Where to begin? This is directed by Dog Day’s Seth Smith, which probably explains the otherworldliness.
It’s not far off from an episode of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: the line between normal and wacko is little more than a door frame. On the kooky side here, our temperamental artist has arranged an extravagant scene; let’s hope the finished painting is worth the effort.
“I’m Bad” comes from the latest Nap Eyes record, I’m Bad Now.
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve strolled through the woods and happened upon an emo double of myself…
“Oh Dead Life” is from Dog Day’s 2007 disc, Night Group. Great stuff since, but this is still their best song.
Kittens, emus, dogs, pigs, goats… It isn’t a farm; it’s Dog Day’s U.S. tour, complete with what the band refers to as “critter hangs.”
“Part Girl”—from this year’s Deformer—is a Seth Smith love song, if there ever was one, and also Dog Day’s current unofficial theme song. It was one of the first tunes Smith wrote after Dog Day retreated from a four-piece into a duo—his way of saying, “We’ll be fine, just the two of us.”
Sludge rock to melt your heart.
Deformer inhabits a specific time and place in the lives of its creators. “The art is now just the life,” is how Dog Day put it in press releases.
So the rest of us are left to peer at this from afar. It’s not unlike looking through the muffled tunnel vision that welcomes visitors to the Malkovich portal in Being John Malkovich.
While there may be no way to truly be present with Deformer, it isn’t so far removed that it can’t be admired from a distance. That admiration won’t come quickly, of course; Nancy Urich and Seth Smith aren’t in the business of making instantly-agreeable albums, and Deformer’s rough-around-the-edges exterior advances that trend. Murk like this isn’t a widespread commodity.
There’s a lot to be excavated from under the surface, though—as idiosyncratic as it may be—and the bits that unearth most easily share much in common with Chad VanGaalen’s Diaper Island and Sebadoh’s more eccentric offerings. There’s some Quasi in this, too. Aside from the sludgy guitars, Urich (who just recently took up the drums) is already exhibiting a few of the hallmarks that make Janet Weiss so recognizable behind the kit.
Deformer is a heavy-handed disc, yes, but it isn’t oppressive. Urich’s vocal contributions and a few of the most memorable riffs since Matador’s heydays (see: “Part Girl” and “I Wanna Mix”) deliver timely doses of levity every two or three songs.
In heavy rotation ’round my house, for the foreseeable future.
The new Dog Day album, Deformer, is officially up for grabs at the band’s Web site (CDs are ready but vinyl is still being pressed).
If their last few releases are any indication, this new one’s gonna be unstoppable, but it’ll at least be a very different affair than its chilly, squealing, cerebral predecessor, Concentration; the four-piece Dog Day arrangement has been whittled down to a twosome: founding couple Seth Smith and Nancy Urich.
This between-album release—“Final Fight”—didn’t make the cut for Deformer, but let’s hope it shows up on a subsequent EP; it’s one of the best (albeit most simple) tunes Smith and Urich have ever put together. We get a live, stairwell version of the song for this Mitch Fillion-produced video (it’s possible “Final Fight” was never officially recorded) and it’s the perfect fit for a number about a man who thinks he’s writing the last song of his life.