Doghouse Reilly– a musical figure as mysterious (but likely less creepy) as the above image, is a New York-based studio project created by childhood friends Gary O’ Keefe and Nick Lipinski.
Their particular brand of laid back psychedelia is melodic and airy, and radiates vintage warmth and a sense of sonic wonder. They deem it, “good for melting into your couch or cruising the interstate at dusk”. And after giving them a listen, I’d be hard-pressed not to agree.
The cheerful yet nightmare-inducing image above happens to be the album cover of Doghouse Reilly’s debut record, Try Me Warm.
Released on October 9th, (John Lennon’s 80th birthday) via Birdwire Music, Try Me Warm indeed produces mellow and meditative rhythmic sounds for all kinds of music fans, and maintains whimsical indie grooves with killer tones that can transcend. It’s perfect to counteract both the approaching winter and the dismal state of the world. It brings hope, positivity, and relatability.
So let’s strap on our goggles, our flippers, and dive into the balmy waters that is Try Me Warm.
Broad Moonlight- Despite being from the soon-to-be frigid concrete jungle of New York, Doghouse takes the listener to somewhere where the trade winds blow and the Mai Tais flow. Right away, “Broad Moonlight” offers a delightful and playful sound with a breezy acoustic riff and an reverberating chord-strum backing. “Would you sell your happiness to me/I’ll give you something everyone can see/Cause if you know what you’re looking for/You can get it fast/And I know what I want baby/I just ain’t got the cash.” You get the feeling you’re in for a whimsical, sonic escape with this opening track.
Tall Window- The meditative and easy listening riffs continue with this sophomore track. It’s an icy, spine-tingling riff that I swear I’d heard before. The Deja Vu comes rushing in on this track for some reason. And with weather on the mind, I can’t tell if this is best suited for an island or a New York blizzard. That’s the beauty of music. It can be interpreted to fit the weather, a landscape, a drink, and everything in between. Either way, “Tall Window,” like the previous track, is much like a welcomed audible sedative.
Forsake Your Love- This track offers more of a laid-back groove, yet very much so fits into the mold of the first two tracks. The mellow indie songwriter-rock definitely emerges in this track, and while they stated their music is well-suited for “interstate drives at dusk,” I can see listening to this one on a morning subway commute to work. It’s a good one to fantasize about spending the weekend, and perhaps eternity, with your sweetheart.
I Don’t Wanna Make It- Big Mac DeMarco feel on this one- but really, you can get some inklings of his style in the first batch of songs. This one really exudes a Mac feel though, and I’m definitely here for it. Again, we get a mellow stoner indie-rock groove, and the dissonant, harmonious vocals are most welcomed. It’s just so damn easy and pleasant to the ears, and makes you want to hum and sing along. And the electric guitar tone in this one is simply badass. No wonder this one was a single.
All My Friends (Are Getting Older)- Now we get into a more acoustic-jangle jam song with this one. Some Dylan vibes start to creep into my brain, and as we’re halfway through the album, I am damn smitten. Based on the title alone, this one emulates sentimentality and nostalgia, and we’re pleasantly forced to face the reality that youth is fleeting.
Through the Door or Out the Window- Man, the tones of the instruments continue to impress. These dudes know what the hell they’re doing. Again with a mellow indie groove, this 86-second jam led by percussion hits with a wailing yet restrained guitar, and twinkling piano that hits beneath the skin. It’s an instrumental, yet it brings so much hope and inspiration. It’s bright, it’s bubbly, and quite frankly I wish it was longer.
I Know (What You’ll Say)- The breezy indie theme remains, and the surf-style guitar twang is ever-present. This is another one that can get you thinking about your sweetheart. The delightful harmonies continue, and you’ll be enjoying this album so much you’ll forget how far along you are.
Standard Waves- Just take me to the beach already. For God’s sake. I will go buy a hammock right now and new sunglasses. I will also debate if sunscreen is really necessary. The harmonic rhythm of this one almost gives off a Pacific Islander or Far East sound at times, but otherwise another tried and true mellow, indie surf-rock jam.
Summer Solstice- With winter waiting at the gates like a frigid beast with razor sharp icicles for teeth, this one provokes yearning and longing. Again, the power of music can take you anywhere. It’s up to the direction and vision of the artist, and “Summer Solstice” again delivers a feeling of warmth and familiarity.
Try Me Warm- Finally we reach the title track- and just in the nick of time. A soft, acoustic track to start, picks up and delivers that familiar and desired indie groove to close things out. It brings about reflection and honesty. “I’ve been sleeping with my indecision/And I’ve been falling through my television/And I don’t want to be the one to give you doubt.” There are no doubts this album can, and will, connect with its listeners.
Final Thoughts: Doghouse Reilly’s debut album Try Me Warm has Mac DeMarco fans written all over it. So many similar tones and sounds, but it does not act as an imposter. It comes off genuine and original, and it doesn’t try too hard. It flows, it glows, and it can take you to a place far away from the bullshit. Isn’t that what music is supposed to do?