Gold Rushin’ will come out digitally on Tuesday, June 2, and on vinyl on Saturday, June 6, at a party with Fort Worth-based Devo lovers Blank-Men at The Boiled Owl Tavern, on the Near Southside.

Year of the Bear has been around for a while but has finally arrived. Gosh, the trio of Josh “Bear” Browning (vocals, bass) and the husband-and-wife team of Jennifer Rux (guitar, Theremin, vocals) and Robby Rux (vocals, drums) has got this psychedelic-rock thing down. And I’m not talking about Phish/Widespread/let’s-do-a-bunch-of-drugs-and-solo-forever psych-rock. I mean the genre in its purest, most original form.

I mean The Velvet Underground. But, y’know, with musicians who know how to sing OK. And play their instruments pretty well. And not do heroin.

Though having formed years ago –– 2012? 2011? 2010?! –– Browning’s project is about to release its debut album. Gold Rushin’ will come out digitally on Tuesday, June 2, and on vinyl on Saturday, June 6, at a party with Fort Worth-based Devo lovers Blank-Men at The Boiled Owl Tavern, on the Near Southside.

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“It takes time to make an analog record, and we have been really busy,” Robby said. “We are not one of those bands that records an album in a day.”

Robby said lots of experimentation –– sonic, not synthetic –– was involved. “We tried different recording techniques, tape machines, microphones. Some songs were recorded two or three times before we found the right tone, key, speed, melody, or mood.”

With all due respect to the frat bros who get wasted off Daddy’s black Am-Ex card and tool around in M6 Beamers, what Phish and Widespread –– and, way earlier, the Grateful Dead –– were doing was a close subgenre of psychedelic rock, the kind defined by guitar/drum/keys solos that go on for-fucking-ever. There’s more to the style than that. There’s using crazy studio effects and singing about surreal shit and rocking Mellotrons, wah-wah pedals, and Theremins and shifting tempos mid-song and shooting up junk (just kidding), everything that’s manifest neatly in Gold Rushin’. “Room of Strangers” may be the album’s best, most emblematic tune. A chiming bass riff (that’s sort of reminiscent of the one on Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy”) leads to a popping snare. From the subsequent maelstrom of echoing clang and stomp, Browning’s voice sounds as if it’s coming from a payphone in hell. The breakdown consists of a skittering, semi-hip-hoppish beat and more kerrang-ing guitar. The poppiest tunes are “Centra-Magic,” which may or may not be about Centro-matic, and “Super 8,” a driving chunk of bubblegum spiked with H that has a sort of super-sonic/Billy Corgan guitar tone, affectless group vocals, and a Ramones-on-downers chorus.

Of all of the albums recorded at and put out by Dreamy Soundz, the studio/record label founded by the Ruxes a few years ago, Gold Rushin’ could be the most quintessentially Dreamy Soundz-ian. Which is saying a lot, considering the Near Southside enterprise has put out The Cush’s Transcendental Heat Wave, The Fibs’ Hex, Hex, Hex, and Slumberbuzz’ self-titled debut. Gold Rushin’ was produced by Jennifer, the house sensei, and mastered by T.W.Walsh (Sufjan Stevens, The Shins, Cold War Kids). Andy Pickett contributed some piano work and Austin Kroll some trombone, shakers, and tambourine.

“We feel it turned out pretty well and are anxious to release it,” Robby said. “We hope to get our music to as many people as possible. We hope people have a meaningful psychedelic listening experience when they hear Gold Rushin’.”

Year of the Bear’s next show is Wednesday, May 6, with Spindrift and one of my all-time favorite North Texas bands –– that’s also reasserting its dominance –– Stumptone, at Lola’s Saloon.


R.I.P. “Killin’ It”

The next time you go to say or post, “This band is killin’ it!” just remember that not only is that phrase so old and trite that teenagers have stopped saying it (I’ve checked; it’s true), but a version of “killin’ it” is the title of an apparently popular Brad Paisley song from 2014. Brad Paisley. Twenty-Fourteen. Let that marinate. Here’s a sample of some Shakespearean delights from “Crushin’ It”: “Every week has a weekend / By this time Friday night / I’ll be done with my third can of cold Bud Light / And I’ll be crushin’ it / Yeah, I’ll be crushin’ it.”

Now it is at this point when you say, “This is great, HearSay, but maybe you should remember Brad Paisley and this song the next time you go to take a pull from your favorite beer.”

To which I will say, “Touché, motherhuncher. Touché.”


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