Following the success of their 2006 album Adultery, Baltimore’s strata-phonic-stage-pounders Dog Fashion Disco kick in your front door to deliver Sweet Nothings. Per the norm, this record challenges the laws of rock physics leaving one to reach for adjectives smart enough to describe it. Calling it experimental would be an insult. Calling it metal would be to do so out of ignorance. To call it a manifestation of a much larger, unresolved condition is about as close as you’ll get to applying syntax to the ineffable and deliciously tantalizing high-watt gravy that inevitably stains your favorite shirt.
Vocalist Todd Smith’s voice effortlessly yawns from frail fourteen year-old girl to agonizing 500-pound fat man gargling broken glass—with the clever lyrics Smith is known for. Lest you forget there are others coming to dinner; Jasan Stepp’s soaring buzz-saw guitars smear a 12-layer juxtaposition across the pork fried freight-train and machine gun-rhythm section of bassist Brian White and drummer John Ensminger. Tenured keyboardist Tim Swanson weaves an audio tapestry of rich sonic delicacies fit for a Hi-Top wearing King. Matt Rippetoe’s saxophone asks for a second helping before the others are even seated. With unwavering energy, Rippetoe parlays himself up to a gush of entrancing melody.
DFD’s illustrious career hearkens back to 1995— a time when some of their peers were still crapping in their Pampers. A much leaner, more fuel-efficient Smith, Ensminger and former guitarist Greg Combs began playing the storied local and regional shows they became known for. It was this tenacity that primed the band for a trio of self-released albums—Erotic Massage and 1998’s Experiments in Alchemy and The Embryo’s in Bloom.
Catapulted in quest of something to amuse, DFD embraced a touring schedule so relentless and unforgiving that bands like Motorhead looked more like a Girl Scout troop on a weekend outing. Saddled with an unscrupulous contempt for remaining static and travel days with the resounding echo of a slow ticking clock, DFD prepared for what would become their major label debut, 2001’s Anarchists Of Good Taste. To much praise ‘Anarchists’ took the band on their first overseas tour. With the release of 2003’s Committed To A Bright Future, life for DFD began to flow with their newly accustomed stream of personnel changes. They subsequently recorded the Day Of The Dead EP as well as The City Is Alive Tonight and DFDVD— their live audio and visual offerings. As with all things wholly organic and naturally aspirated, DFD took a much needed break— lasting only a mere six months.
In 2005 DFD signed with powerhouse indie label Rotten Records and in 2006 released the critically acclaimed album Adultery. With both band and label working overtime, DFD created what is arguably a new standard in the art of touring. To the degree that a former Rotten Records executive surreptitiously contacted the Department of Transportation about having at least a small stretch of highway aptly named after the band— considering the likelihood they were responsible for its changing topography.
In late 2006, Smith announced that Dog Fashion Disco was marching down to posterity and calling it quits. In its wake, the various members involved themselves in different projects. But it was only a matter of time before the power of intellectual metamorphosis prevailed and in 2013 the band regrouped and wrote what would become their seventh studio album, Sweet Nothings. With this album, what was once only suspicion becomes abundantly clear, that Dog Fashion Disco is a band educated far beyond its own capacity. Educated in the verbose and rhetorical phrasings, musings by instrument and larger than life presence that comprise Dog Fashion Disco. Nonetheless Sweet Nothings, like DFD themselves, is a sum much greater than its parts—and what blatant disregard to convention looks like. In the tradition of self-nurturing, spoil yourself and bask in their latest audio spa treatment. Because it’s likely they’ll be darkening the doorways of your town at dinner time soon enough.
2. War Party
3. Scarlet Fever
4. Tastes So Sweet
5. Doctor’s Orders
6. Envy the Vultures
7. Approach and Recede
8. Down the Rabbit Hole
9. We Aren’t The World
10. Struck by Lightning
11. Sweet Nothings
12. Pale Horse
13. End of the Road