(Northern Exposure is a feature where Mark incessantly rambles about music from his home country of Canada.)
This was bound to happen eventually. I’m talking about myself completely copping out and talking about a band that I know and love all too well. So, I guess I just got lazy and didn’t want to prepare or do any real research today, because I think I could write a full essay about Dog Day off the top of my head, and this is my attempt to do so.
This is a band that has had an interesting career path. It seems like almost every time Dog Day were primed to break out and become and become a popular act, they had some kind of shitty luck that stopped their momentum in its tracks. So that fact that this band is still making music is amazing given some of the things that they’ve had to endure.
Dog Day rose out of the ashes of former Halifax band Burdocks and they released their first EP titled Thank You in 2003 via 15 CD-R copies before they had ever ever played a show. The EP was later given a proper CD release by Divorce Records in 2005 and it shot to the top 10 of Canadian college radio charts. It looked like the initial lineup of Seth Smith, Nancy Urich, KC Spidle and Crystal Thili were ready for bigger things.
The in 2006 Dog Day were approached by German label Tomlab to inquire about releasing their full-length debut album. The band managed to get to record at Halifax’s only multi-million dollar studio. After about a year of recording and mixing Night Group was released in 2007 on Tomlab. The brand of melodramatic pop music on Night Group was so haunting and catchy at the same times. Listening to that album still gives me chills.
Dog Day released their sophomore album titled Concentration in 2009. Even though the album received less favourable reviews than Night Group, the band was still on a trajectory up with their gloomy pop sound. They even shared the stage at a Virgin festival in Halifax with names like Metric and Dinosaur Jr. But, soon after this things took a turn for the worse.
The interesting thing about Dog Day is that they were comprised of two married couples. Seth/Nancy and KC/Crystal. The thing about marriages and relationships though, is that they don’t always last, which was the case with KC and Crystal’s marriage. Their split left a fractured band that had once appeared to be ready for big things. They were now back completely to square one.
It would have been very easy for Seth and Nancy to just say fuck it and not continue on with Dog Day, but I’m glad that’s not what they decided to do. Instead the two took more control over their music than ever. they moved away from the city, set up their own recording studio in their basement, Nancy learned to play the drums and they continued along with Dog Day as a duo.
In 2011 the band released their first 7” titled Scratches, which was their first release as a two piece. The song maintained the gloomy pop sound that I loved Dog Day for, but it also was much more rough around the edges, a sound that I enjoyed a lot.
It turned out that the 7” was a preview of what was to come later that year for Dog Day. The duo released Dog Day’s third album titled Deformer in August of 2011. Like their previous 7”, this was a more pared down and rough sound that maintained a cloak of eeriness and pop sensibilities. The really interesting thing is how the duo really took all aspects of making this album into their own hands. Everything from the self-recording to the jackets on the LPs being screenprinted by hand made Deformer something that Seth and Nancy could really call their own.
I’m really excited to see what’s next for Dog Day. Seth has made a movie called Lowlife that is scheduled for a release in the fall and the duo are just wrapping up a summer tour that took them all across Canada. I got the see them again for the third time in my life and they’re absolutely fantastic. I’m sure whatever they end up doing next will be great.