NAME: Dog Is Dead
GENRE: Pop / Indie / Jazz
SOUNDS LIKE: A hot summer day with cold beer and good friends in a somewhat overcrowded park.
LOCATION: Nottingham, UK
LINE UP: Joss Van Wilder – Bass, Vocals
Rob Milton – Bass, Vocals
Lawrence Libor – Drums, Glockenspiel, Vocals
Paul Roberts – Guitars, Vocals
Trev Cole – Saxophone, Vocals
WHAT’S THE STORY?: Dog is Dead originate from Nottingham, where they have been building a solid fanbase, rigorously gigging for the past few years. A noticeably young and babyfaced group, the band formed while some members were in school together and have been finishing their A-levels while honing their original take on jangly, upbeat indie pop; a melting pot of styles that has earned them glowing reviews from Drowned in Sound and BBC Music. Now looking to widen their already considerable fanbase, the band is set to play the Introducing Stage at this year’s Glastonbury festival, alongside a string of other summer dates. In 2009 they impressed festival audiences, sharing stages with the likes of OK Go and Mumford and Sons and look set to impress again this year with a new single and fresh, eclectic sound.
RELEASES: Dog Is Dead EP (April 2009)
Glockenspiel Song (Your Childhood Records, June 2010)
GIGS: Glastonbury Festival, ‘Introducing’ Stage, 26 June, 16.00
Hoxton Bar and Kitchen, 12 July, 20.00
Splendour Festival, 24 July, 13.00
Truck Festival, 25 July, 12.00
Summer Sundae Festival, 14 August, 13.00
THEY SAY: ‘an original blend of harmonious, indie-pop in the disco, with a cheeky jazz hint’.
WE SAY: Dog is Dead’s sound is indeed a heady mixture of punk, pop, folk and jazz with the odd ska inflection thrown in for good measure. ‘Sounds like Foals?’ I hear you cry, and you would be correct. Fans of the Oxford quintet will be familiar with the angular guitars and shouted, staccato vocals. This could get very irritating very quickly, but Dog is Dead somehow pull it off, creating an upbeat, whimsical collection of songs that are available to listen to on their Myspace page. More straightforward tracks like ‘Board Games’ (listen out for the mildly amusing ‘Monopoly’ based lyrics) sit comfortably alongside the more experimental edge of ‘Zoo,’ which is available as a free download. At first the tracks can seem too ‘busy,’ with an array of hooks and styles vying for attention, but give them a few listens and everything falls into place.
New single ‘Glockenspiel Song’ (out now on Your Childhood Records) acts a showcase for the range of styles Dog is Dead can combine, an experiment which proves successful – instantly catching the attention with a sound of cheering leading into powerful opening drums; a gentle collision between MGMT’s ‘Kids’ and the Arcade Fire’s ‘Neighbourhood #3 Power Out.’ We’re in for an interesting ride here; the single meanders through various genres, juxtaposing rousing Beach Boys style harmonies with a bizarre yet well-placed saxophone solo. You could almost stretch to comparing this track to a less experimental, more accessible Animal Collective. ‘Glockenspiel Song’ works as an amalgamation of the styles of their other songs, signifying a progression towards a summery, shiny-happy feel that you could easily tap your toes to on a hot summer day.
If you can’t make it to Glasto or the smaller festivals the band are playing at, Londoners can see Dog is Dead in action at the Hoxton Bar and Grill on 12th July, alongside intriguing folky up-and-comers Boat to Row. Should make for a fun and eclectic evening for those of you hardy enough to stomach an evening out in super trendy Shoreditch.
Dog is Dead are most definitely a band to look out for – they offer up new and welcome twists to the ‘jangly indie’ formula peddled by the aforementioned Foals, Mystery Jets, Kaiser Chiefs et al, which has long been in danger of growing stale. For a band all so young, their sound promises further honing and evolution – their soaring harmonies could turn into something truly special for many summers to come.
YOU’LL LIKE THIS IF YOU LIKE: Mystery Jets, Hot Club De Paris, Foals, the Beach Boys