that dog.: review of an old album

In their heyday of the 90s, that dog. it existed between two main pillars of alt-rock: ramshackle, baffled rock and gypsy alt-pop, precisely detailed. A Los Angeles band whose pedigree included music-biz royalty – singer and songwriter Anna Waronker is the daughter of label manager Lenny Waronker, while sisters Rachel and Petra Haden, who provided the voice and the instrumental instruments, they are children of jazz bassist Charlie Haden – they developed a ferocious following from the periphery of alt-rock radio, which had already started to put aside fun (and female voices) in favor of self-pity when the group it broke up in 1997.

that dog. they returned together in 2011 in four pieces, along with drummer Tony Maxwell. Playing their songs, especially those they had never played live before, stimulated Waronker, whose break years included a rock opera co-written with Go-Go Charlotte Caffey, music for the TV and two solo albums, to return to the spike, the elegant mode of his band.

What is extraordinary Old LP, that dog's first album from their division and their first as a trio (Petra came out after the reunion shows), is how little time has passed. The harmonies still have sticky centers; fuzzy guitars and precisely arranged strings still bounce off each other like highly tuned dancers. Compact and caring – the band has been working on the album for years—Old LP has the atmosphere of a beloved record that, for whatever reason, was sitting on a shelf.

The album opens with "Your Machine", a showcase for Waronker's plaintive voice that turns into a starburst full of power, while heavy and distorted riffs rise to counter his requests for notice. "I am incomplete / Impatient / Waiting for your receipt / And with kindness / Eat crumbs thrown at my feet", recites a lyric, an echo of poetic messages "thank you for your support!" Issued by artists in the era of online advocacy. When the noise finally fades, allowing Waronker and the harmonies behind her to stand up, it's a moment of pop triumph.

From there, that dog. balancing beauty and confusion, with sweet voices and marshmallows and caressing strings that add tension to the broken chorus of "Just the Way" and the violent cries of "Drip Drops" that complete the minimalist representation of the text of the heartbreak. "If you haven't done it" seems to have been carved out of a lost volume of Rarity DGC, with a sparkling and rebellious rhythm, the flowering of the closing strings that offers a subtle update of the satisfying bite of the alt-rock of the 90s.

Like much of the best music of 2019 from Still-at-it alt rockers of the years & # 39; 90 – Juliana Hatfield, Versus, Team Dresch—Old LP it works because its growth does not support the modern notions of "cool". But the way the band balances the equation dirt with grandiosity with each song shows that when it comes to musical mathematics, the test counts as much as the result. The title track, which closes the album, is not just a sweet elegance to the power of music to evoke bittersweet memories. "I never wanted you to leave / hate that there is no choice / I can't hear your voice / Unless it's on an old LP," bear the lyrics written after a memorial service for Charlie Haden. It is the first time that Waronker and Rachel Haden have sung a recorded duet, their voices dart in and out of each other as the plates crash and the strings collapse. Looking back, which one Old LP does it with delicacy and honesty, it must not be a trap of nostalgia.


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