Oh hey, vocal melodies! I remember those. Back before my trapezius was in danger of snapping from too much headbanging, bands like Jawbox and Quicksand dominated the 6-CD cartridge I slipped into the back of my old Volvo station wagon. They wrote smart, taut post-hardcore with yeasty melodies and interesting time signature switches and an ear towards heavy atmosphere, if not actual metal riffage. Dogs of Winter's debut album From Soil to Shale shares all of the above qualities and amps up the awesome singer quotient to two: When not screaming at each other, Brian Grosz and Ryan Dowd sing harmonies like they're actually arguing their points in tandem. Intertwining guitar/bass lines are just as smartly arranged. Drummer Dave Valle plays equal parts pocket groove machine and steady rock 'n roll pounder. It's refreshing to hear an album wherein every track sounds like its own entity. Between Dogs of Winter and Goes Cube (reviewed here), Brooklyn's becoming an epicenter for tuneful, genreless heavy trios. I'm a big fan.
"Hand Over Fist"
It's important to note that Dogs of Winter have all the ancillary stuff down, too. Website, label page, MySpace and Facebook page are all clean and well-integrated. The band's offering their album as a free download, along with a pdf booklet, but they recognize that "free" doesn't have to mean "shitty" -- the album sounds top-notch, and the booklet, with illustrations by Joe Boyle to accompany each song lyric, is beautifully laid out. The band handles the entire experience of getting to know them in a friendly and professional manner. Pleasure doing business with you, boys.
You can support Dogs of Winter via voluntary donations right here.