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Dreadnaught, USA


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First published on June 18, 2014 and brought forward with their new EP Gettin' Tight With Dreadnaught.

The band  is still active as of August, 2016,and promise a new album soon.

Dreadnaught - s/t. 1998 private (CD)
Dreadnaught - Une Vez Mas. 2000 Red Fez (CD)
Dreadnaught - The American Standard. 2001 Red Fez (CD); 2006 MALS (Russia CD)
Dreadnaught - Musica en Flagrante. 2004 Big Balloon (CD); 2004 Quixote (Germany CD); 2006 MALS (Russia CD)
Dreadnaught - Live at Mojo. 2005 Comet (Italy 2CD)
Dreadnaught - Have a Drink With Dreadnaught (EP). 2013 Red Fez (CD)
Dreadnaught - Gettin' Tight With Dreadnaught (EP). 2015 Red Fez (CD)

I recently heard from Dreadnaught drummer Rick Habib, and he was kind enough to send me two titles. Like with Woodenhead, Dreadnaught were one of many bands that slipped past me real time. I do recall reading reviews of the band back then, but just didn't have the opportunity to hear their material, given other priorities at the time. As stated before, that's reason enough to have a blog like Under the Radar. It keeps me focused on discovering artifacts from the past.

The band describes themselves as thus: "Over the course of over 17 years, half a dozen albums, and more metric shifts than you can shake a stick at, the ever-evolving DREADNAUGHT has carved out a musical niche unlike any other. This is because, very simply, we're totally and utterly deranged."

LOL. Well, it's probably not far from the truth - at least from a musical perspective.

----The American Standard 

If there's one persistent theme among the albums I've heard by Dreadnaught, it's that they have a strain of Americana in them. The type of Appalachia based music one might find in Central Pennsylvania or West Virginia*. I hear elements of a contemporary fusion band such as Boud Deun, as well as historical early 70s groups from the region like Bucknell University's own Fred. On The American Standard, there's also a distinct modern Crimson influence, with its angular melodies, and dark textures.  The tag one reviewer applied to Dreadnaught - "King Crimson at a Hoedown" - is most apt for this album. A very interesting direction to take for a band from New Hampshire.

----Have a Drink With Dreadnaught

After 8 years of non recorded activity, Dreadnaught come back with a new EP, that shows no signs of cobwebs. For Have a Drink With Dreadnaught the group has shed the colder Crimson tones, and have added a good dose of West Coast psychedelia. This music comes across more natural to their Americana tendencies. The melodies are more thought out, and the jams flow more freely. The Grateful Dead, or perhaps even Phish, no doubt should be part of the conversation when discussing this album. I also appreciate the retro early 60s album title.

Like their idols Frank Zappa, Dreadnaught have worked hard to avoid categorization. As such, it will be difficult for a potential fan to enjoy everything the band releases - though no one should question the musicianship, hard work, and quality of the material therein.

* - I've read a few reviews where they refer to this as "Southern". That's a different concept altogether, and far more common to hear. The American roots music that Dreadnaught have focused on is a different strain, and rarely heard in progressive rock.

----Gettin' Tight With Dreadnaught

We're back with  Dreadnaught's second EP in 3 years, both of which I understand are leading up to their next full length Hard Chargin'.

With CD in hand, I see they have maintained the early 60s retro jazz theme in regards to the cover and album title, a nice little detail that I appreciate anyway. The always deprecating and humorous Dreadnaught tells us "...we're 19 years in and think we're making the best music of our career. Of course, we could be completely off base about that". LOL. And in their bio section we get this gem "Two-thirds of the band definitely have Italian blood". I love irreverence.

Jokes aside, Dreadnaught means business once the tape starts rolling. Blasting out of the gates with Nervous Little Dogs, Dreadnaught come out fighting with fuzz bass, heavy guitar, and roaring rhythms. I haven't heard this kind of fury since the glory days of Nucleus era Anekdoten. The Badger opens in faux disco mode, and shifts gears quickly to a Canterbury like sound. A type of music that fits Dreadnaught like hand in glove, and a sound I would like to hear the band explore further. Knife Hits is a nice bit of instrumental post rock, with some Kong-like heaviness mixed in. Barefoot Kicker is the closest thing to what one could call prototypical Dreadnaught (is that even possible?), with a hint of Americana, rural rock, and complex progressive rock. Excellent use of keyboards and violin on this one too! The odd track out is This Time Next Year which brought to mind The Steve Miller Band, but does fit their oeuvre quite well actually.

Count me in as someone looking forward to the new Hard Chargin' album!

Last update: August 20, 2016

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