In Rounds, the latest album from Chicago-based Campdogzz, is centered around driving rhythms, insistent dual guitars set in intriguing arrangements, and the haunting, evocative voice of Tulsa, OK-native Jess Price. Her melodies take on the shape of a storm making its way in -- and out just as soon. There’s a feeling of electricity, of winds shifting, a magical mix of both comfort and unease.
The album was written partially in Chicago but mostly throughout the Southwest as Price and guitarist/vocalist Mike Russell traveled post-tour. Engulfed by desert, this starkness -- like the mercurial storms of Price’s native Oklahoma -- couldn’t help but seep into the songs. It was a period of collective change for the band as relationships began and ended, people moved and planted new roots. Everyone experienced some sort of massive life shift and the album serves as a reflection of that period, of growth and patience.
Price, who moved to Chicago to become a filmmaker, has spent her life writing songs. She never considered pursuing music, however, until her introduction to Russell and Nick Enderle (guitar, synth) while filming a documentary on their previous band, Suns. While Price is the main songwriter, Russell has been equally integral to the band from the start, shaping the sound and contributing a song completely of his own on each album.
Campdogzz’s self-released 2015 debut album, Riders in the Hills of Dying Heaven, was the brainchild of solely the pair and came together quickly, but In Rounds represents a shift in their creative process. The new album is a more collaborative and intentional effort, written over a couple of years and recorded in 2017 in Chicago. Like its predecessor, In Rounds is self-produced, but this time with production assistance from engineer Nick Papaleo.
Campdogzz are: Jess Price (vocals, guitar, organ), Mike Russell (guitar, backing vocals), Nick Enderle (guitar, synth), Andrew Rolfsen (bass), and Chris Dye (drums). Drums on In Rounds were played by Matt Evert.