This ‘All Dogs’ article was written by Felix Milburn, a GIGsoup contributor
There’s been plenty of debate on how the internet has affected the music business, but less widely debated is the profound effect it has had on music culture. Scenes haven’t relied on specific locations to accumulate fans for a while now and labels or sub-genres can be made up of artists from all over the globe, which begs the question; what happened to DIY music? The platform for the bedroom-pop act or indie-punk band these days seems to be Bandcamp, where anyone capable of recording sounds is now free to release and own their own music, without much need for a middle-man. And Bandcamp is exactly how Ohio’s All Dogs have made their name.
All Dogs’ brand of DIY Punk-Pop fits into a particular suburban American brat-rock style that is popular with bands like Waxahatchee, Girlpool and Speedy Ortiz. The band’s debut LP, ‘Kicking Every Day’ presents a sound which at first appears to rely wholly on warm, fuzzy guitars and longing, wistful vocals to evoke a 1990’s alternative rock nostalgia in its listeners, but throughout the course of the LP, reveals itself as something much more despondent and isolated. “Waking up in the afternoon, caught myself in the mirror, didn’t recognize.” vocalist Maryn Jones sings on ‘Sunday Morning’ with all the heartfelt angst of an adolescent which can at once be poignant and slightly cringe worthy. Not that the band’s Dinosaur Jr-esque cheery stoner sound would easily reveal the melancholic lyrics found on much of the album.
Whereas similar bands such as Waxahatchee, whose last LP offered a variety of emotions and sounds, seem to be progressing and evolving with their sounds, ‘Kicking Every Day’ feels a bit stagnant. Musically, there isn’t much variety to be found on the album, and only a few tracks particularly stand out, such as opener ‘Black Hole,’ which does a great job of introducing us to the albums overall feel, and the fantastic ‘That Kind of Girl,’ which is the song most listeners will be remember afterwards. All the elements that come into play in All Dogs’ songs are mastered in this track, and the chorus sums up the feeling of isolation found on this record perfectly; “I am underneath the water, kicking every day.” Album closer ‘The Garden’ takes a nice break from the LP’s loud pop songs to reinforce the subtle melancholic feel the album has, acting as the only outlier on the album.
At times it’s easy to think that the depth that Jones’ lyrics and vocals offer to ‘Kicking Every Day’ are what it relies on, and the nostalgia pop-punk sound of the album could easily drift into the background. However consistent the record is, it isn’t particularly exciting or new, but then perhaps that’s not what All Dogs intended. The album feels like someone working out tough, strange emotions through the process of revisiting the sound of their youth. It’s interesting to see how this particular sound travels in 2015, and with All Dogs we certainly have another good example of a DIY band for the ‘online friends’ generation.