The Dry Season: The Dry Season (2011)

Bio (condensed from thedryseason.com):
The Dry Season is an Austin, Texas based band that began in March of 2008 as a neo-psychedelic, post rock group combining beautiful haunting vocals, atmospheric soundscapes, swirling effects-drenched guitar, and tight dynamic arrangements. There is a highly expansive cinematic quality to their music which is well reflected in their extraordinary videos for the songs “Follow Me Down”, “Larry” and “The Car.”
The Dry Season delicately glide from hypnotic ambient textures to sonically destructive chaos with overwhelming emotion. Within the ethereal soundscapes and the rage of distortion and bombardment of feedback, you are just as likely to experience extreme emotions like sadness and beauty, lightness and darkness, chaos and peace, happiness and melancholy. It is The Dry Season’s ability to combine, intertwine and swing back and forth from such opposite extremes to create an emotional phantasmagoria that makes this band worth experiencing.

Musicians:
Sammy Ragland (Lead Guitar, Synth), Madelyn Carr (Vocals, Synth, Guitar), Sean Haezebrouck (Drums, Programs), Cody Modro (Bass)

Digging though independent media has its ups and downs.  Sometimes I get stuff sent to me that I wish I could turn off, but as a “critic” I have to listen to / watch the whole thing.  Sometimes the stuff I get is ok at best.  And then sometimes, just sometimes – actually less then “sometimes,” more like very rarely – there’s that one submission that just blows me away.  THE DRY SEASON is one of those submissions.

The Dry Season: Sammy Ragland, Sean Haezebrouck, Madelyn Carr, Cody Modro

TDS is a mashup of genres, styles, and emotions, and while there are serious dichotomies going on, it all works so well.  Quite often I hear bands that try to mix disparate styles of music, and most times it doesn’t work.  Mixing heavy with soft, loud with quiet, feedback with orchestral, and most of the time it sounds like two very different things being forced together.  Forced together.  Not pleasantly.  TDS takes some very different bits of things – noise rock, psychedelia, atmospheric soundscapes, heavy distortion and feedback, and hauntingly beautiful vocals – and somehow makes them all work together in a completely original and awesome way.

It’s really hard to classify this album.  It sounds a little like Massive Attack put together an album with Sonic Youth, added some heavier breakdowns and recruited Dolores O’Riordan from The Cranberries to sing.  But that is really a shortsighted description, because there is so much more going on.  I hear bits of Pink Floyd – old Pink Floyd, “Echoes” era Floyd – and Primus, influences that sound of Tool, Orbital, and almost even Smashing Pumpkins-esque.  All of these bits and pieces I hear are all of bands I really enjoy, and while I would not expect them to all work together, The Dry Season has figured out a way to mix all of this up into one beautiful, emotional, impactful stew that is just amazing.  This shouldn’t work, but good goddamn it does.

So, The Dry Season uses a few pedals…

Musically, all of the components of The Dry Season add their own flair to the music.  The guitar work of Ragland, and Carr, varies from pretty little ditties and some echoed noodling to heavy, aggressive, full forward rock. Haezebrouck‘s drums, while never really calling attention to themselves, are the perfect accompaniment to the stuff going on in the foreground, and they certainly help set the tone as it switches from light and happy to dark and heavy, and his programming helps set the trippiness and atmospheric tone.  Modro’s bass varies from being the percussive backup to the drums, to coming more forefront in almost a Primus or Tool like heaviness and lead.  Finally Carr, with her synth adds some more beauty and atmosphere, but more so Carr’s greatest strength is her voice.  She has a hauntingly beautiful voice that can carry the atmosphere and can back up the aggressiveness; it truly is the perfect tone for TDS and truly feels like the glue that bonds all of these disparate bits into one cohesive sound.

The Dry Season, rocking out live

Overall, I just can’t really say enough about TDS.  This is not an album for everyone, for sure; I do not expect to be hearing The Dry Season on the radio any time soon, because their music is too complex for the easy digestion required by the masses to make it onto mainstream radio.  TDS is intelligent, ethereal, labyrinthine, eerie, fervid, and is probably too much for many people.  For me, it was amazing, and I cannot wait to see what they do next.

Overall 9 / 10

TDS for sale: http://thedryseason.com/store/

TDS site: http://thedryseason.com/

The Dry Season: Self Titled (2011)
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