This story is over 5 years old.

The Dan Ryan Channel The Grateful Dead and Search for Some “Guidance”

The title track from the Austin-based psych-rock group is a tribute to protests with a Jerry Garcia edge.
Photo: Andy Byers

The aptly-titled Cosmic Dreamer—a label founded by visual artists in Venice, CA—has quietly been putting out some brilliant records lately. The standout this year has been Shane Renfro's debut full-length as RF Shannon, Jaguar Palace, a softly psychedelic guitar record built around echoes and reverberations, written to be played out in the middle of the desert on a heavy trip. In July, they'll release another Renfro-adjacent project with The Dan Ryan's second LP, Guidance, featuring the full RF Shannon band as backing.


The Austin-based project, led by Chicagoan artist Nathan Dixey, drifts into the same other-worldly territory that Jaguar Palace explored. But Dixey is more explicitly a Deadhead. That's clear on the title track, premiering on Noisey today. There's plenty of Garcia in Dixey's careful, clear delivery, the guitars sprout up in the background, and it's all propped up by a persistent bassline and some steady background mantra-chanting.

Though the track has a laconic, cosmic foundation, however, it's a protest track in its way—or at least a tribute to protest songs. "I can hear the anthems / Singing in the distance / Do you want to see them? / The texture of resistance / The anger in the voices," Dixey sings. In an email to Noisey, he placed those lyrics more firmly in context:

"'Guidance' is a song for trying times. It was inspired by the events in Ferguson, MO and feels even more palpable today. Resistance is as terrifying as it is beautiful. My hope is we can all keep our flame burning through the dark."

Listen to the track below. Guidance is out July 14 on Cosmic Dreamer and you can pre-order it right here.

Follow Alex Robert Ross on Twitter.