Hi! My name is Brian, and I'm a Boberholic.
No, seriously. He's had me locked in his grip for half a year now, and shows as much sign of letting go as a Rottweiler with his teeth around Liv Tyler's juicy haunch. I'm humming the basslines, whistling the E-Bow bits, air-guitaring the solo, and singing about a "startling array of glistening fragments" in the office. My boss thinks I'm losing it, making the understandable assumption that I once had it. I think I did, but I can't remember any more.
Then there's the lyrics, which I have a copy of, of course, from the website. Wilfully impressionistic, it's not clear just who or what Bober is. On one level, he's a dog, as Mike has said. On another level, there's something else going on, an understandable side-effect of not spelling it out.
Something that hit me a while ago was a sense of Loss, most audible in the last few lines of lyrics, but starting earlier and going deeper: a dog's howl reverberating in the empty wilderness. A feeling of existential pain for someone or something they have lost. A car? A person? Childhood? Memories? The ambivalent desire to go back, knowing that wouldn't be a good idea. It could never be the same again.
What the hell happened? Was it something that felt good, but carried a high cost, leaving you wanting a hair of the dog that bit you? Now the dog's kicked back, he's got a bottle inside, perhaps the one in which you bottled up the feelings, things you should have told your friends and family, but never quite got around to. It's too late. The chance is gone, the memories are lost, but you can still feel the holes they should be filling.
This is obviously a personal impression, so if any one wants to tell me I'm wrong here, well, that would be missing the point. I'm not trying to say anything about what Mike was thinking when he wrote it, naturally, that would be equally superfluous. I think different people will see different things here, depending on their personal history and experiences; it's the mark of a great piece of Modern Art, up there with a building designed by Rem Koolhaas, or a painting by Picasso or Kandinsky.
This doesn't happen often, and it's why Bober is going to be lodged in my memory for years to come. This dog has strong, healthy teeth to keep him latched on, eh?
-- stereoroid dublin, ireland
Frank Zappa and Steve Vai don't grab just anybody for their bands, and guitarist Keneally again proves why they chose him. Highly original brainiac-rock suggests XTC, Zappa, Little Feat, the Melvins and even Joni Mitchell, while longtime bass bro' Bryan Beller rocks through the odd times and constant accents as if it was easy. And lemme tell ya, it isn't.
--James Rotondi, Guitar World's Bass Guitar
Mike Keneally's growth as an artist has been a pretty amazing journey, from the manic enthusiasm of Hat through the sublime and subtle Wooden Smoke to the jaw-dropping brilliance of The Universe Will Provide. All the while, Keneally has continued to push himself as a creative person, and Dog shows him stretching still further. The biggest difference between Dog and Wooden Smoke, Keneally's previous album (obviously, an album written for orchestra is a different beast altogether), is that Dog just rocks. This is easily Keneally's most muscular recording to date, with snarling guitars all over the place, and the band just tears into the material. Even so, the production is nearly as detailed as Wooden Smoke, with successive listenings revealing little tidbits and guitar parts that slipped by the first time.
The songs themselves are complex but catchy, with elliptical riffs and rhythmic shifts that should come off sounding much trickier than they do, but this band (Bryan Beller, Nick D'Virgilio, and Rick Musallam) is so dextrous that it all sounds completely natural. Lyrically, Keneally brings new meaning to the word obtuse, but the lyrics are entertaining if sometimes puzzling. After all, what does one make of a line like "Special bee stings and enigmatic power maidens eager to date ya"? In addition, some programming and almost techno sounds make their first appearance on a Keneally album, notably on "Physics," accompanied by some crazy envelope-filtered guitars and bouzouki, and on the mind-blowing epic "This Tastes Like a Hotel." "This Tastes Like a Hotel" is a strange, distant cousin to "Lightnin' Roy," but ranges even further, running through techno, phased orchestra samples, general weirdness, hard rock, and an almost bluesy section that gives Keneally another chance to amaze with his guitar prowess before a brief acoustic interlude leads to the rocking conclusion. The other songs are more conventional rock tunes, but only by Keneally standards. He's got an immediately identifiable, utterly unique style, and it's pretty amazing how it continues to shine through even in wildly different contexts.
Dog is another winner from a wildly talented artist who follows his own muse wherever it takes him. It's a shame more musicians aren't as confident and adventurous.
--Sean Westergaard, All Music Guide
It was July.
The week of the fourth.
My mother was coming to visit and I was waiting for Dog.
The Dog got here two days before my mother. Between my job and
preparing for my mom I didn't have much time for ingesting new music
but I knew I had to fill my ears as full as possible. Maybe I'd even
get a little video ogling in.
The first thing I noticed, before I removed the shrink wrap, was Nick
D'Virgilio's nose. With that stark black-and-white photo design Nick
D's nose reminded me of the computer tweakage that was applied to MK's
nose on the Soap Scum Remover video and in the Boil That Dust Speck
When I got the shrink wrap off and removed the cd case I couldn't help
noticing the scissors on the back cover. More Dust Specks. Hmmm...
001 Louie - I really liked the vocals in this one. Nice
instrumentation, too. Good album opener.
002 Bober - This one sounded like it could have been part of a segue
from or to Top Of Stove Melting. Lot of Dust continuity in this
package so far. I really liked the overall SOUND of the album to that
point and found myself sonically engrossed with the entire disc.
003 Splane - One of my favorite tracks. It has such a smooth groove.
Feels really nice. When it plays itself in my mind, though, I find
myself inserting "When we say Dog Breath...". FZ can't be removed (not
that I've tried) from my head and he falls out all over the ground of
my daily life's rhythmic and harmonic environments.
004 Pride Is A Sin - Excellent. I heard Mike do an acoustic version of
this in Jonesboro, Arkansas last November. It was a cool song and I
liked it o.k. but the Dog version really clicks. I like the group
interactions. The Mike Keneally Band are really gellin'. Savin' it up.
005 Simple Pleasure - Interesting diversion. It still hasn't grabbed
me but it isn't out of place.
006 Physics - Tink Walks Amok! Gone MED! MED I tell you! MED! I had
no idea how integral and important a part of this piece Rick Musallam
was until I saw the DVD. Cool.
007 Raining Sound - "Reindeers cloned a clown". I REALLY LOVE this
one! Yeah! The title, alone, tickles me insensibly.
008 Choosing To Drown - There's a wormhole in this one. I am unable to
specify what it is that I like about this one but I like it, as with
so much else on this album, a LOT. Then, at about 1:45, Claudia
Russell sings her bits and a wormhole to The Universe Will Provide
opens up. Oh. Todd stopped by.
009 Gravity Grab - I wanna hear Caravan with a drum sola! But when it
was finished, the gravity grab was next to a wormhole. But that was
not the riddle. I love this album and, yeah, it FEELS like an album.
Buddy Holly says hey.
010 This Tastes Like A Hotel - O. K. Wendy Carlos (don't get started
on you-know-what), Revolution 9, 1983, Francesco tones, basso profundo
like the one in TOSM, Belew birds, FZ-type use of orchestral
insertions, an immanence of sound, Tech-KNOW!, how heavy can ya get?,
Hendrix high-pitch guitar (ala studio Star Spangled Banner), Hendrix
kind of bass line and groove (maybe I'm predisposed to find Hendrix;
he set me off originally), yeah, Hendrix with MK jamming along, yeah,
this DOES taste like a hotel, Mike, pedal tone like Bullys, that
immanence of sound, gotta be Musallam, this is the stuff, cue the
011 Panda - More Hendrixian Kenneallyanna. Nice groove that closes out
the album well.
I keep using the word "album". To me, Dog has an album FEEL to it.
Back in the days of vinyl there was a certain kind of continuity that
seems to be lacking from a lot of modern recordings. Mike Keneally has
created a recording that has the spacing and emotional satisfaction of
a classic vinyl recording like Electric Ladyland, The Beatles, Dark
Side Of The Moon or The Wall.
There's an arc and a completeness about this particular release that
is very satisfying.
I like it a lot.
Near the end of July I took my Special Edition copy of Dog to the
music outlet I frequent the most, Spin City, and asked a manager I
know to look into it. I told him that if he could put one copy in
stock I'd buy two. He looked into it and was unable to find a
reference to Dog but did see Nonkertompf, Wooden Smoke and Dancing. He
ordered them and, lo and behold, they came in! I immediately bought
the copy of Dancing, hving been given to understand that, when they
sell something, the computer notes it and signs it up for reorder.
A couple of weeks went by and they didn't replace Dancing. I decided
to leave Wooden Smoke and Nonkertompf for a neoKenealliac to discover.
A little more time passed and I waited for the release of The Universe
Will Provide. The day came when I got the message that it had been
shipped! I was really looking forward to this!
During my next regular pass of my music purveyors, checking the MK
stock to see if, perhaps, Dancing had been replaced, I saw The
Universe Will Provide!
Fuck! and All Right!
My MK request must have triggered SOMEthing in Spin City's system and
THERE WAS THE UNIVERSE WILL PROVIDE!
And I hadn't gotten mine in the mail yet!
I left that lone copy there, knowing that I had two on the way and
hoping someone else would find that one.
They finally got here and:
1. Blue 68 - From the time I first heard the radio broadcast of the
live premiere of TUWP this piece reminded me of the Theme From The
Valley Of The Dolls. I loved that piece of music when I was a kid and
today can't recall how I originally came to know it. Blue 68 took me
back to it.
2. All Of Them Were Quiet - Fark! lotta Zappa here but it's becoming
MK's baby. Fuckin' A Right, buddy! Dig those bongos, baby! That's,
like, hipsville! Bongo Fury! There's this ... theme! this is beautiful
nice bass nice...
3. Room - yeah. have i said yeah yet? yeah. premiere disconnection.
nonesuch here. this, too, is the stuff. In A Silent Way era Miles
meets Steely Dan meets Jeff Beck and George Martin.
4. Insert Here I -
5. Archaic Peace Strategies - float into the sky home safe moan fly
6. Four Slices Of Toast - This Tastes Like Toast; some wormhole toast.
right around 8:12 there's this horn part that reminds me of the
Claudia Russell bits in Choosing To Drown. then it's like Song X on
Quaaludes (sp?). Yarmpf! Emphatically nebulous ending.
7. Mwah2 - lie down lovely.
8. Worrywart Spoonguy - gotta love the banjo/percussion interaction.
this is itchy. sounds, for a moment, like it wants to go into Tax
Free. fast and bulbuous.
9. When Drums Dream - Chunga's Revenge? The Clap? It's that time of
10. Insert Here II -
11. Not Just Flutes - over under sideways down interweaving. more
12. Quiet - waking up yet?
13. Bullies - Jan Akkerman? a return to the immanence of sound.
What a wonderful recording! I obviously don't have enough points of
view to give this a professional-type review. All I know is that I
like it. It ranks easily next to FZ's orchestral output and I find it
more interesting, satisfying and entertaining than McCartney's
Standing Stone and McLaughlin's Thieves And Poets.
The Universe Will Provide is a wonderful piece of music and I'm happy
and excited for Mike Keneally in the place he has come to exist in.
What a challenging and fulfilling time he must find himself in!
Dude, you tha man!
p.s. I left out comments on the Dog DVD and Parallel Universe because
of the length of what I've written so far. I have derived much
enjoyment from these extras and would recommend, if you don't have
them, to check them out. They really round out the MK Experience.
I lent my copy of "Dog" to a friend over the summer and I just got it
back last weekend. Needless to say, I've been diving into this
wonderful disc pretty much non-stop ever since. I have to say - even
though nobody's really asked - that "Bober" is my current favorite
I don't know what causes me to levitate to this song...maybe it's the
lyrics. Maybe it's the vocals. Maybe just the fact that it's so damn
melodic. It's really dense. Thick. Lots of layers. But still, at its
heart, a really good pop song.
I especially like the part from "They're gonna re-do you..." to
"...being where you are." Easily one of my favorite Keneally vocal
sequences. I also like the insane guitar coda, which is a lot of fun
to watch in the "living room" portion of the DVD.
Thanks Mike! Great song! Hopefully I'll hear it in person someday.
How do I love Dog? Let me count the ways.
I have been Waiting for this. Don't believe me? Well, I have two copies of
the Dog Special Edition: one I ordered last year when I first heard about
it, and one I ordered recently, thinking "how could I have missed this
upcoming essential purchase?". That's what happens when you give an
absent-minded music lover a web browser and a credit card.
Before anyone asks, though: I have a good home for the second litter, a
friend in Dubai who need his head bent. I will be keeping the Pup, just to
watch her grow up.
Until today I have been concentrating on the DVD. I have a theory on what
happened to Mike's hair: he used Gaffa tape to glue those headphones to his
head, and you can guess what happened when he tried to take them off...
But Seriously: I can feel myself getting _smarter_ every time I listen to
any Mike-and-Friends music, while simultaneously imagining how I might try,
and fail (with marks for effort), to do a better job on the bass than Bwana
Beller. That alone is worth the price of entry, and then some..!
No, I'm not mimicking bassett hounds and airedales, as entertaining (not to
mention scary) as that might be. I've finally had the time to listen to
"Dog" enough to start absorbing it, and then found further time to write
down my impressions so far. So--here goes something-or-other ...
Overall: one of the many things I treasure about Mike's work is that it
gives me a full mind/body/heart/spirit workout. There's a whole lot of other
people's music out there that, while it may get my booty in gear, leaves my
brain with so little to do that I feel like I've given myself a frontal
lobotomy. Then there's other music that may take me deep intellectually, but
leaves me unmoved from the neck down. Meanwhile, the list of music that
addresses my admittedly whack-ass spirituality is vanishingly small. Mike's
music, however, manages to always engage me at all these levels and
more--along with a sense of humor and humanity that's present even in his
darkest stuff. I think I felt all that most intensely from the "Dancing" and
"Wooden Smoke" albums, but it's there for me in all his stuff, and there it
is all over again in "Dog."
The songs in order:
Louie: What I said above about mind/body musical engagement? Case in point:
this song. A heavy-duty rocker that doesn't require one to check one's brain
at the door. The pounding opening riff is a great way to open any album, and
the road-house rocking riff that forms the instrumental break and the outro
could just go on for another five or ten minutes and I'd still be happily
head-banging along. Wonderfully evocative lyrics too (enigmatic power
Bober: Well, I've loved this ol' pooch since I was first introduced to him
at Victor's. Love the shifts between the themes with their different
emotional colorings. Love especially the one I think of as Bober the dog's
own theme ("Brother Bober's got some things he'd like to say to you"), all
serene and drifty--this is one mellow zen roshi of a pooch, he is, and I'd
do well to listen to his canine koans. Also love the chimes over the intro,
and the little pre-intro keyboard riff that recurs at the very end of the
Splane--this song just makes me want to get up and dance with a big silly
grin splatted all across my face. Like Mike sez on the DVD commentary, this
song is all about the groove. Oh, and I'm absolutely loving the Steely
Dan-sounding chord changes in the instrumental break.
Pride Is a Sin--it's taken me a little longer to embrace this song with its
stubbornly foursquare rhythm, emphasized even more on the record with the
addition of the Almighty Cowbell. But its stolidity (is that a word?) suits
it somehow. The urgency of the rising passage in the middle and end sections
("I've been saving it up") is absolutely dynamite. Love Bryan's climbing
bassline throughout the end climbing passage. (Bryan is his usual amazing
self throughout the album, but it's the nature of his effect on me that I'm
usually about halfway through any Keneally song before it dawns on me that
Bryan has quietly been doing amazing things down in the bottom all the way
through--which I think is a brilliant exemplar of what ensemble playing is
Simple Pleasure--a strange little ditty with some vaguely unsettling-to-me
juxtapositioning of imagery in the lyrics ("such a weird feeling getting
punched in the face"). I dunno whut it means, but I likes it.
Physics: heheheh. This piece so totally needs to be the soundtrack to some
kind of animation--some freak-ass far-future take on the
Roadrunner-and-Coyote cartoons. I can fairly see little lizardy creatures
skittering and zooming across the desert sands at top speed. Deep-fried
skinks are go!
Raining Sound: another tune that makes me just want to throw my head back
and do the grin-and-dance thing. The ska groove suits this song so well, I
can barely remember what it sounded like before it became Ska'ed For Life.
I'll be interested to see the complete lyrics on this song (on all the
songs, actually), but the impressions I get are all bits of sunny hope and
optimism, which the tune certainly supports.
Choosing to Drown: and then we go right into a jaunty little ditty about
suicide. I'm serious--it's hard to imagine anything jaunty could be written
about such a dark concept (whether literal or figurative), but this song
somehow manages it, as the dark churning guitars and eerie layered vocals
give way to the more buck-up-and-deal-with-shit rocking section in the
Gravity Grab: a wonderful piece of understated guitar-jazz whimsey--"whump!"
indeed! Again, I dunno whut it's about, but I know I likes it.
This Tastes Like a Hotel: in a previous post I jokingly said this extended
piece actually tasted like several hotels--one being the Disneyland Hilton,
one being the Chelsea Hotel (with either Lou Reed or Sid Vicious in
residence), and one being a little roadside hostel on the planet
Tralfamadore. Listening to this several more times, I find my joke was more
on the mark than I realized--only I think one of the other accommodations
must be an ashram dedicated to the God/ess of Funky Satori. I went and did a
compare-and-contrast with the obvious candidate for such, namely "Lightning
Roy" -- there are some interesting parallels between the two in their
juxtapositioning of the slapstick and the sublime. "Hotel" is definitely a
journey of some sort, as Mike mentions somewhere else in the DVD commentary.
I tend to think it's a journey towards some kind of enlightenment, with
appropriate stops for a few fear-and-loathing moments as well as some doses
of silliness to make sure the spiritual questor doesn't get too stuffy about
the whole thing ("Finkelheimer!"), before the whole shebang disappears into
a flurry of bug noises and alien frequencies.
Panda--returning (more or less) to Planet Earth, we close with a low-key
whimsical-sweet love song. Again I'm getting a distinct visual, this time of
our Queen Panda lumbering along with a groove in her furry step. And then
that haunting little keyboard riff fades over, and out, and we're done.
Conclusion: The one and only problem I can possibly find with this album,
and with Mike's work in general, is that listening to it too much spoils me
so that I can barely listen to most other music--most everything else seems
so brain-dead and shallow-souled in comparison. So glad I found ye,
Mikey--rave on, son!
(off to do that Funky Satori some more)
My impressions about Dog after a few listens over the last few days.
Louie Cool rock-tune, should be great for head-ripping purposes at
concerts. I can picture an audience full of long-haired so-called
alternative rock-kids bobbing their heads to this one. Subconciously
they would be slowly turned into people who see through the commercial
crap of Nickeback and all those type of bands and start appreciating
'real' alternative and innovative music. Oh and I really like the
coda at the end!
Bober Didn't grab me at first and also not later to be honest,
although I like the intro. A typical Keneally song. Good, but not
surprising to my ears. If this would have been on Dancing or Sluggo it
wouldn't sound out of place. I guess this song could grow on me, but
so far it hasn't yet..
Splane This is a wonderful song with an attractive melody that
sticks in my head. I guess I wouldn't have minded to have a 6+ minute
version of this and have a 3 minute Bober. But maybe length would
diminish its charm.
Pride Is A Sin One of the two songs I already heard before. This
version is somewhat different, but I like it still. Maybe it's the
familiarity with it that makes me like it, but I believe it's mostly
the fact that it's a cool straightforward song. I like it that this
songs seems to be doubting if it's a heavy rock song or a pop song. I
guess it's simply best described as heavy pop-rock
Simple Pleasures This doesn't stand out when listened to casually.
However when listening with more concentrations reveals a cool tune
that reminds me of early Keneally (Dust Speck period) and that's
definitely a good thing. It's a short tune, but that's part of the
Physics Wow, typical Keneally madness: tight music, weird sounds and
an atmosphere that only MK can create. The DVD documentary helps to
appreciate it even more. Also very short, but if it was longer it
probably would become monotonous, now it's just right.
Raining Sound The other song I had heard before, but in a different
arrangement. I like this ska-ish version a lot. It has a melody that
simply causes me to tap or swing along with it.
Choosing To Drown Like Bober I couldn't get into this one right
away. It starts out interestingly, but it becomes a bit repetetive and
I simply don't like the vocal parts. I like the last 2 minutes or so
better than the first 3 though. It all gets abit more varied and
interesting. Maybe if this would have been another 2 minute song,
consisting of just the last part, it would have pleased me better and
I guess this song could be one that I probably will get back to it
might click at one point. I had the same reaction to virtually the
complete Wooden Smoke album: couldn't enjoy it right away, but the
last year or so it's the Keneally album that has found its way back to
my player the most.
Gravity Grab Whimsical song. I like this kind of stuff. Layers of
Keneally voices over a relaxed backing. I like the DVD documentary
This Tastes Like A Hotel OK what to say about this.. After a bunch
of short songs MK throws this 15 minute monster on the album.. This
will never bore me I guess. The fact that the 15 minutes seemingly are
over soon is a good sign. I don't like all sections and it's simply to
big to realistically comprehend. I also love Lighnin' Roy, which has
the same 'problem': lots of seemingly disconnected sections that build
up to a whiole that is better than the sum of its parts. I think in
the future this song will be crucial in how I will eventually
appreciate this album. It might be a reason to play the album as much
as a reason not to play the album.. Time will tell I guess
Panda After the madness of the previous song this seems almost
mundane, but better listening reveals another nice song. The meoldy is
addictive and it's another one of those swinging / tapping along
songs. I like it!
Overall A damn fine album with moments of greatness and some moments
I can't get into (yet?)! Some of it sounds to me like a continuation
from more guitar-heavy tunes from Sluggo mixed with some typical
Keneally songs and some cool experiments. For a Kenally album this one
seems quite focused (except for Hotel, which is just sick), but as
with all his albums it's still very eclectic overall.
The DVD yay, that's a damn cool disc full of fun bits. Nice to hear
almost all the new songs live and the documentary, especially the
Physics part, is great. Haven't heard the commentary yet.
Pup Fun, makes me want to listen to Radio Keneally. Unlike some
other people here I wasn't too impressed with Sun Flute and Party
Poopers. They're not bad, and fit nicely on a disc like this, but they
are inferior to anything on Dog. Li'l is great though and the 3 live
tracks are fantastic.
It has been a good month. Mike Keneally ripped my head off.
Last month I was fortunate to catch MK in concert in my hometown at
Umeå Internationella Kammarmusikfestival. He performed in several
contexts during the festival week but at the initial event he played
mostly his own songs. To say the least Mike had me stunned and a bit
speechless. What an a-m-a-z-i-n-g concert!
And now, just a few weeks later, the eagerly awaited Dog has finally
been released, crossed the atlantic and jumped right into my
CD-player. Once again I am stunned and a bit speechless. What an
a-m-a-z-i-n-g CD! Bober, Choosing to Drown, This Tastes Like A
Hotel... just brilliant stuff! The DVD is great too and PUP is really
cool as well.
This guy is as close to not being human as a human can ever be. He's
just so frighteningly skilled.
--Per Stenberg, Sweden
Believe it or not, yesterday was the first time I listened to "This
Tastes Like a Hotel" in its entirety. Definitely one of Mike's more
fucked up moments. And I mean that in the best possible. For those of
you grasping for an accurate description of this masterpiece, I have
to say "Mr. Bungle" comes to mind. What do you think?
"Pride is a Sin" took some time to click with me, but I really love it
now. It has a nice, driving feel to it, especially the "I've been
saving it up..." parts. It sounds like something I would have heard on
some mid-nineties college rock station, only written by someone much
more talented than your average alterna-bar band. Looking forward to
rockin' out to that one in person at an MKB show some day.
The vocal arrangements on the whole album are really stunning. Freddie
Mercury would be proud.
I'd have to say that "Louie" is still my favorite "Dog" song as of
"Pup" is a beautiful thing. I like "Li'l" a lot but I agree that it
doesn't really fit the overall "feel" of the "Dog" album. "Sun Flute"
is gorgeous and "Party Poopers" makes me smile. Nice Fat Albert voice
in the beginning, Mike. The live version of "Father's Day" is really
<<Lemme tell you mamaquackers why I played that clump
(I didn't cuss, that's for Haggy, my dog)>>
That line makes me very happy.
...I had a tentative listening to Dog the night before last. Initial
impressions were very favourable, but time was not on my side and I didn't
get to hear most of it.
Last night, I had more time so went for the full monty (not in the naked
sense -- I was more or less fully clothed at the time). Let's just say,
there are some absolutely cracking moments of musical magnificence, and the
standard of playing is uniformly superb. A special nod must indeed go to BB
for his seriously cool bass work. Top drawer bottom frequencies!
I wasn't sure what to expect from this album, to be honest. I knew it
definitely wasn't going to be Wooden Smoke II, you'd be hard pushed to
imagine another Nonkertompf, and I didn't think it would have the same kind
of feel as Dancing. Well, I was right on all 3 counts, but I didn't expect
the reality. Apart from the cool, complex, layered stuff (which is cool,
complex and layered), there's some serious riff-mongering going on here.
Some bits reminded me of Zep, bits reminded me of Aerosmith (back in the 70s
I mean, not the current fluff), bits reminded me of Primus, bits reminded me
of Schubert for Gawd's sake, but nothing actually sounded like anything else
I've heard. To have tracks like Physics (an initial standout and no
mistake), Louie, Gravity Grab and This Tastes Like a Hotel on one 4.5 inch
silver disc is outrageous!
Make no bones about it, Dog is the dog's bollocks!!
Well, what with the excitement of the greatness that is the CD, I almost
forgot about the DVD.
Background: I came home from work, listened to Dog and finished just in time
to watch the semi-final of Euro 2004 (football, doncha know). Approx 5 mins
before kick-off I thought "Hmmm, maybe I'll just stick on the DVD to see
what it's like, but I'll save the full magnificence of it all until some
Foreground: Well, the first track of Live at Victor's and I was hooked. I
saw virtually nothing of the match. This DVD is just incredibly,
use-it-to-go-to-the-kitchen-to-get-something-to-eat good. And trust me,
that's pretty good!
Apart from the music and the seemingly telepathic abilities of the band in
the live scenario, the DVD gives those of us who don't see Mike very often a
chance to play an entertaining game of "Spot the Keneally". It went
something like this:
"He's the guy on stage with the long hair playing the guitar"
"No, hang on, he's the clean-cut short haired duded in the living room
playing the guitar"
"I take that back, he's the one playing the guitar in the studio with the
long hair and the beard"
"Are you sure? I didn't think the long-haired guy was wearing glasses
"Ah, he's taken them off now"
"Look, that's definitely him with the cans slipping off his ears"
"Who's that dude at the piano?"
"Look there's 4 of them now, I'm confused".
I've been super busy since this weekend, both at home and work. I gave the
CD a casual listen on Saturday, while I was doing other things. I've only
been able to give a good listen, to try an absorb some of this, in the past
couple of days.
What I've learned from Mike; You can never get attached to a particular vibe
of any of his albums because you can be sure that the next one will be of an
entirely different style, energy and planet. After hearing 'Choosing to
Drown' on None Radio, and Mike comparing Dog to BTDS (I think he did
anyway), I was really expecting something heavier and darker than the
previous CDs. There is definitely an element of that in Dog, but WOW, to my
surprise, there are some completely delightful, sun-shiny songs in there as
well. Yes, songs like Splane and Raining Sound are what my girly-girl
sensibilities are drawn to at first. That's until I can get myself around
some of the weightier tunes. I was expecting that much of this album would
take a while to grow on me, but I'm really enjoying it.
I love Physics. What a wonderful ride. Can I go again? Pride is A Sin is
very high on the head-bobbing scale. Gravity Grab makes me giggle, and I
swear there are some spots where Mike is about to crack up laughing.
I've definitely been attached to the emotional intensity of Dancing and
Sluggo as well as Wooden Smoke's quiet, healing nature. So far it's been a
joy to see which universe Mike is going to spring out of next, with more
clarity than before.
>I am a tailless amphibian again
This reminds me of the episode of the "The Space Museum" story of
Doctor Who where the museum-controller-guy says "But these are
amphibious creatures - you are not an amphibian!"
But I've just recieved Dog 793 and stuff.
Wow, what a huge pile of album content (depending on which
album/performance section you're looking at at the time...) !!
The album sounds great, but the DVD has got to be hands down the way
best bonus disc ever... wow, what a lot of cool playing and various
content... The Unreasonably Generous Audiovisual Extravaganza is
Enormous, and Worth the Price of Admission.
And then there's Pup...
Thanks to all of the correct people for making such a great collection
of objects of entertainment.
After first impressions, I like the loose, heavy, experimental vibe on
things - you know, like Lizard Tongue, Gravity Grab, that sort of
thing. I find that This Tastes Like A Hotel only really tastes like
certain parts of a hotel, but covers the important stuff very nicely.
Choosing To Drown is growing on me very quickly since I first heard it
a couple of weeks ago on None Radio - I really like the demo audio
version on the DVD, and I think this is one of the main tunes that
will stick with me for a long time.
I especially like the various loop grooves through the DVD menus.
I thought with Dancing and Wooden Smoke that I had probably reached a pinnacle of Mikey-goodness. Surely the man couldn't write an album that I liked as well and as consistently as those two - and I was half-right. I like it even more. And what I think is even more amazing - that's just on the first few listens. You know how much fun it is to absorb an MK album and once you get used to one layer, another surfaces to engross your brain? I'm all a'tingle in anticipation!
I think what comes through most is how much fun the guys are having. The DVD gives a great peek at the band and I love watching their expressions as they play. Bliss! Thanks so much for making that available!!!!!
This be one tasty Dog. I think I'll have another!
Well, I've heard all the things to hear, and watched all the things to watch. It's bliss! The surround stuff especially, wow. The living room setting in 5.1 is just great. Then hearing references to upcoming July shows on the commentary... what a wonderful immediacy. A DVD that feels like the world's greatest postcard.
Though it was obviously tons of hard work, it comes off with casual brilliance. Yay all of you!
For me, the one thing (so far) that hits me on an emotional level
(probably because of where my head is these days - see my OT post) is
the stanza from Louie:
I tell myself to say these things out loud
But nothing's coming out
I can't believe what's going on
How can people act this way?
(c 2004 Spen Music)
There's something about how those words go with the music that almost
makes me cry. Mike, don't tell me what you had in mind, but I'd love
to know *when* you wrote those lyrics. There's so many things that
they could apply to, and every listener will be sure that it's about
their own thoughts. Outstanding song writing!
Let me throw my pancreas into the fray regarding the excellent
"Splane". I love the cowboy-in-the-sunset intro. I love the dissonance
in the first-half of each verse. I love the pre-chorus masquerading as
a chorus (the "I'm gonna 'splane it all right now" part). I love the REAL
chorus (my designation), the "Na na da da da, da da da da, na na, na
da da" part -- I just spent two days on a brutal 12-mile roundtrip
bushwack-backpack in search of native trout, and this melody was going
through my head CONSTANTLY (except when I was screaming with joy after
catching, landing, and safely releasing a dozen or more wild, healthy,
gorgeously colored rainbow trout in the 12" to 16" inch range. Life
rocks!). I LOVE the guitar solo, and the little part that ends the
solo (at 1:49) and, later, ends the actual song -- that little guitar
tag that goes "ba ba bah" -- KILLS ME. It sounds like something that's
been there forever. It's one of those little 'Mike moments' that I
cherish, a moment that sends icicles down my ankles and makes my toes
Funny, I'd heard "Splane" performed live on several occasions, and,
although I liked it each and every time, I wasn't completely floored
by the song. Hearing the studio version -- with all it's awesome
charms -- has really brought my respect for this song to a new level.
I absolutely love it. It's the first thing I'm going to play from
"DOG" for my hyper-critical "where is the hook?" girlfriend. I think
she's gonna dig it. "This Tastes Like a Hotel", however, will probably
have her reaching for her Hanson albums. :)
Throw your clothes out on the lawn,
best... nine seconds... EVER (or for a darned long time anyway): 4'21" to 4'30" of "Choosing to Drown"! Play it in a loop very loudly until the police arrive!
Right now, at this minute anyway, my absolute favorite moment on "DOG" is the guitar solo on "This Tastes Like a Hotel", the one starting at
10:48 and ending at 12:08.
Goshdamn, man, that is the SHIZZIT! I-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e. No one, and I
mean NO ONE, captures the essence of the dream sequence -- via music
-- the way Mike Keneally does. In fact, the whole of "Hotel" seems
very dreamlike to me, with its stops, starts, left turns, ambient
sections, and weird recurring themes. But that solo is, to me, the
definition of Mike Keneally. Or one of them, at least. Man, that solo.
Mike, thank you for conjuring and capturing -- for all time -- that
pink-smoke-coming-out-of-a-genie-bottle of a solo. Ruthlessly cool!
Well, I certainly eagerly awaited this album. I have to say, even
with albums I love and learn to love, even ones I love a lot, that
after owning obscene amounts of CDs and immersing my life in music
like I have for 18 years, I don't often get viscerally excited about
them, even if my love for a record/band/artist is extreme and
occasionally somewhat fanatical.
That said, I'd say that DOG is literally one of the best albums I've
ever heard. The playing, writing, conception, packaging, everything -
I have absolutely no reservations about any of it whatsoever, nor do I
anticipate ever changing my mind. The flow is perfect. While firmly
planted in the rock realm, the tunes' juxtaposition amidst each other
(not to mention on the micro-level of varied kinds of material, as in
This Tastes Like a Hotel - wow!) manages to split the difference
between being musically and lyrically obtuse and brain-tingling to
head-and-booty-shaking in just a perfect way.
Pride is a Sin - goddamn, just ballsout rock. Reminds me of Living
Colour, actually, lyrically in the repetition of the key phrases and
even in the progressions. Gravity Grab (just f'in cool!) is the
perfect end to the first 7/11ths of the record, sets you up perfectly
for 'Hotel,' and Panda is just the perfect love song and absolutely
perfect closer for and absolutely perfect record. All the other ones
are equally great, too.
I don't remember feeling this way about an album since I first heard
Facing You by Keith Jarrett, or Nefertiti by Miles, or Relayer by Yes,
or Time's Up by Living Colour, or John Zorn's Naked City, or La
Legende d'Eer by Xenakis. What's more, most of these revelatory
experiences occurred at 12-16 years ago, my junior high and high school
I've enjoyed Mr. Keneally's albums ever since hat. was the only one in
existence, and, at the very least, I really like every one, usually
loving them unreservedly. With that said, I think DOG raises the bar
about 50,000 notches above even Wooden Smoke, itself a bar-raiser.
Holy fuck. Congrats!
Here are my impressions, while we're at it:
I just love Splane. It's one of those songs that just hits me on an
I resisted the urge to title this post "Dog Days of Summer," not only
Mike Keneally Band's new album Dog is now available here exclusively in Standard or Special Edition CD/DVD versions.
Shots from the Dog DVD...
|Contents ©1994 - 2013 Obvious Moose (except where noted) and may not be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved.|