Two Songs from Dog Contest
I’d be absorbed… trapped, held prisoner if you’d like in the host’s brain, unable to control anything, forever doomed to watch the world through someone else’s eyes. — Dr. Lester, Being John Malkovich
Dog Contest’s ‘Too Much’ and ‘Taking Down My Ego’ are paragraphs of a letter penned to oneself on a scrap of literal foolscap, the sentences scrawled backwards right-to-left to be read in a mirror where the writer can confront the recipient, the correspondents forever separated by the space between the soul and its physical embodiment.
I have just now come from a party where I was its life and soul; witticisms streamed from my lips, everyone laughed and admired me, but I went away ——– yes, the dash should be as long as the radius of the earth’s orbit — and wanted to shoot myself. — Journal of Søren Kiekegaard, March 1936
One hundred eighty-five years after Kierkegaard retreated to his room in self-imposed exile, there to suffer the delayed embarrassment of having been perhaps too much of himself, Dog Contest commits a similar crime, convicted and sentenced by a judge and jury that remarkably resemble the defendant.
Do you ever feel like
you’re talking to much?
Do you ever feel like
it’s all on the tip of your tongue
And you just can’t make it stop?
There are many people who reach their conclusions about life like schoolboys; they cheat their master by copying the answer out of a book without having worked out the sum for themselves. — Journal of Søren Kiekegaard, January 1937
And faced with a life sentence, eligible for parole in the next incarnation assuming time off for good behavior, Private Enemy #1 can spend their days revisiting the waypoints that led us to the prison of our own creation, our manacles chained to the cell’s stone by links we forged in life and girded on of our own free will, the pattern modeled from the words of Jacob Marley.
I know it sounds like I’m an asshole,
I’m so sorry
I never found which way to burn out,
I just spent my money
All the side effects from bad jokes
And smaller attention spans
I never thought it would concern me
With ‘Too Much’ and ‘Taking Down My Ego,’ Dog Contest takes the energetic, bottom-heavy boogie of Southern Rock — a genre that ceased to be interesting somewhere around the Outlaws third album — and updates it with a healthy dose of self-reflective emo. They move beyond the old I got them blues cause my baby left me to ask What the hell is wrong with me? The result is freshly familiar, with plenty of fuzzy, overdriven guitars and an emotional range rarely associated with their 70’s-era antecedents.
Based in Nashville, Dog Contest comprises Cody Clayton (electric guitar, keyboards), Marshall Bolton (drums), Micheal Herrel (bass), and Kevin Wood (acoustic guitar, vocals). The band self-describes as a long-winded explanation for why people care too much about all the wrong things. Today’s tracks appear on their debut album, The Greatest Hits Anthology, produced by Chance Cook and Pete Mulcahy, Jr., and mixed and mastered by Pete Mulcahy, Jr.
Breathing in, I see myself as still water. Breathing out, I reflect things as they are. — Thich Nhat Hanh, A Handful of Quiet