Slaughter Beach, Dog

Collective Concerts Presents

Slaughter Beach, Dog

Shannen Moser

Fri, November 3, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm

Smiling Buddha

Toronto, ON

$15.00

This event is all ages

Advance tickets also available at Rotate This & Soundscapes 

Slaughter Beach, Dog
Slaughter Beach, Dog
Few bands can say they were born out of necessity, but Slaughter Beach, Dog can. In 2015, Jake Ewald, in the midst of trying to write songs for his other band Modern Baseball (which has since gone on hiatus), hit a patch of writer’s block. To get himself back in action, Ewald decided to move the focus off of himself, stitching together a loose narrative surrounding a motley cast of characters. Before he knew it, he’d written an entire album, and Slaughter Beach, Dog was no longer an exercise, it was a full-fledged band. “ When I gave myself the specific goal to write these kinds of songs and figure out how to do it, it just broke me open in a way I really needed.” What came pouring out of Ewald was Welcome,a 10-track debut that showed his ability to create a world of his own making, all the while blurring the line between fiction and reality. At times, he’d be singing about people and situations he invented, but the songs were still personal, often informed by experiences deep in his past, excavated for the purpose of expanding his songwriting vocabulary. This approach is even more evident on the new, four-song Slaughter Beach, Dog EP, Motorcycle. jpg. Recalling the likes of John K. Samson or David Bazan, this new batch of songs darts between musical styles and narrative structures. Protagonists go unnamed, leaving it up to the listener to deduce whether or not Ewald is singing about himself or offering updates to the characters found on Welcome. . “ Building The Ark,” Motorcycle .jpg’s first single, works in the same framework as the best songsby The Weakerthans. Like John K. Samson, Ewald is a songwriter that sweats the small stuff, focusing in on tiny details in order to tell a freewheeling account of a strange night in Las Vegas. It’s abstract framing recalls the storytelling of David Lynch, featuring some bloody knuckles and a hazy dream that culminates in a love scene inside of a 7-11. Musically, it’s akin to the deconstructionist Americana found on Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (his namechecking of “ Heavy Metal Drummer” on “ 104 Degrees” drives it home all the more) as instruments swirl around Ewald, with twangy lead guitar parts peppered in and some oddly-timed cymbal crashes accenting the song’s unpredictable aura. “ I took that as an opportunity to get a little bit weirder than usual,” said Ewald, noting that the EP taps into a more ambitious style of production, while pointing people in the direction of where the new Slaughter Beach, Dog LP—which is currently being recorded—will likely end up. Though it may sounds like a sonic leap, Motorcycle .jpg shows Ewald isn’t so much interested in reinvention as much as he is expansion. Everything he’s hinted at in his previous work is blown out here, allowing him to create songs that never settle into one specific set of sounds. “ 104 Degrees” features chest-rattling synths and a plainspoken vocal delivery befitting of Fred Thomas. The acoustic guitar strums accompanied by muted drums on “ Glowing” turn a Superweaks cover into a Left And Leaving B-side. “ Your Cat” is a sunbaked, out-of-body fantasy that’s both aimlessly fun and deeply introspective. Though Slaughter Beach, Dog may have started as a project for Ewald to get past a mental block, it’s grown into something more. Under this moniker Ewald has built a rich, vibrant world—and it may very well be the one we’re living in. LP bioFew bands can say they were born out of necessity, but Slaughter Beach, Dog can. In 2015, Jake Ewald, in the midst of trying to write songs for his other band Modern Baseball (which has since gone on hiatus), hit a patch of writer’s block. To get himself back in action, Ewald decided
to move the focus off of himself, stitching together a loose narrative surrounding a motley cast of characters. Before he knew it, he’d written an entire album, and Slaughter Beach, Dog was no longer an exercise, it was a full-fledged band. “ When I gave myself the specific goal to write these kinds of songs and figure out how to do it, it just broke me open in a way I really needed.” What came pouring out of Ewald was Welcome,a 10-track debut that showed his ability to create a world of his own making, all the while blurring the line between fiction and reality. At times, he’d be singing about people and situations he invented, but the songs were still personal, often informed by experiences deep in his past, excavated for the purpose of expanding his songwriting vocabulary. Slaughter Beach, Dog’s new album Birdie (October 27 on Lame-O Records) expands upon the framework Ewald built on Welcome and the recent EP Motorcycle .jpg, retaining the hallmarks of Slaughter Beach, Dog while pushing into brave new territories A single listen to Birdie shows how much Ewald has grown as a songwriter, embellishing every detail in his songs without losing his homespun charms. Where Welcome felt based in rock’s grand tradition, Birdie is at once more expansive and more intimate. Songs ebb and flow in the way of The Weakerthans, still rocking, but in a more scholarly way. “ I took [Motorcycle .jpg] as an opportunity to get a little bit weirder than usual,” said Ewald, and it’s clear that the EP was a signpost for where he’d be taking Slaughter Beach, Dog on Birdie. “ Gold And Green” sees Ewald skirt the lines between half a dozen genres,creating a song that’s able to mine vintage genres like folk and country in order to make something contemporary. Strumming an acoustic guitar, Ewald spins a narrative flush with details, boasting lyrics that are, depending on your reading, either wildly impressionistic and or plain as day. Ewald plays into this ambiguity expertly, offering songs that use a lilting bounce to obscure the darkness of the world he’s building. “ Fish Fry” is a prime example, utilizing a simple backbeat, a chugging guitar riff, and a ruminative vocal melody, the song allows Ewald to toss out references to his past work for those paying close attention. Much like on Motorcycle .jpg’s “ Building The Ark,” Ewald once again finds himself dreaming of a convenience store, inviting fans to dig into his lyrics to unfurl every subplot running beneath his gooey melodies. Similarly, “ Acolyte” closes the record but simultaneously opens a door, showing Ewald at his most introspectively ambitious. The song sprawls out, expanding slowly and deliberately, completing Birdie’s arch without providing any definitive answers. Though Slaughter Beach, Dog may have started as a project for Ewald to get past a mental block, it’s grown into something more. Under this moniker Ewald has built a rich, vibrant world, one that invites thoughtful analysis from fans, and continues to expand past its initial intent. Birdie is bountiful in its scope, with songs that pile on layers of instruments and suck you into the world of Slaughter Beach, Dog. And once you’re there, you never want to leave
Venue Information:
Smiling Buddha
961 College St
Toronto, ON, M6H 1A6
http://www.thesmilingbuddha.ca/