To cover the costs of making and distributing their excellent 2014 full-length E’rebody (reviewed in the April 24, 2014 Almanac Weekly), the chameleonic New Paltz prog-popsters Los Doggies availed themselves of a Kickstarter campaign, an online, crowdsourced fundraising blitz that usually involves incentivized donor levels. For example, a plebeian $10 donation might get you a download of the record and a sticker. At the Dr. and Mrs. Charles Oldthwaite Sustaining Partner level, you might get your likeness on the bass drumhead, a signed vinyl copy of the album and a sticker.
Kickstarter and all the crowdsourcing models are just a tube, you know. Two tubes, actually: one for Web communication and one for the homeward flow of monies. The hosts assume no responsibility for ensuring or enforcing fulfillment; that’s all on the integrity of the artist and the wisdom of the crowds, who reserve the right to break your knees if they don’t get their stickers. The system works?
Bands get creative with the tiers and their incentives: premium swag, in-house concerts for the Gold Circle supporter and so on. Los Doggies are such an irrepressibly creative and prolific bunch that they had no qualms about offering a premium-tier new original song about the donor, patron-style, like the Goldberg Variations (somewhat literally like the Goldberg Variations, as this is band with a greater-than-average attention to traditional counterpoint). Five donors took them up on it and, a little more than a year later, Los Doggies have packaged these five personalized odes as a new EP, Delano Park, available on Bandcamp.
Delano Park is about as rough on the edges as you’d expect a Kickstarter commission to be (E’rebody was decidedly not rough around the edges). The tracks sound a little roomy and home-recordy, but on the level of musical vision and execution, a) these fellows never skimp, and b) this is simply the most extravagant, delightful and fully realized chamber-pop music that this band has ever produced. To my ears, it is a genuine breakthrough for them compositionally. Where in the past the band has sounded like a somewhat comic and self-aware fusion of Nirvana and Zappa, Delano Park is more likely to strike you as a hard rock band’s elegant homage to the stacked harmonies of the Beach Boys (“The Long Island Sea”) and to the angular melodic genius of the Zombies (“Delano Park”). But these are Los Doggies: The frequent style and reference shifts, along with the wailing guitar solos, keep the bridge open to their past.
The melodies are exquisite, the layers of arrangement translucent and airy, and the band’s always-eccentric singers positively croon this time out. It is an audacious and triumphant work of maximal do-it-yourself treacle pop. Of course, being Los Doggies, they’ve already followed Delano Park with a new single, but I am ignoring that for now and lingering on this pretty incredible bit of Kickstarter fulfillment that should not slip by unnoticed. Do yourself a favor: https://losdoggies.bandcamp.com/album/delano-park.
Los Doggies perform on their home stage – Snug Harbor in New Paltz – on Friday, July 17. Also on the bill is the complicated-to-categorize indie/jazz/folk/pop tap-dancing singer/songwriter Liana Gabel, for whom Los Doggies often supply bandmates.
Los Doggies & Liana Gabel, Friday, July 17, 11 p.m., Snug Harbor, 38 Main Street, New Paltz.