Hogz in Dandyland is the moniker that multi-instrumentalist Brad Hogge goes by with his intriguing mix of dreamy ’80s acoustic pop and psychedelic ’60s folk. The debut album 'Across a Miracle' is an eclectic mix of keyboards, diverse layered acoustic and electric guitars, and all manner of other country fried instrumentation from banjo to harmonica! Hogge (aided by Miguel Urbitztondo on drums) weaves almost ethereal layers of relaxed guitars and smooth country vocals which work to good effect. Psychedelic is an understatement for this beautifully constructed album that oozes neon melodies and originality. A skillfully played instrumental concept album with mystery-spun fantasy texts of the lonely pig Freddy and his intended bride, Betty, in an extraterrestrial world!
The spirit of Syd Barrett floats in each case over the entire project. There are also bits of Jesus & Mary Chain, Elliot Smith, and Robyn Hitchcock (and, on “Whatever It May Be,” The Byrds), while Hogge’s pleasing, delicate voice sometimes recalls Bob Dylan. His lyrics read like the ponderings of a love struck poet, although the album’s “concept” is evidently about a lonely hog named Freddy finding happiness and fulfillment. On floating, mesmerizing songs such as “Depths of Emotional Intrusion” and the nine-minute title track, chances are you will too.
Hogge’s style is never defined by influences, with broad-based pieces that uncover many opposing contrasts. Acoustic minimalism and wide screen opulence, loud and quiet, pop and idiosyncratic experiments - these are just some of the contrasts exhibited on 'Across a Miracle'.
“It can be mind-numbing at times to follow traditional songwriting guidelines,” Hogge says. “Instead, I try to embark on creating something interesting and challenging for listeners. But I’m also torn when I’m reminded of the importance of simplicity…that’s when I place the material in the hands of mixing engineers to sort through my ideas and assemble the audio puzzle!”
Since the album's release, Hogge has produced videos for some of the songs on the record including the debut video for “Escher & Carrot Cake”, “Whatever It May Be” and soon to be released “Depths of Emotional Intrusion.” Hogge is also focusing on bringing some of his artwork to the stage as well, primarily utilizing line art as seen in the album artwork. Hogge announced in early 2011 his plans for publishing his recent work and the possibility of transferring his work to the printing press in the not too distant future.
Meanwhile, Hogz in Dandyland II will evolve as Hogge plans for the sophomore album. He will likely pair up again with Urbitztondo (Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven, Sparklehorse, Daniel Johnston) on drums at Richmond’s Sound of Music Studios. The expectant 2012 release, currently titled 'Dr. Grimm’s Parade', is likely to be followed by a national tour. "It will be great to work with Miguel once again for the second album…and I’d love to get Hogz in Dandyland on the road," says Hogge.
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