If you pay any attention at all to the local music scene, you’ve probably seen the name Dehd (formerly known as Dream Eagle Heavy Dreams) pop up more and more and more over the past year. The trio is made up of guitarist Jason Balla (who also plays in NE-HI and Earring), Emily Kempf on bass (Supermagical, Cool Girl Show, Heavy Dreams, a thousand other projects), and drummer Eric McGrady. They’ve opened up for Frankie Cosmos, Sonny and the Sunsets, Hinds, and played at West Fest, not to mention countless club and DIY shows.
This Friday, they celebrate the release of their first album at the Empty Bottle. Well, the release of their first physical vinyl waxed grooves. The LP consists of two previously released cassettes, their self-titled debut (released last year) on Side A and Fire of Love on Side B which was released earlier this year by the Nashville-based Infinity Cat (Jeff the Brotherhood, Diarrhea Planet, Colleen Green, etc.). But this LP is homegrown, a split release put out by Maximum Pelt and Shuga Records.
Even on first listen, you might get the feeling that you’ve heard something similar before and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Dehd’s sound isn’t reinventing the wheel, but the interweaving vocals of Jason and Emily have a chemistry that will scratch your lo-fi garage-pop itch. The surfy-twang guitar of “Tune Out” is perfect for that first patio hang in the spring. Even the heartbroken “Sunburn” that begins the record with a chorus of “Your love was like a sunburn / Warm at first but now it hurts” will be stuck in your head until the city thaws. Then again maybe it’s the perfect sound to fight off these ever-shortening days.
Despite being released less than a year apart, Fire of Love shows a bit of growth over the first EP. Even at only six songs, the B-side sounds more dynamic. “Fire of Love” begins the record gloomier than anything on the first side and “Heaven” grows more layered and increasingly urgent. “Everyone Knows” relies almost entirely on Jason, his voice and guitar, before the rest of the band joins in. And that Velvet Underground influence really shines out on the appropriately titled album closer “End.” There’s more noise, there’s more feedback, there’s more reverb on the…well, pretty much everything. All of it points to a young band headed in the right direction.
Dehd play Friday December 15 at the Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western Ave.) at 9pm, 21+, $8; Glyders and Deeper open. If internet buzz is any indicator, tickets are going fast. LP is limited to 500 copies of colored wax; buy it here!