Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
It's confirmed that the contributing writer for Forbes Magazine, which just published a list of the best free albums of 2011, has the kind of strange taste in music that we can all respect. We'd never think to see it coming from Forbes Magazine, but damn if it isn't there in black and white, or glowing light. There's Frank Ocean, but that's on everyone's list this year. Then there's The Weeknd, which is bad ass, but pretty widely heard and not all that surprising of a selection. But then you start seeing things like Death Grips and Danny Brown and Mamaleek on there and you start a-wonderin' who this guy is. We immediately like him and wonder if he'll come visit us from Chicago sometime, cause we read that that's where he's from. Hell, he probably loves the same beers that we love. He's that kind of a guy. Further more, he gives the nod to a band from the city where he resides - The Dogs - who are the king of band that you tend to hear proximity rumblings about for a while before many outside of the close-knit regional circle start taking notice. It's the kind of music that comes out in whatever way it's gonna come out.
The Dogs seem to follow few patterns, but the one that allows you to navigate based on your inner gauges. Their songs are based off of undetermined love, or under-cooked love, whichever the case may be. It can come out as it does on "July 4th," all demure and willing. It's a pop song filled with moonlight and gentle prodding. It's a convincing take on what's probably going to turn out to be a relatively durable relationship, should it ever get off the ground. It's one person telling the other, "If I'm alright, then you're okay." There have been stronger votes of confidence in personal stability and the definition of another's, but for this night, it will have to do and it's rather fetching if the two people in question have never actually experienced the feeling of great.
Lead singer, Peter Walters, sings in an almost British quiver on the song and he lays out the come-on - it being a tempting and tantalizing version, where the heat's getting to everything, where eggs are frying on the sidewalks and passions are reaching extreme levels. He never loses his cool, even as he sings, "We've paid for this in boiled blood/We've shed our skin," acknowledging later that nothing seems to be working. There's no panic. That comes later, when there's self-destruction being watched, when there's more to all of this. As we move along, even the possibility of love is fraught with friction and conflict. Things get testy and there's no telling where the emotions are going to be taken. There's a desperate drive to see someone and there's another song about being young and just wanting. It feels like the wild rapids as people are watched to suffer. It's the expected and the unexpected that rally to force something to fall. Walters sings, "I didn't see it comin' but it's sitting on me now," on the dysfunctional, slobbery kiss of "Dance More," and it makes us feel that we haven't outlived all of the things we've thought for so long that we've outlived. They are still right here, able to make us step on the accelerator harder than we had planned and able to make us think about girls we hadn't thought about since we were both 15-years old.