January 24, 2016

Stream: Dog Name - Dog Name

Dog Name's new EP makes the most of just one voice and one guitar.

When listening to a new release for the first time, it’s instinct for me to search for a space, distant from wherever I am. It’s not necessarily always a tangible space that comes to mind – often, it’s a memory, or even just a feeling. Sometimes it’s as simple as being in the right place at the right time. The first time I pressed play on Dog Name’s debut EP, I didn’t feel right. I’m lying on my back porch, eyes squinting against the sun, with mango residue spread across my mouth and stuck to my fingers. It’s scorching hot. Everything feels out of place. So I quickly pull the tape from the stereo, and decide to let it sit for a while – waiting for another setting, another time, another feeling more fitting. Dog Name is Eadie Newman – one limb of the four-piece group Passive Smoke. This self-titled cassette is the first of her solo endeavors, and is completely stripped back to the bone.

Moving away from barked harmonies familiar to Passive Smoke, Dog Name instead chooses to work with just one voice, accompanied with an exhaustive guitar that keeps things from getting too quiet. Throughout the entire tape, Eadie’s guitar works center stage; bending the gap between dense distortion and detailed fingering. During the first track "Bones", guitar pedal feedback feels like the pull of a violin string – moving its way through every line smoothly before eventually falling into thicker chords, and then making its way around again. This kind of guitar keeps on throughout the whole tape – drawing enough attention to itself that we begin to forget the lack of a band behind it. Simmering beneath these strings, Eadie’s voice feels like a low hum. At times, her words become hard to hear. Often the lyrics are ambiguous, but occasionally, some lines shine light on themselves: “Last night I watched as / hundreds of bats flew above my window / … / our house on stilts / swaying in the wind”. Lines like these, alongside the guitar that blurs over others, allow you to replay a memory that isn’t yours with all the fuzzy parts in-between. The way these details work together is an experience that lives intimately inside this EP – it’s like nothing else.

The second time I pushed this EP into my cassette deck, I had spent all day inside. It was raining for the first time in a while – the dirt had been begging for it. It was boiling all day, so my window was open a crack; letting in flushes of damp air. The first side of the tape played through and everything around me felt just as I hoped it would – the guitar was strumming over the ceiling, surrounding the room. The rain was leaking in through the windows. I was spread across my bed as I let it all soak in, trying to make out the words singing from the speakers and instead making guesses. Every sound felt like it was up in the air until the tape clicked to a close and everything I’d just felt whirlpooled from the ceiling and collected in a pile on the carpet. So I stood up, flipped the tape over, and pressed play again – and again, it felt just right. Dog Name is as good as it gets when it comes to just one guitar, one voice, and one feeling, perfectly timed. The cassette is officially available for purchase and ready to stream today, via Cinnamon Records. 


Listen to Dog Name on bandcamp.

Madalyn Trewin, a scrawny Australian teenager, who is feeding her obsession with dogs, David Lynch and Daniel Johnston twenty-four hours a day. If not that, she's writing about things she likes and saturating her friends in glitter so she can take photos of them to post onto her blog.