in Review

A Giant Dog – Pile

Sometimes you just wanna rock.  I think it took me a while to realize that for me personally, there are a lot of times that I just wanna rock.  Because even though I spent a lot of my early 20’s trying to be as open-minded as possible to the wide spectrum of music that’s out there as the music landscape has become more and more multi-dimensional, I still typically wound up having Japandroids or Titus Andronicus albums near the top of my year-end top ten lists.  And at this point, I’ve tried to keep a bit of that open-mindedness. But at the same time, I have no problem embracing the fact that at the end of the day, sometimes I just wanna listen to a song with a heavy guitar riff, accompanied by lyrics like “I believe in girls and weed and rock and roll”.

On A Giant Dog’s third album Pile, they give you just that, and then some.  I feel like in most year-end music talk, I usually end up anointing some album with the distinction of having the best album intro of the year, and Pile might be the winner this year.  Though I don’t know if it’s cheating when the first track is a song called “Intro”, compiled of ominous strings and an apocalyptic-sounding quire that sounds quite unlike anything else on the album.  Which then launches furiously into the first track “Creep”, which begins with the charmingly nasty/affectionate lyric, “I’m a creep, and I’m a liar.  You don’t mind at all,” which then leads into the refrain of “…and I love you, honey!”

I’d say that kind of mix of a hard-edged, hard rocking ugliness is certainly a hallmark of A Giant Dog’s sound, as also evidenced by the their fairly disgusting album artwork.  But there’s also a whole lot of joyousness and lust for life that permeates itself through the band’s glammed out hooks, and the way Sabrina Ellis and Andrew Cashen trade off boy-girl vocals without the least bit of schmaltz.  In a word, it’s just a really fun album, but somehow never quite feels disposable due to this Austin band’s all-encompassing desire to let their big weird freak flag fly.

Favorite Tracks: “Sex & Drugs”, “& Rock & Roll”, “King Queen”