In the Summer of 2002, five London based musicians and close friends formed a band and began honing a wealth of ideas, passions and talents into one distinctive and powerful sound. A sound that encompassed many diverse and wholly honorable influences - The Clash, Happy Mondays, The Jam, Pixies and Velvet Underground, to name but a few - but one that blasted out with a fresh and exuberantly raw energy. The band is DOGS and as the name suggests they "are fierce, like the feral creatures from which they've taken their name. They're astonishing" - NME.
DOGS arrived at a time that was crying out for a true, unpretentious rock 'n' roll spirit, so it's little wonder they stood out. With a fierce self-belief, plus a foundation in great songwriting, tunes from their debut album 'Turn Against This Land', like 'Tuned To A Different Station' 'London Bridge' and 'Selfish Ways' were instantly made Record Of The Week and Hottest Record On The Planet Right Now by Radio One and the band's first three chart eligible singles rooted themselves confidently and firmly in the top 40.
Amidst this excitement, DOGS excelled in what they do best. Play live. " (The) live show is such an incredibly precise machine, with their sharp teeth glistening, that you cannot help but be led astray by the deranged joy of it all" - The Guardian. A live experience and sound so exciting and infectious that DOGS found devoted fans in legends such as Roger Daltry and Paul Weller. In November 2005, Weller invited DOGS as special guests on his full UK tour including a sell-out London, Alexandria Palace date; followed two weeks later by an appearance at their headlining ULU gig, where Weller joined them on-stage, playing DOGS songs - already cult-classics in themselves - as well as five of his own tracks.
While DOGS brought to the UK what seemed like a long overdue and much desired Brit-rock revolution, word had also spread elsewhere, Innsbruck Austria to be precise, to the founder of maverick label Weekender Records. As Johnny Cooke, DOGS' front-man explains, "The guy who started it became a massive fan. He flew out to see us and we went over there and played his club. We had 'em queuing round the block."
Quickly deducing that here was a perfect match, DOGS and Weekender Records promptly decided they had to work together. In autumn 2006, the band signed a new deal, one that gave them complete creative freedom. From now on, DOGS would be a happily DIY operation: videos, sleeve art and record releases will all be handled by the five people who couldn't be more passionate about DOGS: The band themselves.
Their upcoming second album, entitled 'Tall Stories Form Under The Table' and due out in June 2007, surpasses even their remarkable debut, stuffed as it is with killer songs: tales of relationships, places and people and as Johnny explains "absolutely no winge-ing"
Recorded with Steve Musters (PJ Harvey, Tricky, Tom Vek) at The Garden (Miloco Studios), 'Tall Stories From Under The Table' moves from the raw, punk-tinged sound of DOGS debut, with Musters working with DOGS to get the right individual sound for each track. The album also boasts a guest appearance from long-term fan Paul Weller, who plays piano on final track 'Let it Lay'. 'Working with Paul Weller was an honour. With him its all about the music and nothing else. A huge Artist like him doesn't need to work with us but he did, for the love of the music" explains DOGS' bassist Duncan.
The first taster of things to come arrived with the release, in November last year, of the first single 'Soldier On', a three minute, three second blast of celebratory and energized rock: fierce, furious and deliriously infectious. It's predecessor 'This Stone Is A Bullet', which followed in February, epitomised DOGS ability to capture the essence of modern British life (a tongue-in-cheek, humorous tale of frustrating class struggles, drunken nights stone throwing, good friends and some broken Cambridge windows) and frame it within perfectly constructed, fiery and enthralling songs.
"We had no reason to get downhearted", says Johnny, of 2006's ups-and downs. "We've been writing the best stuff we've every written and there's nothing like that to keep your spirits up. That difficult second album? It's a breeze. We've got songs flying out..."
"That's one of the biggest things", agrees DOGS' guitarist Rikki Mehta. "The fact that we're writing all these great tunes, we've grown a lot as a band since the
Inspiration for 'Tall Stories From Under The Table' arrived from further a-field than it did with the debut, with many new American bands proving an influence from Yeah Yeah Yeah's, Kings of Leon and Midlake, to Broken Social Scene and Clap Your Hands Sat Yeah, giving DOGS second album a really unique sound. "There's still at heart a real British-ness about it all, but with a lot of sounds and interesting instrumentation going on in there that you don't hear from the 'standard Brit bands" explains DOGS' drummer Rich Mitchell.
Every single track is a standout slab of power fuelled, infectious rock and incredible song writing. From the acoustic tones and introspective lyrics of 'Chained To No One' ("then the morning comes, battered and bruised, bloody and knackered and laughed upon, yeah, but he's chained to no one") and the melodic and intricate guitar riffs of 'By The River' to the sizing anthemic chiming guitars and revved-up bass of 'Dirty Little Shop', the instantly infectious chugging guitars and frenzied, energised pounding drums of 'These Days' and the indie punk-rock splendour of 'Forget It All' with it's social-political commentary wrapped up in under four minutes of infectious guitar noise - all with Johnny's emotive velvet-gravel of a voice leading the charge with his witty and honest world observations ("he put the pissed in philanthropist" - 'Who Are You' ) and an abundance of killer conviction.
DOGS is the captivating, all encompassing sound of impassioned music lovers with an almighty noise to make and many honest tales to tell. It's the new sound for a generation, a sound of passion and boundless talent and with the release of their second album in June, it will undeniably be sound of Summer 2007.