy on vox/guitar, Caleb Quick on keys and Carl Dahlen on drums. They’ve been playing together since high school and hopefully they have years ahead of them. Other standouts, include the 8 minute suite, “Night & Day”which is part folk tune, part Southern Rock jam, “‘Ol Blackbird” and “Bogachiele Rain Blues.” If you are a regular to HearYa, this is absolutely required listening.

MySpace | Hardly Art Records

The Moondoggies – Changing

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

oz September 17, 2008 at 7:06 am

It’s a solid country-rocker from front to back. I’m planning to catch them at Slims in SF in October.

Allie September 17, 2008 at 8:33 am

Hey Woody,
Nice review. Just picked up the album. Thanks for the heads up. They rock way harder than Fleet Foxes.
Bel Air

Beyondmusic September 17, 2008 at 10:48 am

cool =)

Brian Nelsom September 17, 2008 at 12:31 pm

If you guys like the moondoggies, you should check out Barnstormers. I have not been able to get them out of my head for months now!

nittany roar September 17, 2008 at 4:22 pm

Well, you guys have done it again. Thanks a bunch.

Biscuits May 11, 2009 at 11:56 am

Rock way harder than tFFs. A hell of a live show.

Solid writeup.

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