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Rock - Released March 13, 2020 | Mexican Summer

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Rock - Released March 16, 2018 | Mexican Summer

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Pop - Released October 4, 2005 | Parlophone Sweden

Stadsvandringar is the second album from Dungen but the third to hit U.S. shores. Ta Det Lugnt was so inspired and effortless that the earlier efforts are bound to suffer a bit in comparison, but what really becomes evident is the musical growth and progression of Gustav Ejstes that ultimately led to Ta Det Lugnt. The first album caused a such a stir when it hit that Dungen ended up signing with the Swedish arm of Virgin, who somehow found a way to get a track placed on the Scandinavian version of the Jungle Book 2 soundtrack (!). Stadsvandringar is the album that resulted from the Virgin association, and musically, it fits right between the first and third albums. Dungen was a loose and meandering affair peppered with moments of brilliance. For Stadsvandringar, not only are the song structures tightened up, but rather than playing most of the instruments himself (as he did on the other albums), Ejstes has a full band with him. Oddly enough, the spark you would think a band would provide over solo overdubbing seems to be largely missing. Perhaps it was pressure from the label, perhaps it was going from recording in the basement to a real studio, but Stadsvandringar somehow feels more studied than either of the other albums. Since the deal with Virgin ended with this album because "this arrangement didn't feel either right or real," you can assume that label pressures or expectations played a role. And this isn't a bad album at all. It's more focused than Dungen and there are some great tracks, but it never reaches the sheer exuberance that Ta Det Lugnt maintains throughout. "Andra Sidan Sjön" harkens back to the first album, with its sitar and acoustic bass while "Solen Stiger Upp, Del 1 & Del 2" has a great trippy backdrop before it heads into a flute/organ workout. "Fest" has some serious guitar crunch, but overall, Stadsvandringar fails to hit as hard as Ta Det Lugnt. It's clearly a transitional album that catches Ejstes in the learning curve that led to the almost universal acclaim of Ta Det Lugnt. It's good, but not quite there yet. © Sean Westergaard /TiVo
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Rock - Released May 14, 2007 | KEMADO RECORDS INC

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Rock - Released September 14, 2010 | Mexican Summer

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4

Rock - Released February 24, 2010 | KEMADO RECORDS INC

While Tio Bitar saw Gustav Ejstes relinquishing some of Dungen's instrumental duties to other musicians, specifically guitarist Reine Fiske, 4 is the closest he's come to employing a full-time band. The frontman confines himself to the piano and microphone this time around, only taking occasional stabs at flute and violin, while bassist Mattias Gustavsson and drummer Johan Holmegard join Fiske in creating Dungen's sonic sprawl. As before, the band brews up a mix of psychedelic rock, free jazz, and other vintage genres associated with mind expansion and counterculture ideals. The folk influence that peppered earlier releases isn't as prominent here, though, with a new emphasis on piano taking its place. That instrument lends softer textures to several songs, especially when combined with washes of woodwinds and strings. "Marleras Finest," in particular, mixes piano-fueled jazz with vintage elevator music, sounding like something that would've piped through the speakers of a 1960s dentist's office after a laughing gas leak. Elsewhere, the bandmates turn their amplifier knobs to the breaking point while pummeling through a series of improvised psych-rock freak-outs. "Samtidigt 1" is a freewheeling guitar showcase taken from a jam session -- it fades in and fades out, seemingly stretching on for hours on either side of the snippet -- and "Samtidigt 2" reprises the same approach several songs later. Holmegard fills his percussion with Mitch Mitchell-styled fills, and Fiske fills every inch of space with slashes and stabs of crunchy, distorted guitar, earning his keep as the band's second-in-command. There are well-crafted songs here, too: "Mina Damer Och Fasaner" begins like a Brill Building ballad before settling into a bassy groove, and "Det Tar Tid" showcase Ejstes' talent for stacked vocal harmonies. In short, 4 offers a cross-section of the band's catalog, mixing the structure-based songs of Tio Bitar with the instrumental workouts of albums like Ta Det Lugnt. Ejstes' fiddle playing is missed, but that's a minor complaint from an otherwise solid effort. ~ Andrew Leahey
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Rock - Released March 13, 2020 | Mexican Summer

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Rock - Released September 25, 2015 | Mexican Summer

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Rock - Released January 9, 2017 | Mexican Summer

This far into Dungen's long run of making brilliant psychedelic music that relies as much on the soaring atmosphere they create as it does on their melodically entrancing songs, it's surprising that they never did any soundtrack work. The release of Häxan changes that. Sometime between the release of 2010's Skit I Allt and 2015's Allas Sak, the Swedish quartet was asked to provide a score for the 1926 animated film The Adventures of Prince Achmed. The band and producer Mathias Glavå worked meticulously in analog, doing everything by hand to capture the loose and improvisatory sessions. The resulting music was made both to track with the film and stand on its own as a collage of vibrant sound and shifting emotions. Dungen call on all the musical styles they've done in the past, from sweeping guitar rock to jazz that ranges from free to pretty straight-ahead, from late-night psychedelic jams to pastoral meanderings and lots of guitar exploration. Mixed in among the stylistic variants are shimmering organs, melancholy Mellotrons, abstract flutes, drums that range from pounding like thunder to drifting like clouds, and the occasional straight-ahead melody that sounds like it could have been taken from one of their poppier albums. Dungen flow between moods and atmospheres like sonic wizards, conjuring up darkness, light, and everything in between. They prove to be naturals at soundtracks, creating something here that works like they said it would. While no doubt the score would work in perfect tandem with the film, it stands alone as a sterling example of the band's mastery of psychedelic music. ~ Tim Sendra
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 25, 2017 | Smalltown Supersound

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Rock - Released February 28, 2018 | Mexican Summer

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Rock - Released June 24, 2016 | Mexican Summer

Experimental - Released August 25, 2017 | Smalltown Supersound

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 30, 2018 | Mexican Summer

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 22, 2019 | Mexican Summer

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Rock - Released January 21, 2020 | Mexican Summer

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 28, 2018 | Mexican Summer

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 12, 2017 | Smalltown Supersound

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Rock - Released January 30, 2018 | Mexican Summer

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Rock - Released January 21, 2020 | Mexican Summer

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