Flashbulb Flashback: The Bottled Magic of Dreamy Soundz // (7.11.12)

photo by Rachel Watts

photo by Rachel Watts

{Updates: http://www.dreamyliferecords.com/ , http://dreamysoundz.bandcamp.com/}

There was a period in our aural history when technology and art danced; opinions vary as they always do. Most would agree that the 60s represent a hey day for audio engineering, some see that era stretching into the 70s, then there are purists who think this era goes no further than 1967. What they are inspired by is sound and the nob-twiddling creativity that knows with painterly wisdom how everything fits together. They keep their ears in contact with that era by means of gear: guitars and microphones with tones that can’t quite be synthesized.

Jennifer and Robby Rux are those sort of folks, and it takes no time to realize this amidst the Vinyl Night over at Avoca Coffee. Whether comparing notes on Brazilian Psych-champs Os Mutates or our favorite Jimmy Smith artwork, these two are immensely fun in conversation. And given the workload their Fairmount studio has shouldered, I was lucky they had time for coffee at all.

https://fungigirls.bandcamp.com/

Their musical endeavors span a litany. Scratching his head to tally them, Robby leads off with the most recent, “Last week we recorded The Half Truths. One day, nine songs.” One local outfit they have worked with the most is Fungi Girls, working on their second album currently. Jen looks up with a grin, “This new one’s got teeth.” Midway through the recording process the two look eager to present the trio’s new edge.

Down the line they list future projects: A Skeleton Coast EP, a full length from Jake Paleschic’s band Patriot. There’s talk of a Mailman LP as well as some work with Lo-Life Records. You can see it blur through their minds as they list things off the top of their collective heads. Jen mentions potential collaboration with Madras’ Jeevan Antony. And just last week they were recording a bonus track for The Longshots Kicker EP, this is when they promise to play me the Longshots/Patriot split when we visit their place. Rux adds, “This community is amazing, everyone helps each other out. It isn’t competitive in a bad way. Everybody pushes each other.”

Before heading to HQ, we continue running through the roster of Dreamy Soundz projects. Turning to their own groups, we discuss Year of the Bear, a band that heralded the return of their old friend Josh “Bear” Browning, brilliant bass player from Lift to Experience. The band uses all the sonic oomph to generate layers of art rock brilliance, a trenchant combination of psych styles. These songs have the finish of another era, but the currents are fresh and reward the listener for their engagement. Though they’ve been in dozens of bands over the years, this is the first one that sees them writing songs; Robby Rux describes it as, “Outside of our shell, this is like our own band for once.”

They’ve got a folkier act that jams called Solo Sol who recently played Arts Goggle. Then there’s Bitch Bricks, the “chick punk” trio of whom Robbie warns, “They’re kind of scary.” Of course, he follows this by admitting he’s a sucker for girl groups, yet another point we agree on. Music is so clearly the centerpiece of the Ruxs’ life, their experiences have carried them from one style to the next with that love of good sound growing. Robby Rux has been in shoegazer bands and once sat in on the drums behind Willie Nelson; Clifton James (Bo Diddley) and Mo Tucker (Velvet Underground) have been his major inspirations. Husband and wife fit their styles together on record and in person. Jennifer Rux was awakened to engineering in the 90s and spent many years teaching 8th graders how to mic kick drums and select pre-amps.

Though they could not say when or if the Patriot / Longshots split would be available for release, they were willing to play it for me. Robby describes Jake Paleschic’s Angel the Elephant as, “a Nashville ghost song,” adding, “Jake learned to play slide thirty minutes before recording it.” The playing is subtle and almost elegiacal in tone, allowing a warm depth to soak in. They smile when they talk about the moment on My Sweet Lime when folky Joey Gorman transformed into the rocker they knew he could be, “We just cranked it and they jammed.” At the end of the tune, Alex Zobel can be heard asking, “Was that too heavy?”

There’s a twinge of destiny as we stand and listen to the product of Dreamy Soundz, which I first heard about interviewing Joey a couple of months earlier. All the tracks have a timeless sound; the further into the record I climb, the less cognizant of the room I become. When I finally notice Robby and Jen are talking to me, I must climb from the speaker and back into my head. By the time I am returned, I hear Jen say, “I can’t record stuff I don’t like.” All I can do is nod, there’s nothing not to like about what’s going on with these folks.

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