All Dogs is, per their press release, a “loud rock band that plays pop songs”. The DIY punk-influenced quartet from Columbus, Ohio released a four-song EP in 2013 and a standalone single called “Georgia” last December. Their debut album Kicking Every Day will be out this Friday via the Detroit-based Salinas Records. That label is the home of Swearin’ (Allison Crutchfield) and P.S. Eliot (Katie and Allison Crutchfield), but not Waxahatchee (Katie Crutchfield). Katie has climbed the indie rock ladder and is now on one of the biggest indies, Merge Records. Although we’re not here to talk about the magnificent Crutchfield twins, it’s easy to bring their names up in a conversation about All Dogs. They share some common RIYL tags, and to some extent, they sound like each other. I know that All Dogs has played at least a couple of shows with Waxahatchee, but I don’t know about their touring history with Swearin’.
I had never heard of All Dogs until I got a promo copy of the album in the mail bag this morning. The email grabbed my attention with some press clips like “Fuzzed out guitars, unfussy production values…” (New York Times) and “Loud guitar, unpolished but affecting vocals… (I)mpressive and intoxicating” (NPR), and references to 1990s college radio playlists. It only took a few seconds for me to know that this is right up my alley. From the aforementioned fuzzy guitars, to some tricks in the stereo field, to singer Maryn Jones’ voice that’s somewhat reminiscent of That Dog frontwoman Anna Waronker. There’s an occasional hint of growl or vocal fry, but for the most part, Jones comes out cleaner than some similar sounding singers like Alicia Bognanno from Bully or Lyn Heinemann from Drawn Ship.
Today’s song is the fourth song on the album, but it was the first that I played. Whenever I’m previewing an album, I rarely start with the first track. Like I said, it only took a few seconds to decide that I really really like this.
“That Kind of Girl” by All Dogs
There’s a subtle bit in the intro that tugged at some heartstrings for me. The first few seconds are weighted really heavily towards the right channel. Right at 0:07, the drums come crashing in and the balance sort of evens out. It seems like the drums might be heavier left than right, but I might be imagining that. Incidentally, they use this same trick on the album’s opener “Black Hole” I’m always a sucker for that, and it adds icing to a cake that was already pretty delicious.
A lot of reviews have mentioned All Dogs in the same breath with Bully and Hop Along. Both of those bands have great new records this year, and I’ve already mentioned that both of those bands evoke the last “golden age of indie rock” — the mid 1990s.
As I spend more time with this album, I expect that it’ll climb its way into the top 20 or so of my year-end list (along with those records by Bully and Hop Along). Historically, I’ve made year-end lists of more than 35 but less than 50 full-length new release albums. This year, I might have to make it more like 80. If the year ended today, I would already have a really hard time narrowing my list down to the top 50.
You can pre-order Kicking Every Day from Salinas here.