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that dog.


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Evocative alternative

Status:

Band broke up in September 1997. Final release, Retreat From The Sun (1997)

See also:

Wikipedia's entry for that dog.

The band's UBL page

Petra Haden's site; Anna Waronker's site

Rachel Haden was also in The Martinis

Comparisons:

The Breeders, Throwing Muses, Belly, Letters To Cleo, Veruca Salt

Covers/own material:

Own; occasional collaborations, and occasional covers in concert

General comments:

What do you get when you combine several young musicians with strong family ties to the music business, who also have their own musical voices? One possible answer would be the quartet that dog. (yes, the capitalization and trailing '.' are correct!), an entertaining and original group that crammed a lot of interesting ideas into their three albums and handful of US tours.
     I only got to see them live a couple of times, so most of my impression is based on listening to various studio recordings; but the overwhelming response was a pleasurable reaction to the melodies, hooks, vocal harmonies and their strong contrast with the violin and guitar "grunge" sound. Layered, often complex and structured. (Greg Dunn)

i have a been a huge fan of them since their first album came out. i think the best way to describe their music is to put them in the same sort of arena as other crunchy pop female-fronted bands like Veruca Salt or Throwing Muses (who i originally heard/read comparisons to). but i think they are certainly better than Veruca Salt.
     rachel and/or petra haden was also a member of The Rentals, matt sharp from Weezer's other band, and if you can think of say, Weezer/Rentals fronted by a couple of female singers you might be closer in sound to that dog. great harmonies between the three females though. throw in a violin and occasional other string instrument and you hit the button on the nose.
     in any case, Petra who plays the violin can be found guest starring in several other bands and side projects. ya need a indie pop violinist, you call on petra (similar to sara lee on the bass, the woman is everywhere). (iflin@speakeasy.net)

Comments about live performance:

I only got a couple of samples of the band live, but they rocked and presented their songs with a commendable amount of energy. Clearly a band that had fun on stage as musicians, letting their performance communicate to the audience and not relying on a "show" or "display" for effect. (Greg Dunn)

Recommended first album:

Retreat From The Sun for more pop-influenced rock, or Totally Crushed Out for a more raw, punk-derived sound

Recordings:


that dog.

Release info:

1994—Geffen Records—DGCD-99999

Availability:

Wide in U.S.

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Tony Maxwell—drums, wah wah guitar
Petra Haden—violin, vocals
Rachel Haden—acoustic guitar, guitar, vocals, bass
Anna Waronker—guitar, vocals

Guest artists:

Tanya Haden—cello, backing vocals

Produced by:

Chrisa Sadd and that dog.

Comments:

This debut effort toes the line fairly closely between punk and alternative rock. Grungy guitar and raspy violin give texture to a mix that abounds with layered, Andrews Sisters harmonies and an often intentionally flat lead vocal delivery by Anna. Crunchy, sometimes sweet, and always challenging. Not for everyone, but certainly never formulaic. (Greg Dunn)

there are a few clunkers on this album, but the good songs are fantastic. (woj@smoe.org)


Totally Crushed Out

Release info:

1995—Geffen Records—DGCD-24735

Availability:

Wide in U.S.

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Tony Maxwell—drums, acoustic guitar, piano
Petra Haden—violin, vocals
Rachel Haden—acoustic guitar, guitar, vocals, bass
Anna Waronker—guitar, vocals

Guest artists:

Joey Waronker—percussion
Tanya Haden—cello

Produced by:

that dog.

Comments:

More pop/rock-oriented than its predecessor, but with all the quirky lyrics/vocals and of course strongly laced with overdriven guitar and intense violin to remind you that this is no ordinary pop album. The songwriting is more mature, and there is the occasional hook to get your head bobbing. that dog. manage to bridge the boundaries between punk and pop rather effectively, never giving in to the easy riff when an odd meter or tempo rubato can be used to arrest the listener's attention. This is probably the definitive that dog. album, though not necessarily the one that most people will gravitate to most strongly. (Greg Dunn)

this is more rockin' than their first album. It is cool. Imagine a blending of Belly/Throwing Muses/Veruca Salt, camper van beethoven, and maybe a little they might be giants. some of it isn't all that great, but some of it rocks! (iflin@speakeasy.net)

totally crushed out and seems hellbent on modern rock crossover hitdom. despite that, i found it pretty enjoyable. the album is a song cycle dealing with teen age love from a girl's perspective. some of the songs are pretty painful, but the emotional intensity is often hidden under the musical intensity of their crunchy rock thang. (woj@smoe.org)


Retreat From The Sun

Release info:

1997—Geffen Records—DGCD-25115

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Tony Maxwell—drums, acoustic guitar, piano
Petra Haden—violin, vocals
Rachel Haden—acoustic guitar, guitar, vocals, bass
Anna Waronker—guitar, vocals

Guest artists:

Joey Waronker—percussion
Tanya Haden—cello
Charlotte Caffey—synthesizer, guitar
Chick Woverton—guitar, shaker

Produced by:

that dog. and brad wood

Comments:

Much more in the realm of pop-rock than its predecessors, Retreat From The Sun was apparently intended to be Anna's first solo effort, but the label coerced her into making it a group project. The songwriting is much more upbeat, well decorated with hooks and riffs almost to the point of saturation. If you love well-crafted adult pop, this may be the perfect answer to your quest; there's certainly nothing badly written or offensively sweet here. And yet, some of the rawness or "edge" that defined that dog. is muted or pushed to the background here. Particularly lamented is the reduced prominence of Petra's acid violin accents, though a welcome guest on the album is Charlotte Caffey, wielding keyboards as only she can. A thoroughly professional effort, worth multiple listens; though I wish they'd put together just one more crunchy paean to post-punk before they disbanded.... (Greg Dunn)

defintely recommended is retreat from the sun which is by far their most polished to date with brad wood (liz phair) coproducing with that dog. excellent stuff. the song "never say never" is getting airplay here a lot. stand-out tracks are "Minneapolis" and "Long Island". (iflin@speakeasy.net)

I'd have trouble classifying Retreat from the Sun as overly ecto. It's definitely out on the crunchier side, and the Pixies influences are unmistakable (I thought maybe they were mistakable until a friend confirmed it for me... ). Definitely a fun album, though...great for driving. (burka@jeffrey.net)


Thanks to Greg Dunn for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2015-10-03 21:03:24.
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