Dog

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Dog Mike Keneally Band

Dog
Mike Keneally Band

Released 2004

  1. Louie
  2. Bober
  3. Splane
  4. Pride Is A Sin
  5. Simple Pleasure
  6. Physics
  7. Raining Sound
  8. Choosing To Drown
  9. Gravity Grab
  10. This Tastes Like A Hotel
  11. Panda

Mike Keneally’s first album in well over two years is also the recorded debut of the tight and powerful Mike Keneally Band: Mike on guitar, keyboards and lead vocals, Rick Musallam on guitar and vocals, Bryan Beller on bass and Nick D’Virgilio on drums.

Dog is huge. It’s Mike’s heaviest, thickest array of sounds to date, featuring eleven supremely melodic and emotionally resonant songs. For anyone who’s been waiting for an album from Keneally that rocks from end-to-end and is accessible enough to play for friends with more mainstream tastes, here you go. For those who still appreciate amazing, mind-opening music, the writing is deep, the arrangements intricate and the whole band’s playing is ferocious and virtuosic. Mike Keneally’s unique, compelling musical universe has added yet another fantastic new planet.

What is Dog — an unfinished essay from 2004

dogMonday, April 02, 2007

Found this in the computer today, don’t think I ever posted it anywhere (someone can tell me if I’m wrong). It was written while I fooling around with ideas for a plot continuity to the “Dog” album, with the idea that an album-length conceptual video could be produced. I never finished this outline (it ends right when it gets to “This Tastes Like A Hotel”) but I thought it was interesting reading and that you might get a kick out of checking it out:

WHAT IS DOG

Both the major projects I’ve worked on over the last three years, “Dog” and “The Universe Will Provide,” are largely concerned with a variety of private occurrences and memories from my childhood and a general rumination on that time of my life. “TUWP” being the first part of a continuum which “Dog” completes. “Dog” is saying goodbye to a lot of things. It’s kind of a sad album to me so I wanted to make the musical settings big and bright and noisy, maybe to counteract some of the emotions the lyrics convey to me.

The lyrics to these songs were written very quickly and without a lot of second-guessing. Usually they’re written before I’m able to start figuring out what they mean. Most of the words on this album and the last one, “Wooden Smoke,” reveal specific narrative details pretty sparingly. My hope is that they paint enough of the picture without being unnecessarily explicit. Specific details can mess a song up a lot of the time. But “Dog” may also represent a goodbye, at least for a little while, to that abstract style of lyric writing for me. Already I can tell that the next batch of songs I’m about to write are going to be either instrumental or lyrically really straightforward.

I also wanted “Dog” to be thick with guitars but there’s not a lot of long solos on it, because I wanted it to be more of a pop album. Just because that’s what I felt like hearing.

Every album is an interesting part of a process. I think so far all the albums balance each other nicely. I definitely want the whole catalog to have a compositional flow to it and “Dog” felt like a refreshing way to turn after “Wooden Smoke,” and also a nice counterpart to “The Universe Will Provide.” Since I was working on both albums at the same time they do refer to each other in subtle or not so subtle ways. I definitely think of them as closely related.

“Dog” is also concerned in part with secret activity and conspiracies (“Louie,” “Raining Sound” and “Gravity Grab” are all somehow related in this).

The album starts with four songs which are sort of a “radio suite.” In the alternate universe where “Dog” takes place, the radio station that Bober (the dog) likes to listen to has all four of these opening songs in heavy rotation. They don’t play “Louie” or “Bober” so much because they’re so long. In fact “Bober” only gets played twice a month or so, about as often as they play “Sky Pilot” by Eric Burdon and the Animals. “Louie” gets played about as much as “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” and “Pride Is A Sin” and “Splane” are biggies, we’re talking “Don’t Fear The Reaper” territory here.

(Now I’ll tell a story about what’s happening in the alternate “Dog” world, but occasionally I’ll use parenthetical asides to convey actual, real-life information about the songs on “Dog.”)

In the alternate “Dog” world, each of these four songs is by a different imaginary band and each has an accompanying video as well.

“Louie” is played by a group from Canada called Those Aren’t Shoes. Their video is pretty funny – they dress up like Neil Young and Crazy Horse and lip sync to the song while a guy dressed like Marilyn Manson with a janitor’s overalls and a denim hat (actually Dave Grohl in costume) knocks things over, spills paint on the floor and shit like that.

(Additionally, regarding “Louie”: it was written on an instrument called a Guitarp, which has seven standard guitar strings and a small passel of additional harp strings on which I played some odd melodies. Phil deGruy (who developed and has mastered the Guitarp) and Matt Resnicoff are responsible for the instrument being in my possession. I tuned the standard guitar strings to an open A7 chord with a low A in the bass. Very chunky. The lyrics came quickly during the buildup to the US invasion of Baghdad. The background vocals in the bridge are singing: “Our strength insults the world / and everything beyond / karma careens, returns / don’t have to like the taste / excuse us, we’ll go home / stop poisoning the pond / and learn what we’ve become / before we show our face again.”)

“Bober” is by a Connecticut emo group called AortaSplinter. The video is just a closeup of the singer’s head, with blue and white lights being projected on his face, while the rest of the band plays out a series of faux-dramatic tableux in a Saturn ring of activity rotating around his head.

(Re: “Bober” – originally supposed to be the opening song on the album until I found that some of the people in my coterie were somehow nonplussed by the final version. “Louie” seemed like more of a grabber so I decided to stick that in front instead. I think the people who were confused by “Bober” were thinking too hard about it. I think of it as kind of a sixties-style uptempo rock ballad.)

“Pride Is A Sin” is by a guy named Todd Petty, and “Splane” is by a guy named Dane Mathers. These two mega-stars have have been waging a public feud for years (both singers seem bizarrely unaware of the messages in the songs they themselves are singing) and they dis each other in their videos, burning effigies of one another etc. Pretty silly.

(“Pride Is A Sin” and “Splane” are the most accessible songs on the record. “Pride” was played live many times by the Keneally Band prior to making this recording so we were pretty loose and playful with it during the session. The lyric in part addresses the “pride” mania which is always prevalent in the US but especially these days, and how “pride” often is really code for more aggressive and xenophobic tendencies which people tend to shy away from owning up to, so they call it pride instead. But mostly the song is concerned with the pitfalls of personal pride. “Splane” is an acknowledgment of the abstract nature of many of the lyrics of the album, with mock pronouncements of profundity underscored by the ending, a sincere plea for assistance — asking the listener to help the singer understand once and for what the hell he’s singing about.)

Bober doesn’t see these videos though; he’s listening to these songs on his radio. After the fourth song “Splane,” a little blue window of swirling sound opens up in the middle of the radio speaker, through which Bober finds he is able to walk. Bober enters the radio. (The blue window of sound is represented by the short intro to “Simple Pleasure,” which is actually a separate short piece called “LP.” Didn’t warrant its own index point though.)

Gradually his surroundings change from old radio components to more abstract objects which then transform into sun and meadows and trees. “Simple Pleasure” represents his initial nervousness as his journey commences. During “Physics,” he turns to his right and there’s a bunch of weird looking cartoon flowers poking at him, changing color and shape and pulsating in unison and issuing whispered threats. Bober hightails it out of there.

(“Simple Pleasure,” especially the short intro, are a door into the more peculiar part of the album. The song itself is an enigma which fits my requirements for “arcane yet thought-provoking album cut,” meant to be heard in context with the rest of the album. “Physics” is a cartoon for ears.)

He sees an old bearded guy in something that looks like a cardboard Pope’s hat and walks toward him. It’s Enggo Pah, a sailor/musician who was journeying around all through “Wooden Smoke.” Enggo is distracted and keeps asking Bober questions about people Bober doesn’t know (Mini-K? The Lizard? [characters from the song “Raining Sound] ‘Let ’em know that I’m Amos?’), and they discuss whether or not they’re actually still in the radio. Enggo gets a little morose (first part of “Choosing To Drown”) but Bober talks straight to him and gradually lifts his spirits. During their talk, Enggo gets a call on his cell phone offering him a teaching gig at Berklee. Enggo would be thrilled to accept! Enggo bids Bober goodbye and sets out on his own in a new direction, which he thinks is toward Boston. During the final instrumental section Bober continues pressing on into the unknown.

(“Choosing To Drown” was a poem for a long time before it was a song. As a song, it was constructed as a platform for the band to make a lot of noise during live shows. Very fun to play.)

The psychic energy expended to make Enggo feel better during their talk has left Bober a bit drained and he flirts with discouragement, and exhaustion. which is mingling with the confusion he’s feeling because while he travels (through a fairly forboding patch of wood) he keeps visualizing these sudden snatches of activity which he doesn’t understand at all. What’s happening is that Bober is actually Mike Keneally’s dog, and Mike’s in a home studio working on the recording of “Gravity Grab” while Bober is inside the radio. and the sound of Mike working on the song is seeping into the radio, but in its journey through this transformative landscape toward Bober, the music actually materializes as flashes of visual narrative describing the happenings in the song, which is what Bober is seeing. Since the song is a totally absurd story Mike made up about a town hall meeting in a small community called Bedham (the government of which is guided in part by a document called “The Ecco-Briar Outblast,” most of which is written in a language no one in Bedham can read), the visual flashes Bober is experiencing are difficult for him to relate to, but gradually he surrenders to the sensations and, given his exhaustion, he falls asleep during the closing section, which is a reminiscence of a special night spent trying to sleep in a room above The Empty Glass, a nightclub in Charleston, West Virginia.

(“Gravity Grab” almost didn’t make it to the record because I thought it was impenetrably weird, but soon found that a lot of people who heard “Dog” while I was working on it actually found it to be one of the more accessible things on the album. I know now that as long as you’ve got a chill groove going on you can ladle all kinds of strange things on top. To play both this song and “Simple Pleasure” you need to capo your guitar at the fifth fret. Get to it! The vocals on this song are a tribute to The Lettermen and other sixties-era vocal ensembles featuring multiple numbers of men singing in relaxed unison. An interesting sub-species of sixties pop.)

The introduction to “This Tastes Like A Hotel” jars him awake. He’s heard this music before because Mike is working on it constantly.

(“This Tastes Like A Hotel” sounds sort of like a cry for help, but it sure was fun to make. It’s the most explicit example of the ‘saying goodbye’ sub-theme of “Dog.” It uses a lot of techniques I’ve used in making music for years, and may well be a goodbye to a good number of those techniques. I see myself relaxing a lot more in the years to come, musically speaking. Writing more music which can be played easily by four people having a good time. Leaning more on an improvisational, conversational and bluesier guitar style and less on conscious “art”-making. I’ve been knocking my head against walls for years, chipping away at progressively more complex projects, and it’s taken me this long to figure out that I connect with audiences most completely when I strip away the artifice and stand before them, pouring myself out through the guitar and voice. So, I’ll do more of that sort of thing from now on. Leaving “Hotel,” and “Dog,” as a fond farewell to a number of previous ways of doing things. At least that’s how I feel at the moment. We’ll see how I do.)

unfinished essay from early 2004

Dog Lyrics

© 2004 Spen Music, BMI. All rights reserved.

LOUIE

You’re not Jesus or Popeye the Sailor
You are Louie, an eminently capable purveyor of flava
Ostracized since the day you were tardy
Mesmerized by the tight, eternal freeze-frame of Herschel Bernardi

Rave on, son.
Louie!

Placed your faith in a bucket of danger
Graduated semi-Summa Cum Laude, mama, tried as a traitor.
Now your home and your culture have failed ya
Centerzone X: you were hard and qualified for light bacchanalia

Dream away…because?
‘Cause any gasp could be the last.
Love is here. Did you notice? Now’s the time.

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?

(Our strength insults the world and everything beyond.
Karma careens, returns. Don’t have to like the taste.
Excuse us, we’ll go home. Stop poisoning the pond.
And learn what we’ve become before we show our face again.)

Hey, Don!

Train S. Train is a-comin’ up slowly
Can your brain, your Louie brain, uh, take a ride?
(I think there’s also a pony)
Louie finds it’s getting harder to get off
He reminds himself to stop himself
Forget himself
He’s screaming his head off

Louie!

Corporate dreams
International favors
Special bee-stings and enigmatic powermaidens eager to date ya

BOBER

Oh no!
You’re trapped inside the ice!
Howja, howja, howja –
– why you trapped inside the ice?

The dog’s kicked back, he’s got a bottle inside.

Suddenly, you didn’t recognize yourself.
Now can you understand what we’ve been saying?

Yep! OK! Enough of the past!
I’d like to introduce you to my paddle-dog, Bober.
Half-named after Conrad Bain’s brother, Bober’s got some things
he’d like to say to you.
Fiddling with purpose, he’s collected up a startling array of
glistening fragments and re-ordered them with care.
It’s his dearest hope you’ll find some comfort in ’em there.

Suddenly, you didn’t recognize yourself.
Now can you understand what we’ve been saying?

They’re gonna re-do you (possibly in medium),
the people who made this garage.
They’re stoked to review you and everyone is knowing it’s large.
An anodized bell rings out the sequence.
Slide your hands on your apron and stoke the glow.
You just don’t know! But the night is young, so get ready to go.

I miss that dumb song.
I miss that ol’ car.
But what I miss most is being where you are.

Suddenly, you didn’t recognize yourself.
Now can you understand what we’ve been saying?

SPLANE

When we say “doghead,” you say “tough”
Assa way it’s always gone down, but nowwegotta
Fall on up to the top of the plane and
crawl it on our hands ‘n’ knees, and so my brother
Why did you take it? Why did you have to
work your grubby hands and grab it?
You didn’t make anybody’s story better
You didn’t do a single thing for yourself
All aboard, all aboard ’cause
I’m gonna splane it all right now
I’m gonna splane it all right now

When we say the world is filled with people
Gonna learn to rollerskate to heaven
You say “I wanna fall up to the top of the plane and
crawl it on my hands ‘n’ knees,” and so my brother
Can you sep — can you separate the cleric from his bony knees —
But that’s when the grime in the street and the course is complete
For the hamsters that are running the plane
This is remarkable, my car’s parkable
So I’m gonna splane it all right now
I’m gonna splane it all right now

Lemme tell you mamaquackers why I played that clump
(I didn’t cuss, that’s for Haggy, my dog)
‘Cause I placed a feather on top of the river
And stood stock still for three-fifths of an hour
I would rather bide my time and wait for it to relent and
recede like some risen demon returning to an
underground lair somewhere inside my glands than engage it in battle,
Or try to squeeze my way through an opening
With batrachian strivings of my feet
I am a tail-less amphibian again.
All aboard, now all aboard
I want you to splane it all right now
I want you to splane it all right now

PRIDE IS A SIN

People are afeared to face it
And no polygraph can trace it
I guess I oughta say it another way

Pride is a sin, in case I’ve forgotten

The gas needle says it’s E
It’s a challenging time for me
I think I oughta say it another way

Pride is a sin, in case I’ve forgotten
Seductive greed twin, so many besotten

You never know.

Waiting for the paint to dry,
the paint is waiting for the paint to dry.
I know I oughta say it another way

Pride is a sin, in case I’ve forgotten

You never know.

I’ve been saving it up.

Spoiling for a fight for ridiculous reasons
When the only real fight is within
I stepped on the urge of the madman
Safe for another day, say it another way

Pride is a sin, in case I’ve forgotten

I’ve been saving it up.

SIMPLE PLEASURE

The many types of simple pleasures
Luscious things, all wide with wings
All surrounded you at home
And threw your clothes out on the lawn

It’s such a weird feeling, getting punched in the face
You gotta let go.
Watching you let it go.

PHYSICS
(instrumental)

RAINING SOUND

Where’s Mini-K?
A lizard called to say that reindeers came to town
Get on your feet, my brother.
Now (and AROUND the now), the news (anyway):
You met my parade.

Now you know there’s a time, and then there’s a time for nothing.
(We know.)
Because I’m often gone.
Less hair, little love, alone until you’re dead and gone.

Let us put, near and far, all the hazy sunbutter worry away!
Let ’em know that I’m Amos!
Raining sound, and another Monet?
Raining sound in all of a haytown?
No, no, no, no!

Lunar Millie run away, made Ozera who many know
just as a robber, loose guy.
You sail in another, not a letter moved me.
Say no.

Let us put, near and far, all the hazy sunbutter worry away!
Let ’em know that I’m Amos!

Raining sound in all of a haytown?
No, no, no, no!

Where’s Mini-K?
A lizard called to say that reindeers cloned a clown.
Because I’m often gone.
Now (and AROUND the now), the news (anyway):
You met my parade.

CHOOSING TO DROWN

Choosing to drown

Choosing forsaking the up for the down

Choosing to not fight the might, the hand at the back of your head

Choosing to think you’d be better off dead

Choosing to drown
To kick ever softer and slower

You gave up the ghost
You fought your last fight
Refused to believe that your path had been right

But Beantown called you

You pushed off the aggressor?
You got that shit done?

Hoo hay!
No choosing to drown!
Hey, Beantown!

GRAVITY GRAB

Gravity grab.
Whoomp? Is it there?
The Eccobriar Outblast had them ‘poxied to their chair.

(Follder sahnsanh, myen sahn sahn.)

But upon its completion
The Bedham chief rose
And he told us of a riddle
Which he had the urge to pose

I kid you not — the lights went out —
and the Bedham chief, he freaked out, and he really start to shout.

Gravity grab! Whoomp? Is it there?
But that was not the riddle,
no that was not the riddle.
The plastic just burbled and it formed a goo,
and when it was finished, the Bedham chief knew.

(In bloom they wanted. Entro fortified mahnhahn.
Enter poly enter mahnhahn.)

I kid you not — the lights went out —
and the Bedham chief, he freaked out, and he really start to shout.

Gravity grab! Whoomp? Is it there?
But that was not the riddle,
no that was not the riddle.
The plastic just burbled and it formed a goo,
and when it was finished, the Bedham chief knew.

Asleep in a room above the club.
Lullabye’d by the muffled thump.
You don’t know whatchoo been a-missin’, oh boy.

THIS TASTES LIKE A HOTEL

Oh Bonnie
You’re good
I’ll miss you
I’ll see you over the Alfred Neuman sunrise

But that jewel in the stone
Is the heart of God
And the heart of God
Is a Fleagle smile
And a Fleagle smile
Is a neverending, neverending…

(Barely audible in background:
Someone dragged their thumb along my comb
The melody made me high
Whenever I play with an orchestra it makes the ladies cry
I got a spring in my step mamaquacker
I got a jaw in my knee mamaquacker
Tap the ash away, tap the ash away)

This tastes like a hotel
This gives my friends and me
A dang’rous chill

This tastes like a hotel
This doesn’t happen
Accidentally
It’s a fire to be

Now you will drag me down
Got muck all over me
And your animation’s static
And it’s all primary colors
At seven frames a second
Then it all falls in the water

But that jewel in the stone
Is the heart of God
And the heart of God
Is a Fleagle smile
And a Fleagle smile
Is a neverending, neverending…

(Whispered:
Chlorine moves up
Occupying the outer rim of a hip-pocket magnolia
These are the best days of our lives
Throw it in for me, Bob
I’ll have it up in a snap
Then I promise I’ll nap
These are times that try men’s souls)

Here’s to your rainy day

Hello my heart hello
Swallow Cupid arrow
“We got your back,” they said
and when I said “take it away,”
They took it away

They said “Time is running out.”
I said, “Time is an illusion, and, uh…”
“No,” they said, “not literally,”
I said, “Oh yeah, thank you”

(And your animation’s static
And it’s all primary colors
At seven frames a second
Then it all falls in the water
simultaneously:
We hugged laughing weeping
We sang in the shade)

“We’re into that dynamic”
And their smile grew taller
And a silly little, billy little centimeter longer
You have to be the way you want the world to be
Be grateful you’re alive, don’t kill anybody?

There’s a reason this tastes like a hotel

Why?

Here’s to your rainy day, funk monster

Wild, mild freak of trees
Take your comfort where you please
Work the ink down to the nib
Wash and wear your lobster bib
(simultaneously:
I ain’t wise enough to be a horse
Steak-and-fries enough to be a horse
No No No
Horse, no
Infiltration of the horse)

Tuck into a tumbling motion
On your feet with arms wide open

You don’t know what you got
on your menu, horse

Data, data, data, data

You don’t know what you got
You don’t know what you got

PANDA

Panda
Put your arms around me
Panda
Ain’t you glad you found me

You’re just the cutest thing
Panda
C’mon and wear my ring
Ain’t you glad you found me Panda

Evil eyes threaten to pull you down panda
I will be there I will be there
I mean dammit – now’s the time baby
Dammit, now’s the time

All bugs gotta crawl

I anoint thee
Queen Panda
Hey, appoint me
King Panda

Have Teo edit our life
Into a wond’rous thing
C’mon and wear my ring Panda

Evil eyes threaten to pull you down panda
I will be there I will be there
I mean dammit – now’s the time baby
Dammit, now’s the time

No cannonball knock you to the ground panda
I will be there I will be there
I mean dammit – now’s the time baby
Now’s the time

 


Dog SE - Mike Keneally Band

Dog – Special Edition
Mike Keneally Band

Released 2004

This special edition includes the audio CD Dog, but also contains a first for Exowax: Dog DVD, the acclaimed region-free NTSC DVD that includes live MKB performances in Dolby 5.1 Surround, behind-the-scenes studio footage and extras. And in the time-honored Exo-tradition, Mike has hand-numbered and autographed the first 2500 copies.

Shots from MKB’s Dog Special Edition DVD

discography_dogdvd01 discography_dogdvd02 discography_dogdvd03 discography_dogdvd04 discography_dogdvd06 discography_dogdvd07 discography_dogdvd08 discography_dogdvd09 discography_dogdvd10 discography_dogdvd11 discography_dogdvd12 discography_dogdvd13 discography_dogdvd14 discography_dogdvd15 discography_dogdvd16 discography_dogdvd17 discography_dogdvd18 discography_dogdvd19


keneally store buy download

Pup - Mike Keneally Band

PUP
Mike Keneally Band

Released 2004

  1. Radio Keneally Part 1
  2. Li’l
  3. Party Poopers
  4. Ding
  5. Radio Keneally Part 2
  6. Hello (Live)
  7. Click (Live)
  8. Father’s Day (Live)
  9. Sun Flute
  10. Radio Keneally Part 3
  11. The Big Ending

PUP was initially issued as a cool little 35-minute CD preview of the RadioKeneally internet broadcast service, personally assembled, narrated and labeled by Mike. It features a couple of very weird MK solo recordings, a ten-minute-plus early version of “Li’l,” (a song that was intended for, but never made it to, 2004’s Dog), some live Mike Keneally Band recordings and more. It was originally included as a bonus to those who pre-ordered Dog. PUP is light and wispy, but fine fun nonetheless.


Releases:
Exowax / EX2406 / 2004 (cd)
Exowax / EX2406-1 / 2004 (cd SE w/ DVD)
Exowax / EX2406-2 / 2004 (cd – PUP)
Exowax / EX2406-2d / 2009 (download – PUP)