Dahga Bloom - Dahga Bloom
A few weeks back my roommate Kyle invited me to go out to a psychedelic rock show over in Downtown LA. Kyle was actually supposed to work sound for it but the headlining act’s sound guy volunteered to run the PA for the whole event so Kyle lost the gig at the last second. However, since Kyle was still owed funds from a previous job he’d done for the same promoter we decided to go anyways so that Kyle could get paid and check out some bands we’d never heard of at the same time. The show was at this place called the Handbag Factory which is one of the cooler residences/art spaces/venues that I’ve been to since getting back to LA in 2007. It’s a two story building with a stage in it’s main entry area and a recording studio on the second floor. Inside they had a little bar set up that we had been given a shit load of drink tickets for. As we walked in a band was already playing so we made our way to the bar and got some beers and checked out the first act, Highlands, who were mediocre. There wasn’t anything particularly notable about them, they weren’t especially good but they certainly weren’t bad either. Towards the end of Highlands’ set, Kyle and I made our way to the second story of the building. There were lots of oil projections along the walls and some live art taking place which was really cool. There were also DJ’s spinning really lame music the whole night which was not so cool. Kyle and I made our way out to the roof which you had to climb through a window to get to. Once we got outside it was a clear night with a stellar view of the city. After about twenty minutes of hanging out on the roof we figured we should go back down and see if the second band had hit the stage yet. Unfortunately they had. Strangers Family Band was the second band of the evening and from the second they hit the stage it became obvious that they were counting more on their aesthetic appearance to win over the audience than any real attempt at song writing. Kyle and I hung out for only about ten minutes until the horrible music drove us back out to the roof where we enjoyed both more beers and the beautiful night. About a half hour later we made our way back down stairs again to see what was up next. Thankfully within minutes we were treated to one of the most mind blowing local bands I’ve seen in a while. Fullerton’s Dahga Bloom took the stage and immediately I knew that coming to the Handbag Factory that evening was a fantastic decision. The band proceded to play some of the most textural and interesting psychedelic rock I’ve heard recently from a contemporary act. Their music was rich, captivating, and fascinating with it’s layers and subtleties. Most of all, the band was authentic. They played so well that I wasn’t even bothered by the fake hippie in front of me whipping me in the face with his greasy hair as I watched the performance. Afterward, Kyle and I went to the front of the stage to compliment the band. I asked them if they had any records to sell and unfortunately the answer was no, but I made a note to look them up when I got home. After Dahga Bloom finished, Kyle and I stayed to check out the headliner, Sleepy Sun. About two songs in we realized that they were only slightly better than the Strangers Family Band and pulling the same type of rock star stage moves. Regardless, Dahga Bloom easily made the trip worth it and I was eager to get home and see if they had any releases.
About a week later I looked them up on my favorite record data base, Discogs, and found out that they had a full length record that they had self released and it was only ten bucks. I ordered a copy right before Christmas and received it just today. I had a brief conversation with one of the band members via e-mail when I placed my order as I expressed my enjoyment of seeing them at the Handbag Factory. He informed me their set that night was all new material which had yet to be recorded. The record I was getting featured a different lead singer and thus had a slightly discrepant style from what I’d heard at the show. That being said, this record is still incredible, especially when you take into account that it was done completely unsupported by any label. Contrary to what I was told I don’t really hear anything all that drastically variant, style wise, from what I heard at the show. The only thing I notice is that the vocals are more prominently featured on the record than when I saw them live, but that could have had more to do with the sound guy than the band. This record showcases fascinating guitar leads and riffs, wild effects and tones, and extremely driving rhythm grooves that easily show off the band’s strong points as song writers. A great example of these qualities is their tune “Bemsha Swing” which draws my attention towards its floating and drifting guitar lines over a powerhouse drum beat. I also notice some skilled tambourine and sleigh bell playing in the background through out the song.
The track after “Bemsha Swing”, “Golden Sky”, shows the band’s more dreamy, psychedelia-inspired side. The piece still builds around their hard charging rhythm section but the over all atmosphere the song creates is so thick it almost clouds the air around you. The sitar and hand drums are a nice added touch too, it really drives home where they are drawing from.
The last track I’ll ask you to check out is “Black Lung” which is definitely my favorite song on the record. I love two things about this particular song. First, the great bouncing rhythm combined with the a unique and grabbing guitar riff. Second, that the band just detonates with a chorus that likely blows the roof off of any building they perform in.
After listening to this album several times and thinking back to their live show I feel like I’ve gotten to glimpse a bit of Dahga Bloom’s evolution as a band. I say that because the songs that I saw them perform live were certainly a bit more spacey and enveloping than the songs on this album. However, if that’s how this band is growing then I really can’t wait to see them again. This is a band that is obviously just hitting their stride and will only continue to develop and improve as time goes on. I only hope that the next time I see them they’ll be on a line up that is more fitting of a band of their talents.
More information about Dahga Bloom including tour dates and booking info can be found on their Facebook page. Their record, which is on beautiful red marbled vinyl and features awesome artwork, can be purchased from their Big Cartel page. As it is self released, I’m not sure how many copies were pressed but I’d assume it’s a low number so grab it while you can. Be sure to check these fellas out when you get a chance, you will not be disappointed. Keep a watch out for a new full length out sometime this year. Can you dig it?