Distinctly 90’s Sound: That Dog

In the early 90’s there was an amazing surge of riot grrrl bands, a lot of which I absolutely loved. Many of those angry girl-bands came out of Olympia, home of Kill Rock Stars. They proved to be the true new punk spirit, many of which having just learned to play and used what they did know to get intense energies and emotions out of the listeners. Excuse 17, Team Dresch, Bratmobile and Kathleen Hanna’s Bikini Kill are just a few favorites of this amazing genre.

Alongside this movement were the girls of the Seattle-grunge movement. Again, including many personal favorites such as 7 Year Bitch, Babes in Toyland, L7 and Hole. Like the Riot Grrrl movement, it seemed natural to me to bunch those bands together to at least make a consistent mix tape.

That Dog, however, is a group I couldn’t personally put in any category but their own.

I remember hearing the track “He’s Kissing Christian” for the first time and thinking, “What IS this?”. I’d never heard anything quite like it before. It took me about six months or more to find out That Dog are responsible for this ear-candy, and from then on I kept looking for any song of theirs I could possibly find. The combination of Anna Waronker and the Haden sisters’ voices made such serene melodies which were a surprisingly complementing paradox to their angry distorted riffs. I’d also never really been a fan of a violin in rock/pop music before, but Petra Haden’s technical fluency of the instrument made the violin seem so natural in That Dog’s sound.

This short-lived band only lasted a few years and split up in 1997. With 3 spectacularly sounding albums I really am sorry that they probably won’t be releasing new music anymore. I’ve since followed their individual careers to find more great music, such as The Rentals and solo efforts by Petra Haden and Anna Waronker. I strongly recommend Waronker’s “Anna” and Haden’s interpretation of “The Who Sell Out”.

That Dog reunited this last August for 2 (obviously) sold out shows. If you were the lucky few who got to witness them live, I envy you. Hopefully this will spark an interest in them to collaborate on new songs in the future.


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