Tag Archives: Dungen

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Dungen – The Bowery Ballroom – June 17, 2016

June 20th, 2016

Dungen - The Bowery Ballroom - June 17, 2016

Photos courtesy of Julia Berke | juliaberkephoto.com

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Psychedelic Rockers Dungen Headline The Bowery Ballroom Tomorrow

June 16th, 2016

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gustav Ejstes (vocals, guitar and piano) grew up in western Sweden with an affinity for hip-hop and sampling and a taste for ’60s pop and psychedelic rock. He formed Dungen in 1999, and although they perform their “gloriously expansive and tripped-out psychedelic jams” as a full band—rounded out by Reine Fiske (guitar and voclas), Johan Holmegard (drums), Mattias Gustavsson (bass and vocals)—Ejstes often plays most of the instruments on their recorded work. They gained attention across the world with their third release, 2004’s Ta Det Lungt (stream it below), prompting Pitchfork to rave, “Dungen exhibit all the signs of legitimate, hard-won staying power…. Ta Det Lugnt feels less like a new release than some ancient tome, a fully formed masterpiece dropped unexpectedly on corduroy laps from some blue-brown sky. It’s so aesthetically tight that even carbon dating insists that it could not be post-millennial.” Dungen (above, doing “Frank’s Kaktus” live in studio for KEXP FM) put out their seventh full-length, Allas Sak (stream it below) last fall. “Don’t let this album pass you by,” implored Drowned in Sound. “The instrumental and compositional mastery on show is staggering. Whether it will make a dent in the consciousness of those who don’t spend their time watching at the edges of the prog-rock firmament is another question entirely.” Dungen have inspired the likes of White Denim and Tame Impala, and the latter’s frontman, Kevin Parker, paid his respects to the psychedelic Swedish four-piece from the Celebrate Brooklyn stage on Tuesday night, calling them one of his all-time favorite bands. Find out why when they play The Bowery Ballroom tomorrow night.

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Tame Impala Thrillingly Dazzle in Prospect Park at Celebrate Brooklyn

June 15th, 2016

Tame Impala – Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell – June 14, 2016

-Tame Impala – Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell – June 14, 2016

(Photo: Gregg Greenwood)

Walking to Prospect Park last night, one couldn’t help but notice that, even in the heart of Brooklyn, the region is in the throes of full summer bloom, flowers of orange, purple and yellow painting the city in full color. The setting was perfect for the first of two-sold out shows for Tame Impala, whose show is a full-spectrum rainbow of colors and sounds. The evening opened with a deep prog-psych set from Sweden’s Dungen, which featured excellent extended instrumental jams that helped reorient the slowly growing audience from the long entry line to the upcoming immersive experience. Between sets, a Celebrate Brooklyn organizer made some announcements, including a promise that they’d “wait until it was darker” before the headlining set—an important detail.

Over the years, the Tame Impala’s visual show has evolved along with the band’s sound, from a single green oscilloscope CRT to full Technicolor mindfuck. Kevin Parker and his mates opened with the off-center, dreamy “Nangs,” which played more like an intro to the addictive and explosive “Let It Happen,” which blazed three-dimensionally across the park with zippy synthesizers accompanied by hyperactive flashes on the backdrop screen and an extraterrestrial rainbow of lights, everyone in the overjoyed crowd raising their arms in full party mode. Tame Impala have been touring in support of Currents almost constantly for a couple of years now, and they played its songs with a deep mathematical thrill, a new calculus of psychedelic disco. Each number brought new combinations of synth and guitar, mind trip and funk beats, pinks and blues, the low end of the bass seeming to swallow all of Park Slope at points in “Why Won’t They Talk to Me?”

Meanwhile, the visuals grew increasingly chaotic, almost overwhelmingly colorful—in snapshot, these moments were temptingly Instgrammable or Snapchat-worthy. Parker’s banter was limited and to the point: “Are you ready for this next song?” he asked before the band found their stoner-rock roots in “Elephant,” the crowd clearly, almost giddily ready. And then “Let’s keep the party going” for the following “The Less I Know the Better,” Parker singing, “Is this what you want?” while the visuals gave the impression that the audience was somehow inside a spinning disco ball while bass and drums brought a pulsing, thumping funk-down. The show built to its climactic, full-bloomed-flower end that included a euphoric sing-along on the set-highlight, “Eventually,” some more old school psych rock on “Alter Ego,” off 2010’s InnerSpeaker, and the explosive set-closing “Apocalypse Dreams,” which seemed to push the bouquet parts of the spectrum usually unseen by the human eye. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

(Dungen play The Bowery Ballroom on Friday night.)

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Dungen Bring Swedish Psychedelic Rock to Boot & Saddle

October 19th, 2015

Dungen – Boot & Saddle – October 16, 2015

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It’s an interesting thought experiment to consider whether Dungen would be as popular as Australian contemporaries Tame Impala if they sang in English. Both bands play a similar brand of classic rock–inspired psychedelia, but the difference is that Dungen sing in Swedish. That’s not insignificant. While Dungen sold out Boot & Saddle, in Philadelphia, last Friday night, there were only small pockets of cheers for familiar melodies. Otherwise, it was a different form of appreciation, something more internal and directed toward the music rather than the lyrics. As such, it was refreshing—different in a good way.

Confusingly though, all members of Dungen seem to speak English very well. At one point, frontman Gustav Ejstes mentioned that Philadelphia was the home of the “scratch” and asked if the audience knew the scratch. Someone in the crowd sarcastically responded, “Yeah, we’re American.” But the band’s sincerity was endearing. Before “Festival,” one of a few songs played from Dungen’s classic album, Ta Det Lugnt, Ejsetes dedicated it to “Melissa, who drove 10 hours for the show.” And for the last number, “Du e för Fin för Mig,” drummer Johan Holmegard led people to clap along, encouraging them by saying, “Feel the vibe” before the tune digressed into a wall-of-sound jam. That was the sweet spot for Dungen: beginning quiet and building to a climactic finish.

“Thank you for listening to Swedish music,” said Ejstes after “Du e för Fin för Mig.” For an American audience, not knowing Dungen’s lyrics is part of the band’s unique appeal. They play within a cross-cultural genre while preserving their own culture. This is either disorienting if you cling to the necessity of understanding the words in songs or refreshing if you free yourself from that constraint and absorb yourself in the music. Choosing the latter, it was a wholly satisfying experience. —Jared Levy | @Playtonic