Posts Tagged ‘Alex Stoitsiadis’

Best Songs 2020 - Dogleg

There’s a moment in “Bueno,” one of the standout tracks on Dogleg‘s excellent full-length debut, “Melee”, where it feels like a ceiling is crashing down on your head. The song starts off all fire and brimstone, surging punk guitars and slammed drums, before settling into a groove — a funky one, possibly? It’s punk, it’s loud, but the melody is undeniable. It’s a full-on party … but then, halfway through the song, they slam on the brakes. The guitars ease up, leaving a simple bass line. You catch the touch of a cymbal. You think, for a second, that’s it, but then you realize Oh no. They’re just catching their breath. The guitars surge back in, and then the primal scream: “Little brother, was I ever a part of it?” Well, it’s screams — they take turns yelling the line, then, one more deep breath … and the explosion. It’s noise, and chaos, but it’s gorgeous, and perfect. The drums roll. Everyone screams. You’re screaming, too, and wondering: Why can’t all music sound like this?

Dogleg “Bueno” from the full length Melee

Band Members
Alex Stoitsiadis – guitar, vocals
Chase Macinski – bass, vocals
Parker Grissom – guitar
Jacob Hanlon – drums

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Nothing about Dogleg’s exhilarating debut “Melee” makes any goddamn sense. It’s just four guys from Michigan hammering the same post-hardcore or emo riffs we’ve all heard for 20 years. The album, named after the Super Smash Bros. game and peppered with further Nintendo nods, was self-produced and modestly recorded at the house of frontman Alex Stoitsiadis, who started Dogleg as a solo project in his parents’ basement. Yet somehow, these dignitaries of the University of Michigan frat party scene have carved a stone-cold classic — a stupefying encapsulation of all its predecessors’ aggression without an ounce of melodic sacrifice. From the opening chug of “Kawasaki Backflip,” Melee is a 35-minute waterslide plunge into chaos; all speed freak guitars, incendiary drums, and Stoitsiadis’s best Stink-era Paul Westerberg impression. It’s proof that bombast should be a little bit ugly. The subsequent tour would’ve made Dogleg one of 2020’s most thrilling new live rock acts.

The vicious, ascendant guitar breaks in “Fox,” which deserve some serious Riff of the Year consideration in a surprisingly competitive time. Dogleg “Fox” from the full length album Melee.

 

Melee

One of the greatest casualties of no-tour 2020 is that Dogleg was just in the process of launching their career as a chaotic live act outside of their native Michigan, their debut album Melee serving as their treatise for world domination in the same way PUP snatched up an enormous following seven years ago by relentlessly introducing their self-titled LP to audiences on an almost-nightly basis for years to come. Fortunately for Dogleg, Melee has plenty of traction regardless of their abandoned tour alongside Microwave—and much like PUP, the record nearly provides the live experience despite listeners’ pandemic-inflicted confinement to their homes.

With “Fox” as an intro—and “Kawasaki Backflip” as confirmation that Dogleg would, in fact, be very much a thing—it was such a joy watching the Detroit punks unveil their record over the course of a few turbulent months. They rapidly became every music publication’s Artist to Watch, legitimizing them as a fully-fledged AOTY contender by mid-year—and, more importantly, legitimizing the anxieties pumped into each of Melee’s ten tracks as near-universal pressure points brought to the surface in the weeks that followed the record’s release.

Dogleg’s Melee is a bristling, relentlessly cathartic collection of pop-punk. From the moment that the opening track, “Kawasaki Backflip,” bursts into its full-band glory, the album never slows down or backs off from the Detroit group’s loud, crunchy, anthemic style. Lead singer Alex Stoitsiadis shouts every word with dire conviction, his voice shredding and straining to deliver some of the best shout-along hooks of the year so far. “Any moment now, I will disintegrate,” he frantically yells at the explosive climax of “Fox.” Melee is the sound of a band pushing off self-destruction through sheer force of will. This isn’t to say that these songs aren’t complex, or that their loudness is a cover for a lack of imagination. The guitars on “Cannonball” splash loudly, creating violent ripples over the rest of the track, while “Ender” closes the album in a six-minute punk odyssey wherein Dogleg ups the stakes at every turn. Melee is exhausting in the best possible way, a cleansing release of tension in a howling, desperate rage.
Dogleg “Fox” from the full length Melee
Band Members
Alex Stoitsiadis – guitar, vocals
Chase Macinski – bass, vocals
Parker Grissom – guitar
Jacob Hanlon – drums

 

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Fox,” the first single from their debut album, Dogleg devastate listeners with a heart wrenching take on losing touch, with a song that’s thrives on leaving blood on the page. The band, who are expected to release their debut album next Spring, they take a power pop approach and then distort the hell out of it. While the feelings of loss and confusion could resonate with anyone, few artists could deliver a song on the subject with as much energy as Dogleg.

Along with the high energy video, “Fox” rips with an epic level of engagement that most modern pop-punk lacks. The song puts an emphasis on intensity, but it also has the dynamics of an early Taking Back Sunday song or a Nimrodera Green Day track. While so much of the enjoyment comes from the screamed gang vocals and fast, punchy riffs, the song is set in the soft bass breakdowns, where you’re reminded that you’re listening to a song with more emotional resonance than just your standard emo track. While this is clear to anyone who heard Dogleg’s Remember Alderaan EP, “Fox” takes the interesting parts of that release and smoothes out the creases.

A fantastic explosion of noise. fast, cathartic, melodic. if you want to cry/dance in your room alone on a saturday night while your friends are out having a good time this is the record for you.

Band Members
Alex Stoitsiadis – guitar, vocals
Chase Macinski – bass, vocals
Parker Grissom – guitar
Jacob Hanlon – drums