Problem Dogg is an anti-band. They take every chance to challenge the audience by using multiple bass lines, hosting frantic shows and unleashing a terrifying energy on listeners. Continuing this trend, the band released a 49-song anthology album last week, collecting all the tracks the band has written in the last year and putting them to tape at Civil Recording.
By some sort of miracle outside of our current understanding of time and physics, the album was put together in one day back in June. The band played every song in one take, one after another in the flurry of 10 hours, and they didn't even listen back to tracks until they got the mastered tracks later. What emerged was, well, a distilled insanity that is the culmination of the tireless efforts by the bombastic Denton band.
Rick Eye, bassist for the band, says the concept of Problem Dogg (technically "Pяoblem DOGG") centered around taking all the tropes and expectations of what music can be and shattering them into unrecognizable pieces. The line-up has made several significant shifts, but the core members have mostly stuck around. Under personnel, this album lists at least four bass players, a kazoo player, and producer Michael Briggs is credited for doing some sweet egg shaking as well.
Briggs, who recorded for the band at his house under Civil Recording, called the album Problem Dogg's "magnum opus," which couldn't be more fitting with the band's performance art approach to music. Eye says working with him was a blast, and that his ability to organize the madness of the band was superb.
"I've recorded six or seven albums with him. I recorded with him earlier this afternoon, even," Eye says.
The album features 10 musicians playing live for each recording, with vocals being overdubbed by an additional musician after the fact. The collection of songs have been put together from a huge series of jams the band has done, and the performances had varying levels of preparedness. Some songs didn't have lyrics fully formed, and many parts were improvised for the album's recordings.
Eye says the realization to make the album was to further the goal of the band, which is to test the patience of listeners and cause them to question what they appreciate. "I've always been a fucker like that," Eye says with a laugh. "I came to Denton and saw people liked these jam bands, and I wanted to challenge that."
Each song clocks in at around 1:30, with some as short as 30 seconds. Eye says the rapid-fire, patchwork nature of the album is a very conscious decision to make it varied and maintain a high energy throughout live shows.
All the songs also come with an absolutely ridiculous and fantastic title. Favorites include "Disappointing Korndogg," "Thrift Store Blowjob," "Kicked in the Balls," and "Steve Albini Talking About His Ass."
To give you an idea, that last track features lines like "He loves that car/He loves that ass." The entire song is a bizarre spoken-word track full of nonsensical lines and a schizophrenic instrumental part that captures the madness that Problem Dogg flourishes on. Eye is no stranger to taking an idea and expanding it in unexpected directions, sometimes multiple directions at once.
"We'll take an idea idea and throw it off the deep end," he says. "Which is always fine with me."
The album's release has been coupled with three different album release shows: One in Fort Worth, which already happened, one in Dallas and another in Denton. They barreled through a 16-song set in Fort Worth, which would've only been about 25 or 30 minutes going by their average song time. The reception was fantastic, Eye says, and he got to meet with like-minded bands he'd never heard of.
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The Denton show is on Dec. 19 at J&J's Pizza, and the Dallas show is on Jan. 10 at the Texas Theatre. Although no amount of preparedness could really be possible before seeing a Problem Dogg show, Eye says to expect to go through a barrage of emotions.
"Expect confusion, laughter and a weird rage," he says. "The whole arc of emotions. We'll make you angry, very happy and then we'll make you sad and laugh. All in one night."
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