That Dog are a power-pop/punk quartet from Los Angeles. Between 1991 and 1997, they released three albums. They disbanded after touring in support of their last album — Retreat from the Sun. Last year, they reunited for a couple of shows in Los Angeles. Although they don’t have plans for a new album, they added a few shows this year. They’ve already played two sold out shows in L.A. and they’ll be playing two in Brooklyn this week at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Thursday’s show is sold out, but tickets are still available for Friday. If you’re anywhere near Brooklyn, you have to go to that.
The three girls in the band have pretty good music industry pedigree:
- Frontwoman Anna Waronker is a third-generation music industry person. Her father Lenny was a producer and a top executive at Warner Brothers for many years before heading up Dreamworks Records. Lenny’s father Simon composed music for 20th Century Fox Films before starting his own record label Liberty Records. Simon Waronker was also the inspiration and namesake for “Simon” of The Chipmunks.
Her brother Joey is a drummer who has worked with a ton of bands. He played in Walt Mink, was a long-time drummer for Beck, and has done work with Elliot Smith, Smashing Pumpkins, Tegan and Sara, and many others.
Anna is also married to some guy from Redd Kross.
- Sisters Rachel (bass, vocals) and Petra (violin, vocals) Haden are the daughters of jazz bassist Charlie Haden. Incidentally, they’re usually referred to as “twins”, when in fact they’re two-thirds of a set of triplets.
Drummer Tony Maxwell doesn’t have the pedigree that the girls do, but he’s had some notoriety in his post-That Dog days. He’s been a frequent collaborator with director Spike Jonze. He played “Charles”, the dog-boy in that Daft Punk video for “Da Funk”. He choreographed the Dance of Despair in “Being John Malkovich”.
Enough with that stuff, though. Let’s get to the music.
Retreat from the Sun was the third and final record that the band released. It was originally supposed to be an Anna Waronker solo project, but it turned into a That Dog album at the urging of David Geffen. The CD came with a sticker affixed by DGC Records, setting the price at (if I remember correctly) $3.99. Maybe it was $2.99. I remember, though, that it was a really big deal.
I love just about every song on the album. It’s so much fun. Today’s song is about naughty fun, but it’s still just fun. The whole album is basically about lust, love, sex, crushes. That kind of thing.
“Gagged and Tied” by That Dog
Of course I love the violin bits. I always love the violin bits. Especially in rock songs. While this album is full of corny lines referencing raw sex (“We’ll have lots of love, the both of us. And none of the above-the-waist activity”, from the song “I’m Gonna See You”), I like the corny line at the beginning of this song the best:
I’d like to take you home
So that we can be alone
We’ll go for a walk
And then we’ll go home not to talk
So we get that it’s about sex, but then she drops the bombshell in the chorus. Just as the tempo picks up, she turns the heat on:
And I don’t care if you don’t treat me like a lady
And I don’t care. Just sit there and don’t disobey me
Then, of course, she gets into the bondage. Which is a little scary. Her date is a little scared, but she’s not really bothered by that.
It’s not your style
I can see you crack a smile
It’s okay with me
I just want the company
Put on Venus in Furs
And you can go home afterwards
It’s not about romance. It’s not about wooing with flowers and candy. It’s not about making love. It’s not about cuddling afterwards. It’s about fucking like animals. That’s all. And it’s about her calling the shots.
I love the juxtaposition of the verses with the chorus. Nice and pretty in the verses. Vocal harmonies. Violins. It’s gentle. Then the choruses are fuzzy, loud, and aggressive. Just like the woman in the song.
The album was re-issued in deluxe 2xcd format with about 30 bonus songs and about a half dozen videos. I don’t have that, and I can’t find it anywhere other than the pirate sites. I can’t condone that, but I will suggest that you buy Retreat from the Sun. While you can certainly find used copies for less than the original price of $3.99, the digital download is much more spendy than that. Shop for it in the amazon store here.
If you’re in the general vicinity of Brooklyn, you should go see them on Friday night. They. Unfortunately, it’s a ticketmaster event, so you’ll have to pay for their annoying “service”. Here‘s where you can get your tickets.