It was Crufts over the weekend, and I have a partner who is obsessed with Dalmatians. So what else to write about this week, but dogs…but I had to paws for a while to get enough songs (with thanks to Daisy and Alex for assisting there).
This list features no Puppy Love, no Baha Men, no Wanting to be your dog, and no Trauma Hounds, either. But there might just be a hound, amongst others, and either way, I’ll keep things on a short leash before howling too much about the subject.
Photos, by the way, come from our visit to Crufts a couple of years back.
Who Am I (What’s My Name)?
Is there any other artist who has cultivated more of an, er, doggy persona (even if he went feline for a bit recently) than Calvin Broadus Jr.? A former LA gang member who hit it big with the G-funk braggadocio of his first album and his distinctive, nasal rapping style makes it impossible to mistake his bark for anyone else. So what else to include here than a song that features barking backing vocals and rappers turning into dogs in the video…
Dogs Were Barking
Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike
Talking of barking, dogs are part of the soundtrack to what sounds like one hell of a night for Eugene Hütz, with monkeys, police and a whole ton of family and friends assisting too. Whether it is actually his wedding, or one almighty drunken bender, I’ve never been entirely sure. But those dogs keep barking, even while family members offer sage advice on life and Hütz dances with the pretty girls.
Cupid Is A Drunkard
There are few songs actually about individual dogs, but here is one, and a funny one at that. Apparently a broadly true story about a blind man whose dog is something of a smartarse, it takes in Lourdes, miracles, sins of the flesh, getting drunk, and the ever-present guide dog who witnesses everything Terry doesn’t. Proof that while Jeays can get very serious at times, he is frequently at his very best when he lets loose a little, like this. Still, the pertinent question: “is that dog barking or laughing?”
Dog’s Got A Bone
The Three EPs
The dog here, though, is certainly not laughing. The Beta Band manage to make this dog sound like the lonelinest animal alive, sat in the road with this bone, with no hint of joy at all – until you realise that the dog is simply a metaphor for a broken relationship. The joy comes later as the song bursts into a glorious, wordless singalong – one of the many flawless songs this band released in their first year or two of existence.
Dogs Like Socks
IV Revenge of the Vengeance
Does what it says on the tin, really – a completely and utterly barking minute of rampaging metal that basically sums up the joy of any dog you’ve ever seen who has got his jaws around your socks. It even manages to have a kick-ass, chugging breakdown before it finishes, sixty-nine seconds later…
A first appearance for South African act Die Antwoord, I believe, in my Tuesday Ten series – a group who I have to confess I’ve never been entirely sure if I like or not. Certainly they have a striking visual and sonic signature, existing somewhere between electro/techno, rap and even industrial at times, but their sound is certainly not for everyone. This track seems to compare men and women using the analogy of dogs and cats, with the video involving some extraordinary outfits and makeup (and quite a lot of weirded out violence, too). That rhythm kicks, mind.
Hound Dog 7″
A dog that has worn the collar of countless artists, yes, but indelibly this is one dog that belongs to Elvis more than anyone else. Ok, so the original was by Big Mama Thornton, but once Elvis got hold of it, there was no turning back. Two-minutes and thirteen seconds of pure rock’n’roll perfection, it absolutely fizzes with youth, energy and bitterness at the double-crossing going on in the lyrics.
Die Like A Dog
One of Curve’s greatest, searing moments, where the sheets of guitars don’t overwhelm everything else and instead allow the elastic bassline to take centre stage, accompanying Toni Halliday’s sultry vocals in perfect harmony. A song where she appears to imagine the life of a dog, without the pressures of human relationships, the pressures of religion and war, but of course one where aggression is still not too far away.
Even Dogs In The Wild
The Affectionate Punch
A band I’m not particularly familiar with, this suggestion came from Alex and fits well. A bleak tale of abuse, noting that even the titular animals could do better than this, Billy MacKenzie certainly knew his way around an affecting, sad tune or two. The unusual sound is not just down to MacKenzie’s extraordinary voice – synths add an extra dimension to the curious, lurching rhythm and the music to me invokes exactly the grey, damp atmospheres that the lyrics describe.
Do you really think I could avoid my partner’s beloved spotty dogs? Seeing as it is our tenth anniversary on Thursday, I’ll indulge her this once… So anyway, the finale to the much-loved Disney film (which of course was adapted from the equally-much-loved book) is a joyous, jazz-infused number that is in a celebrationary mood, after Cruella De Vil is of course defeated in her dastardly plans…