A River of Trees
The Dragon Egg E.P.
When I was in high school in the mid-90s, it had been decades since terms like “punk” or “hippie” had applied to an actual cultural movement, yet they lived on as cultural signifiers for kids in search of an identity, finding solace in their scuffed Doc Martens or patchouli-scented Phish merch. In the ensuing decades, it seems those (mostly fashion-based) identities have dissolved. Consider the new EP from Gardiner duo A River of Trees. Dragon Egg pairs the sludgy, moth-eaten-cardigan vibes of lo-fi proto-grunge with the long running times and circular song structures of a jam band, alchemizing basement-show punk screams with a patient, meditative energy. Guitarist and vocalist Luke Martin crafted this sound while recording rough demo tapes in high school and jamming with the psychedelic collective Endless Love Universe. Drummer Trevor Warren joined Martin last year, and A River of Trees grew to continue its quest for nirvana by way of Nirvana. “Alone in the dark now / Waiting for you to come out / And say you’re okay,” Martin belts on the 10-minute opener, “Rotting Roots,” a murky alt-rock ballad that leans on two guitar chords for most of the song, wrenching every quanta of spiritual energy from them along the way.